Well, I thought with my first official blog post here, I'd go for broke and deal with "The Big Question." Having recently read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, I was impressed with the opening section of the book which dealt with his rational argument for a Creator. He described in great detail how an inborn sense of basic morality that is common to all mankind points to a morality giver, or "God," if you will. It's a very nicely laid out argument, and one I'd recommend for all to check out on your own. I'm not going to go any further with that, as it makes a strong case, but the five concepts I'm going to attempt to describe are ones that I've contemplated in my own mind throughout the years, and are the most compelling to me. These arguments are not tied to the creationism vs. evolutionism debate, but specifically dealing with the beginning of all things in this universe and how life was able to continue from that point forward. The point of this is to lay out a positive case for a created universe. More often than not, it seems that believers in God are asked to debunk those questions of atheists that supposedly disprove God's existence. We're asked to negate the negative. Well, the five arguments I'm presenting are positive proofs of a Creator. I use the word "proof" loosely since it's impossible to scientifically prove the existence of God, but these arguments are based purely on my own logic, and I find it would take incredible faith to believe in a godless world when taking all of these together. And just to note, I don't expect this to change anyone's mind on this subject but I hope it will at least be a thought-provoking read.
1. Life from Life Alone
Flies do not come from meat. That was the result of a famous science experiment in the 17th century, which I remember replicating in my high school biology class. This experiment, and many others that followed, concluding with Louis Pasteur's similar test for microscopic organisms in the 19th century, proved that life does not arrive spontaneously, but is always born from life. This is what is called the "law of biogenesis." Regardless of how big or small a life form is, it has parents (well, at least one). Most modern scientists believe very strongly in evolution, yet they also believe that life was born of random processes from lifeless matter. Could that very first cell have been given life from what was never living? Somehow that seems like a giant leap of faith, especially for those who live and die by the belief in the scientific method. Besides, the same people mock the idea of the resurrection of Jesus Christ based on the view that it is impossible for one who was dead to come back to life. I would rather suggest that the first life in our universe was born from a life outside of it. That creator of life is, by definition, God. Now I know how the atheist will respond to this. "Well, if all life comes from life, then who/what created God?" For that, I'll move on to argument #2.
2. Time and Infinity
Now this is the hardest concept to grasp, but I'll try my best to explain. The universe is built on a timeline. In order to get to where we are today, there had to be a past, and a chain of events starting from one definable point. That point would be the moment when the very first "thing" existed. The only way around this is to believe that the universe has always existed, and everything within it is born from what has always been here from eternity past. That, by definition, makes the universe "God." The problem with this idea is that you would then have to accept the idea that we've gotten to the present state through an indeterminable number of events in history past that have no set parameters of when they happened. The past would go as far as you can imagine it. And then when you've imagined that, you could just as well imagine a past 10,000 years before that. As you keep going further back, the present gets further from reality. OK, my brain hurts just thinking about this. So it seems the only logical explanation is to believe that there had to be a concrete starting point of history, the birth of the universe. But how could the universe be born if nothing was here before it? That's where God comes in. God is infinite. He has no beginning and no end. He exists at all times in all places at once. He knows the future just the same as He knows the past because He exists in the eternal state. This is why the question of "who created God?" is irrelevant. God, by definition is the Eternal One, responsible for the existence of all things. Time itself is an invention of His, and we exist in a sort of "alternate dimension" from the reality of eternity. How does that work? I have no idea. If I did, I'd be God. That might seem like a cop-out on a difficult question, but there are concepts which the human brain is incapable of grasping, just as there are human concepts that a rabbit's brain could never imagine. But this is for sure, infinity is not an imaginary concept. Just try to imagine the edge of the universe. Does it exist? If you imagine that, then imagine what must lie 10 feet to the other side of that edge. There must be something there (even if it's empty space), therefore there is no edge at all. Space is limitless. Whether or not there are planets or stars stretching out infinitely I don't know, but I do imagine that you could theoretically travel endlessly through space and never reach the end. So to wrap this one up, I believe in God because I believe in infinity, but I also believe in time. Time is not infinite, but is born of the infinite.
Supposing this world came about accidentally, and life somehow came to exist at a microscopic level. At what point in the chain of evolution required to get from there to where we are now did the first thought come about? Intelligence is something you either have or you don't. Life can exist without it, as it does in plants or bacteria, but all animals have it to some degree. So how did we make the jump from non-intelligent life to intelligent life? Intelligence itself is an intangible thing. Obviously it requires a brain. But the brain itself is not intelligence. It is the house in which all thoughts reside, but those thoughts can't be seen or touched. The concept of natural selection implies that living things make choices on who/what to procreate with, which requires some level of comprehension. Remove that comprehension and the decision would then have to be made for them. So in that scenario, a guiding intelligence source would be required to make the selection for them. The whole basis for evolution seems to depend on either the decision-making of a species, or some kind of guiding force that controls what actions it takes to exist and carry on the chain of life. Either you have intelligence in the species which cannot have evolved from non-intelligence (what would half-formed intelligence be?), or the outside force of intelligence. Either scenario seems impossible without an intelligence-giver. Isn't it ironic that some of the most intelligent people in this world are atheists? It reminds me of the movie "9," where the robots that humans created turned against them and annihilated them. Atheists take credit for their own intelligence and seek to destroy God, the one who gave them the brilliant minds they have.
Imagine a world in which the universe came about and a single life form was born. What would that life need to survive beyond that moment? What if conditions changed and as soon as the life was born, it was snuffed out? Fortunately for us, we have everything we need to live here on Earth. Our climate is moderate and we are at a safe distance from the sun, gravity holds us to the ground so we don't float away, we have air to breathe, water, plants and animals that provide us the nutrients we need to keep our bodies sustained, the means to move our bodies, and among other things, the ability to create new life to carry on after we die (more on that later). I'm sure I could list thousands of other examples of the provision for life that we have. Now hypothetically, imagine we humans had everything we needed to survive except for food. We could eat plants or animals, but they did nothing to provide nourishment for us. Though every other condition is right, the failure in that one area would mean the death of us all. These provisions we have are not accidental. To believe so is to believe in something so incalculably improbable that it goes so far beyond reason to a point of faith that I simply do not have. I find it much more logical to believe that such things are as they are for a purpose. Of course, having a purpose requires a purpose-giver. I like to call him "God."
5. Sexual Reproduction
The simplest forms of life are single-celled organisms which replicate themselves by splitting in half. If life began at such a level and evolved from there, at what point did male and female come into being and why? It seems as though self-replication is the easiest method. Therefore, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? However, at some point in the chain of living things, organisms must have had a reason why it was advantageous to reproduce sexually, which of course required the evolution of male and female versions of their previously asexual selves. One of the ideas that seems prevalent in evolution is that organisms evolve the traits they need to survive. In practice, this implies that there is either a conscious decision to start evolving the necessary trait, or a guiding force insuring that what is needed will result from a series of mutations. If it is a conscious decision, then theoretically humans could all conclude that it would be helpful for us to be able to see in the dark, and in time some of us might succeed in producing children with mutated eyes that improve their night-vision. If it is a conscious decision, you then have a problem at the pre-intelligence level as discussed earlier. They would not be able to evolve because they couldn't choose to. They would be reliant on a guiding force, which must be intelligent. Applying this to reproduction, a species must have then began developing male and female traits simultaneously, which would have been worthless to them during the transitional stages of evolution. Those traits would only have purpose when they finally reached the functional stage, an undefined number of generations later, and possibly far removed from each other in each gender. In the meantime, their metamorphosis would likely have removed their ability to self-replicate. If this weren't so, the ability to reproduce either way would have been advantageous and unlikely to have disappeared. Logically, this just doesn't add up. Male and female must have arrived on Earth simultaneously, fully-formed. The odds that this happened accidentally are way beyond improbable. It must have been by design.
Now looking at humans, regardless of sexual function, men and women are by nature different in numerous other ways. Yet with the exception of a small minority of people, we're physically attracted to the opposite sex. Nobody has to be taught this. My personal belief is that sex education is for the most part unnecessary (at least the "how to" part). Sexual attraction is inborn, and operates outside of pure function. At least from a male point-of-view, the drive for sex has no basis in the need to procreate. But somehow even those who've never experienced sex before know internally that it's pleasurable. And more than that, they understand that just by interacting with those attractive members of the opposite sex. Where does this knowledge come from, and how is this pleasure naturally understood? This kind of knowledge may be what we understand as "instinct" in animals. But instinct is simply implanted instructions within our bodies on how to live as we were designed to live. It's a guiding force, directing us for a purpose. Sexual attraction is God's way of motivating us (well, at least men) to procreate. And through sex, we create individuals who are different from ourselves, unlike those self-duplicating organisms. God designed us each to be unique individuals with unique purposes for our lives. He doesn't want us to be clones of each other, but to be the individuals He created us to be. Sex is a picture of God's design, and that design points us back to God.
Bertrand Russell once made an analogy comparing the belief in God to the belief in a floating teapot in space that is too small to be seen by any telescope. The idea was that to believe in either is equally ridiculous since there is no reason to, other than the fact that we are told by others that it is so. But to reduce belief in God to that level is a poor analogy, since none of the arguments I've presented above could be applied to that teapot. There is no reason to believe in it, and its existence would fail to explain anything about this universe we live in. Belief in God is a logical conclusion when you open up your eyes to see this place for what it is. Romans 1:20 (NIV) says, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Of course, to believe there is a God is only the beginning. We then must decide what that means for us. If God is real, how should that affect my life? And how do I know who He really is when there are so many concepts of God out there? My short answer would be to read the Bible, but to explain why would require more words than I could write here. Perhaps another time I will tackle my arguments for Christianity specifically, but this essay is long enough for now. Good night and thanks for reading.