Randall E. Ricker –
If you are a regular visitor to THEBEAUTIFULTHOUGHTSOFGOD.COM, you probably believe that God exists, but could you prove it to a skeptic? I am going to prove that there is a God.
Let’s consider this first of all. We have to define our terms. Define the term “God.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 1969 lists a definition of God as this. “A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent omniscient, originator and ruler of the universe, a principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.” In taking part of this definition, let’s concentrate on proving that there is an originator of the universe and that He is all powerful, in other words omnipotent.
THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE
The first thing we want to consider is the origin of the universe. You have this huge universe, bigger than we can even imagine. Years ago astronomers thought it was what they might call a cyclical universe where every 10 or 20 or 30 billion years there would be an explosion. All the matter—that is all the substance like the atoms, etc. in the universe would fly apart. They would travel out for some 10 or 20 billion years, and their own gravitational pull would bring them back together for another explosion. This would go back and forth for tens of billions of years—an infinite number of times.
Astronomers have proven now that is not what happens. There was what they call The Big Bang. Maybe Big Bang is not the best term. It was one big bang, and all the matter and all the energy of the universe came out at once 13 billion years ago, and it just keeps on going. It will be expanding forever. That means the universe had a beginning.
There was no matter and energy before time and space. Or if there was, it had to come from this point and expand outward. Where could this matter and energy have come from? Either there is a God who created it, or the matter and energy already existed. Do we believe in eternal matter, or should we believe in an eternal God? I choose to believe in an eternal God who created that matter.
THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
Now think of the origin of life. Let’s define life. It’s not a trivial question to ask. The American Heritage Dictionary 1969 Edition says this: Life is “the property or quality manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, response to stimulation, and reproduction by which living organisms are differentiated from dead organisms or from inanimate matter.” Notice there are some very important things in the definition of life.
Metabolism: how an organism makes energy available to itself. Growth: anything that’s living is growing. Response to stimulation: could be as simple as a one-cell creature detecting food and moving toward it, or someone like me touching a hot stove and saying, “ouch!” That’s a response to stimulation. Reproduction: Living organisms do reproduce themselves.
Now we know what we are talking about. We have to ask, how did life originate?
The theory of biogenesis is that life must come from life. You never had an exception to that being proven. Centuries ago people thought life could come from inanimate objects. You may remember people used to think if they got maggots on meat in the marketplace back in Medieval Europe that the meat bred the maggots. Life was coming from something dead! Then someone did a very careful experiment where he isolated the meat, and nothing could get in. No maggots formed. He proved that flies got on the meat, laid eggs, hatched, and then they had the maggots. You did not have life from something inanimate. That’s been a principle that has been known for hundreds of years. We can see that life must come from life. God is living. Life comes from a living God.
There was one experiment in 1953 that almost made people doubt this, and maybe still does. In 1953 Stanley Miller performed an experiment where he took hydrogen, water, methane, and ammonia and boiled them together. He put an electric charge through them, and he was able to form what are called amino acids. These are fairly complicated molecules that are the building blocks of protein. People thought, wow! If we can create the building blocks of protein which is the building block of life, maybe we can create life! It never went any farther than that. They have not created proteins in the laboratory from these very elemental non-living substances. The next thing you have to do if you are going to have life is to combine the amino acids into proteins. That turns out to be very complicated.
I came across an article in the April 1971 issue of a magazine called Tomorrow’s World. That was put out by an organization that no longer exists. Don’t confuse it with any magazines that are called Tomorrow’s World today. Those are entirely different. This was back in 1971 where someone did a very interesting study. He thought, let’s have a simple protein that has to be present for life to exist. Let’s take a very simple one, only 100 amino acids long.
You have these amino acids in a particular order for each protein. Let’s say there are 20 amino acids that are available. How many possibilities would you have of combining those blocks into a protein? It turns out that you have a one followed by 130 zeros. That’s the number of possibilities you have! It is more than an astronomical number of possibilities—a one followed by 130 zeros (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). But you want only one particular protein.
How many opportunities would there be for these amino acids to combine into a useful protein? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Consider the whole universe. There are 100 billion galaxies in the universe, each with 100 billion stars. Then the person who did this article wrote, let’s assume there are 10 earth-like planets for each of these stars, which is probably an overstatement. Our star has one earth-like planet. Let’s say there are 10. Let’s assume the oceans of these earth-like planets are a soup of amino acids rather than sea water, again really giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who thinks this would happen by chance. Now you try to link 100 of those amino acids every second and do it over the 13 billion years, which I mentioned is the age of the universe. The number of attempts you would have to get the right protein is a one followed by 88 zeros (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). It’s a smaller number than the number of possibilities.
To find the probability of forming this protein, you take that one followed by 88 zeros, which is the number of chances you have to do it. You divide by one followed by 130 zeros, which is the number of possibilities, and you have one chance in one followed by 42 zeros (1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). It is so tiny that you would never expect this to happen by chance. You would never expect a useful protein to be formed by chance. That’s during the whole universe during its entire age! There has to be a designer of the protein and a creator of the protein.
Life is not just a protein. A virus is considered the simplest form of life. In fact, some people don’t even consider it a form of life. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a virus as a submicroscopic pathogen “consisting essentially of a core of a single nucleic acid surrounded by a protein coat, having the ability to replicate only inside a living cell.” We know about viruses. They make us sick occasionally. They replicate inside us. They reproduce themselves inside us and make us sick.
This is much more than just a simple protein, a molecule. Life goes up from there. You have cells which have a protein coat and a nucleus that has a structure to it. It’s a structure that processes food. Life had to be designed. There had to be a designer and a creator of life. It didn’t happen randomly. Think more about the complexity of life. It goes up from there, as I said.
COMPLEXITY OF LIFE
The theory of natural selection says that a mutation would make an organism more likely to survive and given an advantage. If you have some small change when an organism is born, if that has some advantage, it’s more likely to live. Later on maybe there would be more small changes, and eventually in theory you do see some progress. You see more complex life.
Think about the evolution of a person’s eye, for example. Even think about a light-sensing organ of any kind. It is complicated. The human eye is tremendously complicated. The first thing you need for an eye is a place to put it. You have to thin the skull. You must have a thin spot on the skull first of all. Some organism had to be born and have a little thinner spot on the skull where an eye could possibly be. That is not an evolutionary advantage. It is a disadvantage. An animal with a small, thin spot on its skull is more likely to be injured there. It is less likely to survive than the nearby animals it is competing with. Right there you have a disadvantage. You can’t go any further. You don’t have an animal being born with an eye all of a sudden. Even in theory it is a very slow, gradual process.
The same thing happens with the nose. You have a nose that is very complicated. It would be an advantage if you had a nose. An animal can find its food faster that way. Or it can detect predators better. For example, those who are deer hunters know that if you get upwind of a deer, it will smell you. It will run off, because you are predator.
If you have a nose, you must have a place to put it, as for the eye. If there is a thin spot in the skull, that organism has less opportunity to survive because it is more likely to be injured right there. It could even be fatal.
Think about the ear. It is a very complicated organ of the body. We can only see the outside of the ear, and it already is very complicated as how it directs the sound. The inner ear is very complicated. It is very precise in the way it works. If you have an ear, you had better have a spot on the skull for it first. Again, it’s a thin spot on the skull, and if the animal gets hit on the head, it’s done evolving.
Now think of birds. There is definitely an advantage for an animal to be able to fly. People thought birds evolved from reptiles. It would have to be a very slow step-by-step process. An early step in that process would have to be that the bones of the animal would have to be hollow for them to be light weight in order to fly. You can’t have a very heavy animal trying to fly, because it’s too difficult. If you are going to make those bones light weight, they will be weaker, especially for impact. Now you have an animal born with a hollow spot on its bones, and it is more likely to be injured. It is going to be done. It is not going to the next step of evolving into an animal that can fly.
Think of the feathers. People thought maybe a feather would be a modified scale on a reptile, and maybe it would be loosely attached and spread out. If a reptile is born with something like a feather instead of a scale, it’s going to be a disadvantage. It is not going to have a scale performing what a scale needs to do on a reptile. Again, it would not survive.
Now let’s look at some of the objections people might have. I don’t want to go through all of them, because there are so many of them. Let’s just look at a few.
For one thing, people say, we can’t see God. How can we believe God exists if we can’t see Him? What I would say for scientists is, you can’t see subatomic particles either, but you believe they exist because of the effects they cause.
When scientists cause collisions between atomic particles and they have all kinds of subatomic particles come off, they often use what is called a cloud chamber, which contains a vapor. This is where they can see the trail of a subatomic particle. They didn’t see the particle itself, but they can see its effect. Maybe it’s in a bubble chamber where they can see the subatomic particle’s trail that it has made through a liquid. They know it exists, but they can’t see it. The same thing happens with God.
We can’t see God, but we believe God exists by the effects that He causes. He caused this universe to be created with the design of life, especially with the complex life that we have just been talking about. We don’t see God, but we see the effects that He causes.
Another example of an objection that people often have is that scientists will say, the universe is 13 billion years old. They can prove that, and I am convinced. But some people who believe the Bible will say, no, the universe is only 6,000 years old. They go through the genealogies of primarily what is called the Old Testament of the Bible by looking at the kings and going all the way back to the time of the first man being created. That is 6,000 years, but there is more to it than that.
This is an objection that is coming across because of what people believe about the Bible. We will go to Genesis chapter 1. They are the first words of the Bible. Genesis chapter 1, verse 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Notice it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” which is what I have been trying to prove to you. In verse 2 where it says, “The earth was without form and void…” that word “was” also gets translated as “became.” The earth “became” without form and void. Now you realize that there is a gap between verses 1 and 2, and that gap may well have been 13 billion years!
What we have here is God created the earth and the universe, and then we have all this evidence of fossils that might be millions of years old. Yes, they really existed. Something caused the earth to become, as it says, without form and void, waste and empty. Then God renewed the face of the earth in Genesis chapter 1. He renewed the face of the earth, and He created the first man and woman. Now when we say this, we have no conflict and no controversy between science and religion. They actually agree!
The next objection people often have is that if there is a true God, why does He allow such suffering on the earth. Think about it. We have weather disasters. We have wars, famines, diseases, and all kinds of horrible things going on. People say, if there is a God, how can He allow this? The Bible has that answer, too.
As I mentioned, in Genesis God created the first man and the first woman about 6,000 years ago. He put them in what was called the Garden of Eden. He told them there were trees from which they could eat and not to eat from one tree. That tree was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He said if they ate from it, there were going to die. It was a test, in a way. But if you think about it, if a tree is called the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were choosing a way of life if they ate from that tree. They were going to be choosing the opportunity to do evil. It was more than just a trivial test. It was very important for the rest of their lives, and as we will see, for the rest of humanity.
They disobeyed. They chose that way of life. That way might have some good, but it had a lot of evil. There were consequences. If you read in Genesis, you can see that from then on Adam was going to have to work hard, and Eve was going to have difficult and painful childbirth.
Then go to verse 22 in Genesis chapter 3. “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’ therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”
God did not want humanity to have eternal life in an evil disposition with evil character. That would be miserable. God did not want them to have eternal life in misery.
Continuing in verse 24 of Genesis 3: “So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
God cut off Adam and Eve from Himself, from having a relationship with Him. You can think about how much sense that actually made. Someone might think that would be cruel and that no one else had a chance. But here you had the first two people in existence, and it was like a clean slate. They had no bad experiences like you and I have had from bad situations we have been in. They did not have any of that. They were as perfect as a human could be. They didn’t have the baggage, as we say, like the baggage that we have. But they failed at it, and they failed very poorly. They didn’t last long before they disobeyed and chose the wrong way of life.
Any of us, given the same opportunity, would fail the same way, too. God cut everybody off. It’s a wonder He has anything to do with anybody, but He does. He works with people. You see throughout the Bible that He worked with various people throughout the centuries, and only when it was necessary to further His plan does He intervene. For those of us who understand His plan, we realize that eventually everyone will have a chance at eternal life.
That is why God allows suffering. He has taken a hands-off policy with humanity until a future time when He can call everybody.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
In this article we have studied the origin of the universe. We saw that it requires a being—a God to create it. We looked at the origin of life and the complexity of life. All these things require that there must be a God who designed it all.
For those of you who have trouble admitting that God exists, could it be because you are afraid of what God might expect of you? Maybe so. God does have expectations, and we can learn. In THEBEAUTIFULTHOUGHTSOFGOD.COM we talk about the expectations that God has for all of us. But if that’s what is holding you back, be honest with yourself. At least admit that God exists. If you can admit that God exists, you may say you are going to choose not to have a relationship with Him at this time. That is your right. You can do that. You can choose not to have a relationship with God, but at least be honest that you realize God exists.
We look forward to a time that is in the near future when we know that everyone will choose to have a relationship with God. We look forward to that time very much.