A Chain of Miracles - Harun Yahya



Carbon, the "element of life," is produced only by miraculous nuclear reactions taking place in the core of huge stars. If there were no such reactions, there would not be carbon-or any other elements-in the universe and therefore, no life. We say "miraculous" because these transformations cannot take place under normal conditions, but require a combination of the most improbable factors.

Carbon atoms are produced in the core of huge stars by a two-tier process. First, two helium atoms fuse to produce a transitional element with four protons and four neutrons called beryllium. When a third helium atom fuses with beryllium, they produce a carbon atom with six protons and neutrons.

The beryllium atom produced in the first stage of this process is different from the beryllium atoms found on Earth, since the element beryllium listed in our periodic table boasts one additional neutron. The unusual beryllium isotope found in red giants has long puzzled scientists, since it is extremely unstable, so much so that it disintegrates 0.000000000000001 (10-15) seconds after it was formed.

So how can this beryllium isotope become carbon, if it is effectively destroyed in the same instant it is formed? Do the helium atoms that fuse with the beryllium isotope do so by chance? Most certainly not, as this is more improbable than two bricks blown apart within the space of 0.000000000000001 seconds being joined a third, thus eventually forming a whole building.

Paul Davies describes this miraculous process as follows:

While investigating the nuclear reactions that lead to the formation of carbon in the stellar cores, [Fred] Hoyle was struck by the fact that the key reaction proceeds only because of a lucky fluke. Carbon nuclei are made by a rather tricky process involving the simultaneous encounter of three high-speed helium nuclei, which then stick together. Because of the rarity of triple-nucleus encounters, the reaction can proceed at a significant rate only at certain well-defined energies (termed "resonances"), where the reaction rate is substantially amplified by quantum effects. By good fortune, one of these resonances is positioned just about right to correspond to the sort of energies that helium nuclei have inside large stars. 14

The element of carbon, which occurs naturally on Earth in the form of coal or diamond, actually formed in the nuclei of giant stars. As a result of these stars exploding as novas, masses of carbon and other elements were hurled into space, subsequently reaching other stars and planets, of which our Earth is one.

Such a chemical reaction is beyond by coincidence-it's impossible! But since Paul Davies is a sworn materialist, he tries to explain it away with a pointless and irrational reference to "good fortune." Davies is aware of this miracle and does not conceal his bewilderment when explaining this process, but nevertheless adopts such unscientific and irrational terms as "lucky fluke" or "good fortune," simply because he rejects Creation.

Inside red giants another miracle called double-resonance takes place. First, two helium atoms fuse to create beryllium, then within the space of 0.000000000000001 second, a third helium atom combines with the first two, to produce carbon.

George Greenstein explains why this double-resonance process is so extraordinary:

There are three quite separate structures in this story-helium, beryllium, and carbon-and two quite separate resonances. It is hard to see why these nuclei should work together so smoothly… Other nuclear reactions do not proceed by such a remarkable chain of lucky breaks…It is like discovering deep and complex resonances between a car, a bicycle, and a truck. Why should such disparate structures mesh together so perfectly? Upon this our existence, and that of every life form in the universe, depends.15

As we have seen, Greenstein (another materialist scientist), explains this miracle of Creation with "a remarkable chain of lucky breaks;" a wholly unscientific approach. Exactly because this is an impossibly unlikely thing to happen by chance, Greenstein makes the analogy of a very complex and crucial resonance between a car, a bicycle and a truck. He fails to call this a miracle because of his materialist credentials.

Further, some other elements like oxygen were formed by such extraordinary processes of resonance. Fred Hoyle discovered these extraordinary processes, and in his book Galaxies, Nuclei and Quasars, he concluded that such precisely structured processes could not have arisen through the work of coincidences. Despite being a sworn materialist, he conceded that such double resonances had to be the result of design. 16

Carbon is the main building block for all Earthly life. The organic molecules composing the bodies of living things-proteins, fats and carbohydrates-are all formed from different carbon compounds. The atoms of carbon in your body as you read this book are actually leftovers from a supernova explosion, billions of years ago in the depths of space.

In another article, he wrote:

If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just about where these levels are actually found to be…A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question. 17

This miraculous process so affected Hoyle that he was convinced other scientists could not possibly ignore this clear fact:

I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars.18


The physical laws of the universe are based on four primary forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the so-called weak and strong nuclear forces. The values of each of the four have been fine-tuned to perfection for the universe as we know it to exist, and for human life.

One of the most important forces that affect the order of the universe is gravity. Newton declared this was an extraordinary force that not only caused apples to fall from trees, but also served to maintain the planets in their orbits.

Were the force of gravity any weaker, our Earth would escape the gravitational pull of the Sun and drift off into space. Were it just a little stronger, we would plunge into the Sun and be destroyed.

Gravity is one of the most important forces affecting the universe's order. Newton declared that this force was responsible not only for apples falling to the ground but also that this mysterious force kept the stars in their orbits. Einstein introduced a new and deeper perspective to this phenomenon, theorizing about how it forced huge stars to collapse and turn into black holes. Gravity also controls the expansion rate of the universe.

The force of gravity has a constant mathematical value that enabled the formation of the universe we live in.

Had this constant been a fraction greater than it is, the formation of stars in the universe would have accelerated to the point that where even the smallest stars would have reached a mass 1.4 times greater than that of our Sun. They would have then burned up so quickly and unpredictably that the necessary conditions for life on any planets orbiting them could not have developed. Life depends on stars as small as our own Sun.

Had the constant of gravity been a little greater than its current value, all stars of the universe would have already collapsed into black holes. Furthermore, gravitational forces acting on even the smallest planets would have been so great that no life forms larger than insects could have survived.

At the other extreme, had the force of gravity been a fraction weaker, the largest stars in the universe could never have exceeded 0.8 times the mass of our Sun. These smaller stars would have burned long enough and been stable enough to support life on the planets orbiting them, but the heavy elements essential for the formation of planets and life could never have emerged in the first place. Iron and the other heavier elements can be created only in the cores of huge stars. Only stars of huge mass can produce and scatter beryllium-and other elements, necessary for the formation of planets and life-into interstellar space.

As you can see, even very small fluctuations in gravitational forces would have prevented the formation of life-and therefore, humans. Fluctuation of a slightly higher magnitude in gravitational forces would have caused the collabpse of the universe within itself; a fraction smaller, and stars and galaxies could not have formed in the first place.

Obviously, since we do exist on Earth, none of these negative possibilities has taken place. Every detail of the universe has been designed and created according to a flawless plan, and in perfect order. Almighty God has created the universe we live in a series of extraordinary miracles and in unequalled harmony:

He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67:3-4)


Investigating the other forces acting on the universe besides gravity, we discover that they too have fine-tuned values balanced at crucially critical ratios.

Electromagnetic Forces

Were electromagnetic force just a little weaker or stronger, atoms could not combine or stay together. As a result, molecules essential to life could never form.

Electromagnetic force joins together the protons and electrons in the atom.

As we all know, all living and non-living things are formed of the building blocks called atoms, which in turn are composed of protons and neutrons in their nuclei, and electrons that orbit the nucleus at high speed. The number of an atom's protons determines its type. For instance, an atom with only one proton is hydrogen; an atom with two is helium, and one with 26 protons is called iron. The same is true for all other elements.

The protons in the atomic nucleus have a positive electrical charge, whereas the electrons orbiting it have a negative charge. This opposing electrical charge creates an attraction between protons and electrons, keeping the electrons in their orbit around the nucleus The force that binds the protons and electrons of opposing electrical charge is called the electromagnetic force.

The nature of electrons' orbit around the nucleus determines the type of bonds that can exist between individual atoms and what type of molecules they can form.

Had the value of the electromagnetic force been a fraction smaller, fewer electrons could have been retained in orbit around atomic nuclei. Had it been slightly greater, no atom could bond with any other. Either way, the molecules necessary for life could never have been assembled.

Strong Nuclear forces

One concrete example of nuclear power's impressive effects is the detonation of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.

The so-called "strong" nuclear force holds together the protons in the nuclei of atoms. As already mentioned, protons are particles with a positive electrical charge. According to the laws of electromagnetism, particles of opposing electrical charge attract one another, and those of the same charge repel each other. In other words, protons and electrons attract one another, while protons repel other protons-and electrons repel other electrons.

In the nuclei of many larger atoms, tens of protons are found clustered together. Under normal circumstances, any protons brought together should have repelled one another into space with great force. But not so: Protons stay clustered together with great consistency, because an even greater force acts on them than of electromagnetism, which would have them repel one another.

Strong nuclear force is the greatest universal force, which holds together neutrons and protons in the atomic nucleus.

This so-called strong nuclear force is the strongest force in the universe. Its great power can be unleashed by detonating atomic or hydrogen bombs. This source of energy has been fueling the Sun for the past 4.5 billion years and has been calculated to continue to do so for another five billion years. The mathematical value of this extraordinary force is one of the universe's most critical. Changes of a few percentage points to the value of the strong nuclear force's constant would have forestalled the formation of carbon, the building block of life. Slightly higher fluctuations would alter all present laws of physics and wreck the harmony and order in the universe.

The balance between the strong nuclear force holding atomic nuclei together and electromagnetism, rests on the most precise values.

Had the strong nuclear force been even slightly weaker, it could not have held together the cluster of protons in the nuclei. Because of electromagnetic forces acting on them, they would have repelled one another into space. That would have made impossible the formation of atoms with more than one proton. Therefore, the only possible element in the universe would have been hydrogen.

On the other hand, had the strong nuclear force been only a fraction larger in relation to the electromagnetic force, the element hydrogen with its single proton could never have been formed. The strong nuclear force would have dominated the electromagnetic force, so that every proton in the universe would have shown a tendency to cluster. As we have just said, hydrogen with its single proton could not have emerged. In this case, even if stars and galaxies had formed, they would have had totally different properties. Clearly, if these elementary forces were not balanced just as they are, no supernova, star, planet or atom could have been formed-and consequently, no life either.19

The Weak Nuclear Force

The weak nuclear force carried by subatomic particles was created with a very delicate balance to ensure the formation of the universe in which we live.

The remaining one of the four elementary forces also has a precisely determined constant value. This force is carried by some sub-atomic particles and causes a form of radioactive breakup. One example of this type of radioactive "split" is when a neutron breaks up to release three particles-one proton, one electron and one anti-neutron.

As you can see from this example, the neutron-one of the fundamental particles in the atomic nucleus-is actually comprised by the combination of three other, smaller particles. The weak nuclear force causes the neutron to break up into its component particles; and it too has a precise value that keeps this order and harmony intact.

If the weak nuclear force's value were even fractionally greater, neutrons would break up more readily and thus become a rarity throughout the universe. In such a case, hardly if any helium, with two neutrons in its nucleus, could have been created since the Big Bang. As we know, helium is the second lightest element after hydrogen, and so without the necessary helium, the heavier elements essential for life could not have been produced in the nuclear core of stars. As stated before, heavier elements like carbon, oxygen and iron are produced by the fusion of helium nuclei in the core of huge stars. In short, helium is the "raw material" of heavier elements. Without helium, no heavier elements necessary for the formation of life could have come about.

On the other hand, if the weak nuclear force were weaker by even a fraction, then most, if not all of the hydrogen from the Big Bang would have been transformed into helium. That, in turn would have increased to abnormal levels the quantity of heavier elements in the core of stars. This would have made life impossible.

One factor that makes the weak nuclear force so critical is its effect on the subatomic particles called neutrinos. These particles play a vital role in the supernova explosions that blast into space the heavier elements necessary for life. This weak nuclear force is the only force able to act on neutrinos.

If the "weak" nuclear force were any weaker, neutrinos could move freely without being affected by gravitational forces. During a supernova's explosion, consequently, they would be able to escape without reacting with the outer spheres of the star, thus preventing heavier elements from being ejected into space. But had the weak nuclear forces been greater, neutrinos would have remained trapped in the center of supernovas and again, couldn't have let the heavier elements be ejected into space.

Paul Davies states that the elementary laws of physics have been optimized for human existence, and that if their quantitative values had been slightly different, our universe would have become an altogether different place. He continues:

Had nature opted for a slightly different set of numbers, the world would be a very different place. Probably we would not be here to see it…Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in its motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision. 20

Arno Penzias, who, along with Robert Wilson detected the cosmic background radiation for the first time, which effort earned them the Nobel price in 1965, makes the following statement about this extraordinary design:

Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has underlying (one might say "supernatural") plan. 21

Robert Astrow, founder and former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, expresses this as follows:

Thus, according to the physicist and the astronomer, it appears that the Universe was constructed within very narrow limits, in such a way that man could dwell in it. This result is called the anthropic principle. It is the most theistic result ever to come out of science, in my view... 22

As we have explained elsewhere in great detail, the forces acting on the universe, within their own ratios as well as the balances existing between them are miracles that cannot be explained by chance. The numerical values, responsible for the harmonious balances in the universe, do not fluctuate by even one or two percentage points. And these extraordinary balances have been preserved without a hitch since the first day of the universe, making them even more remarkable. As Astrow points out, these facts all prove that the universe has been designed diligently and its precise order was given. Such a miraculous order certainly could not have come about by itself, coincidentally. To claim that it formed and organized itself would be irrational. This flawless order has been formed and organized by God, the infinitely wise and mighty Creator.


The Harmony in Electric Charges

The masses of protons and electrons-the basic particles which make up the atom-are very different. Yet miraculously, their electrical charges have been created equally in number. This extraordinary harmony is most important to maintaining equilibrium in the universe in which we live.

In terms of both mass and volume, protons are much larger than electrons. A proton's mass is 1,836 times that of an electron. To make the comparison more visual, if an electron were the size of a hazelnut, a proton would be the size of a human being. In other words, electrons and protons are highly dissimilar. .

Interestingly, though, they carry equal electrical charges, except that one is positive the other negative, such that an atom's electrical charges are balanced. Nothing forces or requires this equality: If anything, their electric charges should reflect their respective physical characteristics; i.e., the electron's charge should be smaller than the proton's, in proportion to its smaller size.

But what would have happened if the electric charge of proton and electron were not equal?

Every atom in the universe would have carried a positive electric charge, because of their more massive protons. As a consequence, all atoms would have repelled one another.

What if this were to happen now, with all the atoms in the universe repelling one another?

The results would be extraordinary. Let's begin with the changes to your body that would take place. If such were to occur, your arms and the hands that hold this book would disintegrate at once. Not only your hands and arms, but also your legs, head, eyes, teeth-in short, every bit of your body would just disintegrate into thin air. The room you are in, as well as the world outside, would disappear-together with all the seas and mountains and the planets of the solar system. They all would be irretrievably lost. What we call the universe would be a chaos of atoms repelling each other..

What is the imbalance between the electric charges of protons and electrons needed for such a disaster to take place? If the difference were small as a percentage point, would this disaster still happen, or is the critical limit more like only one thousandth? In his book Symbiotic Universe, George Greenstein has the following to say:

The total number of protons and electrons in the universe has been calculated with the greatest precision. Both kinds of particles are practically identical in number. The equality is of crucial importance to ensure the universe's electromagnetic balance.

Small things like stones, people, and the like would fly apart if the two charges differed by as little as one part in 100 billion. Larger structures like the Earth and the Sun require for their existence a yet more perfect balance of one part in a billion billion. 23

The Harmony in Numbers

The proportion of protons to electrons in the universe is most important. This ratio permits the delicate balance between the mass gravitational and electromagnetic forces. While the universe was still less than one second old, anti-protons eliminated an equal number of protons-their oppositely-charged counterparts-, leaving behind a specific remaining number of protons, to form the building blocks of our present-day universe. The same thing happened between electrons and positrons (anti-electrons). Astonishingly, the numbers of protons and electrons remaining is the same, with only the very smallest difference between them: 1 in 1037.

This equality is essential for the universe's electromagnetic equilibrium, because any imbalance in the number of protons and electrons would have caused same-charged particles to repel one another into the distance. Sub-atomic particles would not have been able to form atoms, which in turn could not have formed stars and the matter in the universe. Galaxies, stars and planets-including our Earth, so perfect for life-would never have come into existence.


When all physical variables are considered together, what is the likelihood of a universe able to support life like ours to form by chance? Perhaps one in a billion billion, or one in a trillion trillion, or even less?

This number was calculated by renowned mathematician Roger Penrose, a close colleague of Stephen Hawking. He considered all physical variables, accounted for all their possible sequencing combinations, and among all the other possible outcomes of the Big Bang, he computed the probability of the formation of a life-sustaining environment.

Penrose's calculations yielded the following result: 10123 over 10. What this number actually means is difficult to comprehend. The number expressed as 10123 in mathematical terms has 123 zeros following the number 1. (This is already a number greater than the total of all the atoms in the universe, of which there are approximately 1078). But the number calculated by Penrose is far greater for it has 10123 zeros following the number 1.

We can try to make sense of this literally astronomical number with a few examples. 103 is another way to express the number 1,000. 103 over ten, on the other hand, is a number formed by 1,000 zeros placed to the right of the 1. Nine zeros next to the 1 make a billion. Twelve zeros following the 1 make a trillion, but a number with 10123 zeros after the 1 is a number with no name or definition in mathematics.

In mathematics, a probability smaller than 1 in 1050 is considered "zero probability," yet it is a number far greater than a trillion times trillion times trillion. In short, the statistic that Penrose calculated tells us that it is impossible to explain the universe by chance. About his number, which lies far beyond the limits of our comprehension, he says the following:

This now tells how precise the Creator's aim must have been, namely to an accuracy of one part in 1010123 . This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full in the ordinary denary notation: it would be 1 followed by 10123 successive 0's. Even if we were to write a 0 on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe-and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure-we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. 24

The universe we live in was formed as a probability of 1 in a number way beyond mathematical definition, and in just the necessarily perfect proportions. This is a clear proof of creation. No doubt, the fact that we live in such a perfect universe is not the result of blind coincidences, nor the doing of senseless atoms. The entire universe, with all its flawless systems and all the things and beings it contains, came into existence by the perfect creation of our Lord God.

Professor Roger Penrose, the famous British mathematician, calculated the probability of a universe that allowed life to come into being by chance. He included all physical factors in his calculations, bore in mind the number of different ways they could be strung together, and worked out the chances of an environment capable of sustaining life emerging amidst all the other probable outcomes of the Big Bang.

The probability that Penrose calculated was: 1 in 10123!

It's hard even to imagine the significance of such a number. In mathematics, 10123 signifies a 1 followed by 123 zeroes .

Even this number, representing a 1 followed by 123 zeroes, is a literally astronomical figure, even greater than the total of all atoms in the universe (1078). But the number calculated by Penrose is far greater for it has 10123 zeros following the number 1. Penrose says, "Even if we were to write a 0 on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe-and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure-we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed."



14. Paul Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), p. 199.
15. George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe, pp. 43-44.
16. Paul Davies, The Final Three Minutes, New York: BasicBooks, 1994, pp. 49-50 (Quoted from Hoyle).
17. Fred Hoyle, "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," Engineering and Science, November 1981, pp. 8-12.
18. Fred Hoyle, Religion and the Scientists, London: SCM, 1959; M. A. Corey, The Natural History of Creation, Maryland: University Press of America, 1995, p. 341, emphasis added.
19. Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny, pp. 12-13.
20. Paul Davies, The Accidental Universe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, Foreword, emphasis added.
21. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God, Colorado: NavPress, revised edition, 1995, pp. 122-23, emphasis added.
22. Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, New York, W.W. Norton, 1984, pp. 21, 22, emphasize in original.
23. George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe, pp. 64-65, emphasis added.
24. Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind, Penguin Books, 1989; Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny, The New York: The Free Press, 1998, p. 9.