Let me start here. God intended the earth to be filled with life; Isaiah 45:18 says He ‘formed it to be inhabited’. In Genesis 1:11-26, having filled the earth with plant and non-human animal life, God had not yet completed His work. It was only when man and woman were formed that God declared creation ‘very good’ (verse 31), and ceased.
Most importantly, Genesis 1:26 tells us God formed a highly specific kind of life, a man and woman in His own image and likeness. The Hebrew here is typically understood as a reference to God deliberately creating individuals as His counterparts in some way; they correspond to Him at least in terms of their ability to reflect His thoughts and emotions, and communicate effectively with Him.
Many passages of Scripture (especially Hebrews 12:71-11), indicate God desired a parent-child relationship with these individuals, involving them learning through the natural process of hardships and discipline a father permits and exercises in order to develop optimally his children’s character. Adam and Eve’s testing in Genesis 3 supports this, also demonstrating God wished His children to be free moral agents developing their own consciences, as they chose to obey or disobey His commandments.
These passages identify the constraints operating on God’s choice of creation: a universe capable not only of supporting simple life, but of supporting complex, intelligent life; independent moral agents able to reflect His character, comprehend and communicate with Him, and develop their own conscience; children whose character would be developed by the challenge of struggle and discipline.
Such a form of life requires extremely specific environmental conditions, not only on a terrestrial scale, but on a cosmic scale. It has been argued by a number of scientists that intelligent life actually requires a universe with at least three dimensions, ordered as our universe is.
‘It seems clear that life, at least as we know it, can exist only in regions of space-time in which three space and one time dimension are not curled up small.’, Hawking, ‘A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes’ (1988), 182.
The argument is restated here.
‘Hence intelligent life can arise only if gravity has the l/r or l/r2 form, and so, if gravity and dimensionality connect as Kant claimed, intelligent life can exist only if space has two or three dimensions.’, Hugget, Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy (2010), 54; Hugget disputes this argument, which he cites from cosmologist Gerald Whitrow and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
More than three dimensions, and gravitational forces would be inadequate for the solar systems necessary to support intelligent life.
‘If the universe were to hold more than three space dimensions, the gravitational force would not be such as to allow stable orbits of planets about a sun and the constant temperature required for life.’, Adair, The Great Design: Particles, Fields, and Creation (1989), 367.
Less than three dimensions, and the neural and circulatory systems necessary specifically for human life, could not exist.
‘The end result of this complex network is a nervous system that is sufficiently complex to support the existence of intelligent life. However, had space possessed only two spatial dimensions, these complex neural connections would have been impossible, because any two non-parallel connections would have automatically crossed each other, thereby ruining the connection.’. Corey, God and the New Cosmology: The Anthropic Design Argument (1993), 94.
From the same author.
‘Three dimensions are also required for proper blood flow, for had space possessed only two dimensions, venous blood would invariably have become intermingled with arterial blood, with catastrophic results for the body. It is clear, then, that the existence of three spatial dimensions is absolutely mandatory for the proper functioning of both our minds and our bodies.’, Corey, God and the New Cosmology: The Anthropic Design Argument (1993), 94.
Moving from the cosmological to the terrestrial scale, we find a significant range of additional factors necessary for the kind of intelligent life required by God’s purpose.
‘Complex, multicellular life relies on too many planetary factors – even after clearing all the chemical roadblocks – to be common. (For example, a large moon to stabilize the planetary axis tilt and hence the seasons, a magnetic field to shield off radiation, plate tectonics to remix surface and ocean chemistry that helps regulate CO2 levels, etc.)’, Gleiser, From Cosmos to Intelligent Life: The Four Ages of Astrobiology’ (2 March, 2012), 5.
From another author.
‘The Earth benefits from the presence of plate tectonics, a process that acts like a global thermostat by reprocessing greenhouse gasses. Life on Earth benefits dramatically from a single large moon that produces exceptional tides and helps to stabilize the tilt of the Earth and the length of its days.’, McCurdy, Space and the American Imagination (2nd ed. 2011), 146.
‘We must look beyond the mere presence of water to the presence of volcanoes, plate tectonics and oxygen.’, Lane, Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World (2002), 73.
Note in particular the following requirements for complex multi-cellular life; a single large moon, a magnetic field, volcanoes, and plate tectonics. All of them are necessary for the specific form of life required by God’s purpose, and yet all of them are significantly responsible for the earth’s natural disasters. This is the foundation of the “cost of creation” argument in response to “natural evil”.