What is the “fine-tuning” of the universe—and what can it tell us?
One of the most striking discoveries of modern science has been that the laws and constants of physics unexpectedly conspire in extraordinary ways to make the universe suitable for life. Put another way, about fifty different factors had to be dialed in with incredible precision in order for life of any kind to survive. If even one of these areas had been off to even the slightest degree then, well, we wouldn’t have been around to know about it!
But how did these factors get so dialed in? By chance? The odds against that are absolutely astronomical.
In our interview for The Case for a Creator, physicist Robin Collins gave an example of just one of these areas, the cosmological constant, which represents the energy density of empty space.
“There’s no way we can really comprehend it,” he explained. “The fine-tuning has conservatively been estimated to be at least one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion. That would be a ten followed by fifty-three zeroes. That’s inconceivably precise.”
I couldn’t imagine a figure like that. “Can you give me an illustration?”
“Let’s say you were way out in space and were going to throw a dart at random toward the Earth. It would be like successfully hitting a bull’s eye that’s one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter. That’s less than the size of one solitary atom.”
Breathtaking was the word that came to mind. This—just one of about fifty examples—pointed convincingly to a divine “Fine-tuner.” The evidence is so powerful, in fact, that it was instrumental in helping Harvard-educated professor Patrick Glynn, a spiritual skeptic, abandon his agnosticism. And it is compelling information we can share with our friends too.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow
of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off
Who has held the dust of the earth in a
or weighed the mountains on the scales and
the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord?