Do you have any idea how finely tuned our universe is? It recently occurred to me while contemplating some theologically difficult questions that as humans we simply cannot fathom what may be necessary to maintain balance in such an intricately woven tapestry. Now, to be clear, I think this balanced universe is easy for God to create and maintain absent a major element. That element is a free will human created in the image very creator of all that exists.
So I hope you’ll enjoy a bit of a thought experiment with me and contemplate the impact of sin along the way. Picture for a moment the absence of human free will in a universe compelled by natural forces and balanced by cause and effect. The closest thing to free will would be animals driven by instinctual motivations. Essentially this looks to me like an automaton universe. While God might not direct every individual event the processes would all be programmed so the pleasure God experiences is minimal. Think about it, how much pleasure could you derive from designing a computer program and then watching it perform based on the parameters you specified for all eternity.
Instead of this the introduction of free will presents a real opportunity for a pleasing experience. Beings created in the image of God with a real choice that extends beyond physical drives creates the potential for incredible beauty. Beings with cognitive functions that allow imagination, intention, intelligence, and independent thought. The issue with such a being placed in such a finely tuned universe is that even the smallest acts which run contrary to the forces sustaining the universe could theoretically cause the entire universe to collapse in an instant. Especially considering calculations presented by Martin Rees.
What I am suggesting is that sin is a violation of the very forces God created to sustain the universe. At this point it is reasonable to ask, if sin violates the laws of the universe then why would God create the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? I actually have more than one theory about this and the first has to do with testing us. Though an interesting question also occurs to me, did God intend to keep us from the tree for eternity? Perhaps God foresaw the possibility of Adam reaching a point where we demonstrated a readiness for such information. Before I discuss another theory about the tree let me take a quick rabbit trail into another theory that recently occurred to me which seems to tie into my first.
You may have heard it said that everything happens for a reason or that everything happens because God directs it. I firmly believe that all things happen for the good of those who love him and that God knows everything that will occur. My rabbit trail theory is that God is aware of all possibilities and God is completely prepared for every possible alternative pathway to bring about what he wills. The suggestion here is that regardless of what you or I do as individuals God will achieve his ends (Luke 19:40). What I am suggesting is that if you feel called to do something, do it, if you don’t do something, let it go(Isaiah 64:6). If you are waiting to act in accordance with God’s will know that I think anxiety is paralyzing and is a tool of the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy(John 10:10).
You may be wondering how this fits together with my initial theory and I think one connecting point is prayer. I intellectually struggle with prayer due to beliefs supported by verses like Matthew 6:8. In essence perhaps my question is what’s the point of prayer to a God who already knows everything in a world where all events are predetermined? I am suggesting here that combining the two theories allows for God to act in response to prayer without interfering with some predetermined plan. It also allows humans to act of their own volition without thereby negating free will.
Ultimately in terms of the fine tuning I think it is worth considering in terms of our circumstances and in light of our prayers. God has certainly displayed his power in ways that seem to defy all forces in the universe and those acts very well may. However, God can do the complete accounting for the necessary, perhaps often unseen measures, that must occur to balance the scales and retain the balance present throughout universe. Such awesome and multifaceted acts would certainly be befitting of an omnipotent creator of a universe so delicately balanced on a cosmic pinhead.
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