‘Something Is Missing’—What?
After gazing at the stars on a clear, dark night, we come inside, chilly and blinking, our minds spinning with vast beauty and a multitude of queries.
Why is the universe here? Where did it come from? Where is it going? These are the questions that many try to answer.
After five years of research into cosmology, which carried him to scientific conferences and research centers all over the globe, science writer
Dennis Overbye described a conversation with world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking: “In the end what I wanted to know from Hawking is what I have
always wanted to know from Hawking: Where we go when we die.”
Although tinged with irony, these words reveal much about our age. The queries are not so much on the stars themselves and the theories and
conflicting views of the cosmologists that study them. People today still hunger for answers to the basic questions that have haunted mankind for
millenniums: Why are we here? Is there a God? Where do we go when we die? Where are the answers to these questions? Are they to be found in the
Another science writer, John Boslough, observed that as people have left religion, scientists such as cosmologists have become “the perfect
priesthood for a secular age. They, not religious leaders, were the ones who would now reveal all the secrets of the universe bit by precious bit, not
in the guise of spiritual epiphany but in the form of equations obscure to all but the anointed.” But will they reveal all the secrets of the
universe and answer all the questions that have haunted mankind for ages?
What are the cosmologists revealing now? Most espouse some version of the big bang “theology,” which has become the secular religion of our time,
even as they quibble incessantly over the details. “Yet,” Boslough noted, “in the context of new and contradictory observations, the big bang
theory begins to appear more and more like an overly simplistic model in search of a creation event. By the early 1990s the big bang model was. . .
increasingly unable to answer the most fundamental questions.” He added that “more than a few theorists have expressed the opinion that it would
not even last out the 1990s.”
Perhaps some of the current cosmological guesswork will turn out to be correct, perhaps not—just as perhaps there really are planets coalescing in
the ghostly glow of Orion’s nebula, perhaps not. The undeniable fact is that no one on this earth really knows for sure. Theories abound, but honest
observers echo Margaret Geller’s astute observation that despite the glib talk, something fundamental seems to be missing in science’s current
understanding of the cosmos.
Missing—The Willingness to Face Unpalatable Facts
Most scientists—and this includes most cosmologists—subscribe to the theory of evolution. They find talk unpalatable that gives intelligence and
purpose a role in creation, and they shudder at the mere mention of God as Creator. They refuse even to consider such heresy. Psalm 10:4 speaks
disparagingly of the supercilious person who “makes no search; all his ideas are: ‘There is no God.’” His creative deity is Chance. But as
knowledge increases and chance and also coincidence collapse under the growing load, the scientist begins to turn more and more to such no-no’s as
intelligence and design. Consider the following examples:
“A component has evidently been missing from cosmological studies. The origin of the Universe, like the solution of the Rubik cube, requires an
intelligence,” wrote astrophysicist Fred Hoyle in his book The Intelligent Universe
, page 189.
“The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known
that we were coming.”—Disturbing the Universe
, by Freeman Dyson, page 250.
“What features of the Universe were essential for the emergence of creatures such as ourselves, and is it through coincidence, or for some deeper
reason, that our Universe has these features? . . . Is there some deeper plan that ensures that the Universe is tailor-made for
, by John Gribbin and Martin Rees, pages xiv, 4.
Fred Hoyle also comments on these properties, on page 220 of his book quoted above: “Such properties seem to run through the fabric of the natural
world like a thread of happy accidents. But there are so many of these odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to
account for them.”
“It is not only that man is adapted to the universe. The universe is adapted to man. Imagine a universe in which one or another of the fundamental
dimensionless constants of physics is altered by a few percent one way or the other? Man could never come into being in such a universe. That is the
central point of the anthropic principle. According to this principle, a life-giving factor lies at the centre of the whole machinery and design of
the world.”—The Anthropic Cosmological Principle
,” by John Barrow and Frank Tipler, page vii.
God, Design, and the Constants of Physics
What are some of these fundamental constants of physics that are essential for life to exist in the universe? A report in The Orange County
of January 8, 1995, listed a few of these constants. It stressed how fine-tuned these features must be, stating: “The quantitative
values of many basic physical constants defining the universe—for example, the charge of an electron, or the fixed velocity of light, or the ratio
of the strengths of fundamental forces in nature—are ravishingly precise, some to 120 decimal places. The development of a life-breeding universe is
exceedingly sensitive to these specifications. Any tiny variation—a nanosecond here, an angstrom there—and the universe might well have been dead
The author of this report then mentioned the usually unmentionable: “It seems more reasonable to assume that some mysterious bias lurks within the
process, perhaps in the action of an intelligent and intentional power who fine-tuned the universe in preparation for our arrival.”
George Greenstein, professor of astronomy and cosmology, gave a longer list of these physical constants in his book The Symbiotic Universe
Among those listed were constants so fine-tuned that if they were off to the very slightest degree, no atoms, no stars, no universe, would have ever
been possible. The details of these relationships are listed at the end of the comment below. They must exist for physical life to be possible. They
are complex and may not be understood by all readers, but they are recognized, along with many others, by astrophysicists trained in these areas.
As this list lengthened, Greenstein became overwhelmed. He said: “So many coincidences! The more I read, the more I became convinced that such
‘coincidences’ could hardly have happened by chance. But as this conviction grew, something else grew as well. Even now it is difficult to express
this ‘something’ in words. It was an intense revulsion, and at times it was almost physical in nature. I would positively squirm with discomfort.
. . . Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who
stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”
Sickened and horrified by the thought, Greenstein quickly recanted, recovered his scientifically religious orthodoxy, and proclaimed: “God
is not an explanation.” No reason—it was just so unpalatable that he could not stomach the thought!
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