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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Nature’s Witness For God

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

In law court, decisions are made from the preponderance of evidence. The force of these observations is cumulative and leads to informed judgments. This is no less the case with Nature's witness to God's existence and divine nature (Romans 1:20).

As a Chemistry major at the University of Houston, I heard the professor stop her explanation of the atomic structure as expressed in the Periodic Chart, and say: “The integrate and progressive structure of the elements is a reason I believe in God!”

The law of cause and effect is universal and humans live according to this law.  Philosophers have longed considered the question of how, what, or who set this in motion, as there must have been an origin cause. They ask why is there something rather than nothing, or something other than what is. This is the Cosmological Argument for the existence of the Creator God.

Astronomy tells us that the universe comes from an initial origin. Its size is of infinite proportions. Distances are approximately measured in light years. The distance between galaxies are in the hundreds of light years. This has been called the "creation event" or the “big bang.” It explains the multi-dimensional expansion of the Universe, but it doesn't explain how matter came to exist in the first place. For this, we can logically argue a Cause of infinite power and intelligence.

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their starry host.” (Isaiah 45:12)

The order in Creation reveals a pattern or design, suggesting the existence of a Designer. All created things have a design by which things function and express meaning. An art shop has paints, brushes, and canvases, but a designer is needed to create a beautiful painting. This is the Teleological Argument for the existence of God as a Creator. Everything in Nature has a purpose and the purpose is dictated by the original design. An acorn's design is such that it can become a great oak.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul applies this to the Church. Each member has his function relative to the whole body. Design gives an organized purpose.

As any inventor has authority over his creation, so the Creator designs the purpose and pattern for human beings. He is displeased when we fail to live according to His original design.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)
Human beings have great mental power, and a moral nature that is expressed in the conscience. When we fail to develop mentally and morally, our social relationships prove to be limited and injurious. In many circles it is believed that human beings develop this capacity at about 13 years of age. In the Old Testament boys go through their initiation into maturity and thereafter are regarded as having the responsibility of men. Jesus as a young man deliberated with the elders in an authoritative manner that amazed them. Each human has the responsibility to be moral and each has some sense that there is more than the natural world. We have an awareness of the supernatural.

Having been given the freedom of choice, we are wise to rely on the Creator's intelligence and moral guidance. There we find true satisfaction. St. Augustine expressed it this way: "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Blaise Pascal expressed it in these words: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.” This the Anthropological Argument for the existence of God.

Unhampered humans have the ability to think abstractly. We can conceive of a Creator who is greater than ourselves and has attributes that must define God. The Ontological Argument attempts to show that God's existence can be deduced from the very definition of God. That is to say, we are able to think of God as an uncreated, eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient Being. These are not attributes we can experience empirically. This approach is the same as when we think of heat apart from light or fire.

Related reading: Further Thoughts on Creation;  The Science-Faith Question; Creation of the Universe: Examining the Evidence; Science and Miracles