By Dr. Hugh Ross
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Q&A #1: Can We Remove a Star or Galaxy and Still Have a Fine-Tuned Universe?
From Liam in Bunbury, Western Australia:
Some skeptics say that it is a waste to create such a massive and complex universe only to place in it a little speck called Earth. But as knowledge has increased we’ve learned about fine-tuning and the importance of time and the structure of not only our solar system but also our galaxy and beyond. This huge structure makes our existence possible. So how finely tuned is it? Would removing a galaxy billions of light years away be akin to removing a small and seemingly insignificant gear cog from a watch? How about just one star in that galaxy? Where’s the tipping point? Or is there another consideration, i.e. time. When answering this question must we not only define what we take out of the universe but when?
Liam, you’re correct to conclude that when is an important consideration. Adding or subtracting a star or even a whole galaxy to or from the universe today––if that galaxy or star were far enough away––would do nothing to disturb the survivability of life on Earth. However, the mass, or to be technically correct, the mass density, of the universe needed to be exquisitely fine-tuned when the universe was very young for any possibility of life later.
The mass density fine-tuning shows up in two ways. First, between two and four minutes after the cosmic creation event the universe underwent an era of cosmic fusion. If the mass of the universe were even slightly greater than it is, too much helium would have been fused from hydrogen during those early minutes and future stars would fuse all ordinary matter too quickly into elements heavier than iron. If the mass of the universe were slightly less, future stars would never make elements heavier than helium. Either way, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen would be lacking and life would be impossible.
Second, too little mass in the universe would…
Dr. Hugh Ross
Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ.
Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.
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