Scientific Evidence of God’s Existence

The following is a summary of content upon which the above video is based.

Science was originally a Christian idea.

The Christian understanding that the universe was created by the logos (“word,” “reason,” or “mind”) of God led to the belief that the world is rational and can be studied. The great progenitors of modern science—Copernicus, Galileo, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton—all professed belief in the Christian God and viewed their scientific studies as a mode of worship.

Science, however, has come to encompass not only the scientific method, but the scientific method plus naturalism (or materialism), a philosophy that ultimate reality is nothing but matter and energy and time and space; and that there is nothing transcendent, nothing actually spiritual—certainly no God.

There is a better approach.

In seeking to explain the origin of the universe, one should look not for the best naturalistic explanation, but for the best explanation, period.

In seeking to explain the origin of the universe, one should look not for the best naturalistic explanation, but for the best explanation, period. Even atheist professor Thomas Nagel acknowledges that, while the existence and nature of God are outside the realm of scientific inquiry, this “does not imply that there cannot be scientific evidence for or against the intervention of such a non-law-governed cause in the natural order.” As to the assumption that science can’t consider evidence for a designer which itself can’t be explained by science, Nagel concludes, “That assumption is without merit.”1

But does the evidence really point to a designer? Or is it more reasonable to continue to look, with so many atheistic scientists, for the elusive naturalistic explanation of the universe?

Let us consider four evidences from science that demonstrate that intelligent design is the explanation most in conformity with what we observe in nature.

The Finitude of the Universe

First, scientific study suggests that the universe is finite in its duration. Although the majority of scientists in the early 20th century tried to argue for the eternality of energy and matter, the overwhelming evidence is that the universe had a beginning. Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the universe seems to be expanding uniformly in all directions led to the “big bang” theory, which states that this uniform expansion must have begun with a single event in time and space. Since the initial postulation of this theory, the evidence (e.g., from satellites) has confirmed that the universe is indeed expanding.

Big bang cosmology has been decried by many Christians who assume that this theory is always an attempt to explain away the creation of the universe by God. However, this theory acknowledges that the universe began to exist, and as such, one can then conclude that its existence is contingent upon a greater cause. This greater cause must transcend matter, energy, space, and time, or else it would be subject to the same finite nature as the rest of the universe. This greater cause we call God.

The common retort, “Where, then, did God come from?” does not present a viable objection. It’s a category mistake. To ask who made God or where God came from is to categorize God within the universe He created, and thus misrepresent what is meant by “God.” Since God did not begin to exist, He needs no maker. It is like asking, “Who made the unmade maker?”

The Fine-Tuning of the Cosmos

Second, the cosmos appears to be fine-tuned to support life on earth. Over the last several decades, scientists have discovered hundreds of fine-tuning parameters necessary to provide habitable conditions for a planet. I will describe just two.

First, for life on earth to exist, molecules must exist, and for molecules to exist, atoms must be able to bond to become molecules. This molecular bonding requires just the right amount of electromagnetic force. If this force were only 0.3% stronger or 2% weaker than it is on Earth, molecules could not be formed, and life would not exist.

Second, the existence of the universe itself depends on its expansion rate. If the expansion rate of the universe were 1 in 10^55 faster or slower, the universe either would have immediately collapsed in on itself or it would have spun off so fast there would have been no galactic formation at all.

To these two examples might be added a host of other parameters: the shape of the planet’s galaxy, the planet’s distance from its sun, and so on. The low probability of the existence of a habitable planet evidenced by even a few of these parameters, let alone the hundreds of other parameters that scientists are still discovering, points to the idea that we are not here by accident but, instead, positioned on our planet within the universe with all the right parameters for the purpose of life.

The Complexity of a Single Living Cell

Third, the biogenesis of the first life form is inexplicable from a naturalistic standpoint.

Even on a planet with the perfect external conditions for life, naturalistic science cannot explain how life began. Before positing any theory of natural selection or evolution, one must deal with the origin of life. Yet even a single cell is so complex that it defies possibility that such a thing could simply emerge from a primordial slime.

Even if one could synthesize both proteins and DNA, one is still not anywhere close to having a cell. The minimum genome size requires the simultaneous occurrence of all the essential gene products. RNA, DNA, and complex carbohydrates must all be present to form the cell wall, and lipids must be present to form the membrane. There can be no proteins without DNA and RNA, but there can be no DNA and RNA without proteins—and so it goes, on and on and on.

In other words, as we look closer at cells—the building blocks of every living thing—we find that these building blocks are in themselves as complex as the bodies they constitute. Even the simplest form of life, therefore, appears to be irreducibly complex, such that it could not have come into existence by merely natural means.

The Language of DNA

Finally, cells contain information. DNA most closely resembles a language, because it encodes all the information necessary for life.

The information in any human’s 70-plus trillion cells is equivalent to more than several sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica. We have to ask ourselves, Where does all this information come from? What makes a message? If it symbolically represents something other than itself, it requires a speaker—which is a transmitter—and a listener—which is a receiver—and it contains the elements of language.

The presence of all of this information implies a source of intelligence. Information requires intentionality. It does not come about by a random process. Information transcends matter and energy. The pure naturalist will try to imagine a message that does not have a mind behind it, or information that does not have intelligence behind it, but this fact remains: There is only one principle that we know can come up with complex interactive systems, and that is intelligence. This is the explanation most compatible with the observable facts.

Conclusion

The finitude and fine-tuning of the cosmos, the problem of biogenesis, and the presence of information in organisms all contribute scientific evidence for the existence of an all-powerful, life-giving, intelligent being, which we call God.

In the past 60 years, I have seen science moving more and more consistently in every area toward a consistent vision of an ordered universe that points beyond itself to a design and a designer. In other words, it is becoming more and more evident that science and Scripture, rightly understood, are not incompatible.

Nevertheless, Scripture has revealed something that science could never have revealed. Science demonstrates that the universe was likely created by a powerful and great mind. But what it can never teach us, that Scripture does teach us, is that the One who holds the universe together is also the Lover of our souls. And that is reason for hope beyond this life.

Science and Scripture, rightly understood, are not incompatible. . . . Nevertheless, Scripture has revealed something that science could never have revealed. . . . that the One who holds the universe together is also the Lover of our souls.


The above post and video only skim the surface of the evidence. For more on the evidence for God and faith, consider reading Ken Boa’s book (appropriate for nonbelievers and believers) 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists. 

Footnotes

  1. Thomas Nagel, “Public Education and Intelligent Design,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 36(2): 189–190.