Creation clues: Very big, very small
By Robert Urbanek
One objection to the existence of God and, more specifically, a God who meddles in human history, is the immense size of the universe.
Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan observed, "There are in fact 100 billion galaxies, each of which contain(s) something like a 100 billion stars. Think of how many stars, and planets, and kinds of life there may be in this vast and awesome universe."
The idea that our lone planet would be the center of divine attention in the vast cosmos seems ridiculous. But maybe not. If we want to understand how God plays God, we might get a hint from how man plays God.
Arguably, man’s first modern attempt to play God was the creation of the atomic bomb. If God made a sun in the heavens, man could make an artificial sun on earth. But the Manhattan Project involved constructing something very big just to produce something very small. The gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, measuring a half mile long with 42.6 acres under roof, could produce each day only 7.2 ounces of 80 percent enriched uranium, in a process that took more than six months to create just one A-bomb. That would be like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory making only one candy bar each day.
More recently, scientists at the CERN complex at the Swiss-Franco border “play God” when they try to recreate, in miniature, elements of the Big Bang that started our universe. Their pursuit of the “God Particle” also suggests divine aspirations.
The experiments at CERN far exceed the scale of the Manhattan Project. Scientists and engineers created giant machines and a tunnel 17 miles in circumference for the purpose of studying subatomic particles. If they would construct something so humongous just to examine something so incredibly tiny, it is conceivable that God would create a giant universe just for the purpose of focusing on our speck of human life on Earth. The universe is God’s version of CERN.
Admittedly, the universe is exponentially (by several magnitudes) larger than CERN, but that is why we have the word exponentially: to allow us to think big. And, if we think big enough, perhaps we can start thinking like God.
Image Diagram of the Large Hadron Collider and associated experiments, in the style of Leonardo da Vinci; © 2009-2016 CERN, per Creative Commons 4.0.
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