This continues the series of weekly posts dealing with some basic theistic arguments. The purpose here is to introduce the reader to the idea behind each argument. Strengths and weaknesses will be presented after each summary. These are only summaries and springboards for further study in the theistic arguments. See Reason for the Hope Within for more.
An Argument from the Fine-Tuning of the Universe
The physical universe is able to support life. But the ability to support life depends upon a dizzying array of physical constants being precisely what they are (the specific constants governing the fundamental forces of nature - the strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational - are good examples). If any of these constants had been much different, life would be impossible. And while it is not impossible that all these constants had the values they did by pure chance, it is considerably more likely that they have the values they do by design. God's existence is a much better explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe than any god-free explanation.
Greatest Strength: The very narrow range of values for a large number of physical constants is highly suggestive. The closer one looks at the conditions necessary to support life, the harder it is to believe that life is a cosmic accident.
Greatest Weakness: Although it would take a very powerful being to set up a universe capable of supporting life, it wouldn't take one that was infinitely powerful. The "god" of deism would seem to be sufficient.1
1 William C. Davis, Reason for the Hope Within (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman's Publishing Co., 1999), p. 28.