Evidence for a Master Designer

I was a 14-year-old freshman at Prospect High School near Chicago when I first heard the liberating news that propelled me toward a life of atheism.

My teacher told me that Stanley Miller of the University of Chicago had reproduced the atmosphere of the primitive Earth and shot electric sparks through it to simulate lightning. The experiment resulted in the creation of a reddish goo that contained amino acids, the building blocks of life.

My mind flashed to the logical implication: if the origin of life can be explained solely through natural processes, then God was out of a job! There was no need for a deity if living organisms could emerge by themselves out of the primordial soup, then develop naturally over the eons into increasingly complex creatures.

I would probably still be mired in atheism if it weren’t for the woman I later married. Leslie’s decision to follow Christ prompted me to use my journalism and legal background to investigate whether or not Christianity makes sense—a quest that included studying the scientific evidence for a Creator as well as the historical evidence for Jesus. My conclusions ultimately ended up changing my entire life.

My initial fall into spiritual skepticism is hardly unique. I’ve lost count of the number of doubters who’ve told me that their seeds of uncertainty were planted when they studied Darwinism in school. As Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins said: “The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from an agnostic position and toward atheism.“

Dawkins isn’t alone in believing that science clashes with faith. However, my extensive investigation convinced me that the opposite is true. Actually, the most up-to-date scientific evidence points more powerfully toward God than ever before in history.

Hopefully, these new findings will give the members of your congregation the confidence and knowledge they need to help their spiritually skeptical friends discover that science—when done right—can be a tremendous ally to faith.

Contradicting Darwin
My investigation into the scientific evidence for God began with an analysis of Charles Darwin’s claim that the natural processes of evolution are responsible for all the diverse forms of life we see today. It didn’t take long to discover that much of what I had been taught about evolution was simply wrong—and that natural processes cannot account for the origin and development of life. The evidence is startling.

For instance, scientists have concluded that the atmosphere Miller used in his origin-of-life experiment didn’t really reflect the environment of the early Earth after all. When an accurate atmosphere is used in the experiment, the building blocks of life are not produced—not even close! In fact, no one has offered a viable theory for how non-living chemicals could have somehow self-assembled into the first living cell. 

I also learned that the drawings by 19th century biologist Ernst Haeckel, which purport to show that the earliest embryos of human beings and seven other animals are virtually identical, were actually faked—and scientists have known it for a hundred years. Yet his drawings helped convince me—and generations of other students—that all of life must share a common ancestry.

Moreover, the fossil record has stubbornly refused to confirm the grand claims of Darwinism and, in many ways, points toward opposite conclusions. In short, I found that the foundation of Darwinism crumbles under critical examination.

A Cumulative Case for Creator
At the same time, new findings are leading more and more scientists to conclude that God must have been responsible for creation. Consider these six fields of study:

Cosmology. Virtually all scientists concede that the universe began suddenly in a flash of light and energy. Once-agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.“

Logic dictates that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist, so therefore the universe has a cause. In fact, experts have demonstrated that the universe must have been created by an “uncaused, ‘beginningless,’ timeless, immaterial, personal being endowed with freedom of will and enormous power“—a good description of God.

Physics. One of the most striking discoveries of modern science has been that the laws and constants of physics unexpectedly conspire in an extraordinary way to make the universe habitable for life. For instance, physicist-philosopher Robert Collins said that gravity is fine-tuned to one part in a hundred million billion, billion, billion, billion, billion. There are dozens of such parameters that require precise calibration to produce a universe that can sustain life. This cannot be the product of mere chance—instead, it’s persuasive evidence of God’s existence. 

This evidence was so powerful that it was instrumental in Georgetown scholar Patrick Glynn abandoning his atheism. “Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothesis,“ he says. “It is the simplest and most obvious solution to the…puzzle.“

Astronomy. Earth’s position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work together with exquisite efficiency to create a safe place for humans to live. For example, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and science philosopher Jay Wesley Richards said it would take a star with the highly unusual properties of our sun—the right mass, light, age, distance, orbit, galaxy, and location—to nurture living organisms on a circling planet. 

Biochemistry. Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.“ Enter biochemist Michael Behe, who demonstrated exactly that through his description of “irreducibly complex“ molecular machines.

These microscopic, biological contraptions—such as cilia, the whip-like hairs on the surface of cells that move fluid across the cell’s surface, and the motor-like flagella that propel bacteria—are extremely unlikely to have been built piece-by-piece through Darwinian processes. To function, they had to be fully present. These amazing systems—which far exceed the capacity of human technology—point toward a transcendent Creator.

Biological information. The six feet of DNA coiled inside each one of our body’s 100 trillion cells contains a four-letter chemical alphabet that spells out precise assembly instructions for all the proteins our bodies are made from. Cambridge-educated Stephen Meyer has said that no hypothesis has come close to explaining how this information got into biological matter by naturalistic means. On the contrary, whenever we find this kind of information, it’s always the product of an intelligent source.

Many scientists now conclude that the Bible is right when it says human beings are both body and spirit. According to a researcher who showed that consciousness can continue after a person’s brain has stopped functioning, current scientific findings “would support the view that ‘mind,’ ‘consciousness,’ or the ‘soul’ is a separate entity from the brain.“

Designed for Discovery
To me, these scientific discoveries affirm God’s existence in an awe-inspiring way. I have to agree with nanoscientist James Tour of Rice University, who said, “If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.“

In a sense, that’s what the Apostle Paul told us in Romans 1:20: “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.“

In other words, God designed the universe so that we would discover Him as we explore the world. And today we have an unprecedented opportunity to let seekers know that the facts of science support the beliefs of Christianity as never before.

That’s a message our science- and technology-obsessed culture desperately needs to hear.   

by Lee Strobel
Lee Strobel was a legal editor for the Chicago Tribune and former atheist. Today he is a Christian apologist. He has served as teaching pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Community Church. He is best known for writing the semi-autobiographical bestsellers The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and most recently, The Case for the Real Jesus. You may visit Lee’s popular video apologetics web site LeeStrobel.com.

Copyright © by Outreach magazine.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.