Big and little things

I can see why astrophysicist enjoy their career. All things considered this video I saw this morning is probably pretty measly considering all the amazing aspects of the cosmos, but I still found myself caught in wonder. My math is pretty miserable but can you imagine the gravitational force of something a billion times bigger than our sun. I remember this computer animated exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago that allowed you to try and set just our 9 planets in orbit around our Sun. You needed to set correct orbital shape, distance, speed and maybe a couple other variables. It was impossible. If you were even a tiny bit off, the planet gets sucked right into the sun or drifts away, both scenerios are not so good for sustaining life. Which then took my mind back to some statistics about the probability of our universe existing. I mean literally existing. Taking the physical variables into account, what is the likelihood of a universe which sustains life coming into existence by coincidence? One in billions of billions? Or trillions of trillions of trillions? Or more?

Roger Penrose, a famous British mathematician and a close friend of Stephen Hawking, wondered about this question and tried to calculate the probability. Including what he considered to be all variables required for human beings to exist and live on a planet such as ours, he computed the probability of this environment occurring among all the possible results of the Big Bang.

According to Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence were on the order of 1010123 to 1.

It is hard even to imagine what this number means. In math, the value 10123 means 1 followed by 123 zeros. (This is, by the way, more than the total number of atoms 1078 believed to exist in the whole universe.) But Penrose’s answer is vastly more than this: It requires 1 followed by 10123 zeros.

Roger Penrose: ” This number tells us how precise the Creators’s aim must have been.” Or consider: 13 means 1,000, a thousand. 10103 is a number that has 1 followed by 1000 zeros. There is not even a name for a number that has 1 followed by 10123 zeros. In practical terms, in mathematics, a probability of 1 in 1050 means “zero probability”. Penrose’s number is more than trillion trillion trillion times less than that. In short, Penrose’s number tells us that the “accidental” or “coincidental” creation of our universe is an impossibility.

Thats how amazing our God is. He created the cosmos, in all it splendor, unlikeliness. With a word from his mouth it was there.

5 minutes later I’m rocking my little baby to sleep. And I’m sitting there staring at his adorable little face. He’s so tiny, and those cheeks are perfect. And again, my mind wanders to the fact that the same God who created the cosmos has knit together and cares for and loves this tiny little thing in my hands. Not only do we believe he loves this little ball of cute, but that he and we are the center, focal point, purpose for the creation of it all. Not the object that is 500 billion times bigger than our sun, but the fragile little 12lb cutie in my lap.

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