As a young electrical engineer just out of school, I had a horrifying experience that will color my theology forever. I went to work for one of the largest electrical companies in the world. My assignment was an aluminum processing line up near Quebec. It was a long assignment, something like six or eight months. I’m sure it wasn’t always winter, but all I can remember are mountains of snow and that bitter cold.
I was a junior engineer on a team with many who were much more experienced. They came from Sweden, Germany, Finland, and all over the world. We worked 16-hour days and nearly 100-hour weeks installing the first of the digital systems. In the end, after all our back-breaking effort, nothing worked. Well, that’s probably an exaggeration. I’m sure something must have worked. But I can’t think of anything. I distinctly remember working several days straight without sleep, and then the operations manager screaming at us because his manufacturing facility was losing thousands of dollars an hour. In the end, we finally did get his line running, after I had lost a lot of weight and had a near mental collapse. When all the lawyers were done, the company had lost a lot of money too.
As consumers, we just get into our cars and turn the ignition. We don’t often think of the years of science and engineering that went into the automobile. When we hold an iPhone in our hands, we don’t consider the sleepless nights those poor engineers had to spend making it work. Actually, I’m sure they’re not poor. They were amply compensated. But the point is that there’s no free lunch. Nothing works without a deal of effort. The more complicated the project, the greater the required effort.
Unless you’re Lawrence Krauss contemplating the beginning of the universe. Apparently the universe does get a free lunch. In Krauss’s book, "A Universe from Nothing," he states the universe just popped out of the quantum physics. No assembly or God required. Wonderful! Where was he when I was working that aluminum processing line up in Quebec? I’m sure Steve Jobs could have used some of that cosmic math with the iPhone. “What really interests me,” Albert Einstein once remarked, “is if God had any choice in the creation of the world.” This is Einstein’s way of saying the same thing as Krauss, that the cosmos was created spontaneously from a physics equation.
Einstein and Krauss are smart guys, much smarter than me, but this strikes me as ridiculous. You mean all I had to do was put the right equation down on paper, and that aluminum processing line would have sprang into existence, fully operational? Silly me! Here I was working those 16-hour days and all. No, paraphrasing Anselm of Canterbury in his Proslogion, God is that which nothing greater can be conceived. From my experience, the universe and its vast magnitude of unimaginable wonder cannot just pop out of a math construct. I think Anselm would agree with me. It takes something much greater than that. It takes an infinite, omnipotent mind. It takes God.