Overview:

The creation stories in Genesis do a pretty good job of explaining what a universe designed for humans would look like. But the universe isn't really like that. At all.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This is the next clue that we live in a godless world (this list of 25 reasons we don’t live in such a world begins here):

10. Because the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind

The Bible makes clear that the universe was created for man. Unlike other living things, man was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and was given authority to rule over “every living creature” (Gen. 1:28). We read something similar in Psalms: “You [God] have made them [men] a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Psalm 8:5–6).

The stage is too big for the drama.

Richard Feynman

Just to eliminate the possibility that the Bible was just talking about this planet, with God having other plans for living things elsewhere in the universe, note that the Bible’s cosmological picture is completely earth-centric. From the vantage point of the earth, there is the sun, the moon, and a bunch of cute little points of light that were literally little (for example, “The stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind” in Revelation 6:13). The earth is clearly the focus of this universe, and Man is the purpose.

Science tells a different story. The universe is unnecessarily big for it to have been created as part of God’s plan for humanity. In addition, the universe is a very inhospitable place. The vast majority is a cold, life-forbidding vacuum. Even on earth, life is not Eden-like, and most of the earth’s surface is inhospitable to human life.

Earth is a Petri dish, and all sorts of organisms grow here, both good and bad. Along with butterflies, puppies, and robins, the earth has cholera, Ebola, and smallpox. Parasites like guinea worm, malaria, and hookworm. Famine, drought, and crop failure. Genetic diseases. Natural disasters.

Life doesn’t look like it was created by a Designer. God could’ve custom-designed each species for its niche, and yet we find sloppy, imperfect instructions that point to common descent. Whale flippers look like they evolved from a land animal’s limb, not a fish. Bat wings look like they evolved from an animal’s limb, not a bird. Each species is a variation on its ancestors, and the record of these variations is evident in the DNA. Sure, God could’ve designed life on earth in a way that mimics how evolution works, but there’s no evidence for that. All evidence points to evolution. Surprisingly, the record in DNA itself argues against the idea of supernatural design.

The apologist may respond that a huge, old universe is necessary to create life-giving conditions on earth, but the evidence doesn’t point there, either. First, it’s nature that needs second-generation stars to create the heavy elements that we need for life. God can just use magic like he did in the Genesis creation stories. (Which, by the way, is the problem with the fine-tuning argument. Nature would need conditions to be in a life-permitting range. God is omnipotent and has no such constraint.)

Second, just one galaxy is enough, and our universe contains roughly 200 billion galaxies. Cosmologist Sean M. Carroll argued that you’d predict none of this extravagance in God World. He said, “Everything we know about physics tells us that none of those other galaxies is necessary to explain what we have in our neighborhood here” (video @46:55).

As Richard Feynman observed, “The stage is too big for the drama.”

An apologist might try to salvage the God hypothesis by saying that God just made a galaxy-making machine and stepped back to let it do its (excessive) work, or God made life as variations on a theme, leaving unintentional clues that evolution was the cause instead. But these are just excuses to save the God conclusion. God is unnecessary.

How in the world can you think
that the reason for [the universe]
is to let us be here?
— Sean Carroll
(“God is not a Good Theory” @46:30)

CROSS EXAMINED After graduating from MIT, Bob Seidensticker designed digital hardware, and he is a co-contributor to 14 software patents. For more than a decade, he has explored the debate between Christianity...