Science in Christian Perspective



Evidence For The 
Existence Of God From Science

A Summary of a Recent Book
Research Physicist, RCA Laboratories
Princeton, New Jersey

From: JASA 11 (September 1959): 2-5.

It is perhaps not often enough remembered that the Scriptures teach that God has provided man with sufficient evidence of His existence in nature, that a disbelieving man can offer no excuse. "For the invisible things of him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that ate made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:20, 21.

It is one of the principal aims of the American Scientific Affiliation to bring to light exactly what constitutes these evidences of God from science. A recent book, "The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe" (Putnam's) edited by John Clover Monsma, brings together the testimony of 40 scientists who have found that their scientific endeavor has established, at least for themselves, valid evidence for the existence of God. Many of these scientists are members of the ASA. The basic purpose of the book is adequately summed up in the introduction. "The basic postulate of this book, its point of departure, is that science can establish, by the observed facts of Nature and intellectual argumentation, that a superhuman Power exists. It cannot identify that Power or describe it, except in very general terms. For identification and more detailed description special revelation (the Bible) is needed." Thus the book is on solid ground and makes a definite contribution in an area of prime interest to the ASA.

The contributors to the book are chosen from a wide variety of scientific disciplines; about 20% are from backgrounds related to physics, about 20% related to chemistry, and about 35% related to the life sciences. In addition to authors trained in physics and chemistry, contributors include men trained in biophysics, philosophy, mathematics, zoology, entomology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, agronomy, forestry, biology, botany, geochemistry, astronomy, engineering, and medicine. All of these men are agreed that their philosophy of science and of life, apart from personal experience and religious faith, leads them to the conclusion that there is indeed a God.

In a book with 40 authors all discussing the same question, there is bound to be considerable repetition and possible obscuring of exactly what constitutes the principal evidences for the existence of God from science. It is the purpose of this paper simply to summarize these basic evidences, to provide typical examples for them as drawn from the book itself, and thus to provide a brief logical basis for this aspect of the subject.

An analysis of the book indicates that there are just five essentially different evidences offered. These then are the five evidences which leave man without excuse; if there are more that are here omitted, it is important that they be included, and likewise if there are any here which are not capable of support, they should be deleted. The five basic evidences are these:

(1) The universe is not eternal. It was created. This implies a Creator, a First Cause, whom we call God.

(2) The universe exhibits an order and evidence of law which is too great to have arisen by mere chance. Such an order and law implies a Lawgiver.

(3) The universe exhibits a beauty and usefulness of design. Such design implies a Designer.

(4) Human life is characterized by certain spiritual aspects which are beyond the realm of science. Such spiritual aspects of man imply a Spiritual source outside man.

(5) The record of the Bible, and its testimony to the existence of God, has been scientifically substantiated wherever interaction with scientific disciplines occur.

These five evidences have been listed on purpose in what seems to this author to be the order of decreasing convincing power for one who does not accept the existence of God; yet such a non-believer has no adequate logical or scientific refutation of any one of the five.

Critical evaluation of these five evidences is beyond the scope of this paper. Certainly additional analysis of the concepts of order and design particularly, beyond that which appears on the surface to be obvious, is in order in the light of modern science. It is the author's hope to be able to discuss some of these points further in the not too-distant future in a paper on the metaphysical implicaions of mo dern science.

Since the examples quoted by the authors of the book here under review form the real substance which fills out the outline of the five evidences, we shall now consider these examples as drawn from the book.

(1) The universe is not eternal. It was created. This implies a Creator, a First Cause, whom we call God.

(a) Of the four possible solutions to the origin of the universe: (i) it is all an illusion, (ii) it arose spontaneously out of nothing, (iii) it is eternal, and (iv) it was created, only the last is logically and scientifically defensible, as illustrated further by the following arguments.

(b) No material thing can create itself. If a universe could create itself, it would embody within itself the nature of a Creator, or of a God, and would itself be a God. The very essence of scientific inquiry is that there cannot be a "machine" (in the broad sense) without a maker.

(c) Astronomy shows that the universe came into being in a single great explosion which began about 5 billion years ago, and that the bodies which comprise the universe are still receding from that center of their origin.

(d) Physics shows that matter is ceasing to exist, that matter is being continuously transformed into energy. Thus matter is not eternal and consequently must have had a beginning.

(e) Geology makes use of the phenomenon of radioactivitv to date the age of the earth at about the same as that of the universe. The very existence of radioactive materials indicates a non-eternal earth.

(f) Thermodynamics shows that the entropy of the universe is constantly increasingi i. e., that the Universe is running down until a condition is ultimately reached when all bodies will have the same low temperature. Such a condition shows that the universe cannot have existed forever.

(2) The universe exhibits an order and evidence of law which is too great to have arisen by mere chance. Such order and law implies a Lawgiver.

(a) The entire scientific method is based on the assumption that the scientist is dealing with an orderly universe, in which reproducibility and predictability are possible. Order and predictability in a universe without God, i, e., in'the absence of rationality, is a contradiction.

(b) The order in nature is such that at least in the physical sciences, physical phenomena can be expressed in terms of,mathematical laws and formulae.

(c) The laws which the scientist discovers have existed long before he discovered them. The laws applicable on earth are applicable through the whole universe.

(d) The principle of uniformitarianism is axiomatic to all geology; 1. e., that geological and geochemical processes which are operating now were active in the past. This is another example of how the assumption of the orderly behavior of Nature is a cornerstone of all modern science.

(e) The basic building blocks of matter, the elements are bound together in a periodic arrangement known as the Perdiodic Table. It is found that there is a definite periodicity of occurrence of elements possessing similar properties.

(f) Order exists also among the variety of living plants and ' 'animals. Although there are a million species of animals on earth, and although each species can be divided and subdivided into groups, each species has definite characteristics which will be found in every member of that species. There is therefore not a disorganized array of forms, but a pervading similarity of greater or less degree throughout Nature.

(g) Apparently unrelated phenomena obey similar laws. The inverse square law appears again and again: in electric attraction and repulsion, in magnetic attraction and repulsion, in gravimetric attraction.

(h) The adjustments of the earth for life are far too numerous and detailed to be accounted for by mere chance. Consider:

(i) The rotation of the earth brings about alternation of day and night;

(ii) the ' revolution of the earth plus the inclination of the axis to the plane of revolution, brings about the regularity of the seasons, doubling the habitable area of the earth;

(iii) the atmosphere blankets the earth against meteors, while providing the life-giving gases;

(iv) the atmosphere maintains temperature within safe limits for life;

(v) the atmosphere carries the vital supply of fresh water-vapor far inland to irrigate the land;

(vi) the soil provides minerals needed for plant and animal life;

(vii,) the presence of metals near the surface of the earth makes possible the arts of civilization;

(viii) the size of the earth and its distance from the sun are both critically right for life and development.

(i) The origin of life is also too complex to be the result of mere chance. The chance that the five elements required (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sufur) to form a protein molecule with as many as 40,000 atoms, would assemble in this way by chance from among 92 elements randomly distributed as 1 in 10160. For this process to occur on earth alone would require 10243 years. Proteins are made from long chains called amino acids; the links in the chain of quite a simple protein could be put together in 1048 different ways; only particular combinations however will sustain life. 
(j) The unique properties of water belie their or igin in mere chance; 

(i) Water absorbs large quantities of oxygen at low temperatures to sustain ocean life.

(ii) Water has a maximum density at 4* C, becoming less dense as it freezes thus allowing life in winter seasons. 

(iii) Water has a high heat of melting and a high heat of vaporization, thus acting as an excellent shock absorber for changes in temperature. 

(iv) Water is a liquid, essential for life; its coun terparts in terms of equivalent molecular weight and chemical composition are gases, usually poisonous. 

v) Water has a high surface tension which aids in plant growth.

vi) Water has a high dielectric constant which makes it the best solvent known.

(vii) Water has a high vapor pressure over a wide temperature range, and yet remains liquid over the whole range needed for life. 

(k) Consideration of known scientific principles in dicates that mere chance is completely inadequate to explain the whole host of origins in the physical world: the first electron, the first proton, the first atom, the first amino acids, the first protoplasm, the first seed, or the first brain, to mention but a few.

(1) The permanence of natural law is evidence of the continuing controlling influence of the original Lawgiver. 

(in) In view of the orderly character of nature, the Creator of this material realm with its governing laws must have the following attributes: supreme intelli gence (omniscience), power to bring it about and to keep it in operation (omnipotence), everywhere in the universe (omnipresence). These are the attributes of the God of the Bible. 

(3) The universe exhibits a beauty and usefulness of design. Such a design implies the Designer.

(a) Design in nature transcends mere order in that design implies purposeful order. We have already men tioned three examples of such purposeful order in por tions (h) through (j) of the previous section.

(b) Another way of looking at the Second Law of Thermodynamics mentioned under 1. (f) above is that the universe is moving from order to disorder. This means essentially that nature cannot be its own designer. Every physical transformation must be ac companied by an overall loss of design, a transfer of energy from an available to an unavailable condition. In specific localized cases, some increase in order may result, but only at the expense of greater loss of order elsewhere. The only alternative is that the highly de veloped order evident in nature is there because it was designed into nature at its creation. 

(c) The physiologist sees in the intricacy of design and structure of the human and animal bodies strong evidence for a Designer. The brain, for example, co ordinates all muscular activities and controls the ba sic bodily functions such as respiration and heart beat;  it contains memory; it is the seat of reason, common
  sense, intuition, motivation, desire, and serenity; it is able to produce aesthetic appreciation, spiritual comprehension, self-consciousness, personality development; all these are functions of the same mass of
  protoplasm. Add to this the chemical buffer systems of the body, the formation of antibodies to fight dis ease, the mysterious rhythmicity of the heart which allows it to beat even though all nerve attachments are severed.

(d) There is considerable evidence which may be interepted to indicate that a form of creational evolution was the means by which the Creator and Pre server of the universe established the living creatures of this material creation. The higher the level of evo lutionary development, the greater the evidence for de sign working through the evolutionary process. Scien tific evidence indicates that mutations producing chan ges according to the mechanism of natural selection in evolution are not always random, but indicate the  necessity of a supreme Intelligence in the designing of  improvements.

(e) Animal instincts, with all of the complexity and variation involved therein, are also indications of
a design in nature.

(f) The presence of design is evident in the soil.  Under virgin conditions forests are perpetuated unless
  disturbed by man, fire, or storm. If, after the influ ence of man has destroyed trees and soil, and floods
have menaced the land, the land is given to restoration  the land responds quickly to begin the long task of re
habilitation. This is an example of many delicate bal ances which exist in nature giving the evidence of de
sign for the benefit of mankind. Man's interference with these balances almost invariably leads to troubles
  which only nature can rectify.

(g) The forests also give evidence of the design in nature to overcome adverse conditions. When chest nut trees died to leave great holes in the forests, the hitherto minor tulip trees grew to fill the holes so that
  today the chestnuts are scarcely missed.

  (h) A network of design is involved in the soil  plant relationships whereby the soil is properly pre pared through the systematic and regular processes of  plant growth and reproduction.

 (i) Design in plants is evident through a complexity which exceeds anything conceived by man, through
  a beauty exceeding that of any work by human artist,  and through an unfailing reproduction after kind, even
as it is written in the first chapter of Genesis.

(j) Obligate relationships between the plant world and the animal world also give evidence of a basic de yucca plant  both function in such a way as to contribute to the perpetuation of each other. The growth of commercial figs is dependent on the existence and activity of a group of small wasps. Pollination of prison flowers, such as the common jack-in-the-pulpit, comes about through the activities of tiny flies.

(k) Like the delicate balance between the soil and the plant world mentioned under (f), so there are similar balances in the animal world. There is, for example, the history of the effects of the introduction of the European rabbit into Australia where it had no natural enemies. Only the introduction of the rabbit virus was able to check the widespread damage caused by the rabbits.

(4) Human life is characterized by certain spiritual aspects which are beyond the realm of science. Such spiritual aspects of man imply a Spiritual Source outside man.

(a) Experience in the natural world shows the scientist that each observable has some prior significance: e. g., fish have gills because they live in the water; mammals have lungs because they live in the air; man has eyes because light conveys visual images to him. Now, insight, rational thinking, courage, duty, faith, love, and hope are all observables among the attributes of man. Their very existence argues for the prior significance of a Spiritual Source with which in . an may have communion.

(b) Man differs from all other created beings in being characterized by four non-physical attributes: the ability to think, the existence of emotions, evidence of conscience or moral judgement, and the ability to exercise will. These attributes have their root in the creation of man in the image of God.

(c) Man has in all ages and tinder all circumstances almost universally recognized the necessity for extrapolation beyond himself to an Intelligence greater than he; God-consciousness is part of the heritage of the race.

(d) Psychologists and doctors are coming to realize ever clearer that there is more to sickness than physical mechanisms, that true healing requires treatment not only of the physical side of man, but also of his spiritual side.

(5) The record of the Bible, and its testimony to the existence of God, has been scientifically substantiated wherever interaction with scientific disciplines occurs.

(a) History has substantiated the record of the Bible in the fulfillment of prophecies made long before the events themselves came to pass.

(b) Archeological findings have consistently supported the Biblical record whenever such findings have been relevant to descriptions of the Bible.

(c) The Genesis account of creation agrees in remarkable fashion with the most probable hypotheses advanced by modern astronomy and physics.