The universe’s grand design and fine-tuning

God has given us so much overwhelming evidence of his existence as reflected throughout our universe that, like Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Evidence that falls under the Teleological Argument provides us with a treasure trove of God’s handiwork.

Earth from space, NASA imageThe Teleological Argument is simply the following: 1) Every design had a designer; 2) The universe has highly complex design; 3) Therefore, the universe had a Designer. Within this particular argument is a set of constants called the Anthropic Principle. These constants are scientific truths that must be in play simultaneously for life to survive and thrive here. Right now there are about 155 of them but more could be discovered since our body of knowledge for Earth and our universe are still very limited. Here are 20 of those constants which show why Psalm 40:5 is so true:

1. Oxygen Levels: Oxygen has to be in the 21% range of our atmosphere. If oxygen is much more than that, spontaneous combustion would occur constantly. If much less than that, we would asphyxiate.

2. Transparent Atmosphere: If Earth’s atmosphere were more transparent than it is, we would get a ridiculously high volume of solar radiation. If it were less transparent, we wouldn’t get enough solar radiation to survive.

3. Gravitation between the Moon & Earth: If gravity were greater between the moon and Earth, ocean tides, the atmosphere, and Earth’s rotation would be too intense for us. If gravitational forces between the moon and Earth were smaller, the resulting orbits would make climates too unstable for us.

4. Carbon Dioxide Levels: If CO2 levels were higher than they are, we would burn. If they were lower than they are, we would asphyxiate due to plants not giving off enough oxygen from the CO2 in the air.

5. Gravity: If gravity were changed as little as 10-38 power, our sun couldn’t exist which means we couldn’t exist.

6. Centrifugal Force: If the movement of planets failed to exactly balance gravity’s force, no celestial body would be able to keep its orbit around the sun.

7. Universe Expansion: If the universe expanded one millionth slower than it had, expansion would have been brought to a screeching halt and the universe would have collapsed in on itself, preventing the stars from forming. If it expanded faster, no galaxies would have been created.

8. Speed of Light: The speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) is set so that if it varies even slightly, it would knock the other constants out of whack and nullify the possibility of life on Earth.

9. Water Vapor: If we had more water vapor in our atmosphere than we do, temperatures would escalate too high for us to survive. If the level of water vapor was less than what we have, Earth would be too cold for us to survive.

10. Jupiter’s Orbit: The specific orbit of Jupiter causes it to attract large numbers of asteroids, meteors, and comets that would barrage Earth if Jupiter wasn’t there.

11. Earth’s Crust: If it were thicker, there would be too much oxygen in the crust to sustain life. If it were thinner, volcanoes and tectonic shifts would occur too often for us to survive.

12. Earth’s Rotation: If our day was longer than 24 hours, the temperature shifts between day and night would be too vast. If our day was less than 24 hours, wind speeds would be too high.

13. Earth’s Tilt: A tilt that varies over 2.5° or less than 2.5° from our 23.5° tilt would send surface temperatures soaring up too high or dropping down too low.

14. Lightning Strikes: If the rate of lightning was higher, destruction from fires would be too widespread. If the rate of the strikes was lower, the soil wouldn’t get enough nitrogen.

15. Earthquakes: A higher rate of seismic activity would mean greater loss of life. A lower rate of seismic activity would cause a lack of nutrients that are pushed up to the continents through the tectonic plates from river runoff and the ocean floors.

16. Moon’s Size: Our moon is perfectly sized to keep the Earth at it’s proper axis tilt. If it were smaller, our tilt would be too high to sustain life because it would bring 6 months of searing heat followed by six months of very cold endless nights. If it were bigger, our tilt would be too low to sustain life and it would prevent rain from falling in more areas. It would also cause stronger tides in some places and extremely low tides in other places while slowing Earth’s rotation, making Earth uninhabitable.

17. Carbon’s Strength & Flexibility: For life to exist and thrive, it needs to reproduce. Reproduction needs a chemical that can pass on the building blocks of life. That chemical element must be stable enough to withstand chemical and thermal disturbances while at the same time have the flexibility to react with other molecules in low temperatures. Additionally, it must be capable of bonding with all kinds of other atoms like it bonds with its own kind of atom. Only carbon has these traits.

18. Water’s Solvency: To survive and thrive, life requires a mediator for chemical reactions. That mediator must dissolve a variety of molecules and carry them to the required reaction sites while keeping the integrity of the molecules intact. It also has to be in liquid form since solids aren’t good movers and gas hampers the frequency of chemical reactions. The mediator would also have to keep its liquid state at temperatures that the other molecules of life it carries would be solid or gas–while it keeps those molecules intact. Only water has all of these capabilities simultaneously.

19. Magnetic Fields: Earth’s magnetic field is essential for forming a cavity around our atmosphere known as the magnetosphere. This magnetosphere protects the atmosphere from direct contact with solar winds. If those solar winds had direct contact with our atmosphere, it would deplete hydrogen and oxygen from our water at detrimental levels.

20. Earth’s Size & Mass: If Earth had less mass, it’s atmosphere would diminish much faster and it would be too cool to produce a strong enough magnetic field for protecting life. It would also have an irregular orbit too dangerous for life. If Earth were larger, it would have smaller mountains and shallower seas that would overrun the planet. Earth’s surface would also have a lack of life-sustaining minerals and would be too salty for life to survive.

These are just a few of the 155 or more vital constants that prove our universe did not come together by chance. They testify to the greatness, love, and mercy of our God, Jehovah, who does all things well and with purpose.


Guillermo Gonzalez & Jay W. Richards. The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery. [Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2004].

Norman Geisler, Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2004].

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