Did God Make the Entire Universe for Humans?

galaxy_universe-normal

QUESTION:  The universe is unimaginably huge.  Do you think the whole thing was created for humans, even the part of the universe that is 13 billion light years away from Earth?  Why would God create all of that if humans on Earth were his main concern?

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Interesting question.  This is my quick answer:

Psalm 19:1 says,

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

And here’s my longer answer:

God reveals himself through two means: natural revelation and special revelation Natural revelation is how we learn about God through the natural world.  This would include observing beauty and order in nature and through our innate sense of morals and worth.

Special revelation is God’s unique interventions in the world outside his normal providential care, which includes all the miraculous events recorded in the Bible as well as the Bible itself as God’s inspired scripture.  Someone who has never read the Bible can know there is a God and draw certain conclusions about God from natural revelation, but special revelation is needed to understand God more completely and for salvation.

Paul writes about natural revelation in his letter to the Romans:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (1:18-20)

 and

“For all who have sinned without the Law [of God] will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…” (2:12-15)

If we look at the creation story recorded in Genesis (by special revelation), God creates the universe, and humans are the end product – the climax of God’s good creation.  If we look at the universe without the aid of scripture (through natural revelation) from the Big Bang until now, I’d argue that because of the fine-tuning of the universe for life to exist and the sheer improbably of human existence that we are not the product of random chance.

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In fact, the Big Bang itself points to God.  All energy, space, matter, and time came into existence from nothingness at that moment; atheist scientists attest to this.  As we know from every observation of the natural world, the thing that creates always transcends the thing that is created.  Thus, whatever created the Big Bang is matterless, spaceless, timeless, and self-sufficiently more powerful than all energy that has ever existed.  Interestingly, this exactly describes the God of the Bible – immaterial, eternal, and self-existing.  If creation is random, what are the chances that the Big Bang would led to us, humankind: a unique creation that can observe, study, appreciate, and contemplate the universe around us?

But it doesn’t end with us.  God’s creation then points us back to him.

Again, Psalm 19:1 says,

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

Isaiah 40:25-26 says,

“’To whom then will you liken Me

That I would be his equal,’ says the Holy One.

 Lift up your eyes on high

And see who has created these stars,

The One who leads forth their host by number,

He calls them all by name;

Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,

Not one of them is missing.”

CaseforCreator

Good introduction to the idea that science points towards a Creator

In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for a Creator, he interviews scientists who see evidence for God in nature.  He interviews Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer, along with philosopher Dr. Jay Wesley Richards, who co-wrote a book with Dr. Gonzalez, The Privileged Planet.  In the interview, Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Richards speak of this idea that not only is life on Earth fine-tuned for life, but that the conditions on earth and the placement of Earth in the solar system give us on Earth a unique ability to observe the surrounding universe.  (I have heard this idea other places, but have yet to have time to read more about it.)

Here is some of what Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez and Dr. Jay Wesley Richards had to say:

“There’s a striking convergence of rare properties that allow people on Earth to witness perfect solar eclipses… There’s no law of physics that would necessitate this.  In fact, of the nine planets with their more than sixty-three moons in our solar system, the Earth’s surface is the best place where observers can witness a total solar eclipse…

“What’s really amazing is that total eclipses are possible because the sun is four hundred times larger than the moon, but it’s also four hundred times further away.  It’s that incredible coincidence that creates a perfect match.  Because of this configuration, and because the Earth is the innermost planet with a moon, observers on Earth can discern finer details in the sun’s chromosphere and corona than from any other planet, which makes these eclipses scientifically rich.

“What intrigued me was that the very time and place where perfect solar eclipses appear in our universe also corresponds to the one time and place where there are observers to see them… What’s more, perfect solar eclipses have resulted in important scientific discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible elsewhere, where eclipses don’t happen.”

Later, Strobel summarizes by writing, “the extraordinary conditions that create a hospitable environment on Earth also happen to make our planet strangely well-suited for viewing, analyzing, and understanding the universe.”

In the middle ages, some in the church decided that humans were so important that the Earth was the center of the universe.  Scientists has proven that theory wrong.  Moreover, the Bible doesn’t support that theory either.  The verses they used to support their error say nothing about the location of the Earth in the universe and are mostly from the book of Psalms, a poetic book of the Bible that uses much figurative language.  Despite this, both natural revelation and special revelation tell us humankind is a special creation, and like all created things, both humankind and the universe reflect their Creator.

I, for one, cannot look at the enormity of the universe and not be in awe of the God who created it.

milky-way-galaxy-615

*Side note: Since this question inevitably comes up:  I don’t think the discovery of life (intelligent or otherwise) elsewhere in the universe would change what I wrote above.  The Bible is about God’s relationship with humans and our redemption from sin.  The Bible writers didn’t write about dinosaurs, pyramids, or platypuses (or aliens) because even if they knew about them (through God’s special revelation or otherwise), they don’t fit into the scope of the biblical record.  Currently, there’s no evidence for life off our planet, so I’ll save any further thoughts on the subject for when and if they do.*

***One of the reasons I started this blog is to address the questions of my friends, whether they be atheists, agnostics, Christians, or of other faiths.  I don’t propose to have all the answers, but by addressing these questions I hope it will benefit everyone involved, including myself and those who take the time to read this blog.***

*This question was asked by my friend Ian J. Keeney, a former Satanist/atheist, and director of the documentary The Meaning.  Read my interview with Ian & learn more about The Meaning: Part 1 & Part 2*

*Read more about science and God here.*