Fine-Tuning of Initial Conditions to Support Life

This is the sixth blog in my series on fine-tuning. Here are the previous blogs if you missed them:

Intro/Philosophical Background

If You Don’t Want God, You Better Have a Multiverse!

How Does Fine-Tuning Provide Evidence for God?

Objections

Mistaken Objections that Seek to Trivialize Fine-Tuning

Important Objections in the Fine-Tuning Debate

But We Can’t Even Define Life

We’re finally ready to start exploring the fine-tuning data itself. A logical starting point is the initial conditions of our universe – are those which permit life rare among possibilities?

1)      Energy-Density is Finely-Tuned

The amount of matter (or more precisely energy density) in our universe at the Big Bang turns out to be finely-tuned to about 1 part in 1055. In other words, to get a life-permitting universe the amount of mass would have to be set to a precision of 55 decimal places. This fine-tuning arises because of the sensitivity to the initial conditions of the universe – the life-permitting density now is certainly much more flexible! If the initial energy density would have been slightly larger, gravity would have quickly slowed the expansion and then caused the universe to collapse too quickly for life to form. Conversely if the density were a tad smaller, the universe would have expanded too quickly for galaxies, stars, or planets to form. I argued in my previous blog that it’s implausible to expect life to originate without a long-lived, stable energy source such as a star. Thus, life would not be possible unless the density were just right – if you added or subtracted even just your own mass[1] to that of the universe this would have been catastrophic!

There is, however, a potential dynamical solution to this problem based on a rapid early expansion of the universe known as cosmic inflation. In this blog, I’ll be relying primarily on the most comprehensive review article on fine-tuning in the peer-reviewed literature – this one by Luke Barnes. I’ve referenced it previously and I’m hoping if I reference it enough I’ll get tech-savvy readers to check it out! It may be too technical for some readers and my blog can be viewed as just an attempt at explaining some highlights to non-physicists and tying it into my metaphysical hypothesis that God is the best explanation of the fine-tuning. So let’s look at what Luke Barnes has to say about inflation as a solution to the energy density problem. He points out 6 aspects of inflation that would have to be properly setup, some of which turn out to require fine-tuning. One significant aspect is that the inflation must last for the proper amount of time – inflation is posited to have been an extremely brief but hyper-fast expansion of the early universe. If inflation had lasted a fraction of a nanosecond longer, the entire universe would have been merely a thin hydrogen soup, unsuitable for life. Barnes cites an article by Max Tegmark of MIT that indicates that in a best case scenario about 1 in 1000 inflationary universes would avoid lasting too long. The biggest issue though seems to be that for inflation to start, it needs a very special/rare state of an extremely smooth energy density. Several articles make this point – consider Sean Carroll’s article:

“It is therefore a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for inflation to occur that perturbations be small at early times. . . . the fraction of realistic cosmologies that are eligible for inflation is therefore … 10-66,000,000.”

Barnes also explains why, even if inflation solves this fine-tuning problem, one should not expect new physics discoveries to do away with other cases of fine-tuning: “Inflation thus represents a very special case… This is not true of the vast majority of fine-tuning cases. There is no known physical scale waiting in the life-permitting range of the quark masses, fundamental force strengths or the dimensionality of spacetime. There can be no inflation-like dynamical solution to these fine-tuning problems because dynamical processes are blind to the requirements of intelligent life. What if, unbeknownst to us, there was such a fundamental parameter? It would need to fall into the life-permitting range. As such, we would be solving a fine-tuning problem by creating at least one more. And we would also need to posit a physical process able to dynamically drive the value of the quantity in our universe toward the new physical parameter.”

2)      Initial Conditions in a Very Low Entropy State

Even if inflation somehow could solve the energy density problem and scientists are mistaken that inflation requires its own fine-tuning, inflation doesn’t solve the problem with this next type of fine-tuning which relates to the universe’s initial entropy. What is entropy? Entropy represents the amount of disorder in a system. Thus, a high entropy state is highly disordered – think of a messy teenager’s room. Our universe began in an incredibly low entropy state. A more precision definition of entropy is that it represents the number of microscopic states that are macroscopically indistinguishable. An egg has higher entropy once broken because you’re “opening” up many more ways to arrange the molecules. There are more ways of arranging molecules that would still be deemed an omelet than there are ways to arrange the particles in an unbroken egg in where certain molecules are confined to subsets of the space in the egg – such as a membrane or the yolk. Entropy is thus closely associated with probability. If one is randomly arranging molecules, it’s much more likely to choose a high entropy state than a low entropy state. Randomly arranged molecules in an egg would much more likely look like an omelet that an unbroken egg.

Entropy can also be thought of as the amount of usable energy. Over time the usable energy decreases. This principle is known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that in a closed system the entropy on average increases until a state of equilibrium is reached. Thus, the Second Law predicts that our universe will eventually reach such a state of equilibrium or “heat death” in which nothing interesting happens. All life will die off long before such a state is reached. Life relies on usable energy from the environment.

It turns out that nearly all arrangements of particles in the early universe would have resulted in a lifeless universe of black holes. Tiny inconsistences in the particle arrangements would be acted on by gravity to grow in size. A positive feedback results since the clumps of particles have an even greater gravitational force on nearby particles. Penrose’s analysis shows that in the incredibly dense early universe, most arrangements of particles would have resulted basically in nothing but black holes. Life certainly can’t exist in such a universe because there would be no way to have self-replicating information systems. Possibly the brightest objects in the universe are quasars, which release radiation as bright as some galaxies due to matter falling into a supermassive black hole. The rotation rates near black holes and the extremely high-energy photons would disrupt information storage, a prerequisite for life[2].

Artist's impression of a stellar-mass black hole.Artist’s conception of a black hole. Credit: European Space Agency, NASA, and Felix Mirabel (the French Atomic Energy Commission & the Institute for Astronomy and Space Physics/Conicet of Argentina)

Oxford physicist Roger Penrose is the first scientist to quantify the fine-tuning necessary to have a low entropy universe to avoid such catastrophes. “In order to produce a universe resembling the one in which we live, the Creator would have to aim for an absurdly tiny volume of the phase space of possible universes, about 1/1010123 [3].” This number is incomprehensibly small – it represents 1 chance in 10 to the power of (10 to the power of 123). Writing this number in ordinal notational would require more zeroes than the number of subatomic particles in the observable universe, 10123 zeroes vs. about 1092 particles. Under the assumption of atheism, the particles in our universe would have been arranged randomly or at least not with respect to future implications for intelligent life. Nearly all such arrangements would not have been life-permitting so this fine-tuning evidence favors theism over atheism. We have a large but finite number of possible original states and rely on well-established statistical mechanics to assess the relevant probability.[4]

In a comment on one of in my earlier blogs, someone suggested that perhaps the universe is fine-tuned for black holes rather than life. The incredibly low entropy state of the initial conditions shows, however, that the exact opposite is true – fine-tuning was required to avoid excessive black holes! This fact about the initial conditions also calls into question Smolin’s proposed scenario that universes with differing physical constants might be birthed out of black holes. Smolin suggests the possibility of an almost Darwinian concept in which universes that produce more black holes therefore more baby universes than those which don’t. But if our universe requires statistically miraculous initial conditions to be life-permitting by avoiding excessive black holes, universes evolving to maximize black hole production would be unlikely to lead to life! (Even if the evolution of universes were possible)

Furthermore, the skeptic who thinks that black holes suggest a purposeless universe should consider that black holes can, in moderation and kept at distance, be helpful for life. While a universe comprised of mostly black holes would be life-prohibiting, having a large black hole at the center of a galaxy is actually quite helpful for life. Here is a Scientific American article that documents the benefits of Black Holes for life – it summarizes: “the matter-eating beast at the center of the Milky Way may actually account for Earth’s existence and habitability.”

Does inflation explain the low entropy of the early universe?

Here is how Sean Carroll answers this question: “Not by itself, no. To get inflation to start requires even lower-entropy initial conditions than those implied by the conventional Big Bang model. Inflation just makes the problem harder[5].” Penrose also has harsh words for inflation as an explanation of the low entropy state of the initial universe[6].

Barnes calls inflation a “cane toad solution” for the entropy fine-tuning. Cane toads were brought into Australia from Hawaii starting in 1935 to eat beetles threatening the sugarcane fields. With no natural predators in Australia this strategy was disastrous as these poisonous toads multiplied greatly and wreaked havoc on native species and the ecosystem in general. Thus, Barnes is saying that inflation makes this fine-tuning problem worse. None of this is to say that some version of inflationary theory isn’t true just that it doesn’t help this fine-tuning issue.

How well could a multiverse explain this evidence?

This is a key question to consider as we explore the fine-tuning evidence. If some features seem overly fine-tuned, this would be unexpected if our universe was simply a life-permitting universe randomly selected from a vast ensemble of other universes with other constants or initial conditions. A multiverse explanation for the fine-tuning of the low entropy fails miserably because this universe does seem to be finely-tuned much more than would be minimally necessary. As Penrose says: “We can get the solar system and all inhabitants for much less odds: 1 in 101060 .. These world ensemble hypotheses are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe.” In other words, Penrose argues that it would be more likely to just have the particles arranged in initial conditions such that you already have pre-formed intelligent life in a single solar system than to have such a large universe as ours in a low-entropy state that could eventually lead to intelligent life.

Even atheist Sean Carroll admits[7] that a multiverse explanation fails for this fine-tuning. First, he agrees with the widely-accepted principle I referenced above: “anthropically-selected parameters should be of the same order of magnitude as the largest value compatible with the existence of life.” He then explicitly agrees that the multiverse cannot by itself explain this particular fine-tuning and quotes Penrose’s numbers. “An example of fine‐tuning well beyond anthropic constraints is the initial state of the universe, often characterized in terms of its extremely low entropy… The entropy didn’t need to be nearly that low in order for life to come into existence. One way of thinking about this is to note that we certainly don’t need a hundred billion other galaxies in the universe in order for life to arise here on Earth; our single galaxy would have been fine, or for that matter a single solar system.” As an atheist he doesn’t view this as an insuperable problem, holding out hope that new physics could somehow explain this low entropy. Carroll indicates that he can’t think of any reason why God would fine-tune the universe more than is necessary, apparently not giving thought to the possibility that God might want to leave evidence that He setup the physics of the universe – evidence of the type that even an infinite multiverse cannot plausibly explain!

Is this evidence for God?

Even if this evidence points to design, why think that God is necessarily the designer?

If this is your perspective, please help remove the stigma on intelligent design so this type of evidence can be fairly evaluated. Also, note that this perspective affirms the claim of leading Intelligent Design advocates that design by itself does not necessarily prove God.

For this particular design evidence, however, I argue that we have reasons for thinking that only a supernatural being could setup these initial conditions in this way. Is it in principle physically possible for a being limited by the laws of physics to setup the initial conditions of our Big Bang? The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle limits our ability to even have knowledge of both position and momentum of particles beyond a certain scale – and it’s even more challenging to think about how so many particles might have their locations and velocities adjusted. The early universe would have been so small that the limits imposed by this physical principle would seem to prevent any physically-limited agent from making the necessary adjustments to the particles or even having knowledge to determine necessary adjustments. Moreover, even those who advocate a naturalistic cause to the Big Bang often admit that the Big Bang represents a spacetime boundary. Many theorists consider our universe to be a causally disconnected region of spacetime – which would make it impossible for a physically limited being residing in a different physical region from affecting anything in this new region of spacetime.
Thus, a supernatural designer seems more plausible than a natural designer. Also, if fine-tuning is required to bring about intelligent life, how did the first natural designers arise?

Does God Have to be Fine-tuned?

To me this seems like asking: “does an uncreated being depend on rare events or rare settings of physical parameters for His existence?” By definition God doesn’t rely on anything for his existence – this is the concept of a necessary being. If the concept of a necessary being seems implausible, I warn you that you might already believe premises that by the rules of logic would entail the existence of a necessary being. I invite you to explore that possibility in this online quiz.


[1] The universe is estimated to contain at least 10^80 atoms – here is one estimate of 10^53 kg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe Anyone old enough to read this blog must weigh at least say 10 kg so this seems to be a safe estimate even after accounting for other forms of matter energy not included in the above mass.

[2] Refer to my previous blog for further justification: http://crossexamined.org/cant-even-define-life/

[3] Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind, p. 343. He also makes the same argument in Road to Reality on p. 730.

[4] In addition, the entropy equation for a black hole, first developed by Bekenstein and Hawking, is involved in these computations. This equation is widely accepted by the physics community and I’ve read articles by those who believe in string theory and those who believe in loop quantum gravity arguing for their theories by pointing to how they can derive this same equation in their flavor of quantum gravity.

[5] Sean Carroll, http://preposterousuniverse.com/eternitytohere/faq.html

[6] Penrose says in Road to Reality, p. 755: “Indeed, it is fundamentally misconceived to explain why the universe is special in any particular respect by appealing to a thermalization process [such as inflation]. For, if the thermalization is actually doing anything (such as making temperatures in different regions more equal than they were before), then it represents a definite increasing of entropy. Thus, the universe would have had to be more special before the thermalization than after. This only serves to increase whatever difficulty we might have had previously in trying to come to terms with the initial extraordinarily special nature of the universe. . . . invoking arguments from thermalization, to address this particular problem [of the specialness of the universe], is worse than useless!” A couple of pages later Penrose also writes that “the point is that whether or not we actually have inflation, the physical possibility of an inflationary period is of no use whatever in attempts to ensure that evolution from a generic singularity will lead to a uniform (or spatially flat) universe.”

[7] Carroll, Does the Universe Need God? The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity. A copy is available online at http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/dtung/.

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31 replies
  1. Fiseha says:

    Do you have any evidence that shows there was an intent to produce life as understood by humans?
    Can you properly rule out the possibility that life simply arose in under the conditions which existed?
    Is life as understood by the human specie the only possible form of life?

    Reply
    • Allen Hainline says:

      > Do you have any evidence that shows there was an intent to produce life as understood by humans?

      This blog series is devoted to that goal. I’m just now getting to the evidence portion after a fair amount of philosophical discussion to try to show that there are good reasons for thinking that that atheist philosopher Peter Millican of Oxford was right when he said “If there is an inexplicable coincidence in the fundamental constants of nature whose values have to be precisely-tuned within a wide range of otherwise available possibilities that would make a complex universe possible then this constitutes a phenomenon that very naturally invites explanation in terms of a cosmic scale designer.”. We have such evidence in spades so to speak and the data Millican asks for is largely uncontroversial in the physics literature. (although many reject the inference to design that Millican seems willing to concede if such data is there)

      > Can you properly rule out the possibility that life simply arose in under the conditions which existed?
      My flavor of the fine-tuning argument deals with how the physics must be set up before life of any kind arises. See my previous blog (http://crossexamined.org/cant-even-define-life/) for more details.

      > Is life as understood by the human specie the only possible form of life?
      Again see my previous blog for discussion of what I think you’re asking about here. John von Neumann’s work on the minimal features of any self-replicators is very helpful in ensuring that the physicists writing articles are not being too narrow-minded when they write that life couldn’t exist if there were no atoms or if the universe never cooled below 10,000K or there was only hydrogen in the universe (because it would be implausible to think information necessary for self-replicating systems could be stably stored and copied).

      Reply
  2. Robert says:

    Why would anything need to be fine tuned for life? God, if he can do anything, could have created us to live in the vacuum of space. What a silly argument! Earth, three, fourths of which was created for man… who has no gills. Hilarious!

    Reply
    • Allen Hainline says:

      Sorry for the delay in answering Robert – I’ve been pretty busy lately but have time today to catch up on things. Some of your comments imply you think that God should leave evidence – well the fine-tuning appears to be one of the ways he chose to do so. Depending on how good our God complex is we may have trouble necessarily knowing in a priori which types of evidence God would leave – I don’t think we’ll always get it right to just reason “if I were God I would do X.”

      The fine-tuning deals with a very general expectation that God would want to eventually have intelligent life residing in the universe. A narrow expectation that God should create us to breath underwater seems harder to substantiate. Why couldn’t have God wanted terrestrial creatures but setup a world with lots of water for other reasons? In fact there are very important benefits from living on a planet with an abundance of water – for example, water has an incredible effect of moderating temperatures; water leads to lots of evaporation and thus to lots of rain. Water is incredibly helpful for life in many ways.

      Reasoning from: if we found X it would imply Y; we haven’t found X therefore Y is false commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent. If you’re trying to reason that if we found that we could live in the vacuum of space, we’d know God exists but because we haven’t found that to be the case this means that God doesn’t exist – then you would be making this logical error.

      Reply
  3. Robert says:

    No answer. It figures. Make a bunch of ludicrous claims and then fail to answer the objections to them. Par for the course on a Christian blog.

    Reply
  4. Robert says:

    “The fine-tuning deals with a very general expectation that God would want to eventually have intelligent life residing in the universe.”

    > What for? So he could watch about 30,000 life forms suffer and die from starvation before they reach maturity each and every day? How does that fit into God’s plan may I ask? Not supposed to ask those kinds of questions are we? You know the kinds of questions you aren’t allowed to ask. Throw that stupid Bible in the trash and pick up a science book. Yikes!

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      Robert – this is an easy answer for Frank, since he just has to point to Adam & Eve getting kicked out of the graden of eden (which was the “easy life”), and the flood of Noah (which destroyed the “perfectly designed” world). These two events lead us to where we live today and why it is far from perfect.

      Reply
  5. Toby says:

    “The fine-tuning deals with a very general expectation that God would want to eventually have intelligent life residing in the universe. A narrow expectation that God should create us to breath underwater seems harder to substantiate.”

    This argument is an intelligent design argument. If we can imagine more efficient ways for natural processes to work then why do we not see them operating in those ways? Is efficiency not a great making quality of god? I really question an intelligently designed universe when I consider how much there is of it (the universe) and how little there is of us (life forms of any sort, intelligent or otherwise). Another big issue with me is that I assume you think like I do, that life is a rare and precious commodity in this universe because of it’s scarcity, but I wonder what kind of intelligent designer made us so that the only way we can live is by destroying other life. We could photosynthesize and live on nothing by water with trace minerals and air, but here we are devouring life everyday, plant and animal. I did like the small steak I had for lunch, but does this seem like something a creator that cares about his creation would do?

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      Toby – You are assuming there is no life other than what is here. Does the bible suggest this somewhere? As for the destroying life, in the original garden of eden design, the bible says there was no death. Everything ate plants alone, so God made plants for eating. It was not okay to eat animals until after the flood of Noah. He is certainly okay with killing and eating animals in this fallen world in which we live today. Biblically speaking, this is not the original design of the earth, so you can’t judge the design based on what you see today. I liken it to you pulling a “totalled” car from a wreck, and continuing to use it.

      Reply
  6. toby says:

    “You are assuming there is no life other than what is here.”

    Not in the slightest. My line ” (life forms of any sort, intelligent or otherwise)” was meant to be inclusive of the rest of the universe. Plants are among those living things (they would be under the “otherwise” part of my line). We have to eat living things in order to live. Destroy to survive even before the mythical flood or fall. ” We could photosynthesize and live on nothing by water with trace minerals and air, but here we are devouring life everyday, plant and animal.”

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      Understood. Even though we live in the aftermath of a catastrophe, it’s still pretty stable. Any food we “devour and destroy” ends up back in the earth, allowing life to re-cycle. Also note that it is biology labeling plants as “life”, not God. I’ve read the begining of Genesis a few times over, and never does it refer to plants as having “life”. It actually does not mention anything having “life” until creatures were created on day 5. So, in the perfect design, nothing was killed for food.

      Reply
  7. Luke says:

    Louie said:“Biblically speaking, this is not the original design of the earth, so you can’t judge the design based on what you see today.”

    So who is responsible for today’s design?

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      God is responsible for the flood, so he is responsible for what was left over from it. I don’t know that I’d call it a design. If you designed a house and it flooded, are you still responsible for the design of the flooded house?

      Reply
      • Toby says:

        How can anything be out of god’s control? You’ll say something about free will, but our free will has nothing to do with the changes in animal life and vegetation after a supposed flood.

        Reply
        • toby says:

          So if god “has a plan” as the average believer will say. Or it’s “part of god’s plan” how does that imply that anyone has free will? If he’s relying on you commiting X action in order for someone else to change their way of thinking then how can anyone be said to have free will? If he knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning, then how can anything be said to have happened freely? “Oh, he doesn’t have control over us because we’re free to choose.” BULL!

          Reply
          • Louie says:

            Toby – God existed before time, He created the mechanism that keeps time (the sun). So, does he know the begining from the end? Does he care? He does know all things before they happen, since he is outside of time.

          • Terry L. says:

            > If he’s relying on you commiting X action in order for someone else to change their way of thinking then how can anyone be said to have free will?

            Read the book of Esther. Mordecai told Esther that she should approach the king to stop the oncoming slaughter of the Jews. But he told her also that if she did not, then God WOULD find another who would stand in the gap… but she and her family would perish.

            God will accomplish his will for the planet in spite of us. He will not override our free will to accomplish his own will in our lives.

            If he wants someone to tell you about him, then he will find someone willing to do so. If that someone was me, and I refuse, then I lose the joy of sharing in Heaven’s work, and any potential rewards that obedience would have gathered. And God will find someone else will go in my place.

            Similarly, you don’t have to listen or respond. You can turn us off, you can drown us out, you can choose not to believe. God gives you the freedom to do so. But neither of us get to choose the consequences of our disobedience.

          • toby says:

            “God will accomplish his will for the planet in spite of us. ”

            Yes! Exactly. If god has a “plan” then nothing we do or do not do has an effect on that plan. It’s often said by William Lane Craig that without eternity then our lives our meaningless, but I ask you that if god has a plan, an end result, then how can any of our actions have any sort of meaning? If the end result is always known then the game is rigged. Everything is already decided. Your god knows. You can say we can choose this or that, but it ultimately has no meaning just as WLC says without eternity there is no meaning to existence.

        • Louie says:

          Toby – We have free will, I can do whatever I like but there will be reprocussions for my decisions. The free will of Adam and Eve to sin boots them out of the garden. After time, all men become corrupt except Noah, and God decides to destroy the earth with a flood. Now, the earth becomes less and less hospitable as the sun deteriorates the earth and all that is in it.

          Reply
          • Toby says:

            “God existed before time, He created the mechanism that keeps time (the sun). So, does he know the begining from the end? Does he care? He does know all things before they happen, since he is outside of time.”

            If you listen to Frank, who quotes Lewis, then god sees all the universe in all times at once. Time is not a product of the sun. Time is a product of measuring changes.If god is unchanging (as proposed by apologists, I believe Frank has said this) then I guess he could be timeless, but everything we know about causation is temporal. So how could a changeless thing do anything?

            “We have free will, I can do whatever I like but there will be reprocussions for my decisions.”

            At what point do we acquire free will? Where’s our will to reject the eating of a mythical fruit and be restored to whatever perfection means without having to go through a life of imperfection?

          • Terry L. says:

            >If god is unchanging (as proposed by apologists, I believe Frank has said this) then I guess he could be timeless…

            God is understood to be the creator of time itself. To think that a creator is dependent on his creation is absurd; so is it also absurd to think that the creation is not dependent on its creator.

            >So how could a changeless thing do anything?

            You’re assuming that the action changes the actor? Why would this be the case?

            >>Where’s our will to reject the eating of a mythical fruit and be restored to whatever perfection means…

            Toby, that’s what all of the Christians here have been trying to explain. God had the answer to your question in mind before the beginning of the universe. He says that “whosoever will” may be restored. By accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for your sins, you are rejecting the rebellion first demonstrated in the Garden.

            >without having to go through a life of imperfection?

            Well, you don’t get this as a perk in THIS life, but Christians have (typically) than a century to live in this imperfect world, in exchange for an eternity of perfection.

            Your question, when you really boil it down, is the same as the Phillipian Jailer asked Paul; “What must I do to be saved?”

            His answer? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

          • toby says:

            “God is understood to be the creator of time itself. To think that a creator is dependent on his creation is absurd;”

            Is it? Suppose we can reverse time. In a universe where time flows in the opposite direction thermodynamics works in reverse. We have whatever the fate of the universe is running in reverse. A wine glass goes from broken to unbroken and then from a solid glass to its constituent parts. Is not the creator of that glass causally linked to the glass? The glass causes him to act in such a way that it causes him to increase his blood pressure, cuss as the events unfold in what we would see as reverse order to a glass breaking?

            “You’re assuming that the action changes the actor? Why would this be the case?”

            YES! What do you ever do that this isn’t the case? Even if it’s something as little as making a memory in your brain no matter how transient!

            “By accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as payment for your sins, you are rejecting the rebellion first demonstrated in the Garden.”

            Yes, but if you don’t want to accept that because you had no part in his torture in death you can’t have the good ending, only the bad. You’re not free at all. you have two choices. Heaven or hell. the ultimate bad and the ultimate good. That’s not a choice. It’s coercion. On a side note, we have no idea what the ultimate good or bad is. How can anyone make an informed decision?

          • Louie says:

            Toby:
            I think you are making this too complicated. Jesus tells you what to do in order to be rewarded with heaven. It is your choice whether you do it or not. He does not expect perfection, but he does expect effort. Just because he knows what is in your heart, and the decision you will make, does not mean you don’t have that choice. I know my kids will mess up today when doing their chores. Does that mean they did not have a choice in messing up? No, it means they are not perfect, and I will forgive them when they mess up and rejoice in their effort to do their chores.

  8. Luke says:

    Louie,

    But when compared to the days of Eden, we now have things like cancer or Ebola. Things that have very specific genetic codes, not the kind of stuff which, we’re told, could come from anything but a mind.

    More simply, animals can’t just “change”, they need a very specific, complex code. Water or sin would need some mechanism to do that, or we’d need a designer.

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
    • Louie says:

      Okay. I wasn’t there at creation & I don’t know the purpose/cause of cancer nor do I know the purpose of ebola. It was perfect in the garden, once out of the garden, men were forced to work for themselves.

      Reply
        • Louie says:

          Judas hanged himself, and in the process of jumping/falling and hanging, his guts came out. It does not say that it happen at the same time, so perhaps his guts came out after he hanged for a while? It does not say specifically. That being said, one passage does not make the other incorrect. If one said he was hit by a bus or something & the other said hanging, that would certainly be an error.

          Reply
          • Toby says:

            Your guts do no fall out from hanging. Your head might come off, but your guts do not come tumbling out.

            And who bought the field he was in? Judas threw the money down in the temple in one book. In another it says he bought the field with his wickedly acquired lucre.

          • Louie says:

            Toby:
            I agree, it is certainly not something you see in the movies. If one were to hang himself though, and did so by jumping out of a tree. I don’t think the laws of physics render this “gutting” as an impossibility. If one were to climb up 20ft into the tree, jump and swing into a branch… or hang there for a day or two, bloat up a little & then fall out, its all speculation. All I know is what it reads, and that one statement does not contradict the other, just more or less detail. You are correct, he could not personally have purchased the field. They just used the silver he threw at them to purchase it. Kind of like Obama killing bin laden, I don’t think he was actually there, but people like to say he did it.

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