Universal Purpose

A query to all residents of Planet Earth: Why are we here? Did God have a purpose for creating humanity? If we ask residents about the purpose for their existence, would most people link God’s purpose with human purpose?          

Many young people are exposed to catechisms as a vital segment of their early education in the Christian faith. These are manuals of religious instruction designed for young people and new converts. They are organized statements of Christian principles stated in the form of questions and answers. We remind readers of the first question from the famous Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We may substitute the term “purpose” for “end.”  

What is the purpose of humanity as residents of Planet Earth? The question has many dimensions. When we speak of purpose are we talking about pure enjoyment of life? participation in exciting experiences? knowledge gain? satisfaction with one’s choice of profession? altruism? productivity? power exercised over others? The subjective list expressing life’s purpose could expand almost endlessly. It is a formidable challenge to express our values and personal philosophy in defining humanity’s purpose.

The known universe consists of two entities—non-living and living. Non-living matter in our universe comprises almost 100% of the matter in our cosmos. From our early knowledge of chemistry, protons, neutrons and electrons comprise visible matter, but dark energy and dark matter are also part of the cosmic mix. Baryonic (visible) matter comprises only 5% of the “normal matter” in our universe. In contrast, 27% of the matter in our universe is categorized dark matter, while 68% of the matter in our universe is considered dark energy. Dark matter and dark energy are mysterious components of the universe. Therefore, “‘normal matter’ (visible matter) shouldn’t be considered normal matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the universe.” (quote from NASA Share the Science article.)

Behavior of matter is incredibly fine tuned. There are 26 “fundamental constants” which govern the behavior of all particles in the universe and all forces and interactions occurring between them. 

“Fine tuning refers to the surprising precision of nature’s fundamental physical constants and the beginning state  of the universe. Both of these features converge as potential pointers to a Creator. To explain the present state of the universe, scientific theories require that the physical constants of nature—like the strength of gravity—and the beginning state of the universe—like its density—have extremely precise values. The slightest variation from their actual values results in an early universe that never becomes capable of hosting life. For this reason, the universe seems finely tuned for life. This observation is referred to as the anthropic principle…..

“The fine tuning of the universe is seen most clearly in the values of the constants of nature. There are many such constants, the best known of which specify the strength of the four forces of nature: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity. If these forces took on even slightly different strengths, the consequences for life would be devastating. Two of these  in particular, the strong and electromagnetic forces, are responsible for the unusually efficient production of carbon, the element upon which all known life is based…..The slightest change to either the strong or electromagnetic forces would alter the energy levels, resulting in greatly reduced production of carbon and an ultimately uninhabitable universe.” (Quotes from The BioLogos Forum article: “What is the ‘fine tuning’ of the universe, and how does it serve as a ‘pointer to God?’”)  

We speak of a carbon-less universe uninhabitable by humanity. A non-living universe would be fascinating even if it produced only beautiful stars, galaxies or complex weather and climate systems. Such systems would be remarkable in themselves, but far less remarkable if they lacked life. Our enormous universe has been prepared and fine-tuned by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, loving Creator of All Things. He produced this vast universe with divine care for the welfare of its living things, especially humanity.

Many scientists who do not embrace Christianity acknowledge, at some level, a universe having supernatural characteristics. For example, English astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) uttered this statement: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggest that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Scientific knowledge concerning the overwhelming evidence of fine tuning in the universe fortifies our belief in the existence of God. He is the Creator of the Universe with all its beauty, coherence, and functionality. Observations of the universe itself clearly indicate that its fine tuning serves as a “pointer to God” whose deep, purposeful love for man is evident. Our loving Creator is worthy of all the glory we could offer Him.

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