Although many of my exchanges with atheists amount to little more than exchanging insults (erudite insults, but insults nonetheless), these experiences have proved valuable. I've learned a lot about what motivates atheists (spoiler alert: it's emotions) and how they think. Surprisingly, they are much less rational and scientific in their thinking than one might expect.
A case in point: Atheists' No. 1 argument is some form of "prove it." Prove God exists.
Fair enough. I usually start by explaining that if God were provable in the empirical sense, we would speak of our religion as our "science" and not our "faith." The fact we cannot prove the existence of God (not yet) is implicit in the words we use. It may make an atheist feel superior to point out that I can't use the scientific method on my beliefs about God, but that's a rather pedestrian point. As those old Geico commercials put it: "Everybody knows that."
Still, even though it's a straw-man argument, score one for the atheists, I suppose.
But then the atheists get too cocky. They say things like: "There is no evidence for God." Whoa. Hold on now.
There are many types of evidence. The empirical kind is just one. Greg Koukl uses the analogy of a court of law. An attorney may use empirical evidence to make a case, but he or she will also use circumstantial evidence, testimony and so on. The word "evidence" just means facts and other information you use to arrive at the truth, and in that sense there is plenty of evidence for God.
From the largest thing to the smallest things, from the universe to the DNA in our cells, the evidence for God is everywhere.
The scientific consensus is that the universe had a beginning. It began to exist at some point in the past. Whatever begins to exist must have a cause of its beginning. Therefore, the universe must have a cause of its beginning.
This is the "Kalam Cosmological Argument," and its logic is hard to resist. I’ll let the creator of the argument, William Lane Craig, take it from here:
What properties must this cause of the universe possess? This cause must be itself uncaused because...an infinite series of causes is impossible. It is therefore the Uncaused First Cause. It must transcend space and time, since it created space and time. Therefore, it must be immaterial and non-physical. It must be unimaginably powerful, since it created all matter and energy.EARTH
Finally...this Uncaused First Cause must also be a personal being...endowed with freedom of the will. His creating the universe is a free act which is independent of any prior determining conditions. So his act of creating can be something spontaneous and new. Freedom of the will enables one to get an effect with a beginning from a permanent, timeless cause. Thus, we are brought not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe but to its Personal Creator.
Life on earth is further evidence for the existence of God. Scientists speak of the "Goldilocks Zone," the area around a star where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold (like Goldilocks' preferred porridge) for liquid water to exist. Earth is within that rare zone. It is "just right" in this way — and many others. As Larry Ballard wrote in a letter to his granddaughter, our planet has:
…just the right size; just the right seasons dictated by just the right tilt of Earth’s axis; just the right magnetic field with just the right intensity; just the right-sized moon creating just the right tides and just the right continental drift; just the right ratio of oxygen to nitrogen; just the right ratios of carbon dioxide to water vapor—and on and on and on.This is related to another scientific concept known as the "Rare Earth hypothesis." According to Wikipedia:
In planetary astronomy and astrobiology, the Rare Earth hypothesis argues that the origin of life and the evolution of biological complexity such as sexually reproducing, multicellular organisms on Earth (and, subsequently, human intelligence) required an improbable combination of astrophysical and geological events and circumstances.This concept applies to the universe as well. As the Discovery Institute puts it in their introduction to "The Fine-Tuning Design Argument":
- If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10^60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible... (an accuracy of one part in 10^60 can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)
- Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible.
- Calculations...show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible.
- If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and thus life would not be possible.
- If the electromagnetic force were slightly stronger or weaker, life would be impossible, for a variety of different reasons.
In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.Thanks to advances in science since Darwin's time, we now know that every living cell is "full of microscopic nanomachines made of molecules that are irreducibly complex," as Ballard put it. Alter or remove one part and the entire machine breaks down. This means cells could not have formed by the step-by-step evolutionary process Darwin imagined.
As biologist Michael Denton has explained, a single cell at the microscopic level is like an immense automated factory, one the size of a large city:
On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecule . . . . We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were, astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery . . . . Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.DNA
DNA is a detailed blueprint for building the amazingly complex biological machines around us, including the staggeringly sophisticated human body. Another way to think of DNA is as software code. But while computer code is ultimately two numbers (ones and zeros), DNA consists of four "letters" (the nucleotides A,C,G,T) that make it significantly more complex. As Denton explains:
The capacity of DNA to store information vastly exceeds that of any other known system; it is so efficient that all the information needed to specify an organism as complex as man weighs less than a few thousand millionths of a gram. The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet…could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written.CONCLUSION
The Apostle Paul put it best: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made." (Romans 1:20)
As the above has shown, there is plenty of scientific evidence to support his claim. The existence of God is not just a matter of faith. After all, which requires more faith: Accepting evidence of design as evidence for a Designer? Or believing that all of the above is just coincidence and chance?