The Fine-Tuning of the Universe
Article by BioLogos
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Talking about different scientific theories of the universe can be difficult for most people, let alone congregations. The anthropic principle can be an accessible way for pastors to frame dialogue about the origin of the universe. Old-earth and young-earth theories about the universe can be seen as glorifying God regardless of how God made the universe.
Pastors can also play an important role in making sense out of current research. You could use cosmology in a sermon on God’s providence or sovereignty, or preach on the complexity of the universe and invite listeners to be good stewards of the earth.

Anthropic Principle: “the surprising precision of nature’s physical constants and the beginning state of the universe.”

If “we change gravity by even a tiny fraction of a percent—enough so that you would be, say, one billionth of a gram heavier or lighter—the universe becomes so different that there are no stars, galaxies, or planets.”

-BioLogos

What to Consider

  • What is the role of science in supporting or refuting theological claims? What is the role of theology in supporting or refuting scientific claims?
  • How has the science of cosmology played a role in your faith formation?
  • How do your views on the origin of the universe align with the anthropic principle?

How to Go Deeper

  • Read Genesis 1:1-2:4. Use this research to illustrate the intentionality and complexity with which God created the world and the universe.
  • Read Romans 8:18-39. Share some of the ways scientific research suggests the universe is fine-tuned for the sake of humanity.
  • Read Genesis 1:26-31. Discuss the fine-tuned complexity of the universe and humanity’s important role as stewards in promoting the flourishing of life on earth.

Relevant Scripture

All references in parenthesis refer to Lectionary readings. For more information on what the Lectionary is, please click here. For additional Lectionary resources click here.

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About the Author:

Zach is currently a PhD student at Fuller Theological Seminary researching the role of leaders in congregational change. His calling in life is to train and equip pastors to faithfully lead local congregations. When not studying, he'll most likely be watching Sporting Kansas City score goals or hiking with his wife and two kids.

7 Comments

  1. Reed Metcalf February 10, 2017 at 1:09 am

    I think the anthropic principle is a fascinating and crucial piece of the science and faith discussion. While I am wary of positing it as definitive proof of a Creator God, I think it implies that conclusion heavily. Where I think it is most useful is in tempering arguments from scientism regarding the inevitability of either the cosmos or life; the anthropic principle instead suggests that the odds were stacked against not only intelligent life but life in general. As Christians, we can use this principle to celebrate the wisdom of God in creating the universe (ala Proverbs 8). I also think all humans can be led to a place of awe by the precision of our universe, and I think awe of this type is an appropriate entry point into reflection on issues of intentionality behind the universe. Again, I do not think that the anthropic principle is a slam-dunk argument for the existence of God, but do think it is a starting point for the skeptical. I doubt that anyone could look at these observations without being bowled over in wonder that everything exists, and thus that there might be some form of agency behind it all.

    • JarrodCraw May 26, 2017 at 11:53 am

      I agree with you. D.A. Carson talks about how some unbelievers will look at the universe, intricate design, etc., and speak of it in terms that sound like worship. This does indeed seem to be a connecting point with others. What I like most about this principle is that you don’t have to talk about the origins debate. Everyone can agree on these points, and I think that is much safer to do from the pulpit than to try and dig into the ‘finer’ points of origins. Such topics strike me as something more useful to dialogue in classroom settings. This principle creates the opportunity to reference science without going too far in either direction.

    • aidenkang June 3, 2017 at 3:37 am

      Couldn’t have said it better.

  2. aidenkang June 3, 2017 at 3:36 am

    To paraphrase Einstein, “Science without theology is lame, theology without science is blind.” This isn’t to say that theology needs science to support its claims, especially in terms of its core doctrines, but when science does lend credence to some of our beliefs, it helps to bridge the gap when we’re in conversation with them.

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