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If There is No God . . . Part One – By Ed Wood

It’s probably safe to say that 40 years ago most Americans took the existence of God as a given, and even more than that most of them believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Of that majority, most of them were Christians, and of this set, going to church on Sunday was just what one did on a Sunday morning. Fast forward to the second decade of the Twenty-first Century and all of the above are in a dwindling minority. With the denigrating assaults both subtle and overt from those who claim God doesn’t exist, those of us who remain have every reason to feel like a threatened species. Furthermore, those of us who consider ourselves Christians and still believe in the authority of the Bible can probably be categorized as positively endangered. (It certainly feels that way at any rate.) To quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin.’” To quote yours truly, “They are changin’ all right, but not for the better!”

If you’re reading this article, odds are you are a member of the last group I mentioned and the odds are also good you know at least a few people who think all this stuff about God is a lot of nonsense. The intent here is to give you some questions and thoughts you might bring up the next time the topic of whether there is a God or not comes up in the conversation.

Let’s start by defining two important terms. First, we have “atheists,” which adamantly claim that there is no God. Second, we have “agnostics” which aren’t sure there is one. Either way, these are the people you might want to discuss some of the things we’ll explore together, bearing in mind that what you see here is by no means comprehensive. That’s another way of saying that you should feel free to add topics of your own.

With this introduction now presented, let’s begin!

A Universe Tuned for Life

Before we look into some of the intricacies of life itself, it would probably be a good idea to see what kind of conditions have to exist for any reasonable amount of time. By the way, I’m only going to deal with carbon-based life mainly because it’s the only kind we know definitely exists. Given, there might be some exotic forms based on other elements out there somewhere, but until we find an example of it, anything we say in this regard would be pure speculation.

To the best of our knowledge all carbon-based life needs liquid water somewhere along the line. Water is about the closest thing to a universal solvent that we know. From its simplest to its most advanced forms, water plays a vital role somewhere along the line. Whether immersed in it or carrying around its own personal supply, only liquid water allows the incredibly complex biochemistry of life to take place. Even in creatures or plants which can survive extended periods of inactivity on times of drought, they all had to have water with which to start out and to recover their activity and ability to procreate.

Interestingly, the Bible itself alludes to the importance of water in the creation:

Genesis {1:1-2} In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 2 Peter {3:5} For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.

Our astronomers looking into the heavens have seen the presence of water in primarily its gaseous and solid forms not only in many of the worlds and satellites orbiting them in our own solar system, but many light years off into deep space in interstellar clouds. Finding it in its liquid state, the prime requirement of life, is comparatively rare and fleeting, Earth being the only exception with its vast quantities, and, not so coincidentally, Earth being the only place where life is known to exist.

There’s a good reason for water being rarely found in its liquid form anywhere but here because it requires a very narrow temperature range and certain density of atmosphere to exist. Under the pressure of one Earth atmosphere, liquid water exists only in a range of 100° Celsius or 180° Fahrenheit. It is possible to raise the boiling point past 212° F. by boosting the atmospheric pressure, but at a certain point things just get far too hot for the organic molecules life requires to stay intact. Lowering the pressure in turn lowers the boiling point, but the limit here is that going too low brings it below the freezing point. This is the condition we have with Mars today where the atmosphere is too far thin for liquid water to persist on the surface.

However, considering that temperatures in the universe range from just above -273° C (-459.4° F) in certain interstellar clouds to many millions of degrees (the temperature scale in these extremes no longer being significant) within the interiors of stars and their outer coronas, finding the “Goldilocks” conditions where the environment is “just right” for life is a rare thing, indeed..

But there’s more! If any of the fundamental physical laws of the universe were just slightly different than they are now, “rare” would easily become altogether “impossible.” Against an infinite amount of possibilities, the laws which govern the operation of the universe are “just right” to permit the existence of life.

In another fascinating example of the Bible being far ahead of its time, Isaiah (circa Eighth Century B.C.) recognized this very thing:

Isaiah {45:18} For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.

Oh, well, maybe it’s just luck that our universe “just happens” to be one in which life can exist at all someplace within it, after all. But can luck accommodate what we will look at next?

Abiogenesis – Life from Lifelessness

According to modern science, the fact that life arose on Earth is the result of the chance meetings of atoms and molecules at the right place at the right time. Now there are 92 naturally occurring elements available to create chemical compounds and of them only hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous are needed to build the molecules on which life as we know it depends.

Well, if we assume there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy each with at least one planet where liquid water is possible, and 100 billion galaxies in our universe, plus some 13.7 billion years of time, it seems the abiogenesis people have a lot going for them. That sure is a lot of time and places for atoms to form all kinds of molecules. Is even that all enough?

All life on earth depends on molecules of RNA and DNA to exist and reproduce. These, in turn are made of proteins which are in turn made of amino acids. There are some 300 of these amino acids, twenty of which are needed to build the proteins. There are two types of these, left and right-handed, based on how their molecules are formed and as far as we know, only the former are used. Next step is to get the correct ones into the right order to makes the proteins which in turn also have to be the right ones in the right order to make the RNA and DNA needed for life. Again, these two very complex molecules are just components.   A lot more is needed to make even the very simplest form of life – and don’t forget that liquid water, either!

If this all sounds complicated, it is, especially to a layperson such as myself. I’ve have read various  estimates that life occurred by “accident” would take a lot more time than the universe has existed for everything to come together in the right order for life to come to exist. Perhaps even more convincing than this is there is not a single bit of evidence of life ever arising from inanimate sources, not one, even when attempts are made to do it artificially in the lab. And here’s the kicker – if some scientist ever did succeed, the premise that mere random events could create life are shot to pieces because it required the scientist’s active intelligent intervention to make I happen!

Here’s something you can try on an agnostic or atheistic acquaintance. Next time he or she is over at your house and asks you where you got your TV, stereo, or computer, tell them these things spontaneously came into existence in your back yard out of the mulch pile. If they don’t believe you, you might then ask them how then they can believe life which is, as we have seen is immeasurably more complicated, could come to exist in the same manner.

Really, could we be that lucky?

A Controversy

Let’s take on the subject of evolution verses creationism, because I believe there are elements of both that play into the story of how our universe came to be.

I agree with the Creationist view that God is in fact the Creator of everything just as the Bible claims. Furthermore, I believe he still is actively directing its course across the ages and will continue to do so until the end of time as we know it.

To my mind, part of that direction incorporates what we call evolution. The essential truth of this theory is that life adapts to changing circumstances in varying degrees. The evidence of this seems beyond contradiction as we look at how life adapts to fill in virtually all of Earth’s multiplicity of biomes from its frozen polar regions, to the steaming tropics and scorching deserts, and even to the depth of the sea near geothermal vents where water temperatures soar beyond water’s boiling point with only the immense pressure of the overlying ocean keeping the water in a liquid form.

This evidence appears in the Bible itself in Genesis 3:17-19 where life changed markedly to a changing Earth which was a direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in allowing Satan into our world and his subsequent actions to corrupt the perfection Earth and universe formerly had. Weeds sprang into being where none had ever exited before and some animals became carnivorous, not to mention that humans and every living thing becoming subject to age and death.

Another characteristic of evolution is to cause a diversification of species. This is clearly evident in that for most any species of plant or animal we can imagine, there are many different variations. For example, there isn’t a single kind of bird. There are crows, woodpeckers, ostriches, hummingbirds, etc. Same goes for just about everything else. Perhaps this characteristic to create such diversity over time explains how Moses could fit all the land species of his era into the Ark, something that would clearly be impossible to do today.

Perhaps the biggest bone of contention between pure evolutionist and creationist thought is the controversy over the origin of human beings. The former insists that humans are nothing more than very sophisticated ape-relatives (making us being a monkey’s uncle a real possibility?)  while the latter maintains God created us independently from the very soil of the ground itself. Though our genetic makeup is indeed very close to that of the primates, there has never been found in the fossil evidence the proverbial missing link which would establish that ancestral connection. Never!

The sharing of similar physical characteristics between humans and primates seems perfectly reasonable in that a bipedal humanoid form with hands which had opposable thumbs works out very well to the surrounding environment, so that’s what God used in both cases.

But it doesn’t end there, as we’ll see next.

No Intelligence Required

Survival for plants is a pretty straight-forward affair. Provide liquid water, the necessary elements from the soil, sunlight (for most plants), and a method of reproduction, and you’re in business. For animals, you again need liquid water, a method to reproduce, and plants, other animals or both and the basic needs for species survival are met.

Of course to achieve these ends for animals requires one more condition: being able to avoid being eaten by other animals and being able to outrun any other animals you might want to eat if you happen to be a omnivore or carnivore. Bottom line it need not take a lot of smarts to do any of these things as the life comprising most of Earth’s readily proves. Viruses and bacteria are not at all Mensa candidates and do very well, right?

This being said, the question for strict evolutionists becomes: “Why intelligence?” The routine answer is that our pre-human ancestors being physically weaker probably slower than the animals they wanted to eat or that wanted to eat them caused them to become smart enough to plan strategies and weapons to overcome this disadvantage. But why go to all that trouble when they could have just “evolved” to become stronger and faster with a lot less effort?

The truth is, the major reason the human race is in such a precarious spot today is because of our supposedly evolution-derived high intelligence. If the direction of said evolution is to increase the odds of the survival of a species, how can this be explained?

In my view, the reason our unique intelligence exists is that for some reason God wanted us to have it. Contrary to the evolutionist view, it did not slowly come to pass as humans developed from an off-shoot of a common ancestor shared with the apes, but was present in the very first people God created, as the book of Genesis tells us.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve endeavored to take a look at the reasons that the creation of the universe, our world and all the life upon it requires a lot more than just random chance to the end that should this subject come up with an acquaintance who adheres to a “no God” creation you’ll have some points to make that might just cause them to consider the weakness of their position.

To be sure, some will never be convinced, but it is possible that it might just cause a few to consider the possibility that you might be onto something here. If that does happen, you will have at least opened a door that they considered walking through before and beginning a journey that might just one day lead them into the gates of heaven itself!

Next time, we’ll explore how the some of the very basic premises of our society are affected if one subtracts God from the equation.

Stay tuned!


2 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    I learned human anatomy and physiology while in nursing school. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, but I remember thinking there had to be a God who fashioned the human body with such intricacy and balance. There is no way our universe happened by chance. Impossible. Now that I’m a Christian, I voice my beliefs to others, but it mostly falls on deaf ears. I think people just want to believe what they want to believe no matter the overwhelming evidence.

  2. Robert Herbig says:

    Just read the article “If there is no God – Part One” by Ed Wood. I have no doubt that there is a God who will take care of His creation. I look forward to the day when the deniers will know they were so wrong. I wasn’t going to say anything but I must – How did Moses get all those animals in the Ark?: “Perhaps this characteristic to create such diversity over time explains how Moses could fit all the land species of his era into the Ark, something that would clearly be impossible to do today.” I will take this as a test to see if I was paying attention. God Bless

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