Just got through a weeklong retreat for priests, deacons, and seminarians and then dove into another amazing conference for high school students. Very busy, but very blessed!
You might think the topics covered at a retreat for priests and a conference for high school students would be pretty different from each other (they usually are.) But this year they shared a common talk: the proof of the existence of God.
My good friend and colleague Dr. John Bergsma talked to the priests, deacons, and seminarians about the importance of fighting the “new atheism” and rejecting the stereotype that to follow Jesus is to be superstitious instead of scientific.
Sean Forrest gave a simpler but similar talk to the teenagers on Saturday night. “How many of you have been told that science has disproved that God exists?” he asked the audience. Almost every hand went up.
“How many of you worry that they’re right?” he asked. Many hands answered yes.
Sean did a great job of walking the teens through some basic apologetics on proving that God exists. He used the famous analogy of finding a watch on the ground and how foolish it would be to think it just “evolved” that way. Clearly something that complex had to be made by someone. And how much more complex are we?
I knew of that argument and I think it’s a great one. But John’s talk to the priests threw out some crazy things I had never heard before.
Sir Fred Hoyle was a English mathematician who calculated that the chances of a single enzyme to be “randomly” created was one in 1020. That’s a 10 with 20 zeroes after it. He said that the probability of that occurring by chance is as likely as a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a fully functional jumbo jet.
Many astrophysicists and cosmologists agree on what they call the “fine tuning” of the universe: a group of cosmological constants that are so precise that if there was even the smallest change then there would be no possibility of life in the universe. One of those “cosmological constants” is the perfect ratio of protons to electrons. The universe could not exist if there was a 1037 deviation of that balance. According to Dr. Hugh Ross, the best way to visualize it would be the following:
Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.) Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037.
Now, those are just some of the variables. The chances of each one happening individually are unbelievable… but what are the chances of them all occurring?
One astrophysicist suggested the chances would be 1 in 10229. That number is absolutely impossible to visualize, since there are only an estimated 1 in 1088 electrons (the smallest particle of matter in an atom) in the known universe.
It’s not just mathematically improbable. It’s mathematically impossible.
Many of these scientists were atheists who came to believe in the existence of God through their scientific research.
John said, “If you worked in the field of cosmology, or read in the area of cosmic origins, you know that the real problem is not the fact that the universe looks as if there was no God. It’s the fact that the universe, the more we learn about it, is so finely tuned and highly designed to allow us to live that it’s an embarrassing argument for theism.”
It reminded me of something written in the book of Wisdom:
For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works. (Wisdom 13:1)
It is obvious that we were created by a divine intellect. And it is Christ who revealed fully to us Who that is.
We are not here by chance. We are here by His choice. Not because of luck, but because of His love.
FOR MORE INFO: You can read more about some of the above statistics by going here. John also suggested the documentary “The Privileged Planet” which has some great insights into “intelligent design.” One other book that some of you might like (it’s written at a high academic level) is Fr. Spitzer’s book, “New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.“
to really see this information in action go to http://www.reasonablefaith.org Dr. William Lane Craig is destroying the major athiests of today. you can even see his debates especially with the late notorious christopher hitchens who wrote “God is Not Great”. Craig pummels him. craig is also a giant on the reliability of the resurrection of Jesus. A must have book for all christians is, On Guard, Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. it is written well explaining complicated things to those who hate complicated things.
That was fascinating!! I really enjoy hearing scientific information in favor of God’s existence not only because I’m too lazy to look it up myself, but more importantly because it makes me fall even more in love with my Creator! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing some of those arguments. I loved John’s line: “It’s the fact that the universe, the more we learn about it, is so finely tuned and highly designed to allow us to live that it’s an embarrassing argument for theism.”
I find it unfortunate that creationism is being promoted in this day and age. Evolution and Christianity are compatible. I think endorsing the Discovery Institute is a good way to ensure that the stereotype of superstitious, antiscience Christians remains. I also think Miller’s book, “Finding Darwin’s God,” offers a more reasonable perspective.
It is also frustrating that we keep fighting on the atheists turf…of course we have many evidence for God’s existence in the realm of science but it sad that many people think that sceince is the only way to “know” things. Science doesn’t tell us what is beautiful or what love is or how good a book is. Also, there is reason in our universe that is “pre-science” if someone says I only believe what science reveals we have to say that reason comes before science. if they keep insisting the other ask them reasonably explain why that it 🙂 if there is no God..there is no reason, there is no free will and in actuality we do not exist. we are reflections of biochemistry …just energy and matter. There is no “I” How can we understand science unless we first have reason??? we cant.
While I respect your opinion, your arguments are so close-minded. As a biology student, I’ve heard many of your arguments before, and you haven’t gone nearly as into depth as you need to to understand the point. As for the watch theory, no, a watch doesn’t just appear. However, a watch is an INANIMATE OBJECT. Inanimate objects aren’t capable of growing, like a cell is. An inanimate object can’t think, can’t adapt to its surroundings like an organism can. To say the watch theory is correct because organisms are complicated and must have been “made” is completely biased and not supported by anything. Let’s assume all life was “made” by a higher being. Are you honestly telling me you believe no species has evolved or adapted since then? Can you honestly say those organisms haven’t become more complicated through trial and error and survival of the fittest? No, a complicated system like an eye doesn’t just “appear” in biology; it evolves through billions of years of trial and error. Environments shape the needs of organisms and therefore their form and function. That’s how something complicated comes into being. As for your stats on an enzyme coming into being, read up on the Miller – Urey experiment of 1953. They replicated conditions of primeval earth as exact as possible and came out with the amino acid Urea – proving that it WAS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY POSSIBLE for an organic compound to come about naturally under atmospheric conditions. So, as for your comments on the improbability of an enzyme just “appearing” – one lifetime of experiments gave us a naturally occurring organic compound, you think billions and billions and billions of years couldn’t do the same on a much larger scale? Even if it is improbable, the sheer magnitude of time our planet has existed provides more than enough window for those odds to occur. Throwing out raw numbers of how unlikely it is for something to happen provides no evidence of a higher being. While it could make your argument sound nice and scientific, it doesn’t really prove anything. I don’t mean to offend your faith, but as a scientist I felt the need to defend biology because you have sorely misunderstood and redirected the meaning of the information in your article. Claiming it as “fact” was offensive to me as a biologist.
I’m glad you respect my close-minded opinions 🙂
Seriously, though, I don’t claim to be a biologist, cosmologist, or an astrophysicist. I was only quoting other scientists. If your expertise as a biologist finds what I’ve quoted is in accurate, then it was not my intent to “twist” facts to uphold my beliefs.
However, with any scientific theory (these are theories, not facts) there is always an amount of bias that goes into them. I think to presuppose that there is no God can be as much of a bias as it can be for those who do. Do the numbers prove anything? I’m also not a mathematician. I think you have extremely intelligent people on both sides of the argument with strong data to support their conclusions. Again, this is why they are called theories.
My point is that there is more than enough evidence to reasonably conclude that we were created, and that if you looked at it without a bias one would say that it is far more likely the universe was created as opposed to “just happened.” You acknowledge it’s improbable. I think it’s more accurate to say it’s really, really, really improbable. Improbable to the 229th power. Billions of years wouldn’t give us a reasonable chance. We’d need trillions upon trillions to even have a long shot.
And yet, here we are. The universe runs in perfect order. Intelligent life exists on planet Earth. Those who deny the existence of God claim we were lucky. What else could they say? What is worse, though, is when scientists teach that luck is the only reason for our creation and God does not and could not exist. I meet many young people who are in public schools were they are taught as fact that God does not exist because of scientific theories and never hear a counter-argument. And that, I think, is the worst bias of all.
I propose that the sheer improbability (and many experts would say, impossibility) of our very existence would suggest that we were created and those who believe in God are standing on strong scientific data that upholds that conclusion.