Saturday, February 29, 2020

Books - there are too many of them!

Soloman and I are one on this.

I was looking over some lists I'd filed of top 100 books: Australian, Novels, Non-fiction. Some great books in all lists and I was pleased to see that I'd read a number of them (and as far as I remember, I was pleased with the books that I had read.)

But what about theology, Christian books?

A quick look took me to Frank Viola's lists. Like him, I don't agree with everything on them, but they are not bad as far as lists go. Again, I've read some of the books on each list.

The only limit is they are all recent books. Nothing from before the 20th Century, yet there is some great, important and stimulating theology back then.

If I would remove any book from Frank's list of theology, I'd knock out Barth. Waste of time, space, and bookshelf, in my view.

Top 100 general Christian -- too much Watchman Nee, too little Francis Schaeffer. In fact, I'd swap the two in the list.

Top 100 theology.

Two books not mentioned on either list, but very important.
  1. Tactics, by Greg Koukl, and 
  2. The Story of Reality by the same feller. Its also related in his Credo talk.
Greg's Credo talk presents a great summary of reality:

I like this a little better than the 7 Cs: creation, crisis, confusion, covenant, Christ, cross, consummation, mainly because it can be run on the five fingers (of either hand). One is a bit stuck with 7, although 7 is the number of perfection in the Bible, so its good on that count.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Memories of Minnesota

Greg Koukl recently did a podcast on his experience with Francis Schaeffer.

I sent him this note:

Dear Greg,
I loved your podcast on Schaeffer. At the time you met FS, I was reading him. In fact, I was reading him at the same time I was reading Jaspers and Heidegger. I dismissed FS as a 'populariser'. It took me but a short time to learn that I was the dummy and he was the smartie (if nothing else a dummy for wasting my time on J and H). I came into the orbit of L'Abri here in Australia and met my wife there. Prior to our wedding, she spent some time at Heumoz.

Later we visited L'Abri in Rochester Minnesota. I have a memento from that visit. As you know, we all do some work at L'Abri. One of my jobs was to mow Mrs Schaeffer's lawns. Doing that I picked up an old keyring from the 1992 Superbowl, lying in the grass on the sidewalk. Nice memories. And ironically I have no interest in sport whatsoever!

I'm part way through your Youtube video on the problem of evil: the 'problem of no-love'.

One of the things I've puzzled about is why God chose to make us morally significant. The reason is of course to enable true relationships.

But why? I think the reason is for our enjoyment of him...for OUR enjoyment!! Nothing is better than to truly know God, and it is a far better thing for even a few of us to know him than no one knowing him at all.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The 'problem of evil'?

Many atheists will trot out this as the 'killer' blow against Christian theism.

It's not. It's the killer blow against atheism. It's their problem, not my problem!

The typical statement is:

"There's so much evil in the world, I can't believe in/there is no God"

The quick answer: "what's evil?"

[some descriptive answer]

So, you don't like it, but there's no external standard that you can apply...

[some objection]

Without an external moral standard, the definition of 'evil' amounts to mere personal preference. So all you've said is you don't like some things that happen. So what!

And even if you think this is a fatal flaw in Christianity, you still must be able to detect still must be able to say and conceive of things that 'aren't right' by some external standard. Even to start this conversation, you have to adopt a Christian world view. So, this is your problem, a problem for atheism, not for Christianity.

OTOH, I know that there's 'too much' evil in the world, it is evil because it is inconsistent with the God who is love and made us for relationship with him. There's evil because we are evil! So what are you doing about it your bit of evil? Its action, thought, belief that's missing God.

Why did God allow this to happen?

Because he made us with the ability to make real moral choices, because we are made like him in a way: our thoughts, words, and actions have real significance. They are not random chemical accidents!

Greg Koukl has a couple of great lectures on this: the new atheists, and the problem of evil.

[He made us for relationship with him, so we would enjoy him for ever, but to do this, we had to have true knowledge which meant the freedom to reject that knowledge; a problem? He's solved the problem through Christ bringing us to relationship with God; we've only got to reverse our separation from God and turn to him.]

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

I wish I'd been told!

When I became a Christian...' officially' (I'd not ever considered myself other than a Christian), I was urged to tell my friends, tell others about Christ, my faith, the gospel, salvation...a truckload of stuff.

It must have been assumed that good theology, would drip like honey from my lips. It didn't I stumbled around with trepidation, and eventually reluctance to 'share my faith'.

No one told me how, showed me how, encouraged my the right way (by getting along-side), so I was stranded, alone and often ashamed at my attempts.


But there are only a few things you need to know.

One of them is you don't need to make converts, make disciples. What we do is move people in that direction, because it takes lots of little nudges for most people to turn to Christ.

Here's a way to think about it. And an approach that respects others and yourself. And how to be effective with your faith.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

4 big questions from young people

A few years ago Ruth Lukabyo published an article about the questions young people have.

The four biggest questions were:
  1. How can I know that God exists?
  2. How could a good God send people to hell?
  3. How can I believe in a good God when there is so much suffering?
  4. Doesn’t evolution prove that God doesn’t exist?
Let's give the answers a whirl. But first, is it not amazing that the church has so poorly told its story, its message, so poorly that young people remain unknowledgeable about these questions?

A comprehensive understanding of the 'story of reality' would answer them all.


1 - that anything that started to exist requires a cause sufficient to its nature. Reality is fundamentally amenable to mind. We have minds. Therefore mind necessarily stands behind it all.

2 - people who reject God vote to go to hell themselves. They don't seek a relationship with God, their heavenly creator,  and despite their own insight into their failings, they maintain rejection of him.

3 - God made a very good creation. When Man turned from God, it pushed God back from fellowship and sought its own way. The creation could not be partly alienated from God and partly not, so it is corrupted in its entirety. People make foolish, selfish and uninformed decisions of convenience. Thus suffering: living in a state of creator-rejection.

4 - No. Evolution is an attempt to explain life by purely random chemical interactions, but it does not. Not on its own premises and not in terms of our creator who created in terms of our world's nature, categories and experiential configuration.  That is, he created as he said (Exodus 31: 12-17). He didn't use means incongruent with how he created us in a world fit for our fellowship with him.

Monday, February 24, 2020

No experience necessary

One of Craig's 5 reasons from

One of a series following this post.

God can be immediately known and experienced.

This isn't really an argument for God's existence; rather it's the claim that you can know God exists wholly apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing him. This was the way people in the Bible knew God, as professor John Hick explains:
God was known to them as a dynamic will interacting with their own wills, a sheer given reality, as inescapably to be reckoned with as destructive storm and life-giving sunshine . . . They did not think of God as an inferred entity but as an experienced reality. To them God was not . . . an idea adopted by the mind, but an experiential reality which gave significance to their lives. [16]
Philosophers call beliefs like this "properly basic beliefs." They aren't based on some other beliefs; rather they are part of the foundation of a person's system of beliefs.
Other properly basic beliefs would be the belief in the reality of the past, the existence of the external world, and the presence of other minds like your own.
When you think about it, none of these beliefs can be proved. How could you prove that the world was not created five minutes ago with built-in appearances of age like food in our stomachs from the breakfasts we never really ate and memory traces in our brains of events we never really experienced?
How could you prove that you are not a brain in a vat of chemicals being stimulated with electrodes by some mad scientist to believe that you are here listening to this lecture? How could you prove that other people are not really androids who exhibit all the external behavior of persons with minds, when in reality they are soulless, robot-like entities?
Although these sorts of beliefs are basic for us, that doesn't mean that they're arbitrary. Rather they are grounded in the sense that they're formed in the context of certain experiences. In the experiential context of seeing and feeling and hearing things, I naturally form the belief that there are certain physical objects which I am sensing.
Thus, my basic beliefs are not arbitrary, but appropriately grounded in experience. There may be no way to prove such beliefs, and yet it is perfectly rational to hold them. You'd have to be crazy to think that the world was created five minutes ago or to believe that you are a brain in a vat! Such beliefs are thus not merely basic, but properly basic.
In the same way, belief in God is for those who seek Him a properly basic belief grounded in our experience of God.
We can summarize this consideration as follows:
  1. Beliefs which are appropriately grounded may be rationally accepted as basic beliefs not grounded on argument.
  2. Belief that the biblical God exists is appropriately grounded.
  3. Therefore, belief that the biblical God exists may be rationally accepted as a basic belief not grounded on argument.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Manse/Rectory floor plan

My first foray into house design on this blog!

We had a meeting at the minister's family home today. The building is provided by the church, and the minister was happy to have a home environment for our meeting, but I wondered about his family's privacy and convenience.

Here's what every clergy home needs:

1. a guest toilet. At least an ambulant toilet, but ideally one designed for a person using a wheelchair that is near the front door and has a discreet entry way.

2. a meeting room. We met in our minister's lounge room. A private room for his family. So, we need to provide for his home a meeting room, able to hold about a dozen people in a domestic style setting (a couple of sofas and half a dozen easy chairs). The room should have a largish screen for showing DVDs etc and a whiteboard that fits in with the domestic theme. This room should also be easily accessible from the front door. It might even have a separate entrance from the outside. It also needs to be convenient to the kitchen for refreshments service.

3. Naturally it may need a study if one is not provided on the church premises. A roomy one with ample shelving.

A quick sketch of an example:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Dealing with origins

A few good posts on origins, evolution and morality.

They touch on some good points, but one thing missing to my mind is comments on the philosophical aspect of creation: that it sets the scene ontologically; the ontology that flows from evolution is utterly different with the primacy of purposeless materialism. The ontology of creation starts with the primacy of the creator: personhood, relations, love and purposeful will are basic to reality.

Thus the importance of the whole Christian story of reality: God, man, Yeshua, crucifixion, resurrection.

Drifting toward Darwin: on theistic evolution

God, evolution and morality 1 and 2

On the very popular, but so meaningless it is not even wrong, theistic-evolution.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Do you mean 'Yeshua'?

One of Craig's 5 reasons from

One of a series following this post.

God makes sense of the historical facts concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The historical person Jesus of Nazareth was a remarkable individual.
New Testament critics have reached something of a consensus that the historical Jesus came on the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in God's place.
That's why the Jewish leadership instigated his crucifixion for the charge of blasphemy. He claimed that in himself the Kingdom of God had come, and as visible demonstrations of this fact he carried out a ministry of miracles and exorcisms. But the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead.
If Jesus did rise from the dead, then it would seem that we have a divine miracle on our hands and, thus, evidence for the existence of God.
Now most people would probably think that the resurrection of Jesus is something you just accept on faith or not. But there are actually three established facts, recognized by the majority of New Testament historians today, which I believe are best explained by the resurrection of Jesus: His empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances and the origin of the disciples' belief in his resurrection. Let's look briefly at each one of these.
Fact #1:
Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers on Sunday morning. According to Jacob Kremer, an Austrian scholar who has specialized in the study of the resurrection, "by far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb." [12] According to D. H. Van Daalen, it is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions.
Fact #2:
On separate occasions different individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. According to Gerd L¸demann, a prominent German New Testament critic, "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ." [13] These appearances were witnessed not only by believers, but also by unbelievers, skeptics, and even enemies.
Fact #3:
The original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary. Think of the situation the disciples faced following Jesus' crucifixion:
1. Their leader was dead, and Jewish Messianic expectations included no idea of a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel's enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal.
2. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone's rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.
Nevertheless, the original disciples suddenly came to believe so strongly that God had raised Jesus from the dead that they were willing to die for the truth of that belief. Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, states, "Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was." [14] N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, "That is why, as an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him." [15]
Attempts to explain away these three great facts—like the disciples stole the body or Jesus wasn't really dead—have been universally rejected by contemporary scholarship.
The simple fact is that there just is no plausible, naturalistic explanation of these facts.
Therefore, it seems to me, the Christian is amply justified in believing that Jesus rose from the dead and was who he claimed to be. But that entails that God exists.
We can summarize this argument as follows:
  1. There are three established facts concerning the fate of Jesus of Nazareth: the discovery of his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of his disciples' belief in his resurrection.
  2. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these facts.
  3. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" entails that the God revealed by Jesus of Nazareth exists.
  4. Therefore, the God revealed by Jesus of Nazareth exists.

Monday, February 17, 2020

There's no evidence for God!

You might have heard this...usually uttered by the village atheist (that is, not a smartie, but a smart-aleck). This person doesn't think they have to give a reason for their atheism. In fact, they think that no reason is necessary, because they don't feel compelled by evidence to adopt it; rather, they claim that there's no evidence to move them from it. They claim that their view is the 'natural' state of mind.

But it's not.

Here's how to handle it:
  • "What evidence would lead you to reject your atheism?"
  • "Is your atheism reasonable in the light of the millions of people who disagree with you?"
  • "Does this mean that you can't argue for your view?" If so, "That means you don't really have a view, just a prejudice."
  •  "What do you mean, 'God'?" [then 'and what do you mean 'evidence'?]

They might say, God is right for you atheism is right for me: "If its right for you why are you telling me about it?"

You could say:

"Do you know all the evidence that there is, and of that which evidence would make theism reasonable, and you've exhausted the universe, history, and human thought, and can't find any? That's pretty good for a finite contingent being of few years and moderate intelligence. What else do you judge that way?"

They might claim that 'science' has disproved God...ah, so there is a reason for your atheism. Which bit of science? They will, of course, mean evolution:

"Now, that's a bit clearer, so help me understand, what caused the big bang, and how did life, genetic information and random processes produce the biosphere in such a short time...yep, 13 billion years is a very short time for that  sort of miracle to happen by chance."

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Reality has a story....

Nice summary of reality in five easy points:





Its as easy as that. Tell your friends!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What do you mean: 'wrong'?

One of Craig's 5 reasons from

One of a series following this post.

Also look at Greg Koukl's articles on God Evolution and Morality 1 and 2

God makes sense of objective moral values in the world.

Does God exist? If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.
It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them. And the claim is that in the absence of God, moral values are not objective in this sense.
Many theists and atheists alike concur on this point.
For example, the late J. L. Mackie of Oxford University, one of the most influential atheists of our time, admitted: "If . . . there are . . . objective values, they make the existence of a God more probable than it would have been without them. Thus, we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of a God." [8] But in order to avoid God's existence, Mackie therefore denied that objective moral values exist. He wrote, "It is easy to explain this moral sense as a natural product of biological and social evolution . . . ." [9]
Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science, agrees. He explains,
Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says "love thy neighbor as thyself," they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction . . . And any deeper meaning is illusory. [10]
Friedrich Nietzsche, the great 19th century atheist who proclaimed the death of God, understood that the death of God meant the destruction of all meaning and value in life.
I think that Friedrich Nietzsche was right.
But we must be very careful here. The question here is not: "must we believe in God in order to live moral lives?" I'm not claiming that we must. Nor is the question: "Can we recognize objective moral values without believing in God?"
I think that we can.
Rather the question is: "If God does not exist, do objective moral values exist?" Like Mackie and Ruse, I don't see any reason to think that in the absence of God, human morality is objective. After all, if there is no God, then what's so special about human beings? They're just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time.
On the atheistic view, some action, say, rape, may not be socially advantageous and so in the course of evolution has become taboo; but that does absolutely nothing to prove that rape is really wrong. On the atheistic view, apart from the social consequences, there's nothing really wrong with your raping someone.
Thus, without God there is no absolute right and wrong which imposes itself on our conscience.
But the problem is that objective values do exist, and deep down we all know it. There's no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world.
The reasoning of Ruse at best proves only that our subjective perception of objective moral values has evolved. But if moral values are gradually discovered, not invented, then our gradual and fallible apprehension of the moral realm no more undermines the objective reality of that realm than our gradual, fallible perception of the physical world undermines the objectivity of that realm.
Most of us think that we do apprehend objective values. As Ruse himself confesses, "The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2+2=5." [11]
Actions like rape, torture, and child abuse aren't just socially unacceptable behavior—they're moral abominations. Some things are really wrong. Similarly love, equality, and self-sacrifice are really good. But if objective values cannot exist without God, and objective values do exist, then it follows logically and inescapably that God exists.
We can summarize this argument as follows:
  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Good question!

At a church meeting, questions were invited from the floor.

There were two questions that must have been really good (I don't know what a 'really good' question would be. Perhaps one that sought information that the asker did not have would be good).

After each one, the moderator said 'That's a good question.'

NEVER judge a question. Instantly you start to grade the questions that are 'good', you grade all of them that's aren't good by your judgement as 'not good'. People who don't want to feel belittled will not risk asking a question that will be 'not good'. But, theirs might have been the most useful question for others.

When you are moderating a group, instructing a class, conducting a seminar, you want questions, right? Then none are good, bad, indifferent stupid or boring.

This is what you say:
  1. Just answer the question
  2. Repeat the question for others and to check your own understanding of it, then answer it, or ask if others have a view
  3. Thank the asker, then answer it.
  4. Admit that the question challenges you, you might need to think about it.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Only 3 things to remember

This morning I was reminded of a great sermon by one of the pastor's mother! True! She has been a scripture teacher for decades.

Her three things for kids to remember are good for anyone to remember:
  1. God is with you where ever you are
  2. You can talk to God at any time
  3. You can always trust God.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The deceit of tolerance

Tolerance is: egalitarian to people, elitist to views.

Thus being tolerant is being kind to those of differing views, but honouring them by arguing your view if it differs from theirs (after all, diversity is strength, to adopt a National Socialist slogan)

Greg Koukl talks about this, as he does about naturalism and relativism, moral relativism, that is. All part of the story of reality.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Like a good radio: fine-tuned

One of Craig's 5 reasons from

One of a series following this post.

God makes sense of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.

During the last 40 years or so, scientists have discovered that the existence of intelligent life depends upon a complex and delicate balance of initial conditions given in the Big Bang itself. Scientists once believed that whatever the initial conditions of the universe, eventually intelligent life might evolve. But we now know that our existence is balanced on a knife's edge. The existence of intelligent life depends upon a conspiracy of initial conditions which must be fine-tuned to a degree that is literally incomprehensible and incalculable.
This fine-tuning is of two sorts.
First, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, you find appearing in them certain constants, like the gravitational constant. These constants are not determined by the laws of nature. The laws of nature are consistent with a wide range of values for these constants.
Second, in addition to these constants there are certain arbitrary quantities which are just put in as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the amount of entropy or the balance between matter and anti-matter in the universe. Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by a hair's breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed and life would not exist.
For example, the physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life-permitting universe. The cosmological constant which drives the inflation of the universe and is responsible for the recently discovered acceleration of the universe's expansion is inexplicably fine-tuned to around one part in 10120.
Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang's low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 10 10 (123). Penrose comments, "I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010 (123)." [5] And it's not just each constant or quantity which must be exquisitely finely-tuned; their ratios to one another must be also finely-tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.
Now there are three possibilities for explaining the presence of this remarkable fine-tuning of the universe: physical necessity, chance, or design.
The first alternative holds that there is some unknown Theory of Everything (T.O.E.) which would explain the way the universe is. It had to be that way, and there was really no chance or little chance of the universe's not being life-permitting.
By contrast, the second alternative states that the fine-tuning is due entirely to chance. It's just an accident that the universe is life-permitting, and we're the lucky beneficiaries. The third alternative rejects both of these accounts in favor of an intelligent Mind behind the cosmos, who designed the universe to permit life.
Which of these alternatives is the most plausible?
The first alternative seems extraordinarily implausible. There is just no physical reason why these constants and quantities should have the values they do. As P. C. W. Davies states,
Even if the laws of physics were unique, it doesn't follow that the physical universe itself is unique. . . . the laws of physics must be augmented by cosmic initial conditions. . . . There is nothing in present ideas about 'laws of initial conditions' remotely to suggest that their consistency with the laws of physics would imply uniqueness. Far from it. . . . . . . it seems, then, that the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise. [6]
For example, the most promising candidate for a T.O.E. to date, super-string theory or M-Theory, fails to predict uniquely our universe.
In fact, string theory allows a "cosmic landscape" of around 10500 different universes governed by the present laws of nature, so that it does nothing to render the observed values of the constants and quantities physically necessary.
So what about the second alternative, that the fine-tuning of the universe is due to chance?
The problem with this alternative is that the odds against the universe's being life-permitting are so incomprehensibly great that they cannot be reasonably faced. Even though there will be a huge number of life-permitting universes lying within the cosmic landscape, nevertheless the number of life-permitting worlds will be unfathomably tiny compared to the entire landscape, so that the existence of a life-permitting universe is fantastically improbable.
Students or laymen who blithely assert, "It could have happened by chance!" simply have no conception of the fantastic precision of the fine-tuning requisite for life. They would never embrace such a hypothesis in any other area of their lives—for example, in order to explain how there came to be overnight a car in one's driveway.
Some people have tried to escape this problem by claiming that we really shouldn't be surprised at the finely-tuned conditions of the universe, for if the universe were not fine-tuned, then we wouldn't be here to be surprised about it!
Given that we are here, we should expect the universe to be fine-tuned. But such reasoning is logically fallacious. We can show this by means of a parallel illustration.
Imagine you're traveling abroad and are arrested on trumped-up drug charges and dragged in front of a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, all with rifles aimed at your heart, to be executed. You hear the command given: "Ready! Aim! Fire!" and you hear the deafening roar of the guns. And then you observe that you are still alive, that all of the 100 trained marksmen missed!
Now what would you conclude?
"Well, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that they all missed. After all, if they hadn't all missed, then I wouldn't be here to be surprised about it! Given that I am here, I should expect them all to miss."
Of course not!
You would immediately suspect that they all missed on purpose, that the whole thing was a set-up, engineered for some reason by someone. While you wouldn't be surprised that you don't observe that you are dead, you'd be very surprised, indeed, that you do observe that you are alive. In the same way, given the incredible improbability of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, it is reasonable to conclude that this is not due to chance, but to design.
In order to rescue the alternative of chance, its proponents have therefore been forced to adopt the hypothesis that there exists an infinite number of randomly ordered universes composing a sort of World Ensemble or multiverse of which our universe is but a part. Somewhere in this infinite World Ensemble finely-tuned universes will appear by chance alone, and we happen to be one such world.
There are, however, at least two major failings of the World Ensemble hypothesis:
First, there's no evidence that such a World Ensemble exists. No one knows if there are other worlds. Moreover, recall that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin proved that any universe in a state of continuous cosmic expansion cannot be infinite in the past. Their theorem applies to the multiverse, too. Therefore, since the past is finite, only a finite number of other worlds can have been generated by now, so that there's no guarantee that a finely-tuned world will have appeared in the ensemble.
Second, if our universe is just a random member of an infinite World Ensemble, then it is overwhelmingly more probable that we should be observing a much different universe than what we in fact observe.
Roger Penrose has calculated that it is inconceivably more probable that our solar system should suddenly form by the random collision of particles than that a finely-tuned universe should exist. (Penrose calls it "utter chicken feed" by comparison. [7]) So if our universe were just a random member of a World Ensemble, it is inconceivably more probable that we should be observing a universe no larger than our solar system.
Or again, if our universe were just a random member of a World Ensemble, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses' popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since such things are vastly more probable than all of nature's constants and quantities' falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range.
Observable universes like those are much more plenteous in the World Ensemble than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On atheism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no World Ensemble.
So once again, the view that Christian theists have always held, that there is an intelligent designer of the universe, seems to make much more sense than the atheistic view that the universe just happens to be by chance fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision for the existence of intelligent life.
We can summarize this second argument as follows:
  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, it is due to design.