The Goldilocks paradox

Our earth resides in the Goldilocks Zone, the region that is just right for life. This habitable zone is neither too far from, nor too close to, the sun. The earth is neither too big nor too small. The atmosphere contains just the right mixture of ingredients. The ratio of water to land is just right. It is undeniable that out of numberless possibilities, our planet has the perfect conditions for life.

To atheists, this principle presents a paradox. How can the earth be so perfectly fine-tuned for life by accident?

Michio Kaku, a brilliant and well-known theoretical physicist, writes that our planet being just right for life is not the only difficulty for atheists. The universe is also finely tuned for life. According to Kaku, “It turns out that the fundamental parameters of the universe appear to be perfectly ‘fine-tuned.'”

To Kaku, and other world-renowned scientists, the answer to the earth’s fine-tuning is other planets that might also reside in this Goldilocks Zone somewhere in our vast universe. The answer to the universe being just right for life is multiple parallel universes. These contrived explanations fail to address the origins of this fine-tuned universe, and fail to demonstrate why the earth is perfectly suited for life.

To Christians, the answer to the fine-tuning of the earth and the universe is the simple, parsimonious explanation of a Creator. “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4 ESV). Just as every house has a builder, and every watch has a maker, this just right world inside this just right universe has a Creator.

Kaku dismisses God as “unnecessary” and attributes our place here to “luck.” But luck has no power to produce, no discernment for design.

The Bible declares what should be clear to anyone, the universe proclaims God, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1; cf. Romans 1:20). Not only did God create this planet and the heavenly bodies, but he made earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). It is, as it seems, we were made to live on the earth, and the earth was created for us.

The Goldilocks Principle becomes a paradox to those who reject God. But for those who see that this design calls for a Designer, this just-right world makes perfect sense.

5 Replies to “The Goldilocks paradox”

  1. Michio Kaku is trying to explain why the “Goldilocks Zone” is not a difficulty at all, yet you still try to force a “paradox” where there is none. Please be more considerate when evaluating the views of scientists.

    1. Roger, thank you for the comment. It was certainly not my intention to misrepresent Mr. Kaku, and I don’t believe I did. After reading your critique, I reread Mr. Kaku’s article. In it, he describes the difficulties of the earth and universe as a “paradox.” He says, “But now, cosmologists are facing this paradox again, but from a cosmic perspective.” I did not attempt to “force a ‘paradox’ where there is none.” He argues there is one. A paradox is, by definition, not necessarily unsolvable. Furthermore, I presented Kaku’s explanation for both the earth and universe. Kaku writes:

      Today, astronomers have identified over 500 planets orbiting other stars, and they are all too close or too far from their mother star. Most of them, we think, cannot support life as we know it. So it is unnecessary to invoke God.

      And again:

      In the same way that astronomers have discovered over 500 (dead) solar systems, perhaps there are billions of parallel universes, most of them unsuitable for life. Our universe is special, only in the sense that it makes life possible for human beings who can contemplate this question. In many of these other universes, there is no intelligent life to ask this question. In these parallel universes, the nuclear force, the gravitational force, etc. are either too strong or too weak to allow for life. So it is a matter of luck that we happen to live in a universe compatible with life.

      His argument that there are 500 planets that are inhospitable to life, therefore God is not necessary is poor logic, it simply does not follow. Even if there were a trillion planets, hospitable or no, that would not necessitate a conclusion that there is no God. I see the same problem with his multiple universe explanation.

      I enjoy Mr. Kaku. I have heard him speak on a number of subjects. He is always engaging and has the special skill of making the complex easier to understand. But his explanations here leave much to be desired. As this site is intended for uplifting and thought provoking spiritual discussion presented in short articles, it was not my intention to offer an in-depth treatment of Mr. Kaku’s arguments, and so I left that assessment to the reader. Your critique deserved a response, and I hope that this comment will serve as an addendum.

      Thank you for reading.

  2. Your argument for a Creator begs the question that if God made everything, then who or what made God, and where did he exist prior to His creation of the Universe? I appreciate that this is not a novel question; however I have never heard it answered adequately by a creationist.

    1. Hi, Adrian, thank you for reading and taking the time to respond. I don’t believe that my argument is guilty of question begging..

      To the substance of your comment, I would reply simply: God is, as Aquinas argues, the uncaused cause.

      The house is contingent upon a builder for its existence, a house cannot create itself. Humans are contingent upon others for their existence, our existence must be explained outside of ourselves. The universe is contingent upon something for its existence, matter is not eternal. God is the non-contingent being. Houses are finite, we are finite, the universe is finite. God is infinite.

      In Graceful Reason, Dick Sztanyo advances a cosmological argument for God (pp. 114-119). Considering this comment is already long, I will dispense with the explanation and just present the bones of his argument. 1. A contingent being exists; 2. This contingent being depends on something else for its existence; 3. That which causes (explains) the existence of a (or any) contingent being must be either (1) another contingent being, or (2) a non-contingent being; 4. That which causes (explains) the existence of a (or any) contingent being is either (3) a infinite series of contingent beings (either a transitive or an intransitive series), or (2) a non-contingent being; 5. It is false that that which causes the existence of a (or any) contingent being is an infinite series of contingent beings (either a transitive or intransitive series); 6. Therefore, that which causes (explains) the existence of a (or any) contingent being is a non-contingent being.

      This argument is advanced and defended sufficiently to warrant the conclusion that a non-contingent being (God), is responsible for the existence of all contingent reality. And, in point of fact, the conclusion is inescapable that such a being (God) must exist.

      You ask where did God exist prior to the creation of the universe. Since God is the non-contingent being, he existed (and continues to exist) outside of the known universe. His existence does not depend upon the existence of the universe.

      I hope that this has helped. Thank you for reading. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to buy Dick Sztanyo’s book, Graceful Reason (here: -or- here: I count Dick as a friend and a mentor.

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