Does God Exist? – Part 2

Intro: turtle on top of a fence post. How did he get there? Not by himself. He had help. When we look carefully at the intricate and fine-tuned universe around us, we can easily conclude that it did not get here on its own. Science would agree with our conclusion. Does God Exist?

  • As we noticed last week, The law of causality states that for every effect there is a sufficient and necessary cause. That cause is God. The Bible reveals God as the creating source of all things. 1:16-17For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All, things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
  • Review: Matter Demands a Maker; law of causality (for every effect there must be a cause)
  • Is there more evidence that God exists?

I. Design Demands a Designer: Much like our turtle on a fence post illustration, William Paley in his work, “Natural Theology” (1802), reasoned that if one were crossing a meadow and found a stone, one might conclude that it had always been there. But if one crossed a meadow and found a watch, he would immediately recognize it as something which did not just happen to be there by an accident of nature. Even if he had never seen such an object before, he would be able to tell that it had been manufactured for a certain purpose, i.e., that it had a maker. Paley made the same conclusions about the natural phenomena of the universe. Its functioning design gave evidence of having been designed by a Maker to accomplish a specific end. The argument for God’s existence from the design of the universe is called the teleological argument for God. The word teleological (from Greek telos which means purpose or end) means…The explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes… The doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

A. Everyday observation reveals complexity and functional design in our world. We have all read about the earth’s precise orbit around the Sun, and seen documentaries about a shorebird’s 15,000-mile yearly migration pattern. Not the stuff of pure chance. But consider just one example involving electrons and protons. The ratio of the mass of an electron to a proton is 1:1836, which means that a proton is 1,836 times more massive than an electron. Even with this mass difference, however, electrons and protons have the same electrical charge. Scientists suggest that if the electrical charge of the electron were altered by one part in 100 billion, our bodies would instantly explode (Barrow and Tipler, 1986, pp. 293, 296)

1. The atheists of our day frequently speak of the obvious design in nature. Evolutionist Jerry Coyne admitted, “Nature resembles a well-oiled machine…. The more one learns about plants and animals, the more one marvels at how well their designs fit their ways of life” (2009, pp. 1, 3). Design, by definition implies intelligent purpose, not random chance. Atheistic author, Paul Davies writes… “Our universe seems ‘just right’ for life. It looks as if…a super-intellect has been monkeying with physics” (2007, p. 30). Similarly, well-known skeptic Michael Shermer conceded, “The reason people think that a Designer created the world is because it looks designed” (2006, p. 65,)

B. Although intelligent design is an old argument in support of God’s existence, it has benefited greatly from advances in modern science. The more we know, the more we see complexity and design. From the unique properties of life-enabling water, to the human eye, to the amazing all-or-nothing survival equipment of the bombardier Beetle, our world shouts design.

1. Inexplicable Complexity: The remarkable complexity of a living cell. The invention of the electron telescope in the 1950’s enabled us to magnify objects up to a million times and more. Prior to this discovery cells could not be studied in great detail. It was easy in Darwin’s day to assume that cells are simple blobs of matter that evolved from a non-organic chemical soup. But now we can see them up close. The complexity of a living cell has been well described by the non-theist Michael Denton in his book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis; “To common sense it does indeed appear absurd to propose that chance could have thrown together devices of such complexity and ingenuity that they appear to represent the very epitome of perfection” (326). He emphasizes the cell’s capability “of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours,” the capacity of its DNA to store information, its capacity to synthesize organic compounds, its “fully automated assembly techniques which are perfectly regulated and controlled,” and its miniaturization (329-337).“Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which—a functional protein or gene—is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man?” (342). Such an idea, he says, is “an affront to reason” (351). Denton is a non-theist, i.e., he himself does not believe in God. Even after his marvelous defense of intelligent design, he declares that he does not know how to explain it!

2. Irreducible Complexity: A more recent work along the same line is Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box. Behe, a biochemical professor at LeHigh University writes that microbiological research has revealed a cell’s irreducible complexity. “Irreducible complexity is just a fancy phrase that means a single system which is composed of several interacting parts, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning.” He illustrates this quality with a simple mousetrap. It contains five interdependent parts which allow it to catch mice: the wooden platform, the spring, the hammer (the bar which crushes the mouse against the wooden base), the holding bar, and a catch. Each of these components is absolutely essential for the function of the mousetrap. You cannot start with the wooden base and catch a few mice… Then add the spring and catch a few more mice… Then add a hammer and catch even more mice. Instead, all the parts have to be assembled at once, or you don’t catch any mice at all. You cannot get gradual improvement in mouse catching by adding the pieces one at a time. Instead the entire system has to be in place, from the beginning, in order to work at all. Yet, in evolution, natural selection is said to work on tiny, random improvements in function. But irreducibly complex systems don’t have any function until all the parts are in place—which means those parts, themselves, cannot be products of natural selection or have evolved over time through a series of beneficial mutations. They must have been designed into place before any of it started functioning. And intelligence is the only reasonable explanation for the design.

a. Jack Cottrell writes… What is significant is that this conclusion about intelligent design is being drawn not from religious beliefs but from the hard work of biochemists. The result of their “efforts to investigate the cell—to investigate life at the molecular level—is a loud, clear, piercing cry of ‘design!’ The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science” (Behe, 193, 232-233).

b. A person can know (without a doubt) that God exists if for no other reason than that the Universe’s design demands a Designer. “For every house is built by someone, but He Who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

II. Life Demands a Life Giver: In Job 33:4 Elihu declares, “the Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Life does not pop into existence from nothing. Every scientist, whether theist or atheist, knows this observation to be true. Although there was a time when most scientists embraced spontaneous generation as an explanation for origin of life, that notion was dispelled by work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1800’s, and reconfirmed and documented over and over again since. Pasteur is credited with postulating the …

A. The Law of Biogenesis – “Biogenesis” is composed of two words—“bio,” which means life, and “genesis,” which means beginning. This law simply says that, in nature, life comes only from previous life of its own kind.

1. In 1933, evolutionist John Sullivan admitted that “it became an accepted doctrine that life never arises except from life. So far as the actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion” (p. 94) Okay, but that was 1933. What about today? Is this still the only possible conclusion? Evolutionist Martin Moe noted that “a century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life” (1981, 89[11]:36) More recently, staunch evolutionist Neil Shubin conceded the following in his book titled Your Inner Fish: I can share with you one true law that all of us can agree upon. This law is so profound that most of us take it completely for granted. Yet it is the starting point for almost everything we do in paleontology, developmental biology, and genetics. This biological “law of everything” is that every living thing on the planet had parents. Every person you’ve ever known has biological parents, as does every bird, salamander, or shark you have ever seen…. To put it in a more precise form: every living thing sprang from some parental genetic information (2009, p. 174).

2. Shubin recognizes that the actual scientific information verifies that life in the natural world must come from previously existing life. Yet he refuses to carry that fact to its proper conclusion: that life could not have sprung from non-living chemicals.

3. Evolutionists such as John Sullivan admitted “So far as the actual evidence goes,” biogenesis “is still the only possible conclusion. But…it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act” (p. 94, emp. added). Do not miss the point: real, true, operational science indirectly supports a “supernatural creative act,” which implies a supernatural Creator. Antony Flew, who for five decades was the world’s leading atheistic thinker, was forced in the end to conclude: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind” (2007, p. 132)

III. Intelligence Demands an Intelligent Creator – Intelligence is defined as “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge”; “the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations”. It is not difficult to identify certain things that have some measure of “intelligence,” while recognizing other things that have no intelligence. Man obviously has an extremely high level of intelligence. Although there is a great chasm between mankind and the animal kingdom, animals do possess a measure of intelligence. Dogs can learn tricks and to obey commands. Dolphins can interact and learn verbal commands. Other animals display intelligence. How did they get this way?

A. According to atheistic evolution, billions of years ago “nothing” caused something to exist, followed by a big bang and the accumulation lifeless, mindless, unintelligent particles floating around in space. Earth eventually evolved, and hundreds of millions of years later, intelligent animals and humans evolved.

B. Intelligence demands previous intelligence. Our intelligence today is the direct descendant of the intelligence of those before us. Animal intelligence is due to intelligent creatures that came before them. Dust does not give way to organized dust particles that have “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.” Water does not think. Mud cannot assess information. Inorganic matter never produces intelligent creatures. So how did the first intelligent creatures come to inhabit the Universe? Just as the first life demands a supernatural life Giver, so the first intelligent beings demand a self-existent, intelligent Creator.

IV. Morality Demands a Moral Law Giver –When a lawyer addressed Jesus as “good teacher, He replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The apostle Paul wrote, When the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thought accusing of else excusing them.. (Romans 2:14-15)

A. Where did morality originate? Why do we humans possess the ability to know right and wrong? Why do most people believe that it is “evil” or “wicked” (1) for an adult to torture an innocent child, rape a woman, or murder another person? Because, as evolutionist Edward Slingerland noted, humans have metaphysical rights—rights that are “a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses” (“Metaphysical,” 2014)—and “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196[2629]:7). The fact is, most people, even many atheists, have admitted that real, objective good and evil exist. Atheist Michael Ruse admitted in his book Darwinism Defended that “[t]he man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children, is just as mistaken as the man who says that 2 + 2 = 5” (1982, p. 275,). Most rational people do not merely feel like rape and child abuse may be wrong; they are wrong—innately wrong, just like 2 plus 2 is always 4.

B. But moral objectivity demands a moral point of reference. However, reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective point of reference. Without God, that reference is absent. If not, where is it?

1. It does not exist in the material universe, apart from humans. According to atheism, man is nothing but the product of evolved non-living matter. How could moral value come from rocks and slime? We don’t speak of rocks being “wrong” or minerals being “immoral”. We do not talk about morally depraved donkeys, evil elephants, or immoral monkeys. Pigs and Komodo dragons often eat their own offspring. Do we hold them accountable? Killer whales are not guilty of murder. Dogs are not morally wrong for stealing the bone of another dog. The fact that humans do contemplate morality testifies to the chasm between man and animals and the fact that moral value could not have arisen from animals.

2. Some argue that morals are the product of societal development – like herd instincts among the animals. (monkeys that behave as the group expects them to) C.S. Lewis gave a strong argument against this reasoning. If morality was simply instinct, then the stronger instinct would always win, but this is not the case. Often, man suppresses his stronger instinct in order to do what he thinks is right. For instance, when confronted with imminent danger, a man may desire to run for safety but instead chooses to disregard his own well-being to rescue another. Therefore, the moral law is not man’s basic instincts. It rises above it.

3. Is morality simply learned behavior? We certainly learn moral values from others, but not everything we learn from others is simply a social convention. Mathematics is learned, but it is also objective truth; true whether we learn it or not. Morality is real regardless of what one’s society teaches about it. If the moral law is merely invented by society, then one society (America) cannot call the actions of another society (Nazi Germany) wrong.

4. Moral law is not a law of nature. A law of nature, (such as law of gravity) is descriptive. It describes how nature is, how it usually acts. But, the moral law does not describe how nature is. The moral law is prescriptive; it prescribes how nature ought to be. The moral law stands above man and judges his behavior.

5. There exists a moral law above all men to which they are subject. However, matter could not be the cause of moral laws. Matter gives instructions to no one. Experience shows us that mind is the cause of moral laws. Therefore, this universal moral law that stands above all men must come from a Mind that stands above all men.

6. If there is no God, then there is no objective basis to say that some things are right and others are wrong. The only reasonable answer to an objective moral law for humans is a supernatural, moral law Giver.

Conclusion: In Acts 17 Paul faced the challenge of his own culture on the question of God’s existence at Athens. Many gods were being honored, but not the true God. He proclaimed God as the intelligent Creator and Designer of all things, who gave life to all things, and is the source of all morality. This is the God we know exists.

Acts 17:23-31Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

**************

REFERENCES

  • Barrow, John D. and Frank Tipler (1986), The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press).
  • Beckwith, Francis and Gregory Koukl (1998), Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
  • Brooks, Michael (2008), “Do You Speak Cuttlefish?” New Scientist, 198[2653]:28-31, April 26.
  • Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
  • Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
  • Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
  • “Common Sense” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common%20sense
  • “Counterintuitive” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counterintuitive
  • Coyne, Jerry (2009) Why Evolution is True (New York: Viking).
  • “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
  • Davies, Paul (2007), “Laying Down the Laws,” New Scientist, 194[2610]:30-34, June 30.
  • “Design” (2000), American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
  • “Design” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/design
  • “Do Atheists Have Morals?” (no date), http://www.askanatheist.org/morals.html
  • Flew, Antony and Roy Varghese (2007), There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York: Harper Collins).
  • Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Mlodinow (2010), The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books).
  • “Intelligence” (2000), American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
  • “Intelligence” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intelligence
  • May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Parts 1-2],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5-6]:33-47,49-63.
  • “Metaphysical” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphysical
  • Miller, Dave (2009), “Is the Book of Mormon from God? [Part 1],” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=108&article=2787.
  • Miller, Jeff (2011), “God and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3716.
  • Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis [Part 1],” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4165&topic=93.
  • Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.
  • Moe, Martin (1981), “Genes on Ice,” Science Digest, 89[11]:36,95, December.
  • Mueller, Tom (2008), “Biomimetics: Design by Nature,” National Geographic, 213[4]:68-91, April.
  • Provine, William (1988), “Scientists, Face It! Science and Religion are Incompatible,” The Scientist, 2[16]:10, September 5, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/9707/title/Scientists–Face-It–Science-And-Religion-Are-Incompatible/
  • “Q&A: Religion and Atheism” (2012), ABC Australia, April 9, http;//www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm
  • Reilly, Michael (2007), “God’s Place in a Rational World,” New Scientist, 196[2629]:7, November 10.
  • Ruse, Michael (1982), Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley).
  • Shermer, Michael (2006), Why Darwin Matters (New York: Henry Holt).
  • Shubin, Neil (2009), Your Inner Fish (New York: Vintage Books).
  • Simpson, George Gaylord (1951), The Meaning of Evolution (New York: Mentor).
  • Simpson, G.G., C.S. Pittendrigh, and L.H. Tiffany (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World).
  • Sullivan, John (1933), The Limitations of Science (New York: Viking Press).
  • “The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194[2601]:28-33, April 28.
  • Vilenkin, Alex (2006), Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang).
  • Wald, George (1954), “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191[2]:44-53, August.
  • Warren, Thomas B. and Antony G.N. Flew (1977), Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
  • Warren, Thomas B. and Wallace I. Matson (1978), The Warren-Matson Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
  • “Wretched: Nothing Made Everything” (2006), http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sK2yNkTuJkY