A Challenge to My Atheist Friends

“Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel.” ~ Isaiah 45:15

The question of God’s existence has plagued philosophers and theologians for thousands of years. For that reason, I don’t have any canned answers on the question and I’m not about to solve the problem.  But I do have some thoughts that may cause you to rethink your position and help you reach your own conclusions.

In a recent (and very controversial post) entitled There is No Proof of God’s Existence, I pointed out that the existence of God cannot be proven. That, however, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. I believe He set the deck intentionally that He cannot be verified by empirical means. But God has provided clues in the universe — evidences — that confirm His existence to the believing.

That said, I have met many people that have struggled with believing in the reality of God. This is especially true for very intellectual people. They feel that there is zero proof for God’s existence. How can a person put faith in a God who cannot be seen, felt, heard, touched, or smelled with his or her physical senses?

Some people deny God’s existence because they love their lifestyle. They surmise that if there were a God, they would have to be accountable to Him and change their behavior. As a result, they simply reject the notion that God exists so they would not have to feel accountable to anyone for their actions. For them, to believe that there is no God helps to appease their conscience in some way.

Others have experienced deep pain, sorrow and heartbreak in their lives. And many of them cannot understand why a good God would allow such things. A legitimate question and struggle, without doubt.

Even for the most devoted Christians, when tragedy strikes, faith is put into the salt-shaker.

No one can prove that God exists. Only evidences can be offered. I learned that early on.

When I first started down the path of being a Christian, I took a big interest in trying to convince my friends that God was real. Sometimes we would evaporate hours discussing the subject.

Enduring their antagonistic bombasts caused me to generate my own nagging doubts. It had gotten so bad that my path grew almost too dim to follow. But after processing the whole subject to near exhaustion, I discovered that I couldn’t deny that God exists, even if I tried.

Faith was present. And I couldn’t shake it.

There are a few things to consider before you adopt the idea that no evidence exists for God’s existence. I will state one of them in this post. Please share it with your friends . . . including agnostics and atheists. I would like to ask them to show me where I’m wrong . . . as I certainly can be. None of us can claim immaculate perception.

The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life give strong evidence for God’s existence.

There are only three alternatives to explain the origin of the universe: 1) It always existed, 2) It was created by chance, or 3) It was created by God.

The universe could not have always existed, for it is expanding and contracting. This suggests that it came into existence at a certain point in time.

The universe could not have been created by chance because it is too orderly and complex. It is a basic principle that the things which chance creates are always unorganized, irregular, inconsistent, and partially integrated. And whatever chance creates, it almost instantaneously destroys.

For example, if I continue to throw a chair into the air, by chance the chair will eventually fall to the ground on its four legs. However, the next time I throw it up, it will land on its back or side.

Suppose that we put a monkey in front of a computer keyboard. If the monkey stays at that keyboard long enough, he may eventually produce a coherent sentence (maybe after a few hundred years of typing!). The sentence may be: “Monkeys rule.”

However, with the next few strokes, the monkey will make that coherent sentence incoherent through his arbitrary typing: “Monkeys rule lsldksldfsdoaf.”

So whatever chance creates, it almost instantaneously destroys. Therefore, it is inconceivable to believe that chance could create anything complex and sophisticated, whether it be a watch, a car, a computer, or a human being. All of these things require a superior designer.

Therefore, the consistency, organization, symmetry, form, and purposefulness of the universe and all life forms testify compellingly to God’s existence. Would you not agree?

I mean, can you conceive of something as complex as the human brain simply coming into existence randomly by the forces of chance? That would be like believing that the computer I’m presently typing on just appeared without a designer.

Can you conceive that something as complex as human life emerged spontaneously out of nothing but random chance and long periods of time?

By my lights, it requires much more faith to believe that the universe always existed or that it was created by chance than to believe that God created it.

Incidentally, the “Big Bang” theory doesn’t solve much. For it doesn’t answer the probing question: “Who or what started the Bang in the first place?”

Augustine said, “Do not seek to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”

Faith is simply trust. It is rooted in humility and is the tool of a child. It knows with the heart, not the mind. Though it doesn’t contradict reason.

Surprisingly, the Bible never sets out to prove God’s existence. The Lord has chosen to remain invisible. He is a God who hides Himself (Isaiah 45:15). He has chosen to remain unprovable.

One reason for this is because salvation is a work that is utterly His own. It is exclusively His doing. No person could ever boast about being saved because they were bright enough to figure out that God exists. Knowing Him is a matter of child-like faith that springs from humility, and it will always be so. 

“The Lord resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” and “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” we are told in the Bible.

God reveals Himself to those with believing, child-like hearts.

While on earth, Jesus said, “I have hid these things from the wise and prudent, but revealed them unto babes.” 

So be a child. Be a babe. For the kingdom of God is given to such.

So it seems to me anyway.

Am I wrong?

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  • Tyler Amphlett

    I am responding with some of my own thoughts since you did not really receive any to your points. I thank you in advance for allowing the opportunity to contribute to this debate and giving your detailed thoughts:

    I would like to know the haphazard nature of DNA, as I have never heard of that. What I have heard is that DNA is still very much unknown to us. We used to call parts of DNA or RNA “junk” and we found out how wrong we were, and that there is more to it than we ever realized. I don’t think we understand enough about DNA to assume knowledge over it.

    I would also like to know who wrote the natural processes or laws. Where did they come from? Why are they the way they are?

    I am convinced that snow itself is broken up snowflakes, created with the same intricate patterns. I believe that snowflakes are snowflakes because that is literally the pattern that happens when water is frozen. That is the property of freezing water naturally from temperature. They all share a similarity in formation and yet are different due to environmental variables. I do wonder if the symmetrical, pretty patterns are from the frozen particles spinning in the air like pottery. You could either argue that this is “just the way it is” or that God designed the physics of the universe to be beautiful, as we see very commonly like with the golden ratio, spiral, rectangle, etc.

    Snowflakes are indeed orderly, just like fire is orderly even in its chaotic nature by making similar licks and shapes of flames. You could say that these are simple principles of nature and elements, and people wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. I think that the patterns of fire are just as “orderly and complex” as snowflakes. The study of patterns in nature doesn’t make or break any of the arguments of creationism vs. atheism to me. If anything it seems to point to a designer due to the intricacy and perfection.

    This link is what I used to base my ideas off of:
    http://twistedsifter.com/2013/03/microscopic-images-of-snow-crystals/

    The argument about chance destroying things is interesting. I think the blog post was centralizing on the idea of mutations and random changes in genetic makeup occurring. I think the idea of crystals and stalagmites is a good point, but doesn’t quite fit the realm of chance. It is very definite that if you drop water over time slowly over a spot that it will carry whatever trace sediments it has and deposit them where it lands, building up over many years. This even happens with simple water spots on sinks and showers and dishes.

    As for the argument about which god is the real god: I don’t see any other religion document history and wisdom and truth the way that the Bible does. I don’t see any other God as complete and whole as the Christian God. That is my opinion based on my experience and knowledge, so I am not trying to claim superior knowledge here, although I do sincerely believe in the Christian God. Many other gods are flawed and have one purpose only and the religions they represent do not answer as many questions as the Bible and the Christian God.

    The question of where God came from is a tricky one. It really just requires faith, as does the Big Bang Theory. They require the same unknowing faith. In the Bible we are left with, “God always was”, and that is enough for us as humans. Perhaps He will tell us more when we are with Him. I understand human questions, but sometimes we must seek the answers knowing that we may never truly know.

    And the hidden God argument: I did answer a different comment with my thoughts on that subject and I will post it here too:
    The actual answer to this issue is that if you read the Bible from front to back, which is my current quest per-say, you will find that when Mo’ses dies, the Bible says that God never appeared to another human face-to-face like He did with Mo’ses. Then Josh’ua comes and God is still very close with him, but even after his life it reinstates a similar notion that God lessened His direct contact even more. After that He mostly appears in dreams, and after that I am not sure because I am only in I Kings.

    This is one of the biggest questions I want to tackle in my journey, and I don’t know if I will actually find it. It may be the same resolve as waiting for the day when we are again face-to-face with God. I personally do not see Him hiding from me. I see His works all the time in my life, and I see His essence all around me at all times. That is the parable of that verse. He doesn’t have to be hidden. I will say that I have never seen other ‘deities’ crossing over into people’s lives as much as I have seen with the Christian God.

    The childlike faith can be useful in many areas of life. If you cross the street to test it, however, you may be in for a shock. As Sa’tan said to Je’sus when He was in the wilderness:

    “5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

    6 And
    saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is
    written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their
    hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot
    against a stone.

    7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

    The irony is that I see people jaywalking every day across rush hour traffic, adults mind you, not as much children, and I have yet to see one be hit, despite their irrational choice. It was my childlike faith that kept me hopeful when my fiance was wrongly put into a psych ward and almost died because of the lack of medical care she endured, and she survived despite not eating for months and being 69 lbs as a grown adult while fighting off an untreated severe case of Crohn’s Disease. Oh, and she was on about 15 different drugs, some of which are very heavy like steroids and morphine and ativan.

    It was the childlike faith that delivered thousands of Phlistines into the hands of three-hundred ‘children of Is’ra-el’, which they are commonly referred to as. This level of blessings followed them through more stories than I can count. These blessings happen in my life all the time.

  • Tyler Amphlett

    The actual answer to this issue is that if you read the Bible from front to back, which is my current quest per-say, you will find that when Mo’ses dies, the Bible says that God never appeared to another human face-to-face like He did with Mo’ses. Then Josh’ua comes and God is still very close with him, but even after his life it reinstates a similar notion that God lessened His direct contact even more. After that He mostly appears in dreams, and after that I am not sure because I am only in I Kings.

  • Tyler Amphlett

    Why would God make it that simple? That would surely not separate the tares from the weeds. He wants the hearts of those that are good to follow Him, and it requires a good heart to seek Him and find Him. If He made His face appear in the sky every day of the Earth, there would be no point in giving humans the advanced stage of consciousness that they have. They would all have no reason to doubt Him.

    Interesting note on that last sentence:
    Even in the old testament during the age of Moses, God made His works clear and seen throughout all the land through Moses’ acts in E’gypt and by saving the people from starvation in the wilderness and also delivering their enemies into their hands. YET, every step of the way the people were doing wicked acts of “going a whoring after other gods” and “murmuring against God”. They were so flaky and wishy-washy, and this is a story to make us humble as humans, showing us how susceptible we are to sin, and to see that there is nothing we can do without God.

    I am only halfway through the Bible, but I know after Moses and Joshua, God stopped appearing face to face with humans. He then came in dreams, and then after that I am not sure.

    He has provided the evidence, it lies in our very human history, and in His Bible which has somehow “by chance”, as evolutionists love to say, survived to this day, and remains the most printed book. That is irony in the midst of your context my friend. Human history points to the fertile crescent, which is where humanity really took off. What are the chances that the fertile crescent is where all the biblical history happened, and where they are still finding some of the most ancient monuments known to mankind. Look it up.

    If you have the eyes to see, God is everywhere you look. If you do not wish to see Him, that is when He remains hidden. It’s almost a sort of riddle if you think about it.

  • http://frankviola.com/ Frank Viola

    Thx. for the comment.

  • Marc Burg

    Isa 40:25¶To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

    Isa 40:26
    Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these [things], that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that [he is] strong in power; not one faileth.

  • Frank Viola

    Lol. :-) You made me laugh. Thanks. I love wit.

  • Taby

    I am not here to argue, I laid out all my cards.. You presented a “challenge”. I lost. Thank you for opening my eyes. I couldn’t reason with a Theist. God is on your side, my friend. Well played.

  • Frank Viola

    I beg your pardon, Taby. I *answered* every point you made. There was no “disregarding” on my part.

    You do realize that many can make the same accusation here against you . . . that you “disregarded everything I wrote.” :-)

  • Taby

    So your response was to disregard everything I wrote. I see what I am playing with here. You got your wish, no Atheist can prove you wrong. Because you’ll disregard anything they try to present to you. Instead of looking at the flaws in your own logic.

    Oh and I wasn’t taking about the beginning of the statement “The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life “….That’s not religious, the ending is….”give strong evidence for God’s existence.”

  • Frank Viola

    Sure. I see many flaws in your response.

    1. “The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life” is not a “statement of religious persuasion.” it’s an empirical fact. the rest of the article explains the nexus between that and God’s existence. so your opening line falls short.

    2. the universe isn’t complex? there’s no order? that’s like saying the earth is flat. Study the human eye and the solar system again and try to argue there’s no order or complexity in the universe.

    3. I never talked about evolution. Evolution doesn’t explain origin. I’m talking about first motion.

    4. Yes, a lot of things are invented by chance, but someone/thing is inventing them. Your comment begs the question. we’re dealing with complexities like the human body and mind.

    5. This again begs the question. Where did the steal, plastic, etc. come from to build the computer. and who built it. you need trace back before processes (evolution, etc.).

    6. An many scientists agree. So what. Sects within Christianity prove nothing. There are sects and conflicting schools of thought in science and philosophy. using your logic, science is untrue.

    7. humans aren’t well designed? Hu? read a book on anatomy & physiology, please. and then try to make that statement with integrity.

    I could go on all day with the flaws in your response. But I wanted you to see that a theist could prove you wrong. :-)

  • Taby

    The problem with your challenge is that you are telling Atheists and other non-theists “The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life give strong evidence for God’s existence.” It is not actually a question. It is a statement of religious persuasion. I see many flaws with your article,

    1. The universe is NOT “orderly” and has NO “design”. Our planet is one of billions in the universe, one. One that just happens to be right distance away from the sun to sustain life. If the universe was designed by a higher intelligence, why did It throw all of the rest of the stars and planets and galaxies around in a big jumbled mess? And just put humans and life onto one planet? That is what doesn’t make sense my friend.

    2. I do not think you understand what evolution is. Evolution isn’t a “by Chance” opinion. You make it sound like a theory is something someone dreamed up during a hangover. Evolution is tiny changes over billions of years. Not 6,000 years, but billions. Tiny changes. Billions of years. There is nothing “chance” about it.

    3. Your claim that things invented by man somehow equate to the universe being built and the creation of man. To this I propose an observation on how things are invented. A lot of things are invited by “chance”. Example: The microwave oven (http://www.howstuffworks.com/innovation/inventions/10-accidental-inventions.htm#page=5) An you can Google a list of other technology made by chance, and human error.

    4. The computer, you and I are typing on, came from an intelligent designer, so everything must be designed. I also have a response to this, everything evolves, the very computer you are using in your argument has evolved as human intelligence grows. Technology evolves, it’s true. The first “computers” didn’t even use electricity, over the decades people made tiny changes to how it works until we have modern day computers and phones and other technology. Tiny changes over time. It didn’t come from chance, it didn’t come from design without prior designs, it is the current model and will continue to evolve as human knowledge grows.

    5. Many scientists disagree. That isn’t an argument against science, and I’ll tell you why. Christianity has over 18 sects and even more micro-sects and branches, not one teaches or believes the exact same thing. Example: The Baptist sect is extremely different than the Pentecostal sect. The Catholic sect is vastly different than the Evangelic sect, and so on and so forth. Let alone each of the worlds religions are all different and contradict each other. Buddhism, for example is a religion without gods. Where Paganism has many gods/goddess’s. Just because things that claim to be alike disagree, doesn’t make them false.

    6. Humans are not well designed. We have many flaws: pregnancy and the birthing process, the male genitals, and the eye are perfect examples of mistakes or design flaws. The eye alone is not great proof for a designer because an intelligent designer, working with the components of wiring the human eye, would choose the orientation that produces the highest degree of visual quality. The neural connections are placed in front of the photo-receptor cells, thus blocking the light from reaching them, rather than being behind the retina. Visual quality is reduced because light scatters as it passes through several layers of cellular wiring before reaching the retina. (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.353829421358216.81974.272308546176971&type=3)

    I could go on all day with the flaws in your statements. You wanted to see if any Atheist could prove you wrong, I’d like to see your reply to each of the observations I provided.

  • Frank Viola

    Your comment misses my point as it was an analogy; the response begs the issue. And . . . there’s great debate among scientists on many of these matters concern physics, astronomy, and even evolutionary theory (the specifics of it), which by the way I never mentioned or talked about. No one is disputing thermodynamics and nothing in my post disputed it. All things tend toward entropy unless there’s an external force at work.

  • Sven

    It is logical to conclude computers were designed by people because we can observe people making computers. There is a known and established process and mechanism for computer-making. With the proper training, you can make computers too. When is the last time anyone saw a universe get made? Is there an established process for making universes? With the right training and equipment, can you make a universe?

    And no, the basic tenets of thermodynamics (the interplay between mass and energy) are not “opinions”. Theology, on the other hand…

  • Bob Seidensticker

    Frank: No, I haven’t read that book.

  • Jennifer

    Oops. I meant to reply to the post questioning why Jesus” body was not produced as “evidence” that his reserection was false.

  • Dorfl

    I honestly don’t understand how this is related to what I said.

  • Frank Viola

    Science is faceless. The philosophy of science and the culture of it, however, enshrines certain assumptions and accepts them as fact. Namely, if it can’t be falsified empirically, it’s not true. Many scientists don’t buy that, but they are “Christians” or those of other faiths, and they are often dismissed because of it. Read “Creation’s Tiny Mystery” by Rob Gentry to get a good, clear look at this biases involved.

  • Frank Viola

    Yes, I’m familiar with Hawking’s *opinions*. I’m also familiar with his views on the divine, which I find to be narrow and simplistic.

    I’m typing on a sophisticated gadget right now . . . quite intricate. I believe a designer created it . . . a designer with a higher intelligence than the gadget. Even though I didn’t observe any designer creating it nor can I prove that it was created by said designer. I don’t believe my computer evolved from nothing or out of thin air or by smaller chance plus long periods of time. Though that’s possible . . . it’s unlikely.

    Point: We can escape into theories all day and name-drop various experts (most of which disagree with one another, that’s the story of science and philosophy, as I trust you know). But it really comes down to the simple question . . . where did this computer come from — a designer that is more intelligent and that’s been testified about by countless people . . . or the alternative, which I find pretty uncompelling.

    As for the identity of the said designer and the evidence for Him . . . see my comment about the resurrection and how history played out. I’ve yet to hear an atheist explain this. I have heard some say, “I can’t explain it and I don’t know how it happened, but I just choose not to believe the Christian explanation.” Which is intellectually honest, I feel.

  • Tony

    Yes and I didn’t find it very compelling.
    Anyway, if you’ve read Hawking then you’ll know that the existence of mass in the universe violates no law of nature. Mass can come from energy and vice versa. Since the second law of thermodynamics requires that the energy of the universe comes from somewhere, it is legitimate to ask where did it come from, as the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or the theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago. However, this is not the case. Negative gravitational energy exactly cancels out positive mass energy. The total energy of the universe is zero. Therefore the existence of matter and energy in the universe did not require the violation of conservation of energy at the assumed “creation”.

  • Dorfl

    “Science says (if I understand correctly), ‘We don’t know’”

    Pretty much. Like I mention above, there are some theoretical results that indicate that the universe began to exist* at the big bang, but there are also very good reasons to doubt those results. Popular science texts often make it sound like the universe certainly began at the big bang though, and religious apologists seem to have latched on to that. I think it’s best to treat the phrase ‘big bang’ as a shorthand for “the point in time when the density was so high that our current understanding of physics doesn’t allow us to reconstruct what happened”.

    * Ish. They at least indicate that time does not stretch backwards indefinitely.

  • Frank Viola

    Bob: Have you read Tim Keller’s “The Reason for God”? Just curious.

  • Frank Viola

    A follow up question for you Tony, have YOU read “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller and interacted with his arguments?

  • Frank Viola

    Yep. Recently Rowan Williams shredded Dawkins in a debate. That was the consensus of those who attended. I find it interesting that he won’t debate William Lane Craig who has decimated the arguments of many atheists. I find these guys holding on to Enlightenment thinking and deifying it when postmodern philosophers have punched holes in it.

  • Jennifer

    I have an origin, too. I started out no bigger than a speck. But this doesn’t mean I came from nothing. We don’t know what birthed the Universe. We may have more options than God or absolutely nothing. And this brings up a question my son asked me last night: If we figure everything out (not likely) and it turns out that God didn’t create absolutely everything from scratch, does it then follow that no God can exist?

  • Tony

    Frank,
    Have you ever read anything by Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, Steve Jones, Jerry Coyne, Roger Penrose or Stephen Hawking? They answer all your questions.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    OK … perhaps what Bill is saying is that “the physical universe was created out of nothing” isn’t what science says. Science says (if I understand correctly), “We don’t know,” a perfectly honorable response when, in fact, you don’t know.

    Anyway, our common sense that might be offended or shocked or baffled by the ideas at the boundaries of physics isn’t much of a help in evaluating what’s correct science and what’s not.

    The Christian can jump in and say, “Oooo–if science doesn’t know, I do! Ask me!” but that confidence isn’t built on much.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    OK–fill me in. If you write more on this subject, let me know and perhaps I can respond with a blog post.

    Best regards,
    Bob (from the Cross Examined blog)

  • Pingback: The Correct Way to Weigh Yourself . . .

  • Frank Viola

    Bruce: that’s a great question, but a different one than what the post treats. I’ll respond to it in a future post. In the meantime, check out my comment where I talked about the Resurrection of Jesus . . . I posted it yesterday in response to someone else. Thanks!

  • http://brucegerencser.net Bruce Gerencser

    For arguments sake, let me grant your assertion. I am not a scientist so I would only expose my ignorance trying to debate your assertion from science. I can however point out that saying your assertion proves there is a God is one thing but proving that that God is the Christian God revealed in the Christian Bible is something different, and it is a claim, outside of the Bible, you have no evidence for.

    Why should I accept that your God created everything rather than any of the other Gods in the panoply of Gods? This is a question no Christian can answer because it requires faith, a faith that what is revealed in the Bible is true.

    I see though your science smokescreen. The real issue is God said… If I reject that then I am a fool who deliberately ignores the Christan God exists.

  • Pearse O’Brien

    Your just picking and choosing what you want to believe. How do you know, other than the bible, that god has chosen to hide himself? Did he tell you, why didnt he tell me?

  • Frank Viola

    1. I did address his points in the comments. I didn’t see anything new that he added that refuted the main argument of the post.
    2. I also answered your question in the post and in the comments. So I’ll repeat in different words: God reveals Himself to the humble in heart but hides Himself from the proud and haughty. This is a recurring theme in both OT and NT. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
    3. The same with Jesus. Many rubbed shoulders with Him, not recognizing who He was. Others had eyes to see. Jesus Himself prayed, “I thank you Father that you’ve hid these things from the wise and prudent, but revealed them unto babes.” In Isaiah, it’s to the person who is a babe who He teaches wisdom. Jesus said only those who become like little children will inherit the Kingdom of God, etc. etc.

    So the name of the game isn’t how smart or learned a person is, but it’s rather an issue of the heart. So God reveals and hides . . . depending, and that’s His genius. The Enlightment over-promised and Enlightment thinking is profoundly narrow, for it dogmatically asserted that only what can be tested by empirical means is true and valid. This is narrow-minded thinking at best and it’s flawed. But that’s another subject . . .

  • Joshua

    I suppose it’s a bad thing then that I find the design argument more convincing (though still not quite convincing enough) than any argument I’ve come across for the Resurrection.

  • Tony

    Frank,
    You may assert that you have found each of Bob’s rebuttals to be weak but I’ve read your responses and nowhere do you genuinely address the points that he has made, except by again making bald assertions. But be that as it may, we run the risk of going off on irrelevant tangents here so let’s look at your original post one item at a time, starting from the top, and see if we can make any sense out of it. Your first line quotes Isaiah which appears to indicate that god wants or needs to remain hidden – whether it’s “wants” or “needs” is unclear, but the upshot is that god hides, right? Well that is flatly contradicted by your own bible. In the Old Testament, god is continually meeting people face-to-face and giving them commandments and smiting them etc etc. So, not very “hidden”. Then in the New Testament, we have Jesus who allegedly met thousands of people face-to-face. Again, “hidden” is not the word that springs to mind in describing Jesus’ alleged behaviour.
    So before we move on to address anything else you’ve said, please explain to me how your god can be hidden and not hidden at the same time.

  • Frank Viola

    This all assumes so much. What if the Christian Deity reveals Himself to those who humble themselves and in turn hides Himself to the proud and haughty, who choose to play God themselves?

  • Frank Viola

    Tony: I’ve responded to his points to others already in the comments section. They are most rehashes of what others have already said and my comments address the ones that they didn’t repeat. Time is limited, so I can’t keep repeating those points. I was being completely honest in my response. I found each of his rebuttals to be weak. If he can show me something in the material world that was created out of nothing by chance, then I would stand corrected. So my argument is falsifiable. Let’s be careful not to engage in ad hominems here.

  • Frank Viola

    Ian: No argument . . . including that of Jesus Christ, which I’ve included in two comments . . . is compelling to the person set on denying God’s existence. However, to the one poised to believe and to the believer, the evidences are solidly confirming. The truth is, God has chosen to hide Himself. Yet to the open minded, it takes far more faith to believe He doesn’t exist than to believe He does, in the face of the evidence. As Chesterton pointed out, original sin is one of the greatest evidences for the Gospel narrative.

  • Tony

    Frank,

    I have found your responses to the various replies given by certain people here (particularly Bob Seidensticker) to be extremely disappointing and dismissive. Bob answered pretty much all your points in a very clear and lucid way, and all he got in response was that you didn’t find his response “very compelling”. If you give no reasons why, I am compelled to come to the conclusion that you’ve already made up your mind about what you think and you have already decided that no amount of evidence will convince you. If that is the case then your original post was nothing more than a massive red herring, and you are being intellectually dishonest if you will not engage those who try to engage with you and who try to actually answer the questions that you pose.

  • http://faithnetworkcommunity.net Ian Forest-Jones

    Frank et al,
    This post is precisely why I argue that logical arguments for the existence of God can only ever be interesting but ultimately fall short of being compelling.
    IMHO, the best evidence for the existence of God is Jesus. Take his life, teaching, death and resurrection as your starting point, then work back to God-as-creator.

  • Chris

    If the Christian deity exists, then it *knows* why we don’t believe.
    If the Christian deity exists, then it *knows exactly* what it will take for each of us to believe. There could be no mistaking it.
    If the Christian deity exists and *loves* us and *wants* us to believe it is real, then it will provide the evidence that it *knows* we need.
    No subtle hints.
    No suggestive clues.
    No appeals to “what if”.
    It wouldn’t make everything seem as if no god was required.
    If the Christian deity exists and does not provide this evidence, that it *knows* we need, yet punishes us for not believing, then this god is an evil, tyrannical thug, not worthy of praise.

  • Frank Viola

    One can argue that #2 is wishful thinking, as many don’t wish for God to exist (for the reasons I stated in the post). Read Keller’s “The Reason for God” and you’ll have a better understanding as to why many people believe the evidence for God’s existence is quite compelling. As I said in another comment, no atheist has been able to refute it to date. Also see my response to Jennifer on the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus and why history testifies to His veracity. I’ve yet to hear a convincing alternative to what I put forth there. Thx.

  • Michael

    I believe the choices are;

    1) It always existed (doesn’t make sense)
    2) It was created by some method and I don’t know all the details (most likely)
    3) It was created by God, who;
    a) Always existed (doesn’t make sense)
    b) Was created by chance (doesn’t make sense)
    c) Was created by another god (doesn’t make sense)

    In weighing these options, I must go with 2, or “I don’t know.”

    In starting at the position of “not-knowing” it makes zero sense to apply the human story of god to the situation. It’s simply wishful thinking, and hoping I’ve randomly guessed the truth.

  • Frank Viola

    Most scientists agree that the universe had an origin. The Hubble Telescope confirmed this. Regarding God, the narrative of Jesus Christ in the Gospels is affirmed by many things, including the overwhelming evidence for His resurrection. It doesn’t make sense that Christianity began and became a worldwide movement (even today, 2,000 years ago) despite the fact that everyone in the first-century was keenly aware that a crucified Messiah was a failure. Lots of Jewish movements ended with the violent death of their founders and in none of those cases did the followers claim that the founder of their movement rose again from the dead. Such a claim could have easily been refuted at the time (by yielding the body, for instance) and the movement would have died. But if the resurrection of Jesus did in fact happen, the rise of Christianity makes perfect sense. If it didn’t, it’s rather hard to believe that Christianity would have ever survived, let alone have the kind of influence it’s had on the world even to this day. You might enjoy Tim Keller’s book “The Reason for God.” Atheists have had trouble refuting it.

  • Frank Viola

    Thanks Bob. I didn’t find your response very compelling. ;-) But I appreciate the reply.

  • Frank Viola

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” … God is the Creator. He’s not “nothing.” ;-)

  • Bill

    “The argument is: the idea that the physical universe was created out of nothing stretches the bound(s) of credulity until they break.”

    The idea that they physical universe was created out of nothing is the biblical view.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    Frank:

    I’m afraid that I didn’t find this very compelling.

    The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life give strong evidence for God’s existence.

    The haphazard nature of DNA is enough to dismiss the Design Argument for me.

    There are only three alternatives to explain the origin of the universe: 1) It always existed, 2) It was created by chance, or 3) It was created by God.

    4) It came from natural processes/laws.

    Point 2 doesn’t cover it IMO since evolution (a natural process) isn’t random.

    it came into existence at a certain point in time.

    The universe came into existence in its present form at a certain time. Maybe it’s a restructuring of stuff that existed before.

    The universe could not have been created by chance because it is too orderly and complex.

    A snowflake is orderly. Does that mean it couldn’t be created “by chance”?

    And complexity is off topic. Eukaryotic cells are quite complex, of course, but in a rather Rube Goldberg sort of way. If this were designed, would it have looked more elegant? Kind of hard to know, since our sample size is 1.

    So whatever chance creates, it almost instantaneously destroys.

    ?? Crystals can grow larger and larger over centuries. Stalagmites in a cave might be another example.

    I mean, can you conceive of something as complex as the human brain simply coming into existence randomly by the forces of chance?

    Wow. Evolution is not a random process. (Yes, mutation is, but evolution is more than that.)

    By my lights, it requires much more faith to believe that the universe always existed or that it was created by chance than to believe that God created it.

    The fact that humans have invented thousands of other religious traditions doesn’t make you think that perhaps your god is just one more?

    If your argument isn’t “Science can’t explain everything; therefore God,” then you need to state it more clearly.

    Incidentally, the “Big Bang” theory doesn’t solve much. For it doesn’t answer the probing question: “Who or what started the Bang in the first place?”

    And who or what started your God in the first place?

    Augustine said, “Do not seek to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”

    And you apply this maxim consistently to Hinduism, Shinto, and Scientology as well? If not, why single out Christianity?

    The Lord has chosen to remain invisible. He is a God who hides Himself (Isaiah 45:15). He has chosen to remain unprovable.

    Unfortunately, that makes your religion look like any other false religion that makes up rationalizations for why the god is hidden.

    Knowing Him is a matter of child-like faith that springs from humility, and it will always be so.

    Is this childlike faith useful in other areas of life? Cross a street? Learning French? Curing cancer?

  • Jennifer

    If I believe that God has always existed, on what basis can I claim that the Universe must have had a beginning? And if god has not always existed, where/how did God begin?

    I agree that the God narrative is more compelling. And I personally believe in God. But I also realize that stories are more compelling to children then washing dishes and don’t find how much more wonderful the higher life form idea is to be a good argument for a belief in God.

  • Dorfl

    Alright. I’ll try.

    Something from nothing:

    First of all, it isn’t clear that something came from nothing. Like I said, there may very well have been something before the big bang. We simply do not know yet. If this is the case, it’s possible that the universe simply stretches back in time indefinitely. That would make the question of what started it all moot.

    In my experience, philosophers in general and theologians in particular tend not to like the idea of an infinite regress. So far, I have not heard them make any arguments against it that didn’t boil down to “Infinities make me uncomfortable.” Nor do I think it’s possible to make much better arguments. I can’t think of any empirical way of showing infinities are impossible. As for theoretical arguments, mathematics works just fine even if we insert infinities into it, and that’s pretty much all that really matters.

    (On a side note, there is apparently a feeling in the physics community that space and time might actually be emergent properties of some more fundamental physics. If that’s the case, there is a possibility that the question of what came before the big bang might not actually be meaningful. But this is just me passing on some informal remarks by a physics lecturer about what many theoretical physicists feel is likely to be the next developments in the field, and should not be seen as any more authoritative than that.)

    But we might as well tackle the question of whether something can come from nothing anyway. It is tempting to simply declare “You can’t get something from nothing!” and treat this as being a priori obvious. I can very easily understand why someone would do that. The reason I will not do that, is that historically this approach to physics has tended to fail very badly.

    Many advances in physics (and other branches of science as well, I imagine) only happened when someone thought to question some idea that at the time seemed just as intuitively obvious as the impossibility of getting something from nothing. The most famous example is Galileo: Before him people considered it obvious that the Earth is stationary and everything else rotates around it. Pointing out that throwing this assumption out left you with a simpler model of the solar system didn’t do him much good personally, but is considered by many to be the starting point of modern science. It was long taken for granted that space had to be Euclidean – that it had to obey the axioms of Euclidean geometry. About a century ago a certain Albert refuted that idea, and simultaneously became the archetype for a very clever person. It was also taken for granted that the laws of physics had to be invariant under parity – that is if the physical system were ‘mirror imaged’. Lee and Yang got the 1957 Nobel prize for arguing that this was not the case for the weak interaction. (Wu, who actually did the relevant experiment, did not get to share the prize. But that’s a different story.)

    My point is that we’ve very often ended up regretting it when we’ve taken obvious-sounding ideas for granted, without having empirical or theoretical support for them. This is also part of the reason why I dismissed philosophical objections against actual infinities so quickly earlier. Now, for all those obvious truths that were disproved, it’s worth seeing if we can figure out why they seem so obvious. In all the cases I listed, this can be done.

    We can’t actually tell if something is moving or if we ourselves are moving. This being the case, we tend to assume – reasonably enough – that it is we who are stationary as long as there is no perceptible sense of motion. As long as relative velocities are low and gravitational fields are weak, spacetime as described by general relativity looks as though it were Euclidean. Since Euclidean geometry is also simpler, it is easy to see why the human brain takes the shortcut of assuming that geometry has to be Euclidean. Nearly all physical laws are unchanged when ‘mirrored’, and the few differences that exist are quite difficult to detect. This explains why physicists came to expect this to be true for all physical laws.

    Can we then give some explanation for why it would seem obvious that something cannot possibly come from nothing?

    There are good empirical and theoretical reasons to think that the energy of an isolated system cannot change. That is, we cannot get energy from nothing. We also can’t get momentum, angular momentum or electric charge from nothing. This provides some very sharp limitations on the possibility of getting ‘something’ from nothing. Off the top of my head, I have trouble thinking of something which still has zero energy, momentum, angular momentum and charge. The energy in particular is the big problem. I think this explains where the feeling of ‘something from nothing is not allowed’ comes from.

    However, it seems that the universe as a whole does in fact have zero net energy. The other quantities I mentioned appear to be zero as well. This means that it slips by everything that we can actually support the idea that something can’t come from nothing with. The only thing we’re left with is a strong feeling that that’s no way for a universe to behave, which experience tells us the universe is very likely to ignore.

    Spiritual beliefs:

    I’m somewhere on a spectrum between atheist and ignostic. That’s essentially a polite way of saying that I think religious statements tend to be either false, or so poorly defined as to be meaningless. I think that very often religion gives answers where it should say “I’ve no idea. Let’s see if we can find out!” and that this makes it very prone to slowing down inquiry into those questions that are most interesting.

    I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that the human mind is something the human brain does, and that when a brain is sufficiently damaged it stops doing that. This means that the question “Where do you go when you die?” seems about as meaningful as “When a piano is smashed, where does the music go?”

    I base my sense of morality on the realisation that other people are as real as I am. If it is bad when terrible things happen to me, I can’t really defend the idea that it’s not also bad when terrible things happen to other people.

    How I found this blog:

    I’ve been reading the Patheos blogs in the atheist, progressive Christian and evangelical Christian channels since some time last year. I read several of the evangelical blogs since I believe it’s good to try to find out what the people we disagree with the most actually believe. This means that most posts I write here tend to disagree with the blog owner, but hopefully I don’t cross the line into actual trolling. I found this particular post when I looked at the “More from the Evangelical Channel” list and went “Ooh, a challenge! I accept!”

  • Frank Viola

    What are those “building blocks” and are they higher life forms than human beings — who are creators themselves? The biblical narrative is that God created material things, all life forms, and humans — in His image — bearing His imprint as creators. That narrative is more compelling than the alternative. It’s a choice between Something(SomeOne) outside the universe that is a higher life form creating it vs. someThing that’s a lower form within a finite and temporal universe that is infinite and eternal.

  • Jennifer

    Asking as a non-scientist – How does the expansion and contraction of the Universe prove that it came from nothing? Did God come from nothing? If not – if God has always existed – why couldn’t the building blocks for the Universe have always existed?

  • http://dashifen.com David Dashifen Kees

    I am not a naysayer; I’m a polytheist, in fact. But, I’m also a spiritual humanist and so my answer to all of your questions is: yes. I contend that humanity has become — as a creative engine comprised of billions of entities — a similar force of creation to whatever god or gods kick started this whole shebang. Perhaps it is because, in addition to holding a belief in many gods, I also hold the belief that my gods are empowered by and arise from our belief in them. In many ways, I see the world as a process of co-creation between our creator (or creators) and that which he (or they) created. As we grow and change — as we evolve — our gods do as well and they come to know us better through that process of change.

    Perhaps my point of view is too different to be of much value in this specific moment, but I thought I’d try to make it clear that it’s not just atheists that hold that humanity is a surprisingly creative and wonderful force capable of understanding the intricate world around us.

  • Joshua

    I have some issues with design arguments in general which I could (and still might) get into, but it be a bit long, so for now I’m going to focus on the way it gets used.

    Using a design argument as a starting point can really only get you as far as some sort of deism; that’s really all that that evidence can support. If then try to move from a deistic God to a theistic God, you’re moving away from the evidence. If you go from a general theistic God to the God of a particular religious theology, you’ve even farther away than that. Whenever I see an adherent to a particular religion pointing at the argument from design, I feel like what they’re doing is almost a bait-and-switch; as soon as they can get a non-believer to admit that *something* *might* be called “God,” they wheel out the God of their own religion and don’t bother trying to close the gap between the two concepts.

    To that point, I don’t recall having ever spoken with anyone who, starting from a place of complete non-belief in God, wound up being Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, what have you, after using a design argument as a starting point. Ever. In my experience, people tend to use the design argument to prop up a faith or belief that they already have but that isn’t as strong as it once was (I did that myself; the design argument probably bought me an extra year of being able to call myself a Christian before I “deconverted”). I think that people in that position have a tendency to miss that there is a gap between the “God” evidenced by design and the God of their religion; since they already had a thought in mind of what “God” means, anything that proves a general “God” must prove *their* “God.” I think those people legitimately miss that there is a gap between the concepts, where as the “bait-and-switchers” may know it but try to gloss over it.

  • http://dashifen.com David Dashifen Kees

    I’m not Christian, I’m not even a monotheist, but I find it interesting that so many people say that without proof of God (or in my case, various gods) they cannot believe in one. I find that personally troubling because it is because I lack proof in my gods that I can believe in them. If I had proof that my gods existed, then there would be no need for belief; no need for faith. I would _know_ that they are real. To believe in something implies doubt, at least from my point of view; doubt in the accuracy of the beliefs and doubt in the veracity of that in which we have belief. Sometimes, however, I think that my point of view is fairly different from those of a Christian as a result of the different type of faith that I have. Hope this was interesting, at the least!

  • Frank Viola

    Yes, please. Share a bit on your spiritual beliefs, also, if you don’t mind. Are you an atheist and how did you find this post? Curious. Thx.

  • Dorfl

    I think we’re mixing up two different questions here. Namely,

    “How can complexity and orderliness arise from simplicity and randomness?”

    and

    “How can something come from nothing?”

    I’ve attempted to answer the first one, since the blog post seemed to focus on the universe’s orderliness. Would you like me to start discussing the second question instead?

  • Frank Viola

    Simple things bringing forth complex things begs the issue. The issue comes back to “where did those simple things come from?” Complexity out of nothing is irrational. The argument for Design is compelling as far as evidence goes. It’s written in the bloodstream of the universe.

  • Dorfl

    “Meyer’s work on this is astounding. You should check him out.”

    Ok. I promise that I will.

    And if you have the time, please try to find some popular text discussing thermodynamics or statistical mechanics. The question “How can order arise from fundamental randomness?” is one that turns up very often in theological discussions, and it is difficult to find a good way to say “Dude, this problem was solved more than a century ago. Look it up!”

    “The argument is: the idea that the physical universe was created out of nothing stretches the bound of credulity until they break.”

    Again, we aren’t certain whether the universe came from nothing or not. The Penrose-Hawking theorems apparently indicate that it did, but they depend on extending general relativity into a regime where we don’t think it can be used, unmodified. (Incidentally, neither Roger Penrose nor Stephen Hawking accept the implications of their theorems, for precisely that reason.) Works of popular science tend to be bad at clarifying this, but in to some extent ‘Big Bang’ simply means “that point at which the density of the universe was so high that our current understanding of physics doesn’t allow us to say what happened.”

    “To put a finer point on it, please give me an example of anything complex being created out of nothing via chance.”

    I can give you examples of complex things coming from very simple things. Like I said above, we still aren’t sure that the universe came from nothing. Even if it turns out that it did, it will probably be a quantum ‘nothing’, which is not exactly the same as our intuitive understanding of what ‘nothing’ means.

    Imagine a large amount of hydrogen atoms dispersed randomly in a vacuum. They are drifting about according to no particular pattern, dumbly following very simple laws of physics.

    Every once in a while, two of them collide. They then form a hydrogen molecule while sending out a photon. This happens because a hydrogen molecule has lower energy than two individual hydrogen atoms do. Once that energy has been released in form of a photon, it is very unlikely to come back. Hence, hydrogen atoms that have gotten stuck together tend to stay together.

    The random distribution of the hydrogen atoms mean that in some places the density is higher, and in others it is lower. The higher-density regions then tend to contract under the pull of gravity. As this happens, the gravitational pull becomes stronger, speeding up the contraction. The high-density regions then end up forming one or more clumps of hydrogen.

    We now look closer at an individual clump. It is originally sort of amorphous and blobby. Each individual molecule is moving at some random elliptic trajectory. Every once in a while they collide with each other, this collision releasing some energy and on average sending the molecules onto slightly lower trajectories. The net effect of this random behaviour is for the hydrogen to form a relatively smooth sphere, since at that point it is not possible for the average molecule (ion, at this point, but whatever) to move any lower.

    I could continue with describing how fusion causes the hydrogen spheres (obviously, they’re stars) to get an onion-like structure, where each layer contains a particular element in the periodic table. I think the basic point has been made though: very simple laws of physics, combined with basically random yet simple initial conditions, can still give rise to orderly, complex results. There is nothing in there that calls for intelligence to guide it.

  • Frank Viola

    Meyer’s work on this is astounding. You should check him out. Few things in life can be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and as I’ve explained, there is no proof for God’s existence nor do I expect there to ever be in this life. He has given His reasons for this in the Scriptures. I stand by my assertion that what chance creates it almost always immediately destroys (that’s not been “proven” to be “false” — especially when it comes to the physical creation). But that’s not the premise of the entire argument. The argument is: the idea that the physical universe was created out of nothing stretches the bound of credulity until they break. I didn’t see anything in your post that proved my argument to be wrong. To put a finer point on it, please give me an example of anything complex being created out of nothing via chance. If you can, then that would be an example of proving my argument to be wrong.

  • Dorfl

    “The work of Dr. Stephen C. Meyer is one expert who has refuted some of the thinking you’re putting forth and he has provided strong support for my short blog post. You don’t appear to be familiar with his work.”

    I have never heard of Dr. Meyer before. Even so, I can tell you right away that he has not ‘refuted’ statistical mechanics. I can say that with the same certainty as I can say that he hasn’t refuted atomic theory, Maxwell’s laws or the theory of relativity. Some fields simply have enough empirical support that they are, for all practical purposes, irrefutable.

    I wonder if we’re talking past each other here, though. From Wikipedia, Meyer’s work seems to be in biology. So far, I’ve only discussed physics.

    “Even so, instead of referring to your favorite experts, please explain *where* specifically my logic is off.”

    But I did. Your reasoning starts out with the premise that “things which chance creates are always unorganized, irregular, inconsistent, and partially integrated”. This is known to be false. Once you’ve started reasoning from a false premise, it doesn’t really matter how good the reasoning is. That’s why I didn’t address anything after that point.

    Also, I did not refer to my ‘favourite experts’. The point I tried to get across is that we’re discussing a subject which has pretty much been settled for the last 100 years or so. (Maybe closer to 200. The study of thermodynamics started in earnest with the industrial revolution.) Going to a library and picking any basic book on statistical mechanics will tell you the same things. I only mentioned Schroeder because it happens to be the book I’ve read. If you don’t like that one, then pick another.

    “We don’t “know” for certain any of the things you’ve stated (such as when a “big bang” occurred). All of it is speculation, as I’m sure you know.”

    We don’t “know” it in the sense of having absolute certainty, sure. But we do know it with the same degree of certainty as we have in most of the rest of science. If it is speculation, then the existence of the back side of the moon is speculation.

    “God has left His fingerprints on it, I contend. Can you refute that?”

    No. Evidence might turn up tomorrow demonstrating his existence beyond reasonable doubt. I think I have explained why your argument for his existence doesn’t work, though.

  • http://christianjourneyuk.wordpress.com/ Gavin

    Trying to ‘prove’ God’s existence is a constant frustration, which I’ve also written about and I think the essence of what I say there is close to what you are saying. Ultimately there is no logical proof either way, only evidence to support either view. The only logical argument that I think can have any positive effect in itself is this: the only person who could *know* for certain that God does *not* exist would be someone who is by definition omniscient, and therefore a god himself. That in itself proves nothing except the possibility, but I would hope that allowing the possibility at least allows other possibilities, such as opening the mind to a new way of thinking and hearing the call of the Holy Spirit.

  • Katie

    So, to any ‘naysayers’ do you think that Physics and Science could have come about without some creative knowing, or establishing it as so? Do you think that man could have taught man the intricacies of such learning and depth of knowledge, except that it had to be revealed to him? Do you think that man could easily grasp the genius and brilliance of the heavens and the earth, just by thinking about it? What about creation? Could man have created a tree or a cloud, just by drawing a picture, then flinging it into the air, and saying “‘poof,” you are now a living thing?’”
    “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).”
    Everyone ‘knows’ God. Just by the mere acknowledgment of His name, “I don’t believe there is a God,” tells one there is a deep knowing within. Why else would one keep trying to convince oneself otherwise.
    Even the most intentional God hater ‘knows’ God, only this one has yet to acknowledge the truth at heart level. Bittersweet is the gift of knowledge, for it does both bless and curse its owner.

  • Frank Viola

    The work of Dr. Stephen C. Meyer is one expert who has refuted some of the thinking you’re putting forth and he has provided strong support for my short blog post. You don’t appear to be familiar with his work. Even so, instead of referring to your favorite experts, please explain *where* specifically my logic is off. Just saying it’s wrong and referring me to Wikipedia isn’t compelling at all, I’m afraid. We don’t “know” for certain any of the things you’ve stated (such as when a “big bang” occurred). All of it is speculation, as I’m sure you know. But we can look at the way the universe operates now and make inferences. God has left His fingerprints on it, I contend. Can you refute that?

  • Dorfl

    You seem to be using some variant of the watchmaker argument. I’ll try to explain why I think it doesn’t work.

    “The universe could not have always existed, for it is expanding and contracting. This suggests that it came into existence at a certain point in time.”

    We don’t actually know this. We do know that the Big Bang occurred some 14-ish billion years ago. It’s possible that the universe began to exist at that point, but it’s not certain. The basic problem is that at the Big Bang, the energy density was so high that both quantum mechanical and gravitational effects need to be taken into account if we want to reconstruct what happened. But so far, nobody has managed to put together a useful theory of quantum gravity. That stops us from saying very much about what happened at that point, and whether anything preceded it or not.

    But for the sake of the argument, we can imagine that the universe began at the Big Bang, because there is a much more serious problem at the next step of your argument:

    “It is a basic principle that the things which chance creates are always unorganized, irregular, inconsistent, and partially integrated.”

    Here you are making an assumption which is intuitive, commonsensical, reasonable, and wrong. The branch of physics which studies how change can produce regular, consistent behaviour is called ‘statistical mechanics’. I admit I’ve only read one course of the subject, so I can’t summarise the basics of the field impromptu, but I promise that the basic question of how randomness can produce predictable large-scale behaviour is already pretty much a solved problem.

    You can take my word for that or – much better – you can try to find the time to read up on the subject. Wikipedia is a good place to start. I had “an Introduction to Thermal Physics” by Daniel V. Schroeder as my course book, but I’m not sure how useful it is on its own, without a physics teacher to help.

  • Stefan Korth

    I think the problem is that we are surrounded by things that WE created. Houses, streets, cars, parks, things. This pushes the fascinating things that God created into the background. Once you are confronted with them again, lets say, a humming bee or the niagara falls, we fall in awe and have to be a fool to believe in coincidence. But sitting in front of a laptom in your house, God is easy to deny. Noone would argument that the complex design of a watch would have come into existance by N explosions in a workshop. It is just that anything we create seems to some of us more complex than what nature came up with, though it indeed is the other way around.

  • http://www.kellyjyoungblood.com Kelly J Youngblood

    Looking forward to seeing good, civil dialogue on this.


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