Never does the Nazarene Lord ever entertain this question -- "Does God exist?" -- for to him and his disciples it was a given. He merely asserts, "The One who sent me is real." (John 7:28 -- alethinos = true; a reality) We can imagine the expression on our Lord’s face if asked this question. In his own words, Jesus pointed to the fields of grass with their lovely flowers as evidence that his Father cared for others. He taught in his mountain sermon: "Observe intently the birds of heaven ... your heavenly Father feeds them. ... Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they are growing; they do not toil, nor do they spin ... God thus clothes the vegetation of the field." (Matthew 6:26-30 NWT) Some skeptics sitting in such an audience would have objected to such a conclusion.
Isaiah the prophet of the seventh century BC pointed to the stellar celestialium: "Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one [of them] is missing." (Isaiah 40:26 NWT) The Jewish rabbi turned Christian, Paul also pointed to creation as evidence of a Creator: "For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable." (Romans 1:20 NWT) And, again, "Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but He that constructed all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4 NWT)
Of course, Biblical quotations are no proof of God’s existence. These are presented only to demonstrate how the Scriptures approach the matter in an almost off-handed way.
The debate over the existence of God is as much alive today as it was one or two centuries ago. [See the Newsweek article of July 20, 1998, "Science Finds God" pages 46-52] Following the Internet some would be led to believe that belief in God is "old fashioned" or out of date for enlightened thinkers. For example, the forum H2O is strongly controlled by agnostics and atheists whose goal seems the destruction of faith in God no matter the religion. Anyone who posts a message dealing with evolution, creation, the Bible, or belief in God in general, is instantly pounced upon by verbose anti-gods.
Though agnostics and atheists are rare -- though vocal -- the truth is, in fact, that reasonable estimates confirm that by far the majority of earth’s inhabitants believe -- and have always believed -- that there is a God. Though these concepts of God vary widely with Jews, Christians, and Moslems (as well as many diverse cultural and tribal groups) hold to the general conviction that God is a Supreme Being with Infinite Intelligence and Infinite Power. Others, while still holding to a belief in a divine mind, or purposeful force, view God as an abstraction which is the sum of a variety of manifestations.
Agnostics (meaning "un-knowing") and atheists (meaning "non-god" believers) have been very vocal on different Internet forums in debating the issues regarding a belief in God. Of course, their unified question is first: what is the proof that God exists? They also are bold in asserting that if God existed why does he permit wickedness? The later complaint begs the first question, for their ignorance of why or why not God does or does not do something is an entirely different subject unrelated to whether He exists or not. One’s ignorance can never be the basis for an argument against the existence of God.
Why this disbelief among some scientists? Walter Oscar Lunberg, biochemist, writes: "A denial of the existence of God is sometimes an arbitrarily established policy of influential social groups or organizations, or of the state. Fear of social consequences, or even physical consequences where atheism is a state creed, discourages any active espousal by the individual of the revelation of God found in Nature."
If some atheists are honest they would admit there is no proof or evidence that would convince them to change their faith or philosophy. Some want evidence which can be weighed and measured so that we could finally say that God is so many light years in height and weighs so many trillions and trillions of kilos. Something like an alien autopsy. Others want what amounts to a personal experience where they could see God, hear his voice, or in some other way have "scientific" proof of His existence. In some cases, not even this would work, for many would still insist this is all an allusion or a magic trick.
The old saw -- "I only believe in what I can see" -- is no longer realistic in view of advanced sciences which do hold to belief in unseen things, such as atoms, or the four forces of the cosmos. It is much like the wind which cannot be seen but may be known by its manifestations in the static on the skin or the rustle of autumn leaves. (John 3:8) Thus, there are many things in our own experience that we can neither weigh or measure per se, such as the wind, and yet when we behold seas of "amber waves of grain" moving in lovely undulating patterns we know this is the unseen wind.
In a modern world with radio and television communication we learn early that these invisible waves are moving around and through our bodies all the time. Though we cannot see, feel, smell, hear, or in any other way sense these, we have no doubt whatsoever that they exist.
However, can the existence of a God be proven? Or, is there sufficient evidence to point strongly in the direction of a God. Of course, here it is good to ask the question: What do we mean by "God"? Though this word will have different meanings in a variety of cultures with many language differences, what common denominators may be judged to exist when something like the word "God" is used?
First, it is good to recognize that the English word "God" has different roots compared to Hebrew or Greek. Word studies show that the English "God" (the German "Gott") is related to a "helper"; that is, one who is called to for help -- something like a lifeguard. In Hebrew the word ELOHIM is rooted in the idea of power or strength, thus one who is considerably more powerful than you is an ELOHIM. In Hebrew this may range from the Absolute Being to angels, kings, judges, and even husbands. Though in the later case something like the English "lord" (bread-winner, or, keeper of the bread; and, thus "husband") is used more often in the context of husband and wife. Thus, in Hebrew the Supreme Being was He that had the Power to will the universe into existence.
The Greeks drew their concept of "god" (theos) from motion or running as the stars run across the sky. Thus, a supreme God was a Prime Mover, or Creator -- that One Being who could put all these observable lights or bodies into motion.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle made it clear the Greeks used the number three in the conceptions of the gods and thus the trinity preceded Christianity by over 600 years. He writes in The Heavens, "It is just as the Pythagoreans say, the whole world and all things in it are summed up in the number three; for end, middle, and beginning give the number of the whole, and their number is the triad [or, trinity]. Hence it is that we have taken this number from nature, as it were one of her laws, and make use of it even for the worship of the gods." [English translation by W. K. C. Guthrie M. A., Cambridge] [triados = Webster's "triad" = trias, triados = trinity; modern Greek dictionary: triados = trinity.] Aristotle believed the "trinity" six centuries before the Council of Nicea. Triados occurs no where in the Christian Greek Bible.
Is this "God" a person? Aristotle’s answer is: "And God’s essential actuality is life most good and everlasting. We say then that God is a living being, eternal, most good." (Metaphysics, chapter 8) However, here again no universal agreement will be reached by all the various views. Our purpose here is not to deal with what "God" is but rather that He is -- His existence. In a separate piece we can deal with what God might be.
This is reduced to a simple abstraction in how the Hebrews and Greeks designated the Name for God: Yahweh (or, Yehowah) in Hebrew, and Ho On in Greek. The later is present in much of Greek philosophy and means simply "The One" inferring "the one who is" or "the One who exists." Though some scholars debate the Hebrew, when the Jews in the Third Century set upon translating the Hebrew root of Ehyeh asher ehyeh they chose ego eimi ho on, or, "I am the One who is." Thus, the essential idea is that God indeed does exist. We may state that God is the Absolute Being with a Supreme Intelligence -- there is no one older, stronger, or wiser than "God." One philosopher proposed: "God is that of which there is nothing greater." Or, Einstein himself was willing to express his own conviction: "It is not beyond me to conceive of a supreme intelligence perpetuating himself throughout all eternity."
The logic behind this is seen in the equation: Where we find design we find intelligence. Where we find intelligence we find a mind. Where we find a mind we find a person. And, where we find a person we find a personality.
This is a question sometimes posed by atheists. It is very misleading. The argument goes: picture time as an infinite string which stretches eternally that way and eternally that way -- where is the middle? Well, any where one touches this string. And if I touch the string here, that is the middle, so in either direction it extends for eternity? Yes. Let us assume that here where I touch the string, the middle, God created? Yes.
The conclusion is, a) God never created because it took him eternity before he decided to do so; b) or, why did it take him an eternity to create?
The problem with this notion is that of the word "time" of which eternity is supposedly composed. Now in order to have "time" one must have space and motion as "time" is an abstraction created by the two. The soccer ball on the field takes a measurement of time to roll across the field from one end to the other. We may calibrate this in any arbitrary way as long as another comprehends our measurements. If we abstractly move backward to "creation" -- the moment the ball started moving -- there was no such thing as time, since space and motion did not exist. So, time is not this philosopher’s endless string. Indeed, time like space, may be curved as the outside of a balloon.
The Hebrews had an ingenious way of expressing this idea since they generally did not have a word for infinity or eternity in our way of thinking. Psalm 90:1 expresses it this way: "From time indefinite to time indefinite you are God."
Proverbs 8:22, 23 reads from the Bagster translation of the Jewish Greek Septuagint, "The Lord made me the beginning of his ways for his works. He established me before time was in the beginning, before he made the earth." Thus, taking this rendering, there was a period when "time" did not exist.
An alternative view of the non-Hebrew world was a cyclic or circular cosmos without beginning or end, ever evolving and reincarnating itself into something else. Thus the Eastern view of a cosmos where God does not exist, though "gods" or "demons" may. Some -- though a diminishing few -- modern physicists still hold to what has been called a "steady state" universe which has always existed. (See The Tao of Physics) For one is really only confronted with two possibilities: a) the universe had a beginning (or creation); or, b) the universe has always existed. What the facts and scientific minds have to say on this we will examine.
The apocalyptic visionary John writes down The God’s (ho theos) expression of Himself as: "The one who was, the One who is, and the One is coming (in the future)." Thus, He is the Alpha and the Omega -- the A to Z -- "the beginning and the end."
It is, of course, left completely up to individuals to decide for themselves whether the universe had a beginning or has always been here. However, the evidence for many decades has been growing, particularly among theoretical physicists and cosmologists, that the universe did have a beginning in the now famous, "Big Bang." Further, evidently built into this process, is what is called by Hawking and others as the "anthropic principle" -- or the Anthropoid Factor. This holds that from the beginning, from the moment of the Big Bang, God had anthropoids in Mind, and thus his creative laws, no matter how they evolved or developed, were guiding matters to one conclusion: Man -- a carbon-based life-form.
Simply stated we picture a moment before the formation of the first atomic particle, hydrogen, when the entire matrix of creation was super-compressed into, in affect, a single atom of enormous, incalculable energy. Like a hydrogen bomb it implodes on itself and then explodes in a magnificent display of fireworks. This moment called "Planck Time" has been estimated to be minus 10 to the thirteenth power. The "creative bubble" -- the event horizon -- of this ever-expanding balloon widens and at the same time cools and slows to below the speed of light -- E = mc2. In this process the atomic chart is created with its 100 plus elements. From helium to the radioactive elements, including the all-important carbon, and unknown other particulars with curious little names given by serious scientists who designate them as "quarks" and "leptons."
As this "creative bubble" expands "curved space" is created between the elements, and the force of gravity (ever so weak at first) begins to gather these primordial parts, growing more and more complicated. Finally galaxies form and solar systems come into being. Here or there a "planet" finds itself just the right distance from its sun (93 millions miles), which is just the right age -- neither too young or too old. This "sun" would become the main source of food for this planet. This "lucky" planet is rotating on its tilted axis (23.5 degrees) and with a 24 hour rotation in just such a manner that a fairly uniform temperature is maintained.
Since the universe is random from some perspectives with whirling objects moving about, this particular "lucky" planet has neighbors on the outer perimeters. These are giants by comparison, big enough to attract any large asteroid or comet which might wander into the solar system if the sun itself does not do accomplish this. [Recently earth-size comets were photographed plunging into the solar mass.] Thus, this one single planet is protected to a large degree by enormous big brothers.
This process, from the Big Bang to this particularly life-less planet, took an estimated 15,000,000,000 years -- though this is highly debated and this figure expands or contracts depending on various notions and periods. Some wish to reduce the whole period to five billion, while others want to expand it to 25 billion. It really matters naught. The Book of Genesis does not describe the formation of the entire universe. It picks up the action after the earth has already formed. Though some will disagree with this interpretation, note Genesis 1:1, 2, 6, 7 ---
"In the beginning The God created the Heaven(s) [atmosphere] and the earth [spherical orb]. The earth was without form and empty and the surface of the deep [waters] was dark. The Pneuma of The God was moving gently on the surface of the waters. ... And The God said: ‘Let there be a space between the waters, and let this space separate the waters which are under this space and the waters which are above this space. And The God made the space and He made a separation between the waters above and the waters below. And it was so. And The God called the space, ‘Heavens.’" This later creative action by God -- the formation of the atmosphere -- occurred on the Second Day.
The above is the first part of the "miracle" of this Big Bang with its Creative Bubble. Some cosmologists estimate scores of "fine tuning" required to assure human life. Thus, the second "miracle" is how biogenic life began on this planet. Here, now, are three voices:
It was an accident of random circumstances comparable to a monkey pecking at a type-writer keyboard and writing -- given the time -- a sonnet of Shakespeare. Of course, if this would happen, the monkey would be God who just took a long, random, chaotic time doing everything. If this "accident" was without God it was some process by which lightning struck an unnumbered amount of times, piercing through a deadly atmosphere of gases, and by a random throw of the dice, managed to "create" the precise set of atoms, which could form into a grouping of molecules, which could by their chance arrangement "grow" and "reproduce" as complex amino acids and proteins.
What this requires is a staggering number of happenstances which can move from the first life-form given billions of years to account for the unfathomable array of life on the planet today with millions of insect species, birds, fish, reptiles, animals, and unknown numbers of bacterium and virus, including unknown numbers of yet to be discovered species in dense jungles and great ocean depths. The random "miracles" needed in each case are beyond calculation.
Of course, the initial miracle of random chance is only the first of many unknown millions which must now follow to proceed from this bio-soup up the evolutionary ladder to the vast array of millions of life forms, from virus and microbes to Man.
Fred Hoyle wrote: "The entire structure of orthodox biology still holds that life arose at random. Yet as biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that the chances of it originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance."
In Darwin’s day the scientific consensus was that life was very simple. If Darwin and the scientific community had been aware how awesomely complex life is, they may not have drawn the erroneous conclusions they did.
Life on this planet began because God created it so and judging from the Hebrews and their book of Genesis chapter one, this process followed this scenario:
This genesis is so similar to the known pattern of life on this planet to startle even the skeptic. For how could a man, writing (depending on one’s argument), 10 to 15 centuries before Christ, predict the exact geological and biological series known to modern science?
Astronomer Robert Jastrow, an agnostic in religious matters, wrote: "The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy."
And finally, a combination of the above, in which God was the all-important factor but what proceeded from the Big Bang, pressured by an anthropic principle, was factored in, leading to this brilliant symphony of life on this planet, topped by the premier creation: Man. This possibility is likened to a stream which begins on a mountain top and is irresistibly pulled by gravity to form a great ocean. God, like gravity, knows the end from the beginning and this "life stream" will follow certain immutable laws hard-wired into the cosmos -- laws as true in one part of the universe as in another. This God-driven evolutionary approach allows for a continuing development of new species or bio-types, some successful, some not -- dead ends here and miraculous leaps there.
Regarding the work Human Destiny by Lecomte du Nouy one author wrote: "The laws of inorganic evolution contradict those of the evolution of life. (du Nouy) gives mathematical formulae to show that inorganic matter acting in accordance with its laws could not have created even a single molecule of protein -- let alone a living organism with powers of reproduction. (du Nouy) maintains that only through the intervention of God could the gap have been bridged between the inorganic and the organic."
Those in categories a, b, and c, all look at the various "histories" in geology, paleontology and anthropology and find their own evidence. There is no possibility of getting these three to agree. Often such debates sink to name-calling and bitter innuendo about parentage.
Here our purpose is not to deal with life on earth and how it started and endured down to our present time. Our question is -- was there a God involved in all of this -- a Prime Mover or Creator whom Einstein called "a Supreme Intelligence perpetuating Himself throughout all eternity"; and Aristotle, "a living being." This demand for proof of what Einstein could conceive boils down to a few perspectives.
It is obvious we observe motion, not only around us in daily life, but the moon, the sun, and even comets or meteors. This did not escape the ancient Greeks who formed the word theos (god) from the root "runner" or "motion." Newtonian law states: "An object at rest will remain at rest unless moved by another object." This is a simple law of physical dynamics. A ball on a playing field will remain there until a person or force moves it. If one comes upon such a ball rolling across the playing field it is not unreasonable to assume someone (though unseen) pushed the ball into motion.
Einstein observed the obvious: "Something is moving." (Indeed, this phrases was used on the New York bus system.) Therefore, some force, or some person, had to set things in motion. Theologian Thomas Aquinas said the same thing many centuries before Einstein by pointing to motion as proof of a Prime Mover: "Some things are in motion. Motion implies an unmoved Mover; similarly, there must be an uncaused First Cause that possesses in itself the reason for its existence; the existence of creatures whose nonexistence is possible implies the existence of a necessary Creator; the scale of perfections evident in the universe implies the existence of an absolute standard, a perfect Being."
In addition to this motion it has now been observed and stated in a law -- Hubble-Hameson -- that the universe is expanding from an original center at the "Big Bang." This was determined by what was designated "the red shift" -- a tendency of stars further away from the earth to indicate their age by this color shift.
If this process of expansion had been going on forever then nothing would shine in the night skies for they would have all long ago vanished. Judging from these present distances and speeds it can be roughly calculated when the mass of the universe was all together compressed into the original primordial nuclear model.
Some, though this number is growing smaller, theorized that the universe has been a constant of expansion and contraction throughout eternity. However, recent studies seem to strongly support the idea that the gravitational force of the expanding galaxies is insufficient to reverse this expansion.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics, or "entropy," teaches that a hot body will eventually cool to the absolute zero of space. In other words, in exchanges of energy there is a tendency for some energy to be lost. Thus, like a wound clock, it will finally wind down and come to a stop. This is seen by some as predicted by such texts in the Bible as Psalm 102:25-27. This entropy can already be observed in the stellar heavens when old stars finally loose their energy, collapse in on themselves and become "black holes."
Clearly, there is heat in the universe, most notably our own sun. If these solar fires had been burning forever, they would have long expired like the coals in a fire. Therefore, there was a moment in the primordial past when the creative fires were ignited by a Power stronger than the heat of the entire cosmos.
Zoologist Edward Luther Kessel: "The law of entropy states that there is a continuous flow of heat from warmer to colder bodies, and that this flow cannot be reversed to pass spontaneously in the opposite direction. Entropy is the ratio of unavailable to available energy, so that it may be said that the entropy of the universe is always increasing. Therefore the universe is headed for a time when the temperature will be universally uniform and there will be no more useful energy. Consequently there will be no more chemical and physical processes, and life itself will cease to exist. But because life is still going on, and chemical and physical processes are still in progress, it is evident that our universe could not have existed from eternity, else it would have long since run out of useful energy and ground to a halt. Therefore, quite unintentionally, science proves that our universe had a beginning. And in so doing it proves the reality of God, for whatever had a beginning did not begin of itself but demands a Prime Mover, a Creator, a God."
Certain elements among the more than 100 atomic elements are volatile and loose their mass in the form of radiation. These include such elements as uranium and plutonium. They "decay" at precise and calculable "half-lives." Their presence -- still radioactive -- indicates the universe has not always been around, otherwise there would be no such elements. They would have long ago lost all their radioactivity and been converted to a simpler atomic structure such as lead.
It is something like coming upon a bucket of water, half empty, with a small hole in the bottom. Water has been dripping out for a period which could be measured to a degree. If this process had been going on forever, the bucket would have long ago been emptied. However, since it is half full we may assume it was at one time full or at least partially so, and judging from the drips we could compute when the bucket would finally be empty -- unless the original person or source refills it again.
Paul’s "arguments" regarding the existence of a Maker or Creator is from design. He writes: "For God can be known ["by the eye of reason" -- NEB] by the things made." (Romans 1:20) And, again, "Every house has a maker but He that made all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4)
There is the story of Newton who had constructed a small-scale model of the solar system turned by a crank to imitate the rotations around the sun. An atheistic friend marvels over this beautiful workmanship and asks who made it because he wants to compliment the designer. Newton’s reply is: "No one made it. It just happened." To this the atheist responded: "Do you take me for a fool. It is obvious someone had to design this marvelous craftsmanship." To which Newton is said to have turned to his atheistic friend and said: "Friend, this is but a puny model of the solar system which you believed happened by chance." It is stated that the atheist became a believer from this argument based on design requiring a Designer.
An archeologist on hands and knees in the dust of some God-forsaken desert labors with dental pick and tooth brush to uncover some archeological mystery. He finds the smallest piece of chard. From this extremely slight evidence he knows it had to have a maker, for even in its minuscule size and proportions there is clear evidence of design.
Similarly, walking in a forest one comes upon a piece of flint, chiseled and formed just so as to be of obvious design and not random tumblings through the rocks of time. It is an arrowhead, obviously designed with a purpose to be attached to a shaft, propelled by a bow used by an archer to provide food for himself and his family. We will never see our meet this arrowhead maker, but we absolutely knows he or she existed. For where we find design we find purpose; and where we find purpose, we find intelligence; and where we find intelligence we find a thinking, willing mind; and where we find a mind we find a person; and where we find a person, we find a personality.
The Schweizerische Akademiker- und Studentenzeitung (Swiss Academic and Student Newspaper): "Can Order Come Into Being Accidentally? ... "To arrange a library or a stamp collection in an orderly way requires a plan, a measure of intelligence, and a certain amount of exertion. Were we simply to toss everything into the room with our eyes closed, hoping that chance would 'arrange things' for us, we would soon discover that this is not the way order comes into being. In fact, without our constant attention, things can easily get out of order again, as when the children take things out and put them back in the wrong places, or as when a sudden gust of wind 'arranges' our stamp collection. Daily experience teaches us that order does not come about accidentally. . . .
On the other hand, from the existence of order we can deduce that intelligence has been at work. A well-arranged library, for example, bears witness to a good librarian. In principle, the same thing applies to every kind of order."
Science Digest: "With new discoveries being made almost daily in molecular biology, the likelihood that life began as an accident is becoming more remote, if not impossible."
Molecular biologist Michael Denton: "The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. ... But it is not just the complexity of living systems which is so profoundly challenging, there is also the incredible ingenuity that is so often manifest in their design. ... It is at a molecular level where . . . the genius of biological design and the perfection of the goals achieved are most pronounced. ... Everywhere we look, to whatever depth we look, we find an elegance and ingenuity of an absolutely transcending quality, which so mitigates against the idea of chance. 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? ... Between a living cell and the most highly ordered non-biological system, such as a crystal or a snowflake, there is a chasm as vast and absolute as it is possible to conceive."
Professor of physics, Chet Raymo: "I am dazzled . . . Every molecule seems miraculously contrived for its task."
We may behold the lovely craftsmanship of a maker of silk flowers, so detailed in their perfection to be almost unrecognizable from the real plant from which it was copied. No one would ever assert that this man-made flower happened by accident. And yet, if we hold in one hand the silk flower and in the other the genuine article, what degree of intellectual quotient exists between the artificial flower and the living, reproducing model? A Grand Canyon of unfathomable Intelligence -- an all-powerful, all-knowing and self-perpetuating Designer -- God.
The beliefs, convictions or musings of scientists and others on the existence of God is never proof of His existence. However, their reasons for believing in God are worthy of our examination if only because their thoughts and ideas are held in such high esteem. In other words, these scientists provide what they believe to be evidence of God’s existence.
It may be safely stated that in the last three hundred years one of the men who would be viewed as a premier scientific thinker was Sir Isaac Newton. What would the agnostic or atheist say, if granted an audience with, say, Sir Isaac Newton, to convince the scientist that he was mistaken?
Much as been written criticizing Newton by those who would try to minimize him and bring him down from his established pedestal. Most men may be faulted in their lives for one deviation or another, including Einstein. Their lives and character are not here under question.
That Newton was a firm believer in God is shown by the one million words he wrote on religion and the Bible -- a number equal to his mathematical studies.
The Union Bible Companion, S. Austin Allibone says: "Sir Isaac Newton . . . was also eminent as a critic of ancient writings, and examined with great care the Holy Scriptures. What is his verdict on this point? 'I find,' says he, 'more sure marks of authenticity in the New Testament than in any profane [secular] history whatever.'
Newton: "In the absence of any other proof the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."
Sir Isaac Newton, considered by many as "the greatest scientific mind the world has ever seen," wrote in Principia: "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. . . . The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect. ... Whence is it that nature does nothing in vain; and whence arises all that order and beauty which we see in the world? . . . How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in optics, or the ear without knowledge of sounds? . . . And these things being rightly dispatched, does it not appear from phenomena that there is a being incorporeal, living, intelligent?"
Though some have been vocal claiming the greater thinker was an agnostic or atheist, his own words show a personal belief in a God. He is by no means considered a religious man though he zealously supported the State of Israel and was even suggested as its first premier. [Editor’s note: some atheists and agnostics get upset when scientists who may have been unbelievers themselves are quoted in such contexts as this discussion. However, in the case of those who are known to be either atheists or agnostics, these may be viewed as admissions or acknowledgements on their part despite their theology or lack there of. On the other hand most of the quotations in this article are by God-believing Nobel Prize recipients or scientists who do believe in a Creator.]
Timothy Ferris, in his article "The Other Einstein," quoted Einstein as follows: "What I see in nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of 'humility.' This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. . . . My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. . . . I want to know how God created this world. I want to know his thoughts, the rest are details."
"It is enough for me to . . . reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature."
"A spirit [that] is manifest in the laws of the Universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man."
Out of My Later Years, Einstein said: "Whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain, is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence. ... By way of the understanding he achieves a far-reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires, and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind towards the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible to man."
"It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity; to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature. ... I cannot believe that God plays dice with the cosmos. ... I want to know how God created this world. . . . I want to know His thoughts."
In the Introduction to Hawking’s book, former Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan wrote: "This is a book about God. ... The word God fills these pages. ... Hawking is attempting, as he explicitly states, to understand the mind of God." (page x)
The following are admissions from A Brief History of Time (Stephen W. Hawking)
"(Augustine [in The City of God]) said that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe. (page 8) We can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if he universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang. ... An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!" (page 9)
"Some people feel that science should be concerned with only the first part; they regard the question of the initial situation as a matter for meta-physics or religion. They would say that God, being omnipotent, could have started the universe off any way he wanted. That may be so, but in that case he also could have made it develop in a completely arbitrary war. Yet it appears that he chose to make it evolve in a very regular way according to certain laws." (page 110)
"Nowadays nearly everyone assumes that the universe started with a big bang singularity." (page 50)
"We could still imagine that there is a set of laws that determines events completely from some supernatural being, who could observe the present state of the universe without disturbing it." (page 55) "Einstein never accepted that the universe was governed by chance; his feelings were summed up in his famous statement: ‘God does not place dice.’"
"These laws may have originally been decreed by God, but it appears that he has science left the universe to evolve according to them and does not now intervene in it. But how did he choose the initial state or configuration of the universe? What were the ‘boundary conditions’ at the beginning of time? One possible answer is to say that God chose the initial configuration of the universe for reasons that we cannot hope to understand. This certainly would have been within the power of an omnipotent being, but if he had started it off in such a incomprehensible way, why did he choose to let it evolve according to laws that we could understand? The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order." (page 122)
"Nevertheless, it seems clear at there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life. Most sets of values would give rise to universe that, although they might be very beautiful, would contain no one able to wonder at that beauty. One can take this either as evidence of a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science or as support for the strong anthropic principle." (page 125)
"This means that the initial state of the universe must have been very carefully chosen indeed if the hot big bang was correct right back to the beginning of time. It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us." (page 127)
"Must we turn to the anthropic principle for an explanation? Was it all just a lucky chance? That would seem a counsel of despair, a negation of all our hopes of understand the underlying order of he universe." (page 133)
"My paper was rather mathematical, however, so its implications for the role of God in the creation of the universe were not generally recognized at the time." (page 136)
"The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary also has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe. With the success of scientific theories in describing events, most people have come to believe that God allows the universe to evolve according to a set of laws and does not intervene in the universe to break these laws. ... It would still be up to God to wind up the clockwork and choose how to start it off. So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator." (page 140)
"God would chose how the universe began and what laws it obeyed. ... God would still have had complete freedom to choose what happened and how the universe began." (pages 172-3)
"Einstein once asked the question: ‘How much choice did God have in constructing the universe?’ ... and allow the existence of structures as complicated as human beings who can investigate the laws of the universe and ask about the nature of God. ... If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason --- for then we would know the mind of God." (pages 174-5)
Mathematician and chemist John Cleveland Cothran stated: "Lord Kelvin, one of the world's greatest physicists, has made the following significant statement: 'If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God.' I must declare myself in full agreement with this statement. ... The material realm not being able to create itself and its governing laws, the act of creation must have been performed by some nonmaterial agent. . . . Hence our logical and inescapable conclusion is not only that creation occurred but that it was brought about according to the plan and will of a Person endowed with supreme intelligence and knowledge (omniscience), and the power to bring it about and keep it running according to plan (omnipotence). That is to say, we accept unhesitatingly the fact of the existence of 'the supreme spiritual Being, God, the Creator and Director of the universe,' mentioned in the beginning. . . . The advances that have occurred in science since Lord Kelvin's day would enable him to state more emphatically than ever: 'If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God.'"
Physicist Fred Hoyle said: "The origin of the Universe, like the solution of the Rubik cube, requires an intelligence. ... The entire structure of orthodox biology still holds that life arose at random. Yet as biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that the chances of it originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance."
Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe: "Such properties seem to run through the fabric of the natural world like a thread of happy accidents. But there are so many of these odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to account for them. ... The origin of the universe requires an intelligence. ... An intelligence on a higher plane. An intelligence that preceded us and that was led to a deliberate act of creation of structures suitable for life."
Frank Allen, biophysicist: "The adjustments of the earth for life are far too numerous to be accounted for by chance."
P. Dirac, Scientific American: "God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe."
Thomas Edison: "After years of watching the processes of nature, I cannot doubt the existence of a Supreme Intelligence. The existence of such a God can, to my mind, almost be proved from chemistry."
Chemist Roger J. Voskuyl: "As a scientist, it is more reasonable for me to believe in a Creator than in an eternally existing cosmos. . . . One cannot rightly know God from the natural world alone. The scientist may work for an eternity, but he will never come to know God and all His attributes. . . . Man is but a creature of a Creator; therefore, man cannot learn about God by investigation of His creation alone, but he needs a special revelation. That special revelation is God's Word, which has been given in the Scriptures."
Physicist and chemist Oscar Leo Brauer: "There is Special Divine Revelation. Another name for that is the Bible. Science can establish that a creative act at some time must have taken place, implying the existence of a Divine Intelligence and a Divine Power. Science can also establish that none but a Divine Intelligence could have been the Author of the tremendous, involved and intricate system of laws in the universe. But only the Bible can identify that Divine Intelligence and Power as the God most of us have learned to know about from early childhood-the God who has revealed himself uniquely and supremely in His Son, Jesus Christ."
Astronaut John Glenn: "The orderliness of the whole universe about us (and that the galaxies were) all traveling in prescribed orbits in relation to one another. ... Could this have just happened? Was it an accident that a bunch of flotsam and jetsam suddenly started making these orbits of its own accord? ... I can't believe that. . . . Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there."
Rocket expert Wernher von Braun: "The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we have no difficulty building a spaceship to fly to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of a fraction of a second. These laws must have been set by somebody."
Science News: "Contemplation of these things disturbs cosmologists because it seems as if such particular and precise conditions could hardly have arisen at random. One way to deal with the question is to say the whole thing was contrived and lay it on Divine Providence."
A member of the French Academy of Sciences stated: "Natural order was not invented by the human mind or set up by certain perceptive powers. . . . The existence of order presupposes the existence of organizing intelligence. Such intelligence can be none other than God's."-Dieu existe? Oui (Paris, 1979), Christian Chabanis, quoting Pierre-Paul Grassé, p. 94.
Paul Davies, professor of physics: "We are truly meant to be here. ... Through my scientific work, I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation."
Physics professor Freeman Dyson: "The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming. ... Being a scientist, trained in the habits of thought and language of the twentieth century rather than the eighteenth, I do not claim that the architecture of the universe proves the existence of God. I claim only that the architecture of the universe is consistent with the hypothesis that mind plays an essential role in its functioning."
In the Centre of Immensities, British astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell: "The probability of . . . a chance occurrence leading to the formation of one of the smallest protein molecules is unimaginably small. Within the boundary conditions of time and space which we are considering it is effectively zero."
God and the Astronomers, Robert Jastrow: "Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. ... For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians [creationists] who have been sitting there for centuries."
William Barnett writing in Life magazine said: "All the clues of science point to a time of creation when the cosmic fires were ignited and the vast pageant of the present universe brought into being. And this time was five billion years ago."
In the periodical Förkunnaren [The Publisher] astronomer Arvid Ljunghall, Ph. D.: "It may be said, then, that the epoch-making new thing from a Christian viewpoint, that has appeared is that there has been found practically incontrovertible evidence that our world is of a limited age, that there was a time when the universe and matter did not exist, and that for this reason a creation must have taken place. We are thus now confronted with the remarkable fact that the Bible account of creation, that was so unscientific, so wholly strange to scientific thinking, when our century was young, is now wholly in line with the modern idea of the universe. ... He who wants to be in earnest about Christianity and proceed from the belief that there is a God, who is the Creator of everything, he does not need to believe against all rhyme and reason, against all sense and scientific investigation. His belief is fully in line with the idea of the universe that science holds today." (Svenska Dagbladet)
Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries of Life: "It is easy to see why modern physicists, who have been pushing the frontier of knowledge into the unknown probably more profoundly than any other scientists in recent centuries, are ahead of most of their fellows in accepting that all-encompassing mystery of the universe commonly referred to as God."
Nobel prize winner Arthur Holly Compton: "An orderly unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered-'In the beginning God.'"
Dr. Robert A. Millikan, a Nobel Prize winner, in an address to a meeting of the American Physical Society at Washington, D.C., declared: "There's a Divinity that shapes our end . . . Just how we fit into the plans of the Great Architect and how much He has assigned us to do we do not know, . . . But fit in we certainly do somehow, else we would not have a sense of our own responsibility. A purely materialistic philosophy is to me the height of unintelligence. Wise men in all ages have always seen enough to at least make them reverent."
The Mystery of Life's Origins: Reassessing Current Theories, written by three scientists. According to the paper, they explain that life could not have started by chance and "argue that a 'Creator beyond the cosmos' is the most plausible explanation for life's origin." Supporting this view, the article mentions that British astronomer Fred Hoyle "is widely quoted for his statement that believing the first cell originated by chance is like believing a tornado ripping through a junkyard full of airplane parts could produce a Boeing 747."
Recently two prominent British scientists, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, admittedly were 'driven by logic' to conclude that there must be a Creator. "It is quite a shock," said Wickramasinghe, a professor of applied mathematics and astronomy. The Sri Lankan-born astronomer explained: "From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation. That notion has had to be very painfully shed. I am quite uncomfortable in the situation, the state of mind I now find myself in. But there is no logical way out of it. Once we see . . . that the probability of life, originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect 'deliberate,' " or created. Professor Wickramasinghe also said: "I now find myself driven to this position by logic. There is no other way in which we can understand the precise ordering of the chemicals of life except to invoke the creations on a cosmic scale. . . . We were hoping as scientists that there would be a way round our conclusion, but there isn't."
(Patrick Glynn / associate director and scholar in residence at George Washington University -1997)
" ... at Harvard in the 1970s, for example, it was taken for granted that traditional religious beliefs were a thing of the past, invalidated by science, incompatible with a modern outlook. ... The situation is in the process of changing. ... The reason lies in a series of dramatic new developments in science, medicine, and other fields that have radically transformed the old existence-of-God debate." (page 2)
" ... the atheistic philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell once put it, ‘a curious accident in a backwater.’" (page 5)
"In 1973, in a lecture to the International Astronomical Union in Poland, the physicist and cosmologist Brandon Carter called attention to something he called ‘the anthropic principle.’ The anthropic principle, as Western thinkers are only now beginning to understand, amounted to a refutation of the original premise of the overarching modern philosophical idea: that of the ‘random universe.’
"All of us intellectuals had been proceeding on the assumption that our appearance in the universe had been entirely accidental, a random outcome of collisions of matter and of the eons-long process of evolution. It turned out that the picture was not so simple. In the hundred years and more since Darwin first proposed evolution by natural selection, scientists’ understanding of the nature of the universe had greatly broadened and deepened. Using insights from relativity and particle physics in combination with observations from astronomy, modern cosmologists had been able to go a long way toward reconstructing the evolution of the entire universe, from its origins in the big bang.
"As (cosmologist Brandon) Carter pointed out ... life had to be, in effect, ‘pre-planned’ from the very origin of the cosmos. In order to get life to appear in the universe billions of years after the universe began, you had to start planning early --- from the first nanosecond of the universe’s coming into being. The possibility of producing life depended on everything’s being ‘just right’ from the very start. ... Far from being accidental, life appeared to be the goal toward which the entire universe from the very first moment of its existence had been orchestrated, fine-tuned.
"Indeed, today the case for design looks very strong." (pages 7, 8)
"The anthropic principle marked an important turning point in the history of science: the first time a scientific discovery seemed to take us toward, rather than away from, the idea that there is a God. ... the universe is the produce of intelligence." (pages 8, 9)
"Someone once said that it is hard to fall in love without thinking of God." (page 16)
"Modern thinkers assumed that science would reveal the universe to be ever more random and mechanical; instead it has discovered unexpected new layers of intricate order that bespeak an almost unimaginably vast master design. Modern psychologists predicted that religion would be exposed as a neurosis and outgrown, in stead, religious commitment has been shown empirically to be a vital component of basic mental health. Modern thinkers assumed that spirituality would be shown to have a physical basis; instead, something like the reverse has occurred: Health has been shown to have a spiritual underpinning." (pages 19, 20)
"In essence, the anthropic principle came down to the observation that all the myriad laws of physics were fine-tuned from the very beginning of the universe for the creation of man --- that the universe we inhabit appeared to be expressly designed for the emergence of human beings." (pages 22, 23)
"Few people at the time seemed to be thinking deeply about the physical implications of this discovery [that man’s position in the universe was ‘inevitably privileged to some extent’]. But, they were nothing short of astounding. In effect, the ‘random universe’ was out the window. There was nothing random at all bout the arrangement of the cosmos --- as physicists quickly began to see. The vast, fifteen-billion year evolution of the universe had apparently been directed toward one gal: the creation of human life." (page 25)
"Indeed, what twentieth-century cosmology had come up with was something of a scientific embarrassment: a universe with a definite beginning, expressly designed for life. Ironically, the picture of the universe bequeathed to us by t most advanced twentieth-century science is closer in spirit to the vision presented in the Book of Genesis than anything offer by science since Copernicus." (page 26)
(Quoting astronomer Fred Holye) "All that we see in the universe of observation and fact, as opposed to the mental state of scenario and supposition, remains unexplained. And even in its supposedly first second the universe is acausal. That is to say, the universe has to know in advance what it is going to be before it knows how to start itself. For in accordance with the Big Bang Theory, for instance, at a time of 10-43 seconds [Planck Time -- editor] the universe has to know how many types of neutrino there are going to be at a time of 1 second. This is so in order that it starts off expanding at the right rate to fit the eventual number of neutrino types. ... An explosion in a junkyard does not lead to sundry bits of metal being assembled into a useful working machine." (from Fred Hoyle, The Origin of the Universe and the Origin of Religion, page 18) (pages 30, 31)
"In effect, the anthropic principle says that humanity is (apparently) the final cause of the universe. The most basic explanation of the universe is that it seems to be a process orchestrated to achieve the end or goal of creating human beings." (page 32)
"For this reason, the advent of the anthropic principle is a much more momentous event in Western intellectual history than many people have realized. ... For the first time in over 350 years, science is at a loss to reduce the universe and the order we see around us to mechanistic principles." (page 38)
"Many scientists are profoundly uncomfortable with the universe of the new cosmology, precisely because it leaves such ample room for God. The whole picture is damnably disconcerting: a universe with a beginning, designed for man. Many scientists want this picture to go away." (page 40)
"In its generic form, the idea that randomness, over time, will eventually produce order has a very old pedigree. ... Given infinite time, nature would by chance alone eventually hit on the order we see around us. ... Given infinite time, a monkey with a typewriter would eventually type the works of Shakespeare." (page 44)
"(Quoting Kant’s idea) "If God does not exist, then how do you explain the existence of flowers?" (page 47)
"But even among the most mainstream biologists a consensus is growing that natural selection cannot by itself explain the order of the biological world. There is also a clear recognition that the patterns in the fossil record do not accord with the patterns Darwin would have predicted." (page 47)
Pascal’s Thought Experiment --- "Revelation teaches that God rewards faithful believers. ... There is no way for reason to know whether revelation’s claim is true. But we may consider our life as a wager. If we bet against God, and revelation proves to be true, (we will be punished). If we bet for God, and revelations have been an illusion, we lose nothing, for we shall cease to exist at death in any case." (pages 76, 77)
"But my scientific journey has led me to what I believe is a more important point, at least for my purpose as a physician. It does not matter which came first --- God or the belief in God. The data I have presented is that affirmative beliefs and hopes are very therapeutic, and that faith in God, in particular, has many positive effects on health." (Doctor Herbert Benson, Timeless Healing, page 211)
Above we have considered some of the reasons reputable scientists and other thinkers believe God exists. They have argued that motion needs a Prime Mover, laws require a Law-maker, design requires a Designer, a creative beginning requires a Creator.
We have not dealt with the subjects of who or what God is here, nor how life on this planet began. We have dealt mainly with the proposition or assertion that the God of the Bible gives Himself: "I Am the One Who Is" --- the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek name for God. (Exodus 3:14, 15)
Even one of the first questions children ask their parents is, "Who made the trees?" It will be up to each parent to take the hand of their child and explain the immensity of the universe according to their own conceptions. However, most parents throughout the ages have answered: "God," and possibly quote the poet, "Only God can make a tree." We see above that this is the same answer imminent men of letters and science would also give. If our individual consciences move us to comprehend a God in all that we behold -- though not understanding it all -- this should arouse in us a profound awe which logically leads to respect and worship of the Absolute Being we call God.
Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller
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