Is There Really a God?
by Ken Ham - Dr. Jason Lisle
God—an Eternal, Uncreated Being?
In our everyday experience, just about everything seems to have a beginning. In fact, the laws of science show that even things which look the same through our lifetime, such as the sun and other stars, are, in reality, running down. The sun is using up its fuel at millions of tons each second—since the sun cannot last forever, it had to have a beginning. The same can be shown to be true for the entire universe.
The very first verse in the Bible declares: “In the beginning God . . . .” There is no attempt in these words to prove the existence of God or imply in any way that God had a beginning. In fact, the Bible makes it clear in many places that God is outside time. He is eternal, with no beginning or end. He also knows all things, being infinitely intelligent.
Is it logical, though, to accept the existence of such an eternal being? Can modern science, which has produced our technology of computers, space shuttles, and medical advances, even allow for such a notion?
What Would We Look For?
What evidence would we expect to find if there really is an infinite God who created all things as the Bible claims? How would we even recognize the hand of such an omnipotent (all-powerful) Creator?
The Bible claims that God knows all things—He is omniscient! Therefore, He is infinitely intelligent. To recognize His handiwork, one would have to know how to recognize the evidence of the works of His intelligence.
How Do We Recognize the Evidence of Intelligence?
Why do scientists become so excited when they discover stone tools together with bones in a cave? The stone tools show signs of intelligence. The scientists recognize that these tools could not have designed themselves but that they are a product of intelligent input. Thus, the researchers rightly conclude that an intelligent creature was responsible for making these tools.
In a similar way, one would never look at the Great Wall of China, the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., or the Sydney Opera House in Australia and conclude that such structures were formed after explosions in a brick factory.
Neither would anyone believe that the presidents’ heads on Mt. Rushmore were the products of millions of years of erosion. We can recognize Design, the evidence of the outworkings of intelligence. We see man-made objects all around us—cars, airplanes, computers, stereos, houses, appliances, and so on. And yet, at no time would anyone ever suggest that such objects were just the products of time and chance. Design is everywhere. It would never enter our minds that metal, left to itself, would eventually form into engines, transmissions, wheels, and all the other intricate parts needed to produce an automobile.
This “design argument” is often associated with the name of William Paley, an Anglican clergyman who wrote on this topic in the late eighteenth century. He is particularly remembered for his example of the watch and the watchmaker. In discussing a comparison between a stone and a watch, he concluded that “the watch must have had a maker; that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.”
Paley thus believed that, just as the watch implied a watchmaker, so too does design in living things imply a Designer. Although he believed in a God who created all things, his God was a Master Designer who is now remote from His Creation, not the personal God of the Bible.
Today, however, a large proportion of the population, including many leading scientists, believe that all plants and creatures, including the intelligent engineers who make watches, cars, etc., were the product of an evolutionary process— not a Creator God. But this is not a defensible position, as we will see.
Living Things Show Evidence of Design!
The late Isaac Asimov, an ardent anti-creationist, declared, “In man is a three-pound brain which, as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe.” It is much more complex than the most complicated computer ever built. Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that if man’s highly intelligent brain designed the computer, then the human brain was also the product of design?
Scientists who reject the concept of a Creator God agree that all living things exhibit evidence of design. In essence, they accept the design argument of Paley, but not Paley’s Designer. For example, Dr. Michael Denton, a non-Christian medical doctor and scientist with a doctorate in molecular biology, concludes:
"It is the sheer universality of perfection, the fact that everywhere we look, to whatever depth we look, we find an elegance and ingenuity of an absolutely transcending quality, which so mitigates against the idea of chance. Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy. We feel humbled, as neolithic man would in the presence of twentiethcentury technology. It would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at present is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design. In practically every field of fundamental biological research ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an ever-accelerating rate."
Dr. Richard Dawkins, holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, has become one of the world’s leading evolutionist spokespersons. His fame has come as the result of the publication of books, including The Blind Watchmaker, which defend modern evolutionary theory and claim to refute once and for all the notion of a Creator God. He said, “We have seen that living things are too improbable and too beautifully ‘designed’ to have come into existence by chance.”
There is no doubt that even the most ardent atheist concedes that design is evident in the animals and plants that inhabit our planet. If Dawkins rejects “chance” in design, what does he put in place of “chance” if he does not accept a Creator God?
Who—or What—Is the Designer Then?
Design obviously implies a designer. To a Christian, the design we see all around us is totally consistent with the Bible’s explanation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), and "For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:(Colossians 1:16).
However, evolutionists like Richard Dawkins, who admit the design in living things, reject the idea of any kind of a Designer/God. In reference to Paley, Dawkins states:
"Paley’s argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of his day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false."
Why? It is because Dawkins attributes the design to what he calls “blind forces of physics” and the processes of <Natural Selection. Dawkins writes:
"All appearance to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with future purpose in his mind’s eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker [emphasis added]."
Dawkins does, however, concede that “the more statistically improbable a thing is, the less can we believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an Intelligent Designer.”
Nonetheless, he rejects the idea of an “Intelligent Designer” and instead offers this “answer”:
"The answer, Darwin’s answer, is by gradual, step-by-step transformations from simple beginnings, from primordial entities sufficiently simple to have come into existence by chance. Each successive change in the gradual evolutionary process was simple enough, relative to its predecessor, to have arisen by chance. But the whole sequence of cumulative steps constitutes anything but a chance process, when you consider the complexity of the final end product relative to the original starting point. The cumulative process is directed by nonrandom survival. The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the power of this cumulative selection as a fundamentally nonrandom process."
Basically, then, Dawkins is doing nothing more than insisting that natural selection and mutations together provide the mechanism for the evolutionary process. He believes these processes are nonrandom and directed. In reality, this is just a sophisticated way of saying that evolution is itself the designer.
Does Natural Selection Produce Design?
Life is built on information. A great amount of this information is contained in that molecule of heredity, DNA, which makes up the genes of an organism. Therefore, to argue that natural selection and mutations are the basic mechanisms of the evolutionary process, one must show that these processes produce the information responsible for the design that is evident in living things.
Anyone who understands basic biology recognizes, of course, as Darwin did, that natural selection is a logical process that one can observe. However, natural selection only operates on the information that is already contained in the genes—it does not produce new information. Actually, this is consistent with the Bible’s account of origins, in that God created distinct kinds of animals and plants, each to reproduce after its own kind.
It is true that one can observe great variation in a kind and see the results of natural selection. For instance, wolves, coyotes, and dingoes have developed over time as a result of natural selection operating on the information found in the genes of the wolf/dog kind. But the point is that no new information was produced—these varieties of dogs have resulted from a rearrangement, sorting out, and separation of the information in the original dog kind. One kind has never been observed to change into a totally different kind with information that previously did not exist. Without intelligent input to increase information, natural selection will not work as a mechanism for evolution.
Denton confirms this when he states:
"It cannot be stressed enough that evolution by natural selection is analogous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance, without any intelligent input whatsoever. No activity which involves an intelligent input can possibly be analogous to evolution by natural selection."
Without a way to increase information, natural selection will not work as a mechanism for evolution. Evolutionists would agree with this, but they believe that mutations somehow provide the new information for natural selection to act upon.
Can Mutations Produce New Information?
Actually, scientists now know that the answer is “no!” Dr. Lee Spetner, a highly qualified scientist who taught information and communication theory at Johns Hopkins University, makes this abundantly clear in his scholarly and thoroughly researched book, Not by Chance:
"In this chapter I’ll bring several examples of evolution, particularly mutations, and show that information is not increased. . . . But in all the reading I’ve done in the life-sciences literature, I’ve never found a mutation that added information."
"All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it."
"The NDT [neo-Darwinian theory] is supposed to explain how information of life has been built up by evolution. The essential biological difference between a human and a bacterium is in the information they contain. All other biological differences follow from that. The human genome has much more information than does the bacterial genome. Information cannot be built up by mutations that lose it. A business can’t make money by losing it a little at a time [emphasis added]."
Evolutionary scientists have no way around this conclusion that many scientists, including Dr. Spetner, have now come to. Mutations do not work as a mechanism for the evolutionary process. Spetner sums it all up as follows:
"The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the NDT is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up in volume . . . . Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome. That surely shows that there are not the millions upon millions of potential mutations the theory demands. There may well not be any. The failure to observe even one mutation that adds information is more than just a failure to find support for the theory. It is evidence against the theory. We have here a serious challenge to neo-Darwinian theory [emphasis added]."
This is also confirmed by Dr. Werner Gitt, a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology. In answering the question, “Can new information originate through mutations?” he said:
"This idea is central in representations of evolution, but mutations can only cause changes in existing information. There can be no increase in information, and in general the results are injurious. New blueprints for new functions or new organs cannot arise; mutations cannot be the source of new (creative) information [emphasis added]."
So if natural selection and mutations are eliminated as mechanisms to produce the information and design of living systems, then another source must be found.
But there are even more basic problems for those who reject the Creator God as the source of information.
Imagine yourself sitting in the seat of a 747 airplane, reading about the construction of this great plane. You are fascinated by the fact that this flying machine is made up of six million parts—but then you realize that not one part by itself flies. This realization can be rather disconcerting if you are flying along at 500 mph (805 km/h) at 35,000 feet (10,668 m).
You can be comforted, however, by the fact that even though not one part of an airplane flies on its own, when it is assembled as a completed machine, it does fly.
We can use the construction of an airplane as an analogy to understand the basic mechanisms of the biochemistry of cells that enable organisms to function.
Scientists have found that within the cell there are thousands of what can be called “biochemical machines.” For example, one could cite the cell’s ability to sense light and turn it into electrical impulses. But what scientists once thought was a simple process within a cell, such as being able to sense light and turn it into electrical impulses, is in fact a highly complicated event. For just this one example alone to work, numerous compounds must all be in the right place, at the right time, in the right concentration—or it just won’t happen. In other words, just as all the parts of a 747 need to be assembled before it can fly, so all the parts of these “biochemical machines” in cells need to be in place, or they can’t function. And there are literally thousands of such “machines” in a single cell that are vital for it to operate.
What does this mean? Quite simply, evolution from chemicals to a living system is impossible.
Scientists now know that life is built on these “machines.” Dr. Michael Behe, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, describes these “biochemical machines” as examples of “irreducible complexity”:
"Now it’s the turn of the fundamental science of life, modern biochemistry, to disturb. The simplicity that was once expected to be the foundation of life has proven to be a phantom; instead, systems of horrendous, irreducible complexity inhabit the cell. The resulting realization that life was designed by an intelligence is a shock to us in the twentieth century who have gotten used to thinking of life as the result of simple natural laws. But other centuries have had their shocks, and there is no reason to suppose that we should escape them [emphasis added]."
To illustrate this further, consider swatting a mosquito.
Then think about this question: Why did the mosquito die? You see, the squashed mosquito has all the chemicals for life that an evolutionist could ever hope for in some Primordial Soup. Yet we know that nothing is going to evolve from this mosquito “soup.” So why did the mosquito die? Because by squashing it, you disorganized it.
Once the “machinery” of the mosquito has been destroyed, the organism can no longer exist. At a cellular level, literally thousands of “machines” need to exist before life ever becomes possible. This means that evolution from chemicals is impossible. Evolutionist Dawkins recognizes this problem of needing “machinery” to start with when he states:
"A Xerox machine is capable of copying its own blueprints, but it is not capable of springing spontaneously into existence. Biomorphs readily replicate in the environment provided by a suitably written computer program, but they can’t write their own program or build a computer to run it. The theory of the blind watchmaker is extremely powerful given that we are allowed to assume replication and hence cumulative selection. But if replication needs complex machinery, since the only way we know for complex machinery ultimately to come into existence is cumulative selection, we have a problem."
A problem indeed! The more we look into the workings of life, the more complicated it becomes, and the more we see that life could not arise by itself. Not only does life require a source of information, but the complex “machines” of the chemistry of life must be in existence right from the start.
A Greater Problem Still!
Some scientists and educators have tried to get around the above problems by speculating that as long as all the chemicals that make up the molecule of heredity (and the information it contains) came together at some time in the past, then life could have begun.
Life is built upon information. In fact, in just one of the trillions of cells that make up the human body, the amount of information in its genes would fill at least 1,000 books of 500 pages of typewritten information. Scientists now think this is hugely underestimated.
Where did all this information come from? Some try to explain it this way: imagine a professor taking all the letters of the alphabet, A–Z, and placing them in a hat. He then passes the hat around to students of his class and asks each to randomly select a letter.
It is easy for us to see the possibility (no matter how remote it seems) of three students in a row selecting B then A and finally T. Put these three letters together and they spell a word—BAT. Thus, the professor concludes, given enough time, no matter how improbable it seems, there is always the possibility one could form a series of words that make a sentence, and eventually compile an encyclopedia. The students are then led to believe that no intelligence is necessary in the evolution of life from chemicals. As long as the molecules came together in the right order for such compounds as DNA, then life could have begun.
On the surface, this sounds like a logical argument. However, there is a basic, fatal flaw in this analogy. The sequence of letters, B-A-T, is a word to whom? Someone who speaks English, Dutch, French, German, or Chinese? It is a word only to someone who knows the language. In other words, the order of letters is meaningless unless there is a language system and a translation system already in place to make the order meaningful.
In the DNA of a cell, the order of its molecules is also meaningless, except that in the biochemistry of a cell, there is a language system (other molecules) that makes the order meaningful. DNA without the language system is meaningless, and the language system without the DNA wouldn’t work either. The other complication is that the language system that reads the order of the molecules in the DNA is itself specified by the DNA. This is another one of those “machines” that must already be in existence and fully formed, or life won’t work!
Can Information Arise from Non-information?
We have already shown that information cannot come from mutations, a so-called mechanism of evolution, but is there any other possible way information could arise from matter?
Dr. Werner Gitt makes it clear that one of the things we know for sure from science is that information cannot arise from disorder by chance. It always takes (greater) information to produce information, and ultimately information is the result of intelligence:
"A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor) . . . . It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required."
"There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this."
“There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter."
What Then Is the Source of the Information?
We can therefore conclude that the huge amount of information in living things must originally have come from an intelligence, which had to have been far superior to ours. But then, some will say that such a source would have to be caused by something with even greater information/intelligence.
However, if they reason this way, one could ask where even this greater information/intelligence came from. And then where did that one come from? One could extrapolate to infinity, unless there was a source of infinite intelligence, beyond our finite understanding. But isn’t this what the Bible indicates when we read, “In the beginning God . . .”? The God of the Bible is not bound by limitations of time, space, or anything else.
Even Richard Dawkins recognizes this:
"Once we are allowed simply to postulate organized complexity, if only the organized complexity of the DNA/protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a generator of yet more organized complexity. That, indeed, is what most of this book is about. But of course any God capable of intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machine must have been at least as complex and organized as that machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like, “God was always there,” and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say “DNA was always there,” or “Life was always there,” and be done with it.
So what is the logically defensible position? Is it that matter has eternally existed (or came into existence by itself for no reason) and then that, by itself, matter was arranged into information systems against everything observed in real science? Or did an eternal Being, the God of the Bible, the source of infinite intelligence, create information systems for life to exist, which agrees with real science?
If real Science supports the Bible’s claims about an eternal Creator God, then why isn’t this readily accepted? Michael Behe answers with this:
"The fourth and most powerful reason for science’s reluctance to embrace a theory of intelligent design is also based on philosophical considerations. Many people, including many important and well-respected scientists, just don’t want there to be anything beyond nature. They don’t want a supernatural being to affect nature, no matter how brief or constructive the interaction may have been. In other words . . . they bring an a priori philosophical commitment to their science that restricts what kinds of explanations they will accept about the physical world. Sometimes this leads to rather odd behavior."
The crux of the matter is this: if one accepts there is a God who created us, then that God also owns us. If this God is the God of the Bible, He owns us and thus has a right to set the rules by which we must live. More important, He also tells us in the Bible that we are in rebellion against Him, our Creator. Because of this rebellion (called sin), our physical bodies are sentenced to death; but we will live on forever, either with God or without Him in a place of judgment. But the good news is that our Creator provided a means of deliverance for our sin of rebellion, so that those who come to Him in faith and repentance for their sin can receive the forgiveness of a holy God and spend eternity with Him.