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One of the major arguments for the existence of God is the incredible intelligence designed into everything we see in the world around us. Those who dispute this kind of evidence generally have two objections. The first is that pain, suffering, tragedy, violence, etc., seem to be failures in design at best or malicious use of design at the worst. We have talked about that objection in this journal in the past pointing out that those who make this complaint assume there is no purpose in our existence and that the role of free will is not considered in such views.

The second objection to evidence for design and purpose in the creation is that it is not so well designed and that arguing for a designer is really just a God-of-the-gaps argument. They insist that the gaps in our knowledge will eventually be filled as new discoveries are made which explain how the apparent design features happened. In other words, when the gaps are filled, God will not be needed. There are many weaknesses in this view, but the main problem is it assumes that if I understand how something works this somehow proves that God had nothing to do with it.

An example of incredible design which we now understand pretty well is how birds fly. In the early days of human history, anything that flew was viewed as miraculous in nature. Clouds seemed to be like birds in many ways, but you could kill a bird and it would not fly and you could not do that to a cloud. People observed that things like dandelion seeds seemed to fly at the whim of the winds, but obviously birds were not like that either.

The ancient Greek scientist Archimedes (c. 287 – 212 B.C.) discovered a scientific principle which helped explain much of the mystery. Archimedes discovered a cause and effect principle which is usually stated like this: “Any object placed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.” Suppose you weigh 100 pounds and you jump into a bathtub full of water and cause 25 pounds of water to be spilled on the floor. If you could weigh yourself in the water you would weigh 75 pounds. If your body could displace 125 pounds of water you would float, actually displacing only the 100 pounds necessary to offset your weight. Air has weight. If a hot air balloon floats in the air and if the balloon, basket, and passenger weigh 1,000 pounds, that means the balloon has displaced 1,000 pounds of air. Clouds float because they too displace air. The air gets thinner as you go up, so there is a limit as to how high a cloud will go. Dandelion seeds are close to the density of air, so they too have enough buoyant force to be airborne. Birds are not less dense than air, so the mystery of how birds fly was delayed until 1738 when Daniel Bernoulli discovered another important law of physics.

Take two books that are about the same size and place them side by side one inch apart on a table. Lay a piece of thin paper across the top of the books so you have a tunnel. Blow through the tunnel. What does the paper do? The paper collapses into the tunnel. Bernoulli’s principle says that when a fluid moves rapidly in one direction, it exerts minimum pressure at right angles to the direction it is moving. A bird’s wing is shaped to take advantage of Bernoulli’s law. Along the top of the wing the distance is greater than along the bottom, so the air has to move faster generating a lower pressure on top of the wing. The higher pressure under the wing lifts the wing, and the bird.

In simplified terms, we now know how birds fly. The principles discovered by Archimedes and Bernoulli also explain how jelly fish float, how flying fish fly, and a variety of other things that were once mysteries.

Romans 1:19 – 20 tells us that we can know there is a God “through the things he has made.” These laws are designed in such a way that it took mankind centuries to understand them. They are specially suited for the materials and agents operational on the earth. They are not a chance process of some physical action on unprepared materials. Every law of physics and chemistry that exists makes the earth uniquely suited for life. It is difficult to propose a workable chance explanation of how life could come into existence. It is also difficult to explain how life could have evolved by chance processes to successfully function in the physical world. To explain both of these things by chance is virtually impossible.
--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec10.