Picking up from last week …

At this point, many people would say, “All other possibilities are not probable or are unreasonable. Therefore, it must be God.” This is not a path I will chart because having devoted as much time and effort to debunk alternative hypothesis as I have, it would be very lazy to default to the remaining option and simple declare, “This is it.” Sadly, I must admit that many Christians resort to the explanation of “God” by default without ever thinking through the issue logically and with a scrutinizing eye. I wholly reject the response of just taking any explanation “on faith” because that is a bigger cop-out than nothing. Instead, this explanation deserves as much thought and scrutiny as the rest. Indeed, as I will elaborate on, the proof (which is objective) will point us toward an explanation, but the persuasion (which is subjective) of that explanation will vary from person to person.

Sir Fred Hoyle declared that:

“I do not believe that any scientists who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents.”[1]

Stephen Hawking said:

“It would be very difficult to explain why the universe would have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”[2]

Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog wrote the following (italics added):

“A bottom-up approach to cosmology either requires one to postulate an initial state of the Universe that is carefully fine-tuned—as if prescribed by an outside agency—or it requires one to invoke the notion of eternal inflation, a mighty speculative notion to the generation of many different Universes, which prevents one from predicting what a typical observer would see.”[3]

Albert Einstein wrote:

“The harmony of natural law … reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”[4]

Nobel Prize winner and physicist Steven Weinberg went as far to say that:

“It seems to me that if the word “God” is to be of any use, it should be taken to mean an interested God, a creator and lawgiver who established not only the laws of nature and the universe but also standards of good and evil, some personality that is concerned with our actions, something in short that is appropriate for us to worship.”[5]

Fred Hoyle has claimed that the chances for life arising without an intelligent cause were one to ten to the forty-thousandth (1040,000) power, which he wrote was “insensibly different from zero.”[6] These are odds so astronomically high that Hoyle is telling us that a non-intelligent cause of life is impossible.

Why are all these great minds of science so impressed? Because nothing known to human beings is capable of fine-tuning the conditions of the universe to make life possible other than an intelligent cause.[7] Put another way, the intentional arrangement in the universe is precisely the type of effect we would expect from a superior, intelligent cause. Of course, this arrangement is foreign to the parameters that are fine-tuned because fine-tuning is contingent. In other words, something has to turn the dial to set something to “just right.” To paraphrase Immanuel Kant, the degree of order in the universe compels us so that our thoughts are lost in a speechless and eloquent astonishment—all over the universe, we see a chain of effects that leads us to a transcendental “Author” who is an “irresistible conviction.”[8]

When we consider the cumulative fine-tuning of the universe, it becomes clear that in some sense the universe “must have known we were coming.”[9] The sheer number of variables fine-tuned to very narrow ranges imparts an overwhelming impression of intention.[10] But wait—an objection arises immediately. If the universe was built for life, the presupposed Architect may be smart but also terribly inefficient. That is, there are vast reaches of the universe that are life-prohibiting—for instance, in many areas, temperatures would incinerate us and radiation would poison us. Would it not make more sense to inquire as to why the Architect built a universe overwhelmingly adverse to life? And why so much empty space? Truly, the Earth stands in the center of conspiring variables determined to permit life in the midst of an unsympathetic universe. Our anomalous, non-uniform island of fine-tuning raises the “irresistible conviction” for the Architect even higher.

Furthermore, because the wealth of evidence for fine-tuning leads us to intelligence, the burden of proof rests on the person who seeks to either deny order or assert that a non-intelligence was the cause of fine-tuning. Why? Because this proposition defies uniform experience, which tells us that organized complexity seems only to be an effect of organized complexity, such as a factory or the human mind.

Consequently, after analyzing all the evidence for fine-tuning in the cosmos and making an inference from the parts back to a unified whole, we arrive at the reasonable conclusion of an Intelligent Architect—that is, one who is capable of fine-tuning to create the infrastructure for life (a house).

(How life begins in this figurative home will be the topic of discussion in the next episode.) This is not wishful thinking because in the same way the proponents of the multiverse need to reach outside the universe in order to find an explanation, an Intelligent Architect is reasonable after a considerate evaluation of alternatives. Hence, this explanation merely concludes that fine-tuning strongly supports the Intelligent Architect as more plausible over the weak anthropic principle, the multiverse, chance, and physical necessity.

It is difficult, based exclusively on the evidence presented thus far, to make a leap from fine-tuning to a specific deity unless one relies on a form of an ontological argument. So, we haven’t conclusively arrived at particular locale yet but are building a pile of clues so that we can weigh the total evidence despite skepticism about individual parts.

In an analogy used by Robin Collins,[11] the evidence of the fine-tuning argument is much like fingerprints found on a gun—they are strong evidence that the defendant is guilty (that an Intelligent Architect fine-tuned the universe), but one could not conclude from the fingerprints alone that the defendant is guilty. Subsequently, while the evidence of fine-tuning strongly supports theism over atheism, the question then becomes who theos is. What is their explanation? In the latter half of the previous episode, I came to the logical conclusion that the causeless explanation of everything is at minimum necessary and at least eternal and self-existent. Of course, this entity can be more than these things but is not less than these things. It now becomes clear that this causeless, self-existent, and eternal being also carries the moniker, “Intelligent Architect.”

It must be noted that an explanation for an Intelligent Architect will never truly be as complete as, for example, an explanation of how liquid water turns into steam or how taking a selfie works. Our knowledge of the Architect will never be complete but this does not suggest that our knowledge is untrue.[12] John Calvin once wrote finitum non capax infiniti, or the finite cannot grasp the infinite. It goes without saying that if a creature could fully explain the Creator in intricate, minute details, then the Creator would have to retire. Accordingly, in the same way that our scientific understanding of the universe is not complete (we understand less than 5% of it), this partial comprehension neither devalues nor discredits the sciences. Centuries ago, Copernicus told us that we are not at the center of the solar system and then the Enlightenment reversed the trend by deluding humankind into thinking that its intellect is at the center of the cosmos. Ultimately, finitum non capax infiniti and for that matter, finitum non capax finitum (or at least 95% of it).

So can we make a connection that identifies the Architect as God? Of all the world’s religions, which God is it?

Closing the gap

 In the same way that we objectively came to the conclusion of an Architect, the first thing we have to settle upon is that “God” must actually have real value and is not merely an expression of subjective emotions. So, “God” must truly exist outside of the self and is independent of personal opinion. This means that all of the skepticism and all of the personal feelings of the entire world have no bearing on Him whatsoever. As R. C. Sproul has written, “If [God] does not exists objectively, then all our faith or feeling does not have the faith to conjure him up.”[13]

How then could we objectively know God in order to positively identify the Intelligent Architect? This is where Immanuel Kant becomes very helpful.[14] In his most famous work, Critique of Pure Reason, Kant argued that knowledge in general comes both from sense experience (like love) and from external non-experience (like time). So, we can know things as they appear to us in the phenomenal world. In contrast, the noumenal world is the world as it really is. So, in the phenomenal world, we can see, hear, feel, and touch another person, but we are totally incapable of sensing their soul. Their soul exists in the noumenal realm. Kant’s conclusion was that we cannot realistically know anything beyond the observable world because such metaphysical realities are strictly unknowable. In other words, Kant made the assertion that through science, we cannot travel from the phenomenal world to the noumenal.[15] And guess what? Kant was absolutely, positively, and wonderfully right. He was right because anyone can say anything about the noumenal world, and there is no way to substantiate it. He was right in that most religious systems do in fact rely on personal projection of felt needs into the noumenal world, so there is no way to objectively verify truth claims. What Kant did not entertain, however, is if a bridge existed between the noumenal world and the phenomenal world—this bridge (or mediator) would span both realms and allow us to sense[16] the noumenal world in the phenomenal one. This would raise our consciousness and awaken us to those invisible or noumenal attributes of a divine Intelligent Architect that could have been made clear in the phenomenal world.[17] Does such a bridge exist? Yes, and He is the only religious figure that claims to be both fully God and fully Man, the exclusive mediator[18] between the supernatural realm and the natural one: Jesus Christ. But how can we objectively know Jesus is real? That’s simple: you have to use your senses.

Whenever a scrupulous Christian refers to the Bible, they reference a historical document that records the eyewitness testimony of real historical figures that experienced certain things in real life and then wrote about it. So, even if you are a skeptic of the Bible, and don’t initially believe that what was recorded was inspired by “God,” what you still have in front of you is a book with real historical legitimacy, and a plethora of modern scholarship and archeology testifies to this fact.[19] That is, scholars (even secular scholars) have used objective rules of historicity to establish the reliability of the Biblical documents. But so what? So what if the Bible claims to be a word from God? Don’t the Quran and the Book of Mormon claim the same thing? Yes they do. Other books claim to be from “God,” and those claims may have some historical legitimacy. The question now becomes what are the value of those claims? That is, did a presupposed “God” ever demonstrate—with real evidence—that He is, in fact, God? Did He ever interact in the phenomenal realm in ways that qualify Him as an Intelligent Architect? The answer is yes, and we find a host of such examples only in the Bible. In fact, in the Bible, we also find real everyday people doubting that it really was “God” talking to them or doing something. They needed some form of verification that they were dealing with the “real thing.” Without question, there is a legacy of skepticism about God really being God from the very beginning of the Bible. For example, when Moses—who was well educated in the finest Egyptian schools of his day—meets God at the burning bush, one of the first questions he asked is, “How will the people believe that I actually spoke to God?”[20] God responds by changing his staff into a serpent. When Moses then goes into Egypt in order to rescue the Israelites from bondage, God proves that He is God by using His supernatural abilities to bring about ten plagues.[21] These plagues were not merely for show. They all demonstrated God’s power over matter, space, and life itself (things only an Intelligent Architect could do). Hence, God did not merely say, “Just have faith” or “It must be Me.” He proved it by “acting like God.” Throughout the Old Testament, God worked through pre-Christ servants of God[22] to accomplish miraculous feats, and He also demonstrated exactly the type things we would expect an Intelligent Architect to do, such as stopping the sun and moon in the sky for 24 hours[23] and spontaneously changing the atomic structure of matter.[24] We expect these things because an Architect who built the universe can therefore stop, alter, suspend, and change the laws of nature. Later on in the New Testament, Nicodemus expresses this realization when he tells Jesus that only God can do such things.[25] Nicodemus was acutely aware that God makes a legitimate case by showing us exactly who He is in the natural order. This has its peak expression in Jesus, the One who is fully God and fully Man, and dwelt among us for decades so that people could “experience” God. This helps to partially explain why Jesus performed miracles in the first place—like resurrecting people from the dead[26] (demonstrating power over life),[27] walking on water[28] (demonstrating power over natural laws),[29] and feeding multitudes (demonstrating power over matter)[30]—in order to authenticate who He really is.[31] It is from this posture that the eyewitnesses, who then wrote the books of the New Testament, profess their faith in Christ. After all, the idea of a God-Man called Jesus did not appear in their consciousness out of nothing.

So, neutral researchers can verify the historicity of Biblical accounts. They cannot either verify or falsify the unique supernatural claims of the events.[32] This originates from the mere fact that we are dealing with history, yet this realization never invalidates the content of said history. As an analogous example, it is impossible to verify that in the Battle of Thermopylae in Ancient Greece (circa 480 A.D.) that the Persian army had 100,000 men verses one million.[33] This recognition does not invalidate the fact that the battle happened. Consequently, the Biblical narrative is comprised of the eyewitness testimonies of multiple people across oceans of time and geographic locales, all writing about a coherent, unified subject. In the case of the New Testament, what we even have are multiple eyewitnesses of the same events,[34] and they subsequently wrote about them from different perspectives. And, these writers all lived within the same generation. If a person were to reject reliable[35] eyewitness testimony as a reasonable means of evaluating history, then we are forced to essentially reject all of human history, less perhaps the field of archeology. So, in a nutshell, once the Bible is confirmed to be historically reliable (which it is), we can then observe that it attests to the legitimacy of Christ—who “proved” who He was by “acting like God” and also validated the Bible itself as a direct revelation from God. The Bible, in turn, anticipated Jesus hundreds of years in advance and testified to His character and Person.

So why did I go through all of this, and what does this have to do with the Intelligent Architect? Because the Bible not only explains that God is the Intelligent Architect, but it also explains how God did it. As we have learned in this episode, there is a fingerprint of fine-tuning in the cosmos that points to the Intelligent Architect.

Consider these verses that detail God, in creation, acting as such (italics mine, all NASB):

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun. (Psalm 19:1-4. Indeed, the expanse of heaven does in fact inform us of fine-tuning of an Intelligent Architect.)

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained. (Psalm 8:4)

To Him who made the heavens with skill, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 136:5)

He made the moon for the seasons; the sun knows the place of its setting. (Psalm 104:19. Modern astronomy explains exactly this fact as already discussed)

And how did God accomplish these feats? By the clearest expression of an orderly, intellectual, organizing principle by which the foundation of the universe was organized: the Logos. At the beginning of John’s gospel (1:1–3), it says:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

The term Word is translated from the Greek logos, which generally speaking means reason, motive, or computation. John used it to refer to a divine expression. Logos had dual meanings for the immediate audience that received it. For the Greeks, logos meant not only spoken words but also unspoken words in the mind. When they applied this term to the cosmos, it meant the rational principle that governed everything (like a theory of everything). The Jews used logos as a way of referring to God. Hence, as John uses it, the term logos was meaningful to the Jews and the Gentiles. Furthermore, Greek philosophy had long used the term logos to refer to an immaterial force that created harmony and order in the universe. So, “all things came into being” through the Logos (as fine-tuning leads us), and John subsequently identifies the Logos with Christ, God made manifest in the flesh. It is no coincidence, then, that John goes on in the rest of his book to write about Jesus and describe all the things that He did and said, which validates Him as God, the Logos, and the Intelligent Architect.

And look at how powerful the Logos is: it’s singular, unlikely to happen in the normal course of events, is probable because it is based in history, and it is very simple. The Intelligent Architect (God) therefore passes all three of our grading criteria and is the best explanation. Furthermore, the Logos explains—in contrast to naturalistic explanations for fine-tuning—why intelligence is not native to matter. It explains why, for example, a person’s mind, consciousness, or reason cannot be reduced to elements and neurochemical events in the brain—because there is a distinction between matter and mind and between physical substance and an immaterial logic made by the Logos.

Now, at the end, it is here from this informed posture that a reasonable person can take a look at all of the evidence in front of them, weigh all of the objective data, and then say, “God is a plausible explanation for why there is life instead of things and for why there is fine-tuning in the universe.” This reasonable conclusion does not come from merely discrediting alternatives but by looking at what the Bible says about God thousands of years ago in a pre-scientific world.[36]

The identity of the Intelligent Architect—the God of the Bible—is validated based on empirical and historical evidence. So, when an informed Christian says, “The other alternatives are highly improbable and the most reasonable explanation is God,” that is an answer that is meaningful.

But isn’t there more to our world that warrants an explanation—like how life developed in the first place? The answer is yes, and in the next episode, we will take a look at Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. At the end of the day, no atheist can be intellectually fulfilled if they do not have an alternative to, “In the beginning, God …” So, in the next episode, we will ascertain if Darwin’s theory is has any lasting value. Until then.

Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

[1] Originally written in Religion and the Scientists (1959) and quoted in John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 22

[2] Quoted taken from Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2006), 75

[3] Stephen Hawking and Thomas Hertog, “Populating the Landscape: A Top Down Approach,” last modified February 10, 2006, accessed December 24, 2016, https://arxiv.org/PS_cache/hep-th/pdf/0602/0602091v2.pdf

[4] Albert Einstein, Ideals and Opinions¾The World As I See It (Secaucus, NJ: The Citadel Press, 1999), 40 (Reprint)

[5] Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory (New York: Vintage, 1994) 244

[6] Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981), 2-3

[7] Normal L. Geisler, The Big Book of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 22

[8] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. F Max Muller (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966), 414-15

[9] A statement by the physicist Freeman Dyson as quoted in John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 318

[10] Paul Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability to Order the Universe (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), 203

[11] Robin Collins, “The Fine-Tuning Design Argument,” in Reason for the Hope Within, ed. Michael J. Murray (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdemans, 1998)

[12] As an example, consider physics. As we know it, it depends on the laws of physics, but physics offers no explanation for itself. It does not explain why or how the universe obeys the fundamental laws that it does. Even when physics describes a fundamental law, it uses the language of other fundamental laws. By definition, then, physics is incapable of explaining itself in the same way that my laptop will not be able to explain the code that tells it how to operate. In order to do that, my laptop would have to step outside of itself and realize that it is following a program written for it. Incomplete knowledge is perfectly compatible with reasonable explanations.

[13] R. C. Sproul, Defending Your Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003), 64

[14] And Kant in turn leaned upon the famous skeptic, David Hume, who touted that empiricism cannot lead to any ultimate truth.

[15] And thus, for example, physical laws need not necessarily apply in the noumenal realm.

[16] For examples of Bible writers relying on sense experience to validate what they are saying, see II Peter 1:16-18; I John 1:1-3

[17] Romans 1:20

[18] I Timothy 2:5

[19] For example, see F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009) and Dan Wickwire, Has the Bible Been Changed? (Abbotsford, WI: Aneko Press, 2016) and Joseph M. Holden and Norman Geisler, The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2013)

[20] Exodus 4:1

[21] Water into blood (Exodus 7:14–24); Frogs (7:25–8:15); Lice (8:16–19); Flies (8:20–32); Diseased livestock (9:1–7); Boils (9:8–12); Thunderstorm of hail (9:13–35); Locusts (10:1–20); Darkness (10:21–29); Death of firstborn (11:1–12:36)

[22] For example, see I Kings 17:8-24, 18:36-40

[23] Joshua 10:13

[24] II Kings 6:1-7

[25] John 3:2

[26] Matthew 9:18-25; Luke 7:11-15; John 11:1-44

[27] Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 5:1-15; Luke 5:18-25; John 4:46-54

[28] Mark 6:48-51

[29] Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 6:35-44; Luke 5:4-11; John 2:1-11

[30] Matthew 14:13-21; John 6

[31] And of course, Jesus authenticated the authority of the Bible itself.

[32] Subsequently, science cannot say that miracles are impossible (requires omniscience). It can say they are improbable because of the regularity of natural laws (and these laws require fine-tuning). All that is needed to validate a miracle is convincing evidence that something miraculous happened, and this something went against known regularities.

[33] Phillp de Souza, The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC (Oxford: Osprey Publishing 2003), 55 (c.f. 54-58)

[34] That is, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

[35] I say reliable because of course, a scrutinizing method would investigate those historical events that are fallacious.

[36] And for more examples of God fine-tuning, see Psalm 147:4; Amos 5:8; Job 9:9, 38:31-32

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