Eric Metaxas lit up the world with his bold article in the Wall Street Journal, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. What he argues, specifically is that to the best of our knowledge, this is our planet:
while this is every other planet out there.
Which is to say, we live in a particularly privileged place. We live on a planet that has all the right ingredients for life, including:
- We’re at the right distance from our Sun so that temperatures are conducive to life.
- We have the right atmospheric pressure for liquid water at our surface.
- We have the right ingredients — the right balance of heavy elements and organic molecules — for life to arise.
- We have the right amount of water so that our world has both oceans and continents.
- And life started on our world very early, sustained itself for our planet’s entire history, and gave rise to us: sentient, self-aware creatures.
This, he argues, is incredibly rare. In fact, he goes beyond arguing that it’s just a rare occurrence in our Universe, claiming instead that it’s so outlandishly unexpected, given all the factors that needed to occur in just the right confluence of circumstances, that our Universe must have been designed specifically to give rise to us, otherwise the odds of us coming to be would be so infinitesimally small that it’s unreasonable to believe it could have happened by chance.
This is a very compelling argument for many people, but it’s important to ask ourselves three questions to make sure we’re approaching this honestly. We’ll go through them one at a time, but here are the three, so we know what we’re getting into.
- What are, scientifically, the conditions that we need for life to arise?
- How rare or common are these conditions elsewhere in the Universe?
- And finally, if we don’t find life in the places and under the conditions where we expect it, can that prove the existence of God?