Sunday, February 28, 2016
I’ve enjoyed quite a few books by Hugh Ross. Therefore I thought I’d read whatever the library had by him. That’s how Why the Universe is the Way it is came into my possession.
In the introduction Ross refers to the Freeman Dyson quote that says, “… the universe in a sense must have known that we were coming.” The book goes on to explain how the universe is set up perfectly for humans. In fact, “only in the context of human existence does the universe make any rational sense.” It is because humans are the only “animal” that seeks a sense of purpose that we even ask the question, “Why are we here?” Ergo, the reason for the book. “Discovering the hidden purposes of creation can bring more than just a little contentment. Exploring why the universe is the way it is can help us develop a renewed sense of appreciation for the value of this life, an assurance of individual worth and eternal destiny, and an eager anticipation for what lies ahead.”
I just love that kind of stuff!
He proceed throughout the book answering the following questions:
Why such a vast universe?
“Given the particular laws and constants of physics that govern the universe, the possibility for life and discovery mandate the universe be vast in all ways, including volume and mass, at the particular epoch during which intelligent life exists… And though its enormity strains the human capability to imagine, that vastness says something about the high value of and high purposes for humanity’s existence. Rather than seeing ourselves as insignificant specks in the immensity of the cosmos, we can consider the immensity an indicator of our worth.”
Why such an old universe?
“Besides needing nearly 14 billion years to build up all the resources necessary to make possible the existence of rocky planets, human beings, global civilization, and technology, there’s another reason the universe must be that old. At 13.73 billion years of age, it is just old enough — and young enough — to facility its visual and technological exploration… the universe must be that old to properly study its history and structure.”
Why such a lonely universe?
“…only Earth offers a sufficiently hospitable environment for an intelligent species to survive and build a high-tech civilization. It also confirms that Earth may offer the only hospitable environment for the simplest of life-forms. Since advanced life can exist only if supported by billions of years of previously existing simpler life it seems doubly certain that the humanity of Earth is the only intelligent physical species in the observable universe.”
Why such a dark universe?
“Located where it is — with the masses, diameters, and structures as they are within the two different kinds of dark-matter halos — all this dark stuff supports the structure of spiral galaxies through time in such way as to allow for the existence of at least one life-support planet. The quantities and distributions of the different forms of cosmic dark matter also permit observers on that one life-support planet to explore and map the structure of the universe and to trace its history back to its point of origin. The amazing deals that have already emerged from that effort reveal many of the hidden purposes of the universe.”
Why a decaying universe?
“The extreme predominance of decay, or heat dissipation, makes Earth a suitable home for physical life, especially for advanced life capable of launching a high-tech civilization… Ironically, … pessimism and despair… represents the only reasonable response to reality… On the other hand, if the universe is not the sum total of reality, then life may actually hold some meaning. If the paradise, heaven or utopia many people long for does exist somewhere beyond this universe, then humanity’s hope, purpose, and destiny may be rooted in reality after all.”
Why a realm beyond this one?
“The Creator’s investment in Earth’s life is far from trivial. Life itself in all its complexity, diversity, and abundance demands an enormous outlay. That scientist still can’t assemble even the simplest life-form in the lab from scratch (from nonorganic compounds), let alone make it love, preserve its life, and sustain life for billions of years, testifies to the level of the Creator’s investment — and involvement. This observation leads to an obvious conclusion: if the Creator put so much into creating and sustaining human life, then it must have an ultimate purpose.”
Why this particular planet, star, galaxy, and universe?
“During the past several years of research, scientists have gathered a substantial body of evidence showing that the universe, the Milky Way Galaxy, the solar system, and Earth are, or at least have been, an essentially perfect vehicle for humanity. Though each astronomical component manifests features that may initially seem strange or out of place, in the context of humanity’s needs, each characteristic is just right.”
Why believe the Bible?
“What makes the Bible’s claims about the origin, structure, and history of the universe and life all the more remarkable is that it stood alone for so long in making such claims. For centuries the Bible was the only text offering such precise and voluminous detail about the natural realm. The detailed predictive accuracy of the Bible’s authors in addressing all these topics duplex confirming evidence that the God of the Bible created the universe and wrote the instruction manual for humanity’s specific benefit. The accuracy of biblical predictions measures us that the Bible can be trusted in what it says about every issue — scientific and nonscientific.”
Why not a perfect universe — now?
“Many scientists would say the universe is the way it is because there is only one way to build a cosmos that supports intelligent physical life. According to this perspective the pain, suffering, and death experienced by humanity and all life arises from the fact that only one set of physical laws an only one kind of universe permit the existence of life and humans. On this basis some claim the Creator had only one way to build humanity’s home…. God made the universe the way it is to help accomplish as efficiently as possible the ultimate and eternal triumph good over evil. It’s astounding that a single universe could simultaneously accomplish such a complexity of intertwined yet distinct purposes.”
Why the physical laws and dimensions?
“Behavior modifications induced by the manner in which the laws of physics are designed seem especially focused on curtailing expressions of abuse and depravity… The physics and dimensions of this universe simply help restrain evil. They do not conquer it or remove it… That God involves humanity in this ultimate purpose while clearly intending to rescue willing individuals from the cosmic limitations his purposes temporarily require establishes the high value he places on humanity and reveals the love he personifies.”
Why two creations?
“God’s plan is to use this [current] universe to release those who choose life with him to a new level of free will and love far beyond anything ever experienced in earthly life.”
Why is the New Creation better?
“The universe was designed by God for his good purposes. It was not intended to last forever, and it is not meant to be our dream-mobile — but rather the perfect creation to carry us to our unlimited destination.”
Basically, God created this universe just for us, and it was all part of His redemptive plan. Eventually we will enter into a New Creation in which all the issues and drawbacks of this current creation are dealt with.
I can’t wait!
I started to read Terry Eagleton’s Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate because the title sounded interesting.
Some of it was. The book contained some stunningly insightful passages like, “This, one might claim, is the primary masochism known as religion. In context, the good news that we are loved simply for what we are is bound to come as an intolerable affront. It threatens to rob us of the misery which at least proves that we still exist. It also seems to render pointless our laborious efforts at moral self-improvement. We do not want such a light yoke. Instead, we want to hug our chains.”
It also contained passages like this in describing a Father/Daughter purity event reported by the New York Times, “It is scandalous that a once-reputable newspaper like the New York Times should give space to this barely sublimated orgy of incestuous desire.” Ick.
But worse than that was the trouble I had following his points. He veers widely from a thought with which I could whole-heartedly agree, to preaching the virtues of Marx. He realizes this dichotomy loses him friends because he just makes everyone mad. I don’t find that particularly ennobling. I find it maddening.
I didn’t finish the book.