Did God created the universe for us?

January 5, 2009

If you believe that God created the Universe, why do you suppose he did it? Was it for the benefit of us humans, or was there another purpose? Did he create the stars simply for our viewing pleasure? If so, it seems a bit over the top considering the size of a single star compared to our Earth (more about that shortly), the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, and the hundreds of billions of galaxies in our universe (each being made up of hundreds of billions of stars) – nearly all of which we can’t even see. It would have made more sense to put small bright orbs in the heavens – which is what the ancients believed the stars to be.

If our Sun represents less than one billianth of one billianth of the total number of stars in the universe – virtually a single grain of sand on a long beach – then how big is our Earth relative to the Sun? If you think of the Sun as a basketball, the Earth would be about the size of the head of a pin. With a little imagination, you can get a feel for just how miniscule our corner of the universe really is.

What fraction of time has this unimaginably small spec we call Earth been home to humans? The universe itself is about 14 billion years old. The earth is about 4.5 billion years old – about a third of the time the universe has been around. But how long has the Earth been home to us humans? Oxygen first appeared in the Earth’s atmosphere about 2.5 billion years ago. Bacteria appeared only about 600 million years ago. Land plants appeared only 400 million years ago, followed by the first land animals around 300 million years ago. The genus, Homo, appeared only 2.5 million years ago. If these are the humans of Genesis, then the Earth has been home to humans not 1% of the time that the Earth has been around, not 0.1% of the time, but about 0.05% of the time. To give you a perspective, 0.05% of a year is about an hour and a half.

However the first species of the genus Homo were nothing like us modern humans. They looked more like modern Gorillas than modern humans. Homosapiens, our species, have only been around for about 200,000 years. That’s only about a thousandth of the time that the genus Homo has been around. Once again, to give you perspective of what a small fraction of time homosapiens have existed: one thousandth of 0.05% of a year is about 5 seconds.

But it gets even worse. Most of Earth is hostile to human life. The ocean covers about 70% of the Earth and is uninhabitable. The land that makes up the remainder of the Earth’s surface is no paradise either. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic activity, droughts, extreme temperatures, hurricanes, and tornadoes are some of the geological dangers that constantly threaten human life. In addition to geological hazards, humans also face deadly non-biological hazards, like plagues which wipe out a significant part of the human population from time to time.

Not only is there no compelling reason to believe that the universe was designed in the first place, there is overwhelming evidence that the universe was not designed for us humans. There is only a tiny corner of the universe we can see. Nearly all of that tiny fraction of the universe is hostile to human life. And even the tiny spec of the tiny fraction that supports human life, has only been a hostile home to humans for a tiny fraction of time.

End note:

How big is a billion anyway? If you are reading this on a computer with a decent monitor (say 1280 x 768), then there are nearly a million pixels on your screen. On a good monitor, you won’t be able to see an individual pixel with your naked eye – try looking at a portion of the screen through a magnifying glass and you will see the pixels. To see a billion pixels, your monitor would have to be a thousand times larger (which means 32 times taller and 32 times wider – 32 x 32 = 1024)! You can measure the width and height of your monitor and multiply the width by 32 and the height by 32 to see how big a billion-pixel monitor would be. That’s one one billion pixels. Now imagine that this single pixel you are viewing through a magnifying glass were actually super-sized billion-pixel monitor (32 time wider and 32 times taller than your computer monitor) – all stuffed into the space of a single pixel of the original billion-pixel super-sized monitor. A single pixel on that monitor would be a billionth of a billionth the size of your original full-sized monitor.


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