No, The Size of the Universe Does Not Prove God Doesn’t Exist

Neither does the size of one's ego

By William M Briggs Published on November 6, 2017

Some philosophers are claiming God doesn’t exist because the universe is big and mostly humanity-free.

These academic philosophers look across the vastness of space and say, “God would not have made something so big and yet so sparse in humanity. Therefore God doesn’t exist.”

From the Real Clear Science article “Does the Size of the Universe Prove God Doesn’t Exist?” by philosopher Emily Thomas we learn:

Philosophers of religion such as Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt have asked us to consider the kind of universe we would expect the Christian God to have created, and compare it with the universe we actually live in. They argue there is a mismatch. Everitt focuses on how big the universe is, and argues this gives us reason to believe the God of classical Christianity doesn’t exist.

What’s big?

Thomas says,

Our own planet is 150m kilometres away from the sun. Earth’s nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away (that’s around 40 trillion kilometres). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars. The observable universe contains around 300 sextillion stars. Humans occupy the tiniest fraction of it. The landmass of planet Earth is a drop in this ocean of space.

(Incidentally, it’s a good bet many of these same academics say there are too many people in the world.)

Thomas appeals to scripture to say, “God is human-oriented: human beings are like God, and he values us highly.” But then Thomas wonders why God did not “create a universe in which humans feature prominently.” She expected “humans to occupy most of the universe, existing across time,” which of course we don’t.

The mistake is what we can call the If I Were God Fallacy.

Quoting Everitt, Thomas says, “The findings of modern science significantly reduce the probability that theism is true, because the universe is turning out to be very unlike the sort of universe which we would have expected, had theism been true.”

The fallacy here should be obvious: How can they know why God made creation the way He did?

You aren’t God.

The mistake is what we can call the If I Were God Fallacy.

Step one of the fallacy: Suppose you had the Infinite Mind of God. Step two: Create your own imaginary universe. Step three: Compare the beautiful utopia of your imagination with what you see out the window.

Step four: Pronounce the comparison unfavorable.

Finally, step five: Say that because God did not create the perfect universe you envision, God doesn’t exist.

Not only is this argument silly, it is arrogant. It is to accuse God of sloppiness and of lacking in imagination. It is to say that God is less intelligent than your fine self because it didn’t occur to Him to make fewer cockroaches. It’s silly because it is impossible to comprehend the mind of God. Impossible, and not just unlikely.

Nouveau Golden Ratio

To say that the fraction of the universe occupied by humanity is “small” is to say one knows what the proper ratio of people to space should be. “God exists,” you must claim, “if people take up at least 32% of usable space. Anything less than that, and God could not have created this universe.” You have to defend that “32%,” or whatever number you choose, as being the only cutoff that proves God’s non-existence. Yet it’s obvious no such number can exist.

Even if you could figure what this new Golden Ratio must be, your job has just begun. Because then you have to declare how you would create your perfect universe. Nobody knows how to do that.

For instance, no scientist knows where the so-called laws of physics come from, even if they can crudely sketch how some of those laws work.

The Impossible Task

Now you can mentally toy with formulations for new laws, but once you settle on them you are left with two insurmountable difficulties:

(1) You have to specify how, starting from absolute scratch, which is to say having nothing in hand except your laws, just how humanity can (eventually) arise. It’s no good waving your hands and saying something like “They must.” You have to show in the most rigorous way how. We can’t even do that now with the laws we have guessed. Saying “It’s evolution” is not saying how. It’s sweeping the problem under a label.

(2) Even harder, you have to say how your laws were created out of nothing. By what power do the laws arise if there is nothing, not even you? You won’t be there at creation. You are the result of it. So who makes those first laws, whatever they turn out to be?

There has always been only one good answer to that question.

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