Fred Heeren was a science editor for a mid-western paper. He became a believer and is also a lay teacher of a group of non-believers in Kansas City. He published this book in 2004. Mr. Heeren has done significant research for this book, including many interviews with Scientists and Cosmologists. He is now completing a new book on paleontology and God.
I have personally been involved in a presentation of this book in a church school. It was very influential in solidifying the witness of several and converting a couple from a weak connection to God to serious Christians.
My reason for including this topic in a course is based on my belief that believers can gain a support for their witness and nonbelievers will be challenged by the conclusions.
Mr. Heeren interviews many scientists, many of which agree that The Big Bang was a finely tuned event. A number of scientists have converted to the belief that there must have been a Transcendental Supernatural Creator involved, but many also believe that the ongoing search for an evolutionary cause is still active; and at the same time refuse to accept a providentially influenced event. Mr. Heeren also includes a list of some 50 odd Scientists who admit that they are convinced that the Universe had a beginning and that there is no evidence that this very ordered event had an evolutionary beginning. This book demonstrates how many scientists have been forced to turn from their older views that treated the bible as myth to ones that now treat the Bible as history.
With reference to this group of scientists, Mr. Heeren details the conversions of several more prominent ones: Einstein, W. F. Albright (a well-known archaeologist), and C. S. Lewis. The most interesting one was Einstein (though he did not formally admit that he had converted to Christianity) who had to admit that the end results/solutions to his Theory of Relativity showed that the Universe had a beginning.
Additionally, this book shows that Hebrew revelation is the only religious source coming to us from ancient times that fits the modern cosmological picture. One of the most impactful observations is that the immensity of the creation event should inspire not only humility but also gratitude toward a Creator who would go to such amazing lengths to prepare a place for us. Natural revelation tells us not only how small we are, but how great he is, how great his power, His wisdom, His love. And the ability for our God Jehovah to create us on the heels of His creation is suddenly quite possible and real.
Still many scientists insist that they are still looking for Earth-like planets, but cosmologist Hugh Ross claims that the possibility of this Earth-like planet being found is infinitesimal.
According to scientist Dr. Michael Strauss, Physics professor at University of Oklahoma, says that there are a “multitude of parameters which would have to be just right for a planet to support life: distance from the sun, rotation rate, amount of water, tilt, right size so gravity lets gases like methane to escape, but allows oxygen to stay, and many others.”
Interestingly scientists agree that no new matter is being created, that the universe is wearing down. The universe is degrading, and through high powered telescopes scientists can see that distant galaxies are retreating faster than closer galaxies indicating that the universe expansion is slowing down as well as getting more disorganized from an initial huge explosion.
According to Psalm 102:25-26: Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shall endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall thou change them, and they shall be changed.
According to Isaiah 34:4. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved; and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down… And 51.6. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke…
The eminent cosmologist and physicist, Stephen Hawking, said:
“If the rate of the expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed before it ever reached its present state. Additionally the critical ratios of the elements involved in the Big Bang must have been finely tuned to make the development of life as we know it possible.”
Many scientists today agree that the Big Bang and the ensuing explosion appear not to be random, but rather like an orchestrated event. The astronomer, Robert Jastrow has said that both the astronomical and the biblical accounts of Genesis are similar in that the chain of events leading to human creation commenced suddenly, at a definite moment in time.
Discoveries of fine tuning in nature, or in the universe, point not just to a designer that shaped the existing universe, but to a Creator who created the laws of the universe before there was a universe.
Many scientists have agreed that the care and perfection observed in the universe points to exactly the kind of God described in the Bible: a God who would go to the greatest lengths we can imagine because of His love for us, but whose perfection would prohibit Him from simply overlooking our sins.
Another aspect of a God created universe comes from the fact that though most scientists accept the fact that the age of the universe is approximately 14 billion years, the universe had to become this age and size before a planet like Earth could create intelligent human life.
The more that is discovered about how the universe works the more we understand that our universe’s laws are set within very narrow, very critical parameters. Without a combination of the wildest possible coincidences a universe capable of sustaining the kind of intelligence we know would be impossible. Even unbelieving physicists have come to agree with the Bible’s assertion that our universe has been precisely prepared for us. And, according to Freeman Dyson (a renowned physicist from Princeton University) it appears that “in some ways it is as if the universe knew that we were coming.” Carl Sagan (another world-famous cosmologist) “It is easy to see that only a very restricted range of laws of nature are consistent with galaxies, stars, planets, life, and intelligence. It is my view that the universe was created for man to live in.”
This book can be impactful on the student primarily because it shows how even highly “educated” scientists must admit that a transcendental Creator is a possibility.
Heeren ends his book with a quote from an article entitled: Adrift Alone in the Cosmos, written by Woody Allen:
“More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly. I speak, by the way, not with any sense of futility, but with the panicky conviction of the absolute meaninglessness of existence… We have no spiritual center. We are alone adrift in the cosmos…”
This book properly presented can result in the obvious conclusion in the mind of the hearer that not only did God create man but also, he created the Universe for him to live in. Following this discussion, and combined with a discussion of original sin, the hearer can easily grasp the concept that a commitment to a loving Creator God who can show us the way to Joy, Peace, and happiness, is the only conclusion possible.