Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 27 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Gregory of Narek
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

God is in the details: It’s a miracle the human race exists at all

NASA CC

Monika Florek-Mostowska - published on 10/19/16

If the properties of the universe were only slightly different, we would never have come to live

Hydrogen, helium and small quantities of other light chemical elements developed a few minutes after the Big Bang. Then, due to gravitational instability, stars, galaxies and groups of galaxies emerged. In time, appropriately high temperatures developed within stars to facilitate a synthesis of higher chemical elements, carbon included.

“In order for a biological evolution to develop, we need organic chemistry, i.e. the chemistry of carbon compounds. In order for carbon to emerge, nuclear fuel must be burned up in a few generations of stars. At the end of their life cycle, gigantic stars explode and pollute outer space with their ‘ash.’ The polluted ashes and gases make up next generations of stars, which could contain carbon. One of such stars was the pivot of our planetary system and the human being was born on one of its planets, known as the Earth,” says cosmologist Fr. Prof. Michał Heller in his book Rozmowy o człowieku. Wywiady z ekspertami [Conversations about the human person. Interviews with experts].

The scholar by no means claims, however, that we entered the world “by chance.” As he points out, “Cosmological literature uses the term fine tuning in reference to the subtle ‘resonance’ between us and the Universe. If thespeed of the Big Bang had been only slightly different, life would not have emerged. A deviation from the velocity of the Big Bang of the order of a mere 10(-55) (one divided by one, followed by 55 zeros) would have prevented us from coming to life. If the weak nuclear bonds were slightly stronger than they actually are, all the hydrogen would have been incinerated in the Big Bang and would have changed into helium. This would have put an end to a further chemical evolution. If, in turn, if the weak nuclear bonds were slightly weaker than they actually are, neutrons would have been unable to disintegrate into protons, which would have destroyed the resources of original hydrogen and would have blocked chemical evolution,” explains Fr. Heller.

Contemporary cosmological and astrophysical theories indicate that in order for stars to be “polluted” by an adequate amount of carbon indispensable for the emergence of life in the expanding Universe, we need a time period of 1040 natural time units (a natural time unit is a period of time when light covers the distance of the nuclear core diameter). Prior to that date we were unable to come to life as there was not enough carbon material. Life after this date will not be possible, either, since the stars will burn up their nuclear fuel resources and will not be able to supply the heat indispensable for life.

In the history of the Universe there is only a relatively narrow period of time where life can develop. All of this looks like by some strange confluence of physical parameters we managed to stand a pin on its point. Yet we do exist and develop, which means that the pin continues to stand on its sharp end.

This article was translated from the Polish

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
2
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
3
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
4
SEARCHNG PURSE
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things every Catholic woman should have in her purse
5
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
6
Jacques Fesch
Brother Silas Henderson, SDS
Meet the Death Row prisoner who discovered a ...
7
CELEBRITY MARRIAGES
Cerith Gardiner
10 Celebrities whose marriages have stood the test of time
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.