The Goldilocks Enigma

After hearing Philosophy Professor, Peter Williams, preach at Highfields last weekend, and like many others enjoying him, I managed to get hold of his book - "A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism". Read it! It’s a great demolition job of ‘New Atheists’ like Dawkins, Hitchen and Harris.

Peter Baker | 20:49, Thursday, 18 November 2010

The fact is, that beyond the over inflated opinions of this rather small constituency, 90 per cent of us still believe in God. Granted there are differing descriptions of the sort of divinity which shapes our ends, but what is not in dispute is that theism, of one sort or another, shows no sign of retreating into a corner. 

What underlies the debate about the continuing relevance of God is of course, the compelling central question of existence, "why is there something as opposed to nothing?"

The incurable religious human conscience will not let the wonder of the universe go easily. We may know quite a lot about how we came about, but we wrestle with ‘why’ we came about. 

I remember an early foray of mine into cosmology – I was 9 at the time! And standing on a clear night looking up at the stars, I was struck by the immensity of space and my own smallness. Yet I felt strangely big, as if the galaxies above were declaring my significance in some way and leaving me tantalizingly to guess what that significance might be. I was in my mid teens before discovering that the answer lay in a personal commitment to the One who had made the infinite vastness of space, entered our time dimension, died on a cross and then rose victorious over death. 

I actually wanted, as many boys do when small, to become an astronaut! A Ferris Wheel ride at a fairground cured me of that particular career ambition, but I have never given up my curiosity about space and the final frontier.

Paul Davies’ book, "The Goldilocks Enigma", stimulated my thinking in this area a few years ago. The author was himself excited by a PhD thesis from the 1960’s by theoretical physicist, Brandon Carter. He calculated that it would only require infinitesimally small differences for life on planet earth to be impossible. 

Like Goldilocks’ porridge, the laws of physics seemed to be 'just right' for human life. A millimetre nearer the sun and we would burn up, a millimetre further away, and we would freeze up. 

Of course Carter, Davies and others don’t offer an answer to the question of why the fine tuning of the universe is the way it is – except in theoretical terms. 

For that we need a bigger explanation and a bigger argument. An argument which leads Christians at least, to the reasonable conclusion, in the light of all the evidence, that a Personal, Intelligent Designer has made it not too hot or cold but 'just right'.

Goldilocks need not worry; her chair, bed and porridge is maintained, sustained and will be renewed by an Almighty God who has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ. 

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