UPDATED: Eric Metaxas – How science supports the existence of God

Author Eric Metaxas - his WSJ article is shaking atheism to its core.
Eric Metaxas – WSJ article shakes atheism.

In mid-December, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was drawn into a vibrant Twitter debate with atheists. Her crime was to opine that the worst kind of fundamentalists are atheists who do not accept others can believe in God. It’s a pity she wasn’t able to point critics to author Eric Metaxas’s article in the Wall Street Journal published, appropriately, on Christmas Day. Because, as Metaxas writes, scientists who have re-worked the latest information say any rational mind must conclude there simply had to be an intelligent design behind the creation of earth. Metaxas says that in contrast to old thinking, science now supports the concept of God – odds of the universe happening by accident are too high. With the author’s kind permission, here is the article shaking atheism to its very roots. And supports all those who intuitively, or through their faith, believe in the existence of a Higher Power. – AH

We have been informed that there was a misunderstanding between Eric Metaxas, the author of the article concerned, and the Wall Street Journal, where his article was published last week. Although Eric gave Biznews permission to republish his piece, the WSJ has informed him it retains exclusive copyright for 30 days. This article was originally behind the WSJ’s paywall. The publication has, however, opened up access to it so you can read the full and original article on the WSJ by clicking here. Metaxas’s article stirred a fascinating debate among the Biznews community. It has been suggested that we rework the article. This has been done below.

By Biznews Reporter

Eric Mataxas’s article published in the Wall Street Journal last week suggests science is changing from doubting the concept of an intelligent design behind the universe, to endorsing it.

He quotes SETI proponent Peter Schenkel who wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

Says Metaxas: “As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here. Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.”

Where his argument has attracted most attention is his assertion the odds against the universe itself randomly coming into existence are so high as to make it impossible. Metaxas explains that the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces — required to create the universe “were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist.” And the odds of that occurring, he maintains, is the same as having a randomly tossed coin come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row.

Fred Hoyle - coined term "Big Bang"
Fred Hoyle – coined the term “Big Bang”

In the WSJ article, Metaxas quotes Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” who said his atheism was “greatly shaken”. Hoyle is quoted as writing “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” He supports this with similar quotes by theoretical physicist Paul Davies and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox.

Metaxas concludes: “The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.”

* Eric Metaxas is the author, most recently, of “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” ( Dutton Adult, 2014). You can follow him on twitter by clicking here.