Admire the Design; Learn About the Designer
YOU have probably heard of the Italian painter and sculptor Michelangelo. Though you may never have seen the original of any of his masterpieces, you most likely agree with the art historian who called the Italian genius a “marvellous and incomparable artist.” Michelangelo’s talents cannot be denied. Who would try to separate appreciation for Michelangelo’s art from acknowledgment of him as an outstanding artist?
Now think of the mind-boggling complexity and diversity of life that thrives around us on earth. Appropriately, The New York Times quoted one professor of biological sciences as stating: “The physical marks of design are visible in aspects of biology.” He added: “Life overwhelms us with the appearance of design.” Is it intellectually honest to admire the design without acknowledging the designer?
The apostle Paul, a keen observer of things around him, spoke of those who “honoured and served the creature more than him who had created it.” (Romans 1:25, Darby) Affected by pervasive evolutionary ideas, some refuse or fail to recognize that design certainly points to a designer. But does the theory of evolution represent true science at its best? Note the conclusion that Christoph Schönborn, Catholic archbishop of Vienna, presented in The New York Times: “Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”
The End of Science?
There are, however, those who feel that accepting the position that there is evidence of a Creator would “stifle research.” An article in the magazine New Scientist expressed such fears, asserting that “science as an open-ended pursuit would come to an end, halted by an impenetrable barrier labelled ‘the designer did it.’” Is that fear well-founded? Not at all. In fact, the opposite is true. Why?
To accept blind chance and subsequent evolution as the cause of our universe and life on earth would actually be to abandon any attempt to get a meaningful explanation. On the other hand, accepting that an intelligent Creator is behind what we see around us can lead us to investigate the nature and application of his intelligence manifested in the physical universe. Consider this: Knowing that Leonardo da Vinci painted the “Mona Lisa” has not stopped art historians from investigating his technique and the materials he used. Similarly, accepting that there is a Designer should not discourage us from inquiring into the details and complexity of his designs and creations.
Rather than stifling further research, the Bible encourages the search for answers to both scientific and spiritual questions. Ancient King David reflected on the physical makeup of his masterfully formed body. As a result, he said: “In a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.” (Psalm 139:14) In fact, the Bible presents the Creator as asking the patriarch Job: “Have you intelligently considered the broad spaces of the earth?” (Job 38:18) That certainly does not suggest any stifling of inquiry and investigation. On the contrary, the Master Designer here invited a study of his handiwork. Consider, too, the invitation penned by the prophet Isaiah that directs us to increase our understanding of the One responsible for the creation around us: “Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things?” Indeed, Isaiah 40:26 then brings up a fact consistent with Einstein’s well-known formula E=mc2. That fact is that the universe was produced by a source of dynamic energy and power.
Granted, answers to questions regarding creation are not always readily available. In part, this is because our powers of understanding are limited and our grasp of the world in which we live is incomplete. Job understood this. He extolled the Creator, under whose direction our globe hangs on nothing visible in space and water-laden clouds are suspended above the earth. (Job 26:7-9) Yet, Job realized that such wonders ‘are but the fringes of the Creator’s ways.’ (Job 26:14) Job undoubtedly wanted to learn more about the world around him. And David admitted his limitations, writing: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is so high up that I cannot attain to it.”—Psalm 139:6.
Acceptance of the existence of a Creator does not hinder scientific progress. The quest for more comprehensive knowledge in both physical and spiritual matters is indeed open-ended and eternal. An ancient king noted for his broad knowledge humbly wrote: “He has put thoughts of the forever in man’s mind, yet man cannot understand the work God has done from the beginning to the end.”—Ecclesiastes 3:11, Holy Bible—New Life Version.
Some object that God is arbitrarily inserted “as an explanatory fix” wherever there is no provable scientific explanation. In other words, the claim is that such a divine Designer becomes the “God-of-the-gaps,” as if “God” were a magic word to use whenever men cannot figure things out. But what are the gaps referred to here? Are they merely small and insignificant gaps in our knowledge? No, they are real chasms of plausibility that exist in Darwinian evolution. They are fundamental breaches in aspects of biology that the theory of evolution has been incapable of bridging. In all fairness, evolutionists who rely on unsupported assertions effectively make the Darwinian theory their “God-of-the-gaps.”
The Creator presented in the Bible is no “God-of-the-gaps.” Rather, his activity covers all phases, aspects, and details of creation. The psalmist emphasized the all-encompassing creative activity of Jehovah: “You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9, Today’s English Version) He is well described as the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.” (Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) For good reason, a first-century teacher wrote that God “created all things.”—Ephesians 3:9.
In addition, God established “the statutes of the heavens,” the physical laws that govern matter and energy, which laws scientists are still studying. (Job 38:33) His design is comprehensive and purposeful, achieving his objective to form the earth to be inhabited by a staggering diversity of living things.
Design and Common Sense
Finally, we need to consider the question of common sense. Commenting in general on the validity of various scientific theories, science writer John Horgan observed: “When the evidence is tentative, we should not be embarrassed to call on common sense for guidance.”
Does it really make sense to claim that life came about simply by chance or through blind forces? Despite the widespread popularity of the theory of evolution, many intelligent people, including scientists, are convinced that there is an intelligent Creator. A science professor notes that the general public “overwhelmingly, and sensibly, thinks that life was designed.” Why so? Most people will readily agree with the apostle Paul’s statement: “Every house is constructed by someone.” (Hebrews 3:4) Then Paul continues with the logical conclusion: “He that constructed all things is God.” From the Bible’s viewpoint, it simply does not make sense to acknowledge that a house needs a designer and builder and at the same time claim that a complicated cell accidentally sprang into existence.
The Bible makes an observation regarding those who reject the existence of a Designer and Creator: “The senseless one has said in his heart: ‘There is no Jehovah.’” (Psalm 14:1) Here, the psalmist reproves those who have yet to be convinced. A person might be guided by personal opinion rather than by pure objectivity. On the other hand, the wise, discerning person humbly acknowledges the existence of a Creator.—Isaiah 45:18.
For many thinking individuals, the evidence that supports a Supreme Designer is unmistakable.
You Can Know the Designer
If we see ourselves as the product of design, for what were we designed? What is the purpose of our life? Science alone is unable to give satisfying answers to such questions. These fundamental issues, however, require convincing and satisfying answers. The Bible can be of great benefit in this regard. It identifies Jehovah not only as the Creator but also as a Purposer, one who has sound reasons for what he does. The Scriptures reveal God’s purpose for humankind, offering us a future and a hope.
Still, who is Jehovah? What kind of God is he? Jehovah’s Witnesses invite you to get to know our Masterful Designer as a real person. You can learn about his name and about his qualities and dealings with mankind. Through the pages of his Word, the Bible, you will come to see why we should not simply admire his superb design but also glorify him as the Designer.—Psalm 86:12; Revelation 4:11.
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Belief in a Designer is compatible with true science
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Diversity and adaptation are evidence of variety within an ingenious design
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Design requires a designer