Essay from a theist...
Here are 2 essays a theist from myspace sent me. He has asked for our feedback, I hope he's ready!:
Here is the first in a series of papers that deal with some of the evidence for the existence of God and related issues.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth" -- Genesis 1:1.
"The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be" – Carl Sagan, Cosmos.
The two statements above are both statements of faith. Neither can be experimentally verified and both make assumptions. The two statements also offer a remarkable contrast. The first statement indicates:
1. There was a beginning.
2. The beginning was caused.
3. The cause was "ELOHIM" – God.
The second statement indicates:
1. There was no beginning.
2. The cosmos is self-existing and thus uncaused.
3. The universe was not created and thus is the product of non-intelligence.
Statements like the second statement are frequently offered by those antagonistic to the existence of God. The interesting thing is that we can offer a considerable amount of scientific evidence that we had a beginning, that the beginning was caused, and that the cause was God. Let us examine some of that evidence.
BEGINNING OR NO BEGINNING
Like all stars, the Sun generates its energy by a nuclear process known as thermonuclear fusion. Every second that passes, the Sun compresses 661 million tons of hydrogen into 657 million tons of helium with 4 million tons of matter released as energy. In spite of that tremendous consumption of fuel, the Sun has only used up 2% of the hydrogen it had the day it came into existence. This incredible furnace is not a process confined to the Sun. Every star in the sky generates its energy in the same way. All over the cosmos are 25 quintillion stars, each converting hydrogen into helium, thereby reducing the total amount of hydrogen in the cosmos. Just think about it! If everywhere in the cosmos hydrogen is being consumed and if the process has been going on forever, how much hydrogen should be left?
Suppose I attempt to drive my automobile without putting any more gas (fuel) into it. As I drive and drive and drive, what is eventually going to happen? I'm going to run out of gas!! It the cosmos has been here forever, we would have run out of hydrogen long ago! The fact is, however, that the sun still has 98% of its original hydrogen. The fact is that hydrogen is the most abundant material in the universe! Everywhere we look in space we see the hydrogen 21 cm line in the spectrum - a piece of light only given off by hydrogen. This could not be unless we had a beginning!!
A second piece of evidence that we had a beginning is seen in the movement of galaxies. All galaxies are moving farther away relative to each other. Their movement has a very distinct pattern which causes the distance between the galaxies to get greater with every passing day.
If we had three galaxies located at positions A, B and C in a triangle, tomorrow they will be further apart. The triangle they form will be bigger. The day after tomorrow the triangle will be bigger yet. We live in an expanding universe that gets bigger and bigger and bigger with every passing day.
Now let's suppose that we make time run backwards! If we are located at a certain distance today, then yesterday we were closer together. The day before that we were still closer. Ultimately where must all the galaxies have been? At a point! At a beginning!! At what scientists call a singularity!
There are many other evidences and demonstrations that can be used to show that there was a beginning - such as the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, things move towards a state of disorder. This means that the cosmos must have had a beginning because if it had always been here it would now be totaly disordered and freezing cold because heat death would have set in. Therefore thermodynamically, the universe had to have a beginning.
The fact that the universe is not only expanding but accelerating in that expansion rules out the possibility thatwe live in an oscillating universe that is eventually pulled back to a central point from which it expands all over again.
Not only can strong evidence be given to prove that we had a beginning as the Bible says, but we can also see a logical problem in maintaining that the cosmos was uncaused. If the universe had a beginning and that beginning was uncaused, then something would have had to come into existence out of nothing. From empty space with no force, no matter, no energy and no intelligence, matter would have to become existent. Even if this could happen by some strange new process unknown to science today, there is a logical problem.
In order for matter to come out of nothing, all of our scientific laws dealing with the conservation of matter-energy would have to be wrong, invalidating all of chemistry. All of our laws of conservation of angular momentum would have to be wrong, invalidating all of physics. All of our laws of conservation of electric charge would have to be wrong, invalidating all of electronics. In order to believe matter is uncaused, one has to discard known laws and principles of science. No reasonable person is going to do this simply to maintain a personal atheistic position.
The atheist's assertion that matter is eternal is wrong. The atheist's assertion that the universe is uncaused and self-existing is also wrong. The Bible's assertion that there was a beginning which was caused is supported strongly by the available scientific evidence. The next question is "What was the cause?" Was the cause a personal God who created the cosmos and life with purpose and intelligence? Or was the cause total chance - with no purpose and no intelligence?
In the last article we examined the question of the creation. We examined the choices available to each of us as to how matter came into being, and we saw that in every case the position of the atheist contradicts the scientific evidence that is available. The person who believes in the concept of God creating matter, on the other hand, has no such scientific problem. We had a beginning and that the beginning was caused.
The final question in this logical sequence is "What was the cause?" If the cause was a personal God, there are certain attributes that should appear in the creation. We should be able to see order, design, intelligence, purpose and planning all around us. In sharp contrast to this view, we see the atheist position which maintains there is no such thing as a personal God who created the cosmos. If this is the case, then the universe is totally the product of chance. There should be no design, no purpose, no order, no intelligence, no planning——everything is the result of rote mechanistic opportunistic chance.
Like the subjects discussed in the first article, there is an amazing contrast between the position of the believer in God and the atheist on this question. The purpose of this lesson is to show you that the statement below is logically and mathematically impossible.
"We are as much a product of blind
forces as is the falling of a
stone to Earth or the ebb and flow
of the tides. We have just
happened, and man was made flesh
by a long series of singularly
beneficial accidents." -Julian Huxley
INTUITIVE DESIGN FEATURES OF THE COSMOS
There are myriads of things that man can see all around him which show design and planning, but which we cannot analyze mathematically. The incredible migratory journeys of butterflies, birds, eels, whales, fish and many other forms of life are done by a bewildering array of devices and techniques. Their migrations are beautifully designed not only in their accomplishment, but also in the ecological benefits they provide. Reproduction of all kinds demonstrates wisdom and planning. A skeptic will react to this kind of example with the statement that we are using a "god of gaps." When our knowledge improves, we will be able to explain these kinds of phenomena just as other mysteries of nature have been explained by scientists in the past. The complexity of the things we have referred to makes such a statement unlikely, but the point is well taken that "whiz bang" appeals have their limitations. For that reason, let's look at some statistical evidence which is of a different nature.
CAN A SUITABLE PLANETARY SYSTEM FOR LIFE OCCUR BY CHANCE?
Let's make the assumption that the cosmos began by an expansion or explosion of some primeval mass by chance alone. Now let's ask this question:
"What are the mathematical probabilities that ANY KIND (not ours) of life could occur by chance alone from the big bang or expansion?"
Notice that we are not working backward in this discussion (which would be statistically invalid). We are saying let's go back before the "Big Bang" and ask: "What are the mathematical probabilities of finding a functional planet that could support any kind of life chance alone?"
There are myriads of factors that have to be "right" for any kind of life to exist. One of those factors is the kind of galaxy in which we are located. The kind of galaxy in which we live is known as a spiral galaxy type b. What that means is that we have a certain shape, a great deal of interstellar material, stars of a certain age and so forth. Interestingly enough, our galaxy is a very rare kind of galaxy in space. Eighty percent of all galaxies in space are elliptical galaxies. There are 10 basic types of elliptical galaxies plus a variety of dwarf elliptical galaxies. These galaxies contain no interstellar material to speak of, so there is nothing from which to make planets. How can we realistically talk about life existing in a galaxy where there are no planets?
The stars in elliptical galaxies are young and hot, totally unable to support any kind of a life supporting planet. In addition there are barred spiral galaxies, irregular galaxies, Seyfort galaxies and various other types and subtypes——all of which have conditions that would destroy any kind of life. What are the mathematical probabilities of having the right kind of galaxy by chance alone? There are approximately 20 different kinds of galaxies, but only one type could reasonably be believed to support any kind of life-supporting planet. The odds could easily be one out of 20.
Another factor that is critical to the existence of life is our location in the galaxy. Any solar system located along the equator of the galaxy would have a very low probability of long term survival. Not only is there a high concentration of matter along the equatorial axis, but the gravitational force of that matter is much greater when the concentration of matter is higher. Collisions are much more likely and gravitation, magnetic, and electrical forces, that can disturb the stability of a solar system are also greater. What are the mathematical odds of being in a "safe" area? To determine this, we simply divide the volume safe area by the volume of the whole galaxy. The safe "doughnut" above and below the equatorial plane has been estimated by some astronomers to have a one-in-a-million ratio to the volume of the whole galaxy, so the odds of being in the right place by chance could be a comparable figure.
The kind of star that we orbit also is critical to the survival of any kind of life in a solar system. Our sun is an unusually small, cool, stable star with just the right kind of electromagnetic emissions. Most stars in space are bigger, have a different temperature, give off the wrong kind of light (such as microwaves or x-rays) and/or are irregular in their behavior. Only a very small number of stars have the right mass, size, age, kinds of radiation, and the like, to support any kind of life. There are some 1000 different stars in space and yet only a star like our Sun can reasonably be believed to support any kind of life. What are the odds of getting the right kind of star by chance alone? You could easily estimate the odds to be one in a thousand.
The planet on which we live also offers conditions critical to our survival. Any kind of life will have to have the right kind of planet. The distance to the Sun is critical to the existence of water or any other compound needed for life. The size of the planet determines its atmospheric make-up. The rotation rate, the existence of a magnetic field, the structure of the atmosphere, and a myriad of other factors are all critical for the existence of any kind of life. In addition to all these factors, we have to consider the odds of being in the right place in space. If a black hole was located in the neighborhood of the earth or any other life-supporting planet, it would make life a total impossibility and would be likely to destroy both the planet and its sun. Chemical problems also exist in the development of life of any kind. The existence of water is critical for life to exist. It seems there are literally hundreds of conditions that have to be "right" for any kind of life to exist anywhere.
When we look at odds such as one-in-a-million or one-in-a-thousand or even one-in-a-hundred, we can see that the probabilities are low. But there are billions of stars in space and there may be billions of planets as well. If there are enough places out there, it will happen! All we need are enough places and enough time and the situation will ultimately be right. We have already mentioned in our discussion that there is a very large number of stars in space. Our galaxy alone contains some 100 billion stars (10:11). That is, 10 to the 11th power...(same idea with all the numbers that follow since I can't type it out right on this keyboard). It has been estimated that there may be millions of galaxies (10:7). Even if there were billions or hundreds of billions of galaxies, we are talking about something on the order of a maximum of 10:20 stars. Is this enough to allow any kind of life to come into existence by chance alone?
You might look at the probabilities that we have identified in our previous discussion which are summarized in the table below and say, "Yes, the odds of each of those events is way below the number like one in 10:20." That is certainly true, but there is a mathematical point that needs to be considered that we have not yet discussed.
FACTORS NECESSARY TO HAVE A FUNCTIONAL PLANET FOR LIFE OF ANY KIND TO EXIST BY CHANCE ALONE:
RIGHT KIND OF GALAXY 1 in 15
RIGHT PLACE IN GALAXY 1 in 10,000
RIGHT KIND OF STAR 1in 1000
RIGHT DISTANCE OF PLANET 1 in 40
RIGHT SIZED PLANET 1 in 10
RIGHT SPIN OF PLANET 1 in 5
NOT NEAR A BLACK HOLE 1 in 100
PROPER MAGNETIC FIELD 1 in 10
HIGH COMPOSITION OF CARBON 1 in 1000
HIGH WATER CONTENT 1 in 1000
Let me illustrate it by a very simple example. Suppose that I were to hold out a deck of well—shuffled playing cards to you and ask you to draw a single card blindfolded. What would be the mathematical odds of drawing the ace of spades? One in 52 is the correct answer. Now suppose that I told you to draw twice and to draw the ace of spades each time. What would be the odds of successfully doing that? If you are familiar with the mathematics of this situation, you know that the odds are 1 out of 52 times 1 out of 52.
1/52 1/52 = 1/2704
When you have two events that must both be successful to obtain a desired result, you multiply the probabilities of each event. To draw the ace of spades out of a shuffled deck four times in a row back to back would be:
1/52 x 1/52 x 1/52 x 1/52 = 1/7,311,616
In other words, the total probability increases logarithmically as we increase the number of variables that have to be considered for a successful conclusion.
The application of this mathematics to the chart should be obvious. It does no good to be in the right kind of galaxy if you are in the wrong place in that galaxy. It does no good to be in the right kind of galaxy and in the right place in that galaxy if you are going around the wrong kind of star or are too close or too far from that star. In other words, every one of the conditions in the chart would have to be right. What you have to do then is to multiply the parameters listed in the chart plus the HUNDREDS that have not been included. Just using the numbers in the chart (and they are conservative estimates and very incomplete) we would get:
1/15 x 1/10,000 x 1/1000 x 1/40 x 1/10 x 1/5 x 1/100 x 1/1000 x 1/1000 = 1 in 10 to the 19th power in round numbers.
All of this is to get A BALL OF ROCK IN THE RIGHT PLACE!!! Now we would have to multiply this number by the odds of life occurring by chance alone!! Scientists and mathematicians like Murray Eden of MIT, Fred Hoyle of Cambridge, Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA) and others have shown that the odds of getting life by chance according to the models of Stanley Miller, Sidney Fox and others are in the order of 1 in 10 to the one thousandth power!!! Their computations use the same concepts that we have developed in this article. The conclusion has to be that life of any kind is not possible by chance alone. WE ARE NOT THE PRODUCT OF CHANCE!!!
If you will look back at the first paper, you will see that we have completed a logical scientific argument for the credibility of the statement in Genesis 1 – "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." We have seen that from a scientific standpoint there had to be a beginning. We have seen that it is illogical to believe that the beginning was uncaused because it forces us to accept the idea that matter can come from nothing, which invalidates all of science. And we have seen that the caused beginning cannot logically or mathematically be believed to be a product of chance. Statistically it is impossible to believe that the myriad of conditions necessary for any kind of life to occur could have taken place by chance. There is intelligence, purpose, design, order and direction in the cosmos which speaks of a personal intelligence.
The next logical question is "What God are we talking about?" Why the God of the Bible? Why not Mohammed, Buddha, Zoroaster, Baha Ullah, Confucius or some other religious leader? Why Jesus Christ? Is there a logical reason or reasons to believe that the Bible is in fact God's Word for man, or are we simply a product of our culture and environment?