He was a hotshot, high-rising journalist with the Chicago Tribune. And he was an atheist. In his words, he was a narcissistic, pleasure-seeking, self-absorbed, self-destructive, heavy-drinking atheist. But he was married to his best friend, bringing up their baby girl, and working as legal editor for the biggest newspaper between the coasts. Lee had life right where he wanted it. Until the day his wife told him she was following the Jesus she used to deny. Lee was incensed. He needed to rescue his wife from Christianity and its Christians and prove Jesus was a fraud or fairy tale. He interviewed scientists, historians, doctors, archaeologists, lawyers, theologians—experts in their field—to collect evidence that Jesus wasn’t who He said He was, if He even was at all.
The Evidence of Jesus
With every interview, Lee grew further frustrated because each interviewee provided more evidence that Jesus really was who He said He was. The evidence for Christ and the change he saw in Leslie were so compelling that Lee Strobel wrote about his journey from atheist journalist to Christian author in his book The Case for Christ.When He spoke, He spoke the heavens and Earth into being. Out of nothing. When God speaks, things happen. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Click To Tweet
But Lee wondered about the Creator in the Old Testament. What about the beginning? Jesus was real, but what about the Creator? Since so many biology textbooks tout Darwinism as a viable theory, what about Creation? Lee wasn’t the first or last to wrestle with that question. Most of us have wrestled with how everything got here, but neither Christians nor atheists can recreate Creation. No one can rewind the DVR to see Creation for themselves. Whether you believe God created the universe, or you believe it came through random chance, you believe. Believing in a Creator is a matter of faith; believing in no Creator is also a matter of faith, not just science.
The story of Creation is related in only two chapters of the Bible; the rest of the Bible belongs to God’s crowning creation: us. But these two short chapters give hope to every child of God. God was there before it all began, and He will be there after it all ends. And it did begin. Many scientists who used to believe the universe was eternal now admit it had a beginning. They make that concession kicking and screaming because its logical end tends toward Creation, but they can’t deny the mounting evidence that the universe began.
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Arno Penzias said, “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the first five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.” Another Nobel Prize winner, physicist Steven Weinberg wrote, “In the beginning there was an explosion . . . which occurred simultaneously everywhere, filling all space from the beginning with every particle of matter rushing apart from every other particle. Within the tiniest split second, the temperature hit a hundred thousand million degrees Centigrade [slightly hotter than a south Florida summer] . . . Interestingly, there were also photons: the universe was filled with light.” Science nods with Genesis 1:3 that in the beginning the universe was suddenly and completely flooded with light. God spoke and light flooded the universe and evicted darkness.
God Spoke the Heavens and Earth into Being
But God wasn’t like a third grader with a bucket of Legos; He didn’t have Legos; He didn’t even have a bucket. When He spoke, He spoke the heavens and Earth into being. Out of nothing. When God speaks, things happen. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God didn’t need light, but we would because the universe was finely tuned for us. God turned the dials to just the right settings so we could survive. Science calls it fine-tuning or the anthropic principle: that Earth is fine-tuned for us.
Before digital radio, came the good ol’ days when people hunted for a radio station by turning the knobs. One millimeter to the left, and you’re listening to country; one millimeter to the right, news radio. You had to turn the knob to just the right place to stay away from bad twang or bad news. That’s why it’s so stunning that the universe is deliberately fine-tuned for us. Dr. Steven Meyer wrote, “Take the expansion rate of the universe, which is fine-tuned to one part in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That is, if it were changed by one part in either direction—a little faster, a little slower—we could not have a universe capable of sustaining life . . . Maybe this looks fine-tuned because there is a fine-tuner.”
If we were just two degrees closer or farther from the sun, there would be no more water, and we would all die. If gravity changed just a miniscule measure, there would be too little water we need or too many toxins we don’t need, and we would all die. If the Earth tilted just a little more, our climate would make life impossible; tilted a little less, and we would lose too much real estate. And we would all die. If the moon was a little smaller or a little farther away, we would all die.
For me, the Scripture concisely answers the cosmic questions in one verse science has tried to answer for thousands of years: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Could it be that Earth is the teacher’s pet because we are? But is there a chance that it all began through chance? How hard could it be to produce a planet that could support life? At first, scientists believed we only needed a star and to be the right distance from that star. That’s not so hard. Surely one of the planets is going to get that right. They pointed their high-tech antennas toward the heavens, but all they heard was silence. Not even crickets. After reviewing their theory, they came up with up to two hundred criteria which have to be perfectly met to sustain a planet that can sustain life. They’ve been listening for nearly sixty years and still hear silence from the stars.
Discover Magazine, one of science’s flagships, wrote, “The universe is unlikely. Very unlikely. Deeply, shockingly unlikely.” Did we somehow beat inconceivable odds and get it all right by chance, or was it all fine-tuned because there is a fine-tuner? Could it be what we see looks like it was created because it was? For me, the Scripture concisely answers the cosmic questions in one verse science has tried to answer for thousands of years: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
(A version of this article was published in Pentecostal Life.)
Resources and Links by LJ Harry
Ten Words: A Practical Look at the Ten Commandments – Originally etched on tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments have been the bedrock of righteous living for thousands of years. These commandments, sometimes referred to as the “Ten Words,” can be summarized in two simpler ones, love God and love your neighbor. In this book, LJ Harry provides us with practical instruction on following these principles today.