Lately it seems that I have been running into the argument that the universe is just too darned big for God to have created it or for us to consider ourselves special in the grand scheme of things. Many atheists feel as if our relative size compared to the universe makes the idea that it was created with us in mind as being ludicrously anthropocentric.
I would argue that the discoveries of the last few centuries can be looked at through a variety of philosophical metrics. Certainly, size-wise we are more insignificant but in terms of life we are incredibly unique. Cosmologically we may be Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot” and yet biologically we are truly a Garden of Eden, a wonderland of uniqueness. This is not to argue that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in the universe but by all indications this is rare and special.
I recently replied to an atheist regarding the common assertion that the size of the universe argues against a Creator since it was so wasteful and against man as special because we seem to occupy such a tiny spec of the cosmos and wanted to share this on the blog:
ATHEIST: Seems as though the whole giant universe thing and us,being an insignificant speck doesn’t really help the special creation argument.
CHRISTIAN: To say that the universe is too large as an argument that it was not created solely for humans may be true but the criticism assumes a full knowledge of God’s purposes in creating such a large universe.
Although Christians often give the impression that it’s “all for us” God may well have purposes beyond giving us a nice place to live or a planet with a good window view. It is feasible that, like any other artist, the Creator simply likes to create. There are verses in the Bible which seem to indicate He made some creatures just because He liked to watch them play. Take Psalm 104:24-26 as an example of the creative playfulness of God:
“O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.”
Apart from spiritual reasons for creating such an immense universe (e.g. to show His creative power and authority as well to give sentient spiritual-corporeal beings a place to dwell) there are also good physical reasons for its size.
If the universe had been much smaller then nuclear fission could not have occurred within the first three minutes of the Big Bang. Without this nucleosynthesis then the universe would have been entirely composed of hydrogen. Without helium composing approx. 24% of the universe’s matter then the heavy element production of stars would not have been possible. Then no rocky planets, no earth, no us.
Conversely, had the mass of the universe been much greater life would not have been possible either. If the universe had been only one part in 10 to the 59th more massive the universe would have collapsed before life was possible.
So we are like Goldilocks and our seat in the universe is neither too big nor too small but just right.