How Can You Believe in God when...

I received this email yesterday from one of my best and closest friends. 

"Last night my daughter asked me basically how can Christianity be true believing that the world only began 6,000 years ago? I can’t answer those questions!"


The Bible directs us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us and sometimes those answers involve the creation account.  It's important to know why we believe what we believe and not just to spout off with the old axiom: "God said it, I believe it and that settles it!"  A response like that is not going to do a thing for someone who doesn't believe when asking difficult but intellectually honest questions.  Here is how my husband responded to this email:

It is a legitimate and important question your daughter raises. You will find varying answer within the Christian church. There are some that argue the 6,000 year figure, though the Scripture makes no such explicit claim. There are others that argue that the Creation days speak of periods of time because the Sun was not created until the fuorth day! The fact is the Bible's specific claim is that God Created the Heavens and the Earth, all that is seen and unseen! The greater question is not to prove or disprove the 6,000 year figure, but to simply pose these questions: Is there a God? How could there be a creation without a Creator. The Genesis account speaks to authorship and order and not to Scientific process. What is time to the almighty to created it! He could have done it in a Day if he wanted to!

We all need reasons for Faith, even the Scientist, and the Scientist reasons change with each new theory. Some will use Science as a reason not to believe, but there are Sciences that give reasons to believe in God the creator. 
In anticipation of getting to discuss this topic with my friend's daughter to answer her questions, I began searching for and collecting fascinating information that might help to answer her questions and here below is just a small portion of the massive amount of information available to reconcile science with the Biblical account of creation. It is quite lengthy but also fascinating!


Anthropic Principle: The Design Is In The Details.

Excerpt from “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”
by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.

Anthropic Principle: The Design Is In The Details.Excerpt from “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”
by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek.

Scientists are now finding that the universe in which we live is like a diamond studded Rolex, except the universe is even more precisely designed than the watch. In fact, the universe is specifically tweaked to enable life on earth. A Planet with scores of improbable and inter-dependent life- supporting conditions that make it a tiny oasis in a vast and hostile universe. The extent of the universe’s fine-tuning makes the Anthropic Principle perhaps the most powerful argument for the existence of God.

These highly precise and interdependent environmental conditions (which are called “Anthropic Constants” make up what is known as the “Anthropic Principle.” “Anthropic” comes from the Greek word that means “human” or “man”. The “Anthropic Principal” is just a fancy title for the mounting evidence that has many scientists believing that the universe is extremely fine-tuned (designed) to support human life here on earth.

It’s not that there are just a few broadly defined constants that may have resulted by chance. No, there are more than 100 very narrowly defined constants that strongly point to an intelligent Designer.

Astrophysicist Hugh Ross has calculated the probability that these and other constants (122 in all) would exist today for any planet in the universe by chance (I.e., without Divine design). Assuming there are 1022 planets in the universe (a very large number: 1 with 22 zeros following it), his answer is shocking; one chance in 10138, that’s one chance in one with 138 zeros after it. 

There are only about 1070 atoms in the entire universe.

In effect, there zero chance that any planet in the universe would have the life-supporting conditions we have, unless there is an intelligent Designer behind it all.

Here are fifteen of them.

Anthropic Constant 1: Oxygen Level On earth, oxygen comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere. That precise figure is an Anthropic Constant that makes life on earth possible. If oxygen were 25% fires would erupt spontaneously, if it were 15%, human beings would suffocate.

Anthropic Constant 2: Atmospheric Transparency If the atmosphere were less transparent, not enough solar radiation would reach the earth’s surface. If it were more transparent we would be bombarded with far too much solar radiation down here. (In addition to atmospheric transparency, the atmospheric composition of precise levels of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and ozone are in themselves Anthropic constants).

Anthropic Constant 3: Moon-Earth Gravitational Interaction If the interaction were greater than it currently is, tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe. If it were less, orbital changes would cause climatic instabilities. In either event, life on earth would be impossible.

Anthropic Constant 4: Carbon Dioxide level If the CO2 level were higher than it is now, a runaway greenhouse effect would develop (we’d all burn up). If the level were lower than it is now, plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis (we’d all suffocate).

Anthropic Constant 5: Gravity If the gravitational force were altered by 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent, our sun would not exist, and, therefore neither would we. Talk about precision.

Anthropic Constant 6: Centrifugal Force If the centrifugal force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit around the sun.

Anthropic Constant 7: Rate Of Expansion If the universe had expanded at a rate one millionth more slowly than it did, expansion would have stopped and the universe would have collapsed on itself before any stars had formed. If it had expanded faster, then no galaxies would have formed.

Anthropic Constant 8: Speed Of Light Any of the laws of physics can be described as a function of the velocity of light (now defined to be 299,792,458 meters per second). Even a slight variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth.

Anthropic Constant 9: Water Vapor Levels. If water vapor levels in the atmosphere were greater than they are now, a runaway greenhouse effect would cause temperatures to rise too high for human life. If they were less, an insufficient greenhouse effect would make the earth too cold to support human life.

Anthropic Constant 10: Jupiter. If Jupiter were not in it’s current orbit, the earth would be bombarded with space material. Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that might otherwise strike earth.

Anthropic Constant 11: The Earth’s Crust. If the thickness of the earth’s crust were greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.

Anthropic Constant 12: The Earth’s Rotation. If the rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, temperature differences would be too great between night and day. If the rotation period were shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would be too great.

Anthropic Constant 13: Axis Tilt. The 23-degree axis tilt of the earth is just right. If the tilt were altered slightly, surface temperatures would be too extreme on earth.

Anthropic Constant 14: Atmospheric Discharge. If the atmospheric discharge (lightning) rate were greater, there would be too much fire destruction; if it were less there would be little nitrogen fixings in the soil.

Anthropic Constant 15: Seismic Activity. If there were more seismic activity, much more life would be lost; if there were less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift. (yes, even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it).

Catechism--Bar

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?.. Why is Only Earth Suitable for Life?[By www.y-origins.com. Science and the Origins of Life]

The odds that such fine-tuning could have occurred by chance is not just unlikely–scientists say it is virtually impossible.

THEY DON'T CALL THESE NUMBERS ASTRONOMICAL FOR NOTHING
An article in U.S. News & World Report remarks, “So far no theory is even close to explaining why physical laws exist, much less why they take the form they do. Standard big bang theory, for example, essentially explains the propitious universe in this way: ‘Well, we got lucky.’ ” [1]

On Christmas Day in 2002, Jack Whitaker, of Scott Depot, West Virginia, got lucky, becoming the largest single-ticket lottery jackpot winner ever in North America. His prize? A Powerball jackpot of $314.9 million. Over a hundred million other tickets didn’t match. What are the odds of that? (And what are the odds that every time I go to the Quikie-Mart I’m stuck in line behind someone purchasing several dozen tickets?)

If someone won even two such lotteries consecutively, we would all assume the results were rigged. And yet, when it comes to life existing in our universe, the odds are far more remote than winning a hundred Powerball lotteries consecutively.
    Physicist Paul Davies comments, “The conclusion must be that we live in a world of astronomical unlikelihood.” [2]

    Donald Page of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study has calculated that the odds against our universe randomly taking a form suitable for life is one out of 10124, a number beyond imagination. [3]
To try and visualize the difficulty, imagine all the grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. Then encrypt one grain with a special code known only to you, and randomly bury that grain on a beach somewhere on Earth. (Maybe enjoy a vacation in Maui while you’re at it).

The chance a blindfolded person would ever discover that one grain of sand on their first pick is one out of 1020 (one chance in 100 billion billion.) Yet, scientists tell us that the likelihood of a big bang explosion resulting in a universe able to support life like ours is many times more improbable.

Now offer a reward to anyone who can find it on one pick, even though they don’t know which beach to scour, or how deep it is buried. But what if they did? Would anyone believe they discovered it by accident? Yet, scientists tell us that the likelihood of a big bang explosion resulting in a universe able to support life like ours is many times more improbable.

As we consider the odds for the fine-tuning of our universe, galaxy, solar system, and planet, let’s keep in mind just how extreme these odds really are. Not just one, but all of them require unbelievably precise fine-tuning. Can such precision be a result of anything other than design? Let’s take a look at why scientists are baffled.
    Force of gravity. If the gravitational force were altered by 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent, neither Earth nor our Sun would exist—and you would not be here reading this. [8]
    The balance of matter and antimatter. In the formation of the universe, the balance between matter and antimatter, and the excess of matter over antimatter, needed to be accurate to one part in ten billion for the universe to arise.
    The mass density of the universe. For physical life to exist, the mass density of the universe must be fine-tuned to better than one part in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion (1060). [9] Thus, the mass contained in all dark and visible matter, including stars, is essential for the existence of our universe.
    Space-energy density. The space-energy density of the universe requires much greater precision than the mass density. For physical life to be possible, it must be fine-tuned to one part in 10120.
    [10]
According to the big bang theory, all of this minute fine-tuning was programmed into the initial conditions of the first microsecond of the explosion that began our universe. At that instant the rate and ratios of expansion, mass, density, antimatter, matter, etc., were set in place, eventually leading to a habitable planet called Earth.

In addition to the 35 different characteristics of our universe that must be just right for life to exist, over 100 characteristics of our galaxy, solar system, and planet needed to be fine-tuned or we would not be here. [11]

A FINELY TUNED GALAXY
Galaxies are clusters of stars containing from millions to trillions of stars. Our own galaxy is called the Milky Way. It’s unknown how many galaxies the universe contains, but it may be around a trillion. Surprisingly, given the great number of these star groups, most galaxies are incompatible with life.

In order for life to exist in a galaxy, it needs to meet several criteria. [12] The following are just three of the fine-tuned characteristics a galaxy needs to support life:
    Shape of the galaxy. The Milky Way is spiral-shaped. Of the three types of galaxies—elliptical, irregular, and spiral— the spiral type is most capable of hosting human life.
    Not too large a galaxy. Our Milky Way is enormous, measuring 100,000 light-years from end to end. However, if it were just a bit larger, too much radiation and too many gravitational disturbances would prohibit life like ours.
    Not too small a galaxy. On the other hand, a stable Earth orbit that is necessary for life could not exist if our galaxy were slightly smaller. And a smaller galaxy would result in inadequate heavy elements, such as iron and carbon, essential to life.
Our Milky Way galaxy meets these and many other conditions essential for life. Most of the others do not. When we focus in even closer, on our own star and its planets, the odds for life being possible become even more extreme.

A FINELY TUNED SOLAR SYSTEM
Copernicus’s theory that Earth revolved around the Sun, seemed to relegate our planet to an ordinary status in the universe. However, if Earth was the center of our solar system, as Ptolemy and 16th century Catholic Church leaders had taught, we wouldn’t be here. None of them, including Copernicus, knew that in order for human life to be possible, Earth needs to revolve around a Sun that has just the right size, location, and conditions as ours does.

But that is not all. We need other planets such as Jupiter and Mars to act as defense shields, protecting us from a potential catastrophic bombardment of comets and meteors. We also need a moon of just the right size and position to impact our tides and seasons. Let’s take a look at just a few of the many conditions in our solar system that are just right for life.
    The Sun’s distance from the center of the galaxy. Our Sun is positioned thousands of light-years from the center of the Milky Way, near one of its spiral arms. [13] This is the safest part of the galaxy, away from its highly radioactive center.
    The Sun’s mass not too large. If the mass of the Sun were a small percentage greater, it would burn too quickly and erratically to support life.
    The Sun’s mass not too small. On the other hand, if it were smaller, its greater flaring would disrupt Earth’s rotation rate.
    The Sun’s metal content. Only two percent of all stars have enough metal content to form planets. Too much metal in a star will allow too many planets to form, creating chaos. Our Sun has just the right amount of metal for planets to form safely.
    Effect of the Moon. The Moon stabilizes the Earth’s tilt and is responsible for our seasons. If it weren’t there, our tilt could swing widely over a large range, making our winters a hundred degrees colder and our summers a hundred degrees warmer.
When astronomers consider our remarkable solar system, they acknowledge that if it was slightly different, advanced biological life would be impossible. But it is not enough to have the right universe, galaxy, and solar system for human life to be possible. The conditions of our home planet must also be fine-tuned to a razor’s edge.

A FINELY TUNED PLANET
You may believe that aliens have sent life to Earth from a far distant galaxy (the premise of that memorable drama from 2004, AVP: Alien vs. Predator). You may believe that the government is hiding something outer spatial in Nevada’s mysterious Area 51. Or you may simply believe that there is undoubtedly intelligent life on other planets. In any case, we have all been raised on the assumption that, given enough time, intelligent life will spring up anywhere in the cosmos (with perhaps a few more eyeballs or reptilian features). Yet new evidence from cosmology is really saying the opposite.

The reality is that we live on an extremely rare planet perfectly positioned in an extremely rare solar system, ideally located in an extremely rare galaxy, within a highly improbable universe. Let’s look at our rare Earth.
    Water. Earth has an abundance of water, which is essential for life. Mars once had water and therefore might have harbored life. But water is only one of many requirements for life.
    Oxygen. Earth is the only planet in our solar system in which we can breathe. Attempting to breathe on other planets, such as Mars or Venus, would be instantly fatal, Mars having virtually no atmosphere and Venus having mostly carbon dioxide and almost no oxygen.
    Earth’s distance from the Sun. If the Earth were merely one percent closer to the Sun, the oceans would vaporize, preventing the existence of life. On the other hand, if our planet were just two percent farther from the Sun, the oceans would freeze and the rain that enables life would be nonexistent.
    Plate tectonic activity on Earth. Scientists have determined that if the plate tectonic activity were greater, human life could not be sustained and greenhouse-gas reduction would overcompensate for increasing solar luminosity. Yet, if the activity was smaller, life-essential nutrients would not be recycled adequately and greenhouse-gas reduction would not compensate for increasing solar luminosity.
    Ozone level in the atmosphere. Life on Earth survives because the ozone level is within the safe range for habitation. However, if the ozone level were much greater, there would be too little UV radiation for adequate plant growth. Yet, if the ozone level were much smaller, there would be too much UV radiation for adequate plant growth, and life would be impossible.
For life to exist, these, as well as many other conditions need to be just right. [15]

Source: http://www.inplainsite.org/html/anthropic_principles.html 



4 comments:

  1. Hello, I am Orthodox and a convert and used to teach Creation evidences along with the problems of Darwinian evolution in monthly meetings in a pizza hut.
    I am non-dogmatically a Young Earth Creationist. Yet I also have advanced science degrees. I also accept the age of the Universe as 14 billion years more or less. How do I do that? I do it with the Cosmology of the Christian astrophysicist Barry Setterfield, a praying man. He asked God about the discrepancy between observational data of the age of the Universe and the Scriptural and the Spirit said to Him "the speed of light is slowing."
    After a period of time Setterfield came to realize that a slowing speed of light also meant that the atomic constants were slowing, and that clocks based on the atomic constants would show a universe billions of years old even though the clocks based on the rotation of the earth about the sun would show thousands. Setterfield also noticed that the measurements of both the atomic constants and the speed of light show periods of slowing- that is, they are not constant, and by using a Electromagnetic cosmology in favor of a gravitational cosmology, known popularly as the 'electric universe', that there are sound reasons for expecting the speed of light and the atomic constants to slow down. One also finds that Planck's constant, which is not constant but varies, when multiplied with the speed of light, does, indeed come up with a constant. So, if the speed of light went through a large period of slowing, the Universe will appear ancient according to atomic time, and at the same time young according to solar time. And it is Solar time that is spoken of in Scripture; they did not know about atomic constants. The dictum of St. Augustine is apt; he said, "if there is the appearance of discrepancy in Scripture, it is because of my lack of understanding and not because there is error in Scripture. The Fathers did not articulate a verbally inerrant view of Scripture but they sure acted that way- look at the fights with the Arians and with those who added the filioque to the Creed. Orthodox are defacto Inerrantists, if not dogmatically so!

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  2. http://www.setterfield.org/ Here is where to find Setterfield. Good reading.

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  3. Intelligent Design- The Anthropic Principle is Right On. So also is Intelligent Design, and our Orthodox fellow-traveler has made Intelligent Design a mathematical consideration and not a matter of debate. Good William Dembski, Intelligent Design. Also look at Discovery Institute. Fantastic Material related to this apologetic issue.

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  4. Ben - I love, love, love your comments! I forwarded the first one to my friend for her daughter. Please feel free to contribute to the discussion anytime or email me at: thevictorbook@sbcglobal.net

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