Yesterday’s message …
Began with a Guns-N-Roses shoutout & demonstration;
Contained three more science “experiments”;
Included a very brief “I pray in tongues” confession (something I’ve done at church several times before);
An almost hidden Don Henley lyric reference (read closely!);
Concluded with a breathtaking video of the Apollo 8 astronauts reading Genesis 1 while in orbit;
Led to this bottom line: A finely tuned universe demands a Fine Tuner.
Well, I have my friend Brady Morton and he knows I love music and he especially knows I love GUITAR music and that I was a little bit of a guitar hero back in my day, so he’s gonna play a few of my favorite riffs. Hey Brady can you play the opening lick of Sweet Child O’ Mine?
(Which he did, ALL OUT OF TUNE.)
Wait, none of that worked! You’ve got one string out of tune! One of the those six, off by just a bit, and you’re not making music, you’re making a racket! (And by the way, music is at its heart mathematical, so just tuck that away.)
Well I don’t know if you’re aware of just how fragile the universe really is. I don’t know if you have heard how high the odds are stacked AGAINST us having a universe at all, much less having the kind of universe that could lead to the kind of creatures having this kind of conversation on the unlikeliness of it all. Because in so many ways and at so many levels, if just one string of the six stinged universe was the tiniest bit out of tune, nothing would have ever worked. Nothing would ever be.
Let me show you what I mean. I’m going to put this ice here in this pitcher of water and like ice always does, it’s just gonna sink right to the bottom, right? (DO IT). Wait! Ice doesn’t sink! It FLOATS! If I put a quarter in here, it will sink. If I put a marble in here, it will sink. Not ice. It SHOULD sink but it doesn’t. Ice is weird. It turns out it has the perfectly calibrated amount of gasses and oxygen so that it doesn’t sink, it FLOATS. And if ice did not float in the places where it floats (like, the poles) then life as we know it all over the world could not exist. Thank God for floating ice!
Or a little bit farther out into space, here’s another experiment. Let’s see if this shoe drops: DO IT. It does! Gravity ALWAYS works, it ALWAYS wins, it’s like the Patriots; it is essentially undefeated. But did know that if the gravitational forces were slightly different – a little stronger here or a little weaker there or a little out of tune over there – then we would have a universe full of Red Dwarves instead of healthy stars? And, if no healthy stars, no sun, no life, no us, no this. But because we’re here, it all works, the math all fits, the tuning of it all is so …. FINE.
So you’ve got ice, you’ve got gravity, how about one more, one that speaks to the deepest recesses of space and farthest reaches of time? Well, did you know that the same technology that makes THIS POSSIBLE – hold up Radar Gun! – and, before I tell you what I’m gonna tell you, anybody here get a ticket? Anyone here caught with that ticket by one of these? You were CLOCKED? Anyone deserve that ticket? Anyone get a RADAR DETECTOR in the aftermath of that ticket?
But back to the technology of it, the tech I was gonna tell you. The same technology – called Doppler – that clocked you going 47 in a 30, that same technology measures the expanding universe. That, according to scientists, all the matter in the universe (gasses, heat, light, matter, anti-matter) started out in an incredibly dense point of singularity and suddenly exploded, erupted outward. In the first 10 to the 43rd power of a second it erupted and it has been growing every since. Measured by Doppler tech. According to scientist Paul Davies, the odds against the initial conditions at that moment so long ago being suitable for star formation is 1 followed by a thousand billion zeroes. Them are some long odds.
And all the calculating, odds beating, calibrating, measuring, FINE TUNING is not lost on God himself as he talks to Job.
And you’re like JOB?! I thought it was all about suffering! What does it have to do with thanking God for science? And the answer is, especially when you consider how the ancient mind worked, everything. Because in the later stages of the Job, God has been extraordinarily patient with this man from whom so much has been taken. (The phrase the patience of Job is not really accurate; the book is much more about the patience of God.). For chapter after chapter, page after page, speech after speech, Job has been railing against God. NOT CURSING him, mind you, but shaking a very heavy fist at him. And his last question to God is in 37:24: READ. People honor you, God, but I’m not sure you honor us back. Especially the wise ones like me.
And that final question sets the stage for God’s thunderous answer. Look at 38:1: READ. Huh. Out of the storm. Almost makes you think of that 10 to the 43rd power second explosion. Look what he says next in 38:2-3: READ. You want to take me on? Then get ready for battle, son, because I’ve got some questions for YOU. And don’t you know that when Job heard that, he was like GULP! Maybe getting what you want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when what you’ve wanted is to give God a piece of your mind.
And then look at 38:4a, one of the true highlights in the enire biblical library: READ. Where were you? Whoa. Get this: Once there was only God. Him and nothing else. In the beginning God and he was the before the beginning. I realized that, the enormity of it, and all I could do at my dining room table where I study a bunch of this stuff was to break into praise with what Scripture calls the tongues of angels. Nothing else to do but that. Once upon a time, there was only God. Wow.
So; where were you, Job, when I was always was? OMG who could possibly answer that question? Then after that table setter and argument winner, God goes on in 38:4b-7: READ. Note all the precision, all the measuring, all the math in a pre-math world, all the tuning in a pre-tuning fork world. Speaking interstellar and intergalactic truths in a language Job and his contemporaries could understand. Where were you when I was calibrating, calculating, and tuning? There was only me, and then there wasn’t ONLY me. And now there’s not ONLY me. I have company because I made it. I am the only one ever able to be architect, engineer AND GC at once.
It all works by design because it was well designed. You do the math and the math works not because God is good at math but because he invented it. He drew the plans because he is the plan. Here’s the conclusion, here’s the reason that I thank God for science and how all the evidence for the Big Bang is the best news for a Genesis 1 world because it never answers the question of who lit the fuse. Who assembled all the parts for the perfect eruption? A finely tuned universe demands a fine tuner. The reason this music works – play Beethoven’s 9th – is that God is author of all the harmony and the melody and the tuning. It works when David didn’t at the beginning because every last string, all six of them, are perfectly in tune because of the Perfect Tuner.
It is fascinating to me the level to which astrophysicists get this. Listen to this: READ Mastrow, Collins. P. 66
Wow. Marvelous. Guess what? The more we KNOW, the less we UNDERSTAND. We have brilliant minds among us who know facts, study data, go as far back as they possible can … and that journey in many cases makes them realize how in the grand scheme of things they know nothing. They’d been looking for God in the realm of science only to discover he is an art.
Really, what I think they’ve seen is that the odds of this incredibly precise, finely tuned universe forming without a Form-er, are kind like the odds of leaving all these instruments up here on the platform. Drums, bass, keys, lead, rhythm. Just leave ‘em. Turn out the lights, go home, come back in the next morning, and they’re all playing Rock & Roll All Night & Party Every Day on their own. Preposterous! Yet that’s what we’re left with if we believe in the abundant evidence for the Big Bang and don’t take the next logical step on and acknowledger the one who started it all. REFRAIN
And here’s even better. Because, yes, the universe is vast, accurate, take your breath away beauty and majesty, but what of this? Not just life. But human life. There’s something called the Anthropic Principle which states that the universe is uniquely designed, fine tuned, to give rise not just to life, but to human life in particular. Just enough carbon, just enough oxygen, just enough gravity, just enough floating ice and not sinking ice and you’ve got US. Listen to what the physicist Freeman Dyson says: READ, Collins 75-76
So: not only are the intergalactic and interstellar forces finely tuned, but so are the microscopic and minute. So are you. You are impeccably made. Finely tuned. Please don’t hear what I am not saying: I believe all of us are sinners who need a Savior, Jesus. Yet that’s not our original design. We were and are fearfully and wonderfully made. Perfectly designed. Middle C tuned.
Where were you when God did all that? Nowhere. Where is he? Everywhere. Here. Now. Tuning still. Even you. When you realize just how massively small God is, won’t you break forth into awe, wonder, and praise? REFRAIN
Here is the Apollo 8 closer: