It was June 2012 in New Zealand’s remote Hunua Ranges, southeast of Auckland. Thirty-nine-year-old bioengineer Ronnie Fong set out on what was supposed to be a four-hour walk and ended up lost for three days. In sub-zero temperatures at night, he kept moving to stay warm. Climbing to the hilltops, he could see a dam in the distance, which he focused on as his goal. During the precarious trek, he stumbled across a 24-pack of unopened chlorine tablets (for purifying water) that he believes was intentionally dropped by a rescuer, enabling him to keep hydrated. Ronnie knew he had finally reached safety when he found a dirt road. Not long thereafter he spotted the headlights of a search team, bringing his ordeal to a fortunate end.
Although Ronnie saw no rescuers for three days, his confidence was maintained by the indisputable signs of human presence. Sighting the dam in the distance, he knew he was close to civilization. While not personally witnessing the dam being designed, built, or maintained, he never questioned that capable human beings were responsible for it. Without actually observing where the chlorine tablets came from, he was sure someone had been in the area. The dirt road, as simple and crude as it appeared, was enough to convince him that he was in an inhabited area. When he sighted the approaching headlights, before actually seeing anybody, he was absolutely certain that people were near.
Ronnie’s optimism stemmed from the observable effects of human activity. Not once did he surmise that random evolutionary mutations over billions of years were responsible for the efficiently designed wall of earth, concrete, and steel across the riverbed. Upon discovering the chlorine tablets, it never crossed his mind that the symmetrical plastic and foil packaging might be the result of a massive explosion of primordial elements that gradually developed into its current functional shape. He didn’t instinctively assume that the dirt road tracks were formed by a freak accident of nature, nor did he entertain the thought of purely naturalistic causes to account for the headlights.
It was not scientific experimentation or even direct observation that led to his definitive conclusions. His assurance that preexisting intelligence and ingenuity were responsible for the dam, the chlorine tablets, the road, and the headlights was a conviction of faith, prompted by sensible reasoning and compelling evidence. This is what carried him through an otherwise hopeless ordeal, and unsurprisingly, what wasn’t visible along the treacherous journey was confirmed in the end. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
How, then, can our knowledge of the Grand Designer of the universe be any less certain? From the tiniest microscopic organism to the vast solar systems, the physical world demonstrates clear signs of intricate design.1 Specified complexity and fine-tuned patterns of activity do not simply emerge out of nothing or consistently occur by accident. Where there is a painting, there must be an artist. Without a poet, there is no poem. A house does not build itself, and a book does not write itself. Where there is functional design, there has to be a designer.
The cosmos is real and must have come from somewhere. It obviously did not create itself. Every effect requires an adequate cause. Moreover, the evidence of deliberate design in the natural world implies a creative and proficient designer. Those who stubbornly reject the necessary inference of the intelligent design model have theorized any number of elaborate proposals (cosmological constant, cosmic cataclysm, oscillating universe, et al.). But none can reasonably explain the mystery of life and the uniform patterns of functionality across the universe, much less where and how it all originated.
The Bible provides a credible answer for anyone not blinded by anti-theistic prejudice. “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
The God of the Bible is outside of time and space, without beginning or end.2 He is the Grand Designer and Creator in whom we have conviction of faith and assurance of hope.3 Without him we are lost, though he is not far away, and what is not visible along life’s journey is sure to be confirmed in the end.4
--Kevin L. Moore
1 See I.D.E.A. Center’s “Evidence for the Design of the Universe,” <Link>; “Cell Positioning Uses ‘Good Design’,” <Link>; William A. Dembski, “Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis,” <Link>.
2 Eccl. 3:11; Psa. 93:2; Prov. 8:23; Rev. 1:8.
3 Ex. 20:11; Psa. 8:3-4; 33:6; 102:25; 115:15; Jer. 51:15; John 1:1-3; Acts 4:24; 14:15; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2, 10; Rev. 4:11; 10:6.
4 Acts 17:24-31; Heb. 11:1-6; 1 John 3:2.
Related Posts: Why Should I Believe in God?, Proclaiming God's Existence to the World, Human Suffering?
Related articles: Wayne Jackson’s “The Elephant in Evolution’s Living Room,” <Link>; Jeff Miller’s “Cosmological Argument,” <Link>.
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