To affirm that “God does not exist and cannot exist,” and “the physical universe is all there is, was, or ever will be,” is to make faith claims that cannot be confirmed scientifically. To begin with these presuppositions is to limit oneself to only naturalistic explanations, thus missing out on a wealth of knowledge outside the narrow purview of experimental and observational science. The evidence points beyond the natural world – to the supernatural (outside of and superior to nature). In our search for the knowledge of God, there are certain things we can know simply from observation and inductive reasoning that move us in the direction of faith.
Compelled to look beyond nature …
When we carefully observe the amazing world around us, reasonable inferences can be drawn. How do we account for its incredible beauty and our innate capacity to appreciate it?1 How do we explain its wondrous design, from the tiniest microscopic organisms to the vast solar systems? We can’t help but marvel at the mystery of life. Unless we’ve missed an elusive piece of evidence, there is no way this colossal “miracle” could have arbitrarily appeared from a void of nothingness. If there is no supernatural, intelligent, creative force (if there is no God), why is there something rather than nothing, and why is it so far beyond our ability to replicate or even explain? The more we learn, the more incomprehensible our universe proves to be from a strictly naturalistic worldview.
Nobel Prize winning physics professor Steven Weinberg candidly observes, “Today we understand most of these things in terms of physical forces acting under impersonal laws. We don't yet know the most fundamental laws, and we can't work out all the consequences of the laws we do know.” Weinberg goes on to say, “I have to admit that, even when physicists will have gone as far as they can go, when we have a final theory, we will not have a completely satisfying picture of the world, because we will still be left with the question ‘why?’ …. So there seems to be an irreducible mystery that science will not eliminate.”2 In other words, after millions of years of human evolution (so we’re told), with the most brilliant minds and scientific and technological advances, we still don’t have a clue!
Surely we are compelled to acknowledge there’s more to our universe than meets the eye. Are we willing to look beyond the restrictive confines of humanistic naturalism? Where can we find answers to life’s most fundamental questions? Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? How should we live? Within the evolutionary arena of mindless forces governed by nothing and going nowhere, there are no answers.
Seeking a reasonable explanation …
Seeing that humans are intelligent, purposeful beings, it is only reasonable, maybe even intuitive, to suspect that the primal cause/grand designer of the universe has intelligence and purpose. Since none of us is omniscient, we have to accept the fact that there are a number of things we cannot know unless that information is revealed. Fallible human reasoning will only get us so far. Is it possible that the primal cause/grand designer has provided an explanation that we are incapable of devising or discovering by ourselves?
The thoughts, the will, and the desires of someone else are unknowable apart from communication. My friend Richard Parr shares this helpful analogy.3
I can use logic to determine that my wife has performed activities around the house. I see the clean kitchen, the made bed, and the wet shower floor …. Yet no amount of applied logic can make me sure of what she is thinking, how she feels, what she wants... unless, that is, she communicates her thoughts and feelings to me …. But then we have moved from logical explanations, to relational experiences. I then know because she made me know, not because I deduced it.
Could it be the same with our Maker? Beyond the limited reach of scientific investigation and our capacity to reason is a relationship – one that is actuated by communication through which God’s existence and purpose are more fully realized.
Has God Communicated?
The Bible claims to have come from God and to be all-sufficient to meet man’s spiritual needs (2 Tim. 3:14-17). Former district attorney Robert C. Veil comments:
I recognize that critics will object that the Bible’s own claim of inspiration cannot be considered on the ground that “you can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible.” But such an objection would be overruled, for it ignores standard and accepted practice in other proceedings. We routinely allow the accused in criminal cases to speak for himself ... Even in civil cases, where the burden of proof is much lower, we allow the defendant to speak in his own behalf when his character is called into question. If the Bible is to be accorded a fair trial, its own claims of inspiration must be carefully considered along with all other evidence.4
Although any religious writing can claim divine derivation, can it be proven? What kind of evidence would substantiate such a lofty claim? Is there any other document or collection of writings (religious or otherwise) comparable to the Bible? We will consider this further in our next post.
--Kevin L. Moore
1 For example, even though there is “nothing evolutionarily beneficial about flower-producing plants,” they comprise approximately ninety percent of all plant species today (Himanshu Sharma, “10 Fascinating Mysteries of Life that Science Can’t Explain,” Listverse [10 April 2015],<Link>).
2 Steven Weinberg, “A Designer Universe?,” Physics & Astronomy Online (2016), <Link>.
3 Richard Parr, “Big Questions of Life: Is there a God?,” HubPages (23 Oct. 2015), <Link>.
4 Robert C. Veil, “A Prosecutor Looks at the Bible,” Apologetics Press (2016), <Link>.
Image credit: http://mymomsfridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/contemplation.jpg