And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
One of the books I am reading is the anthology, Contending with Christianity’s Critics, edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan. I have read the book before, but this time I wanted to do it with highlighter in hand so I could better digest the book.
The second essay in the book is written by James D. Sinclair and is entitled At Home in the Multiverse? which is a response to the suggestion that the universe we live in is just one of many different universes. If that is the case we shouldn’t be surprised that our universe is fine-tuned for life, and therefore we do not need to postulate God as an explanation for life.
Part of the problem of reading books like this is that I don’t have the background to understand, let alone evaluate, the arguments. Much of the time I feel lost as I try to figure out what is being said. On the one hand this is good because it is a workout for my brain. On the other hand it is dangerous because I can misunderstand an argument and think it says something that it actually does not.
It is into this dangerous ground that I now tread. I fully realize that what follows might be a misrepresentation of what was written and that I may have missed the point, but this point struck me in such a way that I thought I needed to share it. If I understand it correctly then our universe is precisely the type of universe we should expect.
Keep in mind the verse from Colossians I shared as you read the relevant paragraph.
Then we have the argument of Roger Penrose. To simplify things Penrose was wondering why the universe is not just a huge black hole. It desperately wants to be. If you consider all the different ways one can take the basic building blocks (like Legos) and cobble together a universe, virtually all those configurations will produce variations on a huge black hole. Things want to be messy, not clean. Black holes are by far the messiest things that exist. So if things prefer to be messy, why aren’t they? Penrose makes a calculation, considering just the matter in the universe that we can see. But he rightly notes that if the universe is like a patchwork quilt, then as the size of the universe approaches infinity (hence the number of particles approaches infinity) and the rest of the universe looks like ours (the Copernican Principle), the calculated probability for us seeing the universe in its present configuration approaches zero! (p. 14)
To put it rather crudely and imprecise, it appears to me that there is no reason for us to expect the universe to hold to its present configuration. We should expect the universe to descend into one huge black hole. Yet, for some reason unknown to us, it maintains its shape and continues to provide the necessary conditions for life.
I realize that what I am highlighting can be seen as “God of the gaps” since I am placing God, specifically Jesus, as the glue which holds the universe together. There certainly could come a time when an answer to this dilemma is found, but right now this is what we know.
Since I am not qualified to accurately judge such things I want to refrain from making any definitive statements. The reality is that I don’t know much about such things.
What I do know is this is the connection that my brain made when I read that paragraph. Even if there is some natural explanation why our universe is held together, that does not do away with the Creator God who placed the laws of nature into the universe at the very beginning.
As Christians we need to be reminded that what we know about the universe is very little. This requires us to be committed to a life of learning. We should want to learn as much about the world that God created as we can. This also means that we should be humble. Each on of us is ignorant of a many things. This is not a slam about our level of intelligence, rather it is a reality of life. Even the smartest person in the world is more ignorant that he is knowledgeable.
This is one of the many reasons why it is great to know that Jesus Christ stands outside the universe holding it all together. It means that we don’t need to know it all, because we know him.