God exists, thus the universe is fine-tuned
Inspired & Blessed

God exists, thus the universe is fine-tuned

Feb 28, 2024, 7:27 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


Which is the more plausible argument: A fine-tuned universe exists, therefore God exists? Or, God exists, therefore there is a fine-tuned universe?

Before settling such query, let’s first define what a fine-tuned universe is.

In broad terms, it refers to the scientific reality that the physical constants of our universe and the conditions of the early universe are exquisitely fine-tuned for life. In other words, as we human beings sit roughly midway between the infinitesimally small atoms and the immensely large galaxies, our universe is so perfectly structured for us to exist – with the fundamental constants set to just the right values. 

But, does a fine-tuned universe point out to God? There are two camps for an answer.

On one side are the naysayers who contend that God is out of the picture in our fine-tuned universe, and adduce explanations other than God’s existence: 1) it is simply a lucky accident of nature; 2) because of humans, not God, or the “anthropic principle;” 3) because of multiple universes or “multiverse.”

On the other side are those who argue that a fine-tuned universe indicates or leads to the existence of God because fine-tuning the universe in order to make life possible “requires a fine-tuner.”

Let’s first try to describe the first camp – the naysayers.

First, is the “matter of luck” argument. Some agnostics and atheists aver that fine-tuning is simply a lucky accident, or some kind of a nonchalant shrugging of shoulders: “It is what it is” and without any further implications.

Second, is the so-called “anthropic principle” objection. This argument states that “because humans exist, the laws of nature must be the ones compatible with life; otherwise, we simply wouldn’t be here to notice that fact.”

Third, is the existence of multiple universes or “multiverse” argument. In a multiverse model, there are many other universes in addition to our own. Each of these universes has different properties and different values of the basic constants of physics, such that some of these universes would have gravity set just right to form stars, but many universes would not. Only a few universes would be suitable for life, such as ours, because we couldn’t survive in the others. If the number of these universes is extremely large, IT WOULDN’T BE SURPRISING that one of them would happen to provide the specific conditions for life.

Multiverse advocate and cosmologist Lee Smolin suggests that “the existence of stars is the key to the problem of why the cosmos is hospitable to life” and argues that “the fact that we observe a universe that is fine-tuned can be explained in a perfectly natural way if there exists a vast multitude of universes.”

But, among the naysayers, I find American particle physicist and religious skeptic Victor Stenger’s position plausibly hard-hitting and which makes an aggressive case for atheism. 

Stenger opposes the fine-tuning argument (FTA) as proof of the existence of God due to three basic points: 1) because it only applies to one form of life, which is Earth; 2) the Earth itself is not perfectly fine-tuned as there are aberrations of nature, and; 3) the “God of the gaps” never lasts or is not tenable.

Stenger explains: “If God made the universe and God is perfect, why would he have to fine-tune it at all? If he wanted this life to be an important ingredient, especially humans, then why wouldn’t he have humans being able to live in any place, on every planet, or in space? He could have done that.”

That the Earth is not really fine-tuned, Stenger thus points out: “Our planet is not great when you think about it. We can live only on a third of the area of our planet. The sunlight, including its ultra violet rays, cause cancer. And there are disasters all the time that kill millions of people. So, if God really created the universe for us, he didn’t do a very good job.”

Thus, Stenger further contends that because we can’t explain a not so fine-tuned universe, we resort to the “God of the gaps” conclusion. “The God of the gaps is the argument that if you can’t explain something in science, then you need God to explain it. And the fine-tuning argument is a similar one,” Stenger said. 

Now for the other side of the camp – “a fine-tuned universe exists because of God.” 

In ordinary parlance, the argument may go something like this: Our universe – that is, a world with life, humans, intelligence, beauty, morality, etc. – couldn’t have come about by accident; it must be due to some intelligent, supreme powerful Being, which is God.

I’d like to mention two leading proponents of this position --- one is Robin Collins, distinguished philosopher trained in physics; the other is Ernan McMullin, philosopher and physicist from Ireland.

Robin Collins first argues that God’s existence can be gleaned from the three categories of fine-tuning in the universe: “There are three different sorts of fine-tuning. First, there is fine-tuning of the laws of nature, which have to be just right for life to occur. Example of this is, if we didn’t have gravity, then matter would not clump together to form planets and stars. Second, is the fine-tuning of the constants of physics. These cosmological constants are precisely adjusted in their parameters for them to naturally occur. The third category is that the initial conditions of the universe have to be just right in order for life to occur. The biggest one of these initial conditions is the very low entropy state of the universe. If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have usable energy.”

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