And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
- Genesis 1:14-25
“It is simply that there are certain things about our universe-and about our planet—that seem to be so extremely perfectly calibrated that they can hardly be coincidental. If these things were even slightly different, life would not even be possible. One classic example has to do with the size of Earth, which just happens to be exactly what it needs to be in order for life to exist here. Of course most of us cannot imagine that the size of our planet would have any bearing on whether life could exist here, but as it happens, we are perfectly mistaken. One rarely hears about this, but it is established fact: If our planet were smaller or larger by even the smallest of margins, life here could not exist. When we see how many things must be just so—and then just happen to be just so—we cannot help but wonder if perhaps mere coincidence isn’t enough to account for it.
“Most of this ﬁne-tuning also involves what is described as the ‘Goldilocks Principle,’ meaning that there are actually two directions in which things can go wrong—or they can be ‘just right,’ as Goldilocks deemed the bed and chair and bowl of porridge she settled on after rejecting the other choices. As with the story of the Three Bears, we find that on Earth and in this universe, things could be too this or too that—too hard or too soft, too big or too small, too hot or too cold—but in every case it just so happens that they are ‘just right’ for life. The size of our Earth is but one of innumerable—and ever-increasing-examples.
“That is what is especially remarkable about the ‘fine-tuning argument’: the more time passes, the stronger it gets, because science discovers more and more examples of it. So it is one thing to say, as the scientist Carl Sagan did, that there are two parameters necessary for life, and Earth just happens to meet both of them. It would be the same if there were five necessary parameters or ten. We still might be able to see Earth’s having met these parameters as a matter of simple good luck. But as the decades have passed and science has uncovered scores and scores and then hundreds of such examples of perfect fine-tuning, the odds become far too astronomical to dismiss as luck or coincidence. The overwhelming impression is that the burgeoning welter of perfect coincidences has mounted to a level impossibly beyond anything we can put down to coincidence, so that even the most hostile atheist must at least wonder whether it is all precisely as it is precisely because it was intentionally designed to be that way.”
- Eric Metaxas, Is Atheism Dead?
In honor of the “Goldilocks Principle,” the photo above features my younger son before he went to kindergarten, on a trip to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The park is partially in North Carolina, but Cades Cove is on the Tennessee side. Our son was about to climb the split rail fence and try to get at the water wheel for the grist mill. You can see his Goldilocks, but in the right side of the photo, his hair has changed a great deal in the roughly forty years since then.
The Fine-Tuned Planet concept is one of the most power arguments, for those who employ such apologetics in debates with non-believers.
Eric Metaxas argues that if there were five or ten parameters that must be met, some might close their mind to the notion that God had created the earth to sustain life upon it, but there are hundreds.
What is meant by a fine-tuned planet? What if the earth were a bit bigger? A lot bigger and the resulting gravity would crush our bodies. A little bit bigger or little smaller and enough problems would exist that life could not be sustained. A lot smaller and the earth would not hold the required atmosphere to sustain life.
A little closer to the sun and it would be too hot. A little further away and it would be too cold. The tilt of the earth provides four seasons which provides the yearly cycle of regeneration on earth. The size and distance of the moon provides the necessary tides. The iron core is just the right size to not cause problems with the magnetic field that it generates, but with the magnetic field that we have, it is just right in protecting us from dangerous emissions from the sun, that interaction causing the aurora borealis.
And before the fall of man, which carried with it a curse on the earth, there was a perfect balance in the carbon dioxide produced by animals and the carbon dioxide consumed by the plant life.
The large planets, like Jupiter, are further out in space. Their large gravity fields draw dangerous asteroids and other heavenly bodies toward them and away from earth. Scientist have postulated that if Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune we not running interference with the rest of the universe, life would not be possible on earth due to the multiple large objects crashing into the earth.
While Metaxas uses this last illustration to point out how the dinosaurs died millions of years ago, some Biblical scientists have shown how the earth is indeed only about 6,000 years old or so and the dinosaurs died in Noah’s flood. A point that Metaxas does not make.
What turned Metaxas’ research into a book however was looking in the microscopic direction as well to see how complex a single-cell organism really is and how it could never have developed such complexity, all at once, to sustain life, even with billions of years of trying. Too many things must happen all at the same time or there is no life.
The only challenge that the non-believer has is to blindly reject true science with a wave of the hand and laugh off the Goldilocks Principle. But in serious thought, this is no laughing matter. God created the heavens and the earth and He set earth in the Goldilocks zone, the perfect spot to sustain life on the planet.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.