God, the Foundation for Everything

God is a foundational assumption that must be in place to have an intelligible view of the universe. It’s not that unbelievers don’t think intelligently about the universe, but their most basic assumptions about it are hostile to the way they engage the world around them. Without God, morality becomes impossible to justify. As do scientific laws, and laws of logic. These have to be designed by Someone and deliberately set within our universe, or we have every reason to doubt their existence, or at least wonder if they actually mean what we have always assumed them to mean. Honest unbelief requires contemplating the possibility that  we might just be lying to ourselves about what the universe is, and what we are.

Not An Inference, But Testimony

“what I find interesting is that many writers who do not in any sense claim to be Christians sometimes speak of their marvel at the unimaginable complexity and splendor of the universe–a marvel that rises to the level of what might be called ‘worship.’ For example, I think of a fascinating book by Martin J. Rees, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. If the physical realities that these numbers describe generated a little higher number or a little lower number, the universe as we know it could not exist. There must, for example, be just exactly the right distance between one particle and another particle at the subatomic level to balance the various forces at play. Just six numbers, so tightly constrained in their upper and lower limits, make the physical universe possible. How did that happen? Other writers describe the astonishing complexity of the eyeball, and although they may be unabashed philosophical materialists in their orientation, they are so impressed by the complexity and glory of it all that they almost begin to treat nature like god.

From a Christian point of view their instincts are jolly good–except that there is a God who has disclosed himself in the glory of what we call nature. I am not sure that it is right to argue from the complexity and glory of the six numbers, or from the stiffness of the woodpecker’s tail feathers, or from the irreducible complexity of a cell or of the eyeball, to the conclusion that God exists. At the end of the day God is not merely an inference, the end of an argument, the conclusion after we have cleverly aligned the evidence. But if you begin with this God, the testimony to his greatness in what we see all around us is heart stopping. It takes an enormous act of will on the part of even the most cynical of scientists instead to look at it all and say, ‘Ah, it’s just physics. Stop admiring it. Don’t do that. There’s no design. It’s just molecules bumping into molecules.” -D.A. Carson



Clues to God’s Existence

  1. The Big Bang: What caused it?
  2. The Fine-Tuning Argument: Why are the constants and regularities of the universe tuned to exactly what is needed for the universe to exist?
  3. The Regularity of Nature: Why does the universe follow predictable patterns that make observation and induction reliable guides to truth?
  4. The Clue of Beauty: Why does art strike us as meaningful as opposed to something that is just ‘there’ like a trash heap or a colorless piece of canvas? Why is there love?
  5. The Reliability of Our Cognitive Faculties: If what our brains tell us about God (as well as morality, love, and beauty) is not real but just residual genetic leftovers of earlier species coping with life, then couldn’t the same apply to naturalistic beliefs about the world–they are just chemical reactions in the brain that can’t be helped, and certainly shouldn’t be trusted to determine what is real?
From Tim Keller, The Reason for God, chapter 8.