Does It Make Sense to Believe in God?
ONE of the most important questions you will ever face is, ‘Does God exist?’ The conclusion you reach can affect your view of your family, work, money, morality and even life itself.
2 If asked, ‘Does God exist?’ many persons would reply by repeating what they have read or heard from others. However, you personally should give thought to the question. In his book Man, God and Magic, Dr. Ivar Lissner observes that a “fundamental difference between man and beast” is that “man is not content merely to sleep, eat and warm himself.” Man has a “strange and inherent urge” that can be called “spirituality.” Dr. Lissner adds that ‘all the civilizations of mankind have been rooted in a quest for God.’ So your coming to grips with the question, ‘Does God exist?’ is an evidence that you have not neglected an important attribute—your spirituality.
3 How could you go about determining whether there is a ‘maker and ruler of the universe, a Supreme Being,’ as one dictionary defines “God”? Well, reason indicates that if there is a ‘maker of the universe,’ there should be indications of its beginning, also evidence of design and order. In your examining whether there are such, we invite you to consider what biologists have found about life and what has been learned about our universe by physicists and astronomers using telescopes and space probes.
YOUR LIFE—IS CHANCE RESPONSIBLE?
4 Why not begin with yourself? Where did your life come from? True, it was passed on by your parents. But how did life on earth originate?
5 In an effort to produce life in a laboratory and thus explain how it began, chemists have sent sparks through mixtures of special gases. One result has been some amino acids (molecules of the sort that are the ‘building blocks’ of living things). Those amino acids, though, were not living. Furthermore, they were not the result of mere accident; they were produced by trained scientists under controlled conditions in modern laboratories.
6 There are more than 200 natural amino acids, yet only a special 20 in the proteins of living things. Even if some amino acids could result from lightning, who selected just the right 20 found in living matter? And how were they guided into the exact sequence necessary in protein? Research analyst Dr. J. F. Coppedge calculated that ‘the probability of just one protein molecule resulting from a chance arrangement of amino acids is 1 in 10287.’ (That is a figure with 287 zeros after it.) Additionally, he points out that, not one, but ‘a minimum of 239 protein molecules are required for the smallest theoretical form of life.’ Do you think that such evidence points to life as resulting from blind chance, or is it from intelligent design?
7 Consider also another type of laboratory experiment that has been publicized in newspapers as “creating life.” With complex equipment scientists have taken a virus produced by a living organism and separated the components. Later they have taken these components and reunited them into a virus. However, biologist René Dubos explains in the Encyclopœdia Britannica that it is really a mistake to call this feat “creating life.” Neither these scientists nor others have been able to make new life from inanimate material. Rather than suggesting that life comes from chance, this experiment showed that “all the biological machinery” needed for life “had to be provided by preexisting life.”
8 Even if scientists could produce living protein from inanimate matter, it would simply confirm that preexisting intelligent life was needed as a directing force. Obviously, humans were not here to begin life on earth. Yet life was created, including human life. Who is responsible? Bible writers long ago came to a conclusion that merits serious consideration. One said: “The breath of the Almighty gave me life.” Another added: “[God] is himself the universal giver of life.”*
9 A closer look at your body will help you to reason further on this.
YOUR CELLS—YOUR BRAIN—YOU
10 Life throbs in your body, made up of about 100,000,000,000,000 tiny cells. The cell is the basic component of every living thing on earth. The more carefully it is studied, the more complex it is seen to be.
11 Each of your body cells can be likened to a microscopic walled city. The cell contains parts that are like power plants to generate energy. “Factories” in the cell make proteins as well as hormones for shipment to other parts of the body. There is a complex network of channels to transport chemicals into the cell and out of it. “Sentries” stand guard to control what is brought in and to battle invaders. The key to all of this is the nucleus, the cell’s “city hall.” It directs all cell activities and contains the genetic blueprints. Some of the cell parts are so tiny that their details cannot be clearly seen even with a 200,000-power electron microscope. (An ant magnified that much would, in effect, be over one-half mile, or 0.8 km, long.) What can explain such amazing complexity and organization in each of your 100,000,000,000,000 tiny cells?
12 At one time you were a single fertilized cell in your mother’s womb. That cell divided to become two cells, then four, and so on. Later, some of those cells became muscle tissue. Others formed your eyes, bones and heart. How was it that the cells formed each of your body parts at the right time and location? Why, for example, did cells develop into ears where they belonged, and not on your knee or your arm?
13 Look even more closely. In every cell you have tens of thousands of genes and the vital DNA, which tells the cell how to function and reproduce. It is said that the DNA in each cell contains enough information to fill an encyclopedia of 1,000 volumes. It determined the color of your hair, how fast you grew, the width of your smile and countless other details about you. All of that was ‘written down’ in the DNA of one cell in your mother’s womb.
14 In the light of even these few points about the cell, we ask: Since our parents did not consciously prepare the incredible genetic blueprint or the cell, who did? Can it reasonably be accounted for without an intelligent Designer?
15 Of all your organs, probably the most amazing is one that you will never see—your brain. It is made up of some 10,000,000,000 nerve cells, more than twice the number of people on the face of the earth. Each of these cells, in turn, may have thousands of connections with other nerve cells. The total number of connections is beyond imagination!
16 You have stored in your brain hundreds of millions of facts and images, but it is not merely a storehouse of facts. With it you can learn how to tie a knot, to speak a foreign language, to bake bread or to whistle. You can imagine—what your vacation will be like or how a juicy fruit will taste. You can analyze and create. You can also plan, appreciate, love and relate your thoughts to the past, present and future. The One who designed the brain obviously has wisdom far greater than that of any human, because scientists admit:
“How these functions are carried out by this magnificently patterned, orderly and fantastically complex piece of machinery is quite obscure. . . . human beings may never solve all the separate individual puzzles the brain presents.”—Scientific American.
17 In reflecting on whether there is a Creator who is the Supreme Being, do not overlook the rest of your body. Your eyes—more precise and adaptable than any camera. Your ears—able to detect a variety of sounds and to give you a sense of direction and balance. Your heart—a magnificent pump with capabilities that the best engineers have not been able to duplicate. Your tongue, digestive system and hands, to name a few more. An engineer hired to design and build a large computer reasoned:
“If my computer required a designer, how much more so did that complex physio-chemical-biological machine which is my human body—which in turn is but an extremely minute part of the well-nigh infinite cosmos?”
“FIRST CAUSE” OF THE UNIVERSE
18 Some 3,000 years ago a Middle Eastern man named Elihu said: “Look up at the sky and then consider.”*
19 Have you done that on a clear, dark night? Everyone should. Only about 5,000 stars can be detected with the unaided eye. Our Milky Way galaxy, however, contains more than 100,000,000,000 stars. And how many galaxies are there? Astronomers say that there are thousands of millions—not of stars, but of galaxies, each with its billions of stars! How small humans are in relation to all of this! Where did it all come from?
20 Scientists have discovered that the galaxies seem to be flying away from a central point. The theory of many astronomers is that thousands of millions of years ago, a tremendous explosion, a “big bang,” started energy and matter spreading out to form the universe as we know it. Their theory does not explain what caused that to occur. But it does have an interesting implication, namely, that there was a beginning point, a moment when the universe was born.
“Today one can feel the scientific world tremble at the accumulating evidence for a ‘big bang’ origin of the universe. It raises the question of what came before, and scientists’ most fundamental faith is shaken by being brought face to face with their inability to answer ultimate questions.”—The Wall Street Journal.
21 Yes, for persons who do not believe in God, there are puzzling questions: What or who put matter into the universe? Was the universe created out of nothing? Since matter is considered a form of energy, what is the source of the energy?
22 Dr. Robert Jastrow, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observed: “In the face of such evidence, the idea that there is a God who created the universe is as scientifically plausible as many other ideas.”
23 Well-informed persons in every generation have concluded that there must be an intelligent First Cause, a creator who is the Supreme Being. The Bible expresses how they felt, when it says: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling.”*
24 Whether you have yet concluded that God exists or not, what we have considered about life, about ourselves, and about the universe should help to explain why many thinking persons are convinced there is a God. That leads us to a related matter: If the Creator does exist, is it not logical that he would communicate with his creatures, and answer our questions: Why are we here? Why does wickedness abound? What does the future hold? How can we find happiness?
Job 35:5, New English Bible.
Why should we consider,‘Does God exist?’ (1-3)
To what does life on earth point? (4-9)
What can we learn about our cells that helps when considering the existence of God? (10-14)
How does the human brain give evidence of design? (15-17)
What leads many persons to conclude that the universe was created by God? (18-24)
[Box on page 13]
“Today at least 80% of the scientists who deal with biology would probably admit that biology and life are regulated by some higher power.
“The superb order and regulation in various manifestations of life and in the basic processes at the cellular and molecular levels have strong influence on the belief that a higher power exists.”—“Journal of the American Medical Association.”
[Box on page 19]
ORDER FROM WHERE?
Dr. Paul Davies, lecturer in applied mathematics at King’s College, London, writes in “New Scientist”:
“Everywhere we look in the Universe, from the far flung galaxies to the deepest recesses of the atom, we encounter order. . . . If information and order always has a natural tendency to disappear, where did all the information that makes the world such a special place come from originally?”
Sir Bernard Lovell, of England’s famed Jodrell Bank Observatory, writes that his feelings are the same as those of Albert Einstein:
“A rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”—“Centre of Immensities.”
[Picture on page 13]
MITOCHONDRIA produce chemicals to generate energy
NUCLEUS directs all cell’s activities
NETWORK OF CHANNELS transport chemicals into and out of cell
RIBOSOMES manufacture proteins and hormones for shipment to other parts of body
MEMBRANE and PROTEINS control what is brought in and battle invaders
[Picture on page 15]
enables her to—
Balance the bicycle
Hear approaching cars
Smell the flowers
Feel the breeze
Watch the dog
Remember the way home
[Picture on page 17]
WHO DESIGNED THE HUMAN BODY?
BRAIN: Far more than a computer, with capacity estimated at a billion times as much as used in present human lifetime.
EYE: A fully automatic, self-focusing, nonblurring color motion-picture camera.
HEART: A pump far more efficient than any machine devised by man. Pumps 1,500 gallons (5,700 L) or more daily.
LIVER: A chemical laboratory with more than 500 functions. Manufactures over 1,000 enzymes.
BONES: A structural frame weighing only 20 pounds (9 kg), yet strong as iron girders.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: A communications network that receives and/or acts on 100,000,000 sensations a second.
[Picture on page 20]
How did the universe with its billions of galaxies come to be?