Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The reason the universe is so big

You often hear Christians draw a certain conclusion from the vast size of the universe: God surely wouldn't have created a universe so fantastically enormous if the human race were the only intelligent species in it. Sometimes you'll even hear them say that it's arrogant of us to think that He would do so.

On the contrary! I think it's perfectly likely that He would plunk us down in a universe of just the kind we have.

Put yourself in God's place. What kind of universe would you create for a race which would fall because of its prideful desire to "become as gods, knowing good and evil" (that is, everything); whose pride would become central to every one of its vices; which would today become so besotted with its technological and scientific knowledge that it would think there is no more room for God in the intelligent person's worldview? Would you create a little wisp of a thing, a few light-years across, that mankind would comprehend adequately in a few thousand years?

I sure wouldn't. It would only feed into our false pride in our ability to know and control.

Wouldn't you create just what we have: a universe that is not only incomprehensibly large now, but constantly expanding? A universe so constructed that (due to interstellar dark matter) we can't even observe most of it, let alone travel across it? And to complement this vast macro scale, a structure of matter on the micro scale so bizarre that (as Heisenberg proved) you can't even describe the smallest bit of it definitively at any given moment, because the very act of observation gets in the way?

That, I submit, is the perfect universe for mankind. One that puts us permanently in our place, in terms that can't be gainsaid. One that says to mankind, unmistakably and forever, "I am God. You're not." That's the universe we need, and so that's just what he's given us.