WHAT WAS THE CAUSE
OF THE BEGINNING?
by John N. Clayton
It is assumed that the reader has read the first two booklets in this series, the first titled A Practical Man's Proof of God and the second A Help in Understanding What God Is. In these two booklets, we have established that all scientific evidence supports the fact that there was a beginning, and that the beginning was caused. We have also shown that the creator of time, space, and energy has to be something that is outside of time, space, and energy. The nature of the cause cannot be in the three-dimensional physical world in which we live and must be outside of time to have created time. That does not automatically mean that God is the creator, because recent studies in quantum mechanics have shown that there are many things that apparently function outside of the three-dimensional world that we are familiar with. The purpose of this discussion is to show that a dominant property of the cause of the creation is intelligence which radiates purpose in the creation and eliminates chance as a cause of the beginning. There are several different kinds of evidence that show the nature of intelligence in the creation. We would like to briefly review these with the hope that the reader will pursue other writings that explore and expand each of them.
Intuitive design simply means to look at the world around you without the prejudice of science, philosophy, or religion. It is difficult to observe the birth of a child and not be impressed with the incredible complexity of that process. Standing on a mountain or in a spaceship and looking out at the cosmos in which we live is a wonderful, awe-inspiring act. Snorkeling in a reef and watching the interplay of hundreds of living things is exhilarating. Watching the incredible migrations of birds, whales, eels, turtles, caribou, and fish fills us with wonder and amazement. All around us we see evidence of incredible intelligence, which poets and religious writers have extolled for centuries. The Bible writers were a part of this as they said things like, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1). “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6)! “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, …” (Romans 1:20).
Atheists and skeptics will respond that there are natural ways of explaining all of these things, and we would agree. The problem is that the number of things that have to be explained is staggering and growing as our knowledge expands. Offering a possible natural explanation is not a proof any more than maintaining that God did it.
In the creation there are a vast number of artistic and architectural functions that radiate incredible beauty, but have no biological or physical necessity to exist. The Fibonacci ratio, for example, exists throughout every aspect of the creation — from the shape of galaxy arms to the DNA helix. This ratio and the spiral structures it produces offer no functional advantage — it is not stronger than other structures and it does not improve the probability of survival. There is no reason for it to exist and especially not to exist in the thousands and thousands of different applications where it is found.
What the Fibonacci ratio and its structures do offer is incredible beauty. The whole creation is teeming with examples of beauty that are not essential to function, but have appeal to minds that can comprehend and appreciate it. Attempting to ascribe such beauty to chance and the interpretation of the human mind falls woefully short of supplying a satisfactory explanation.
Over recent years, we have seen a number of new terms evolve to describe attempts to ask if chance is a mathematical possibility in explaining what we see in the cosmos. Irreducible complexity and the soft anthropic principle have been heavily promoted at the start of the twentifirst century by all kinds of scientists and philosophers. The problem is that, as mankind has come to understand the processes seen in nature, we realize that there are many parameters that are necessary for things to exist as we see them. Chaos theory has helped us learn that things we thought were chaotic in many cases are just so complex that our calculating skills and tools did not allow us to see the design that is there.
How many variables are there in producing a carbon atom? Any high school student knows that this list is huge — the gravitational coupling constant, the strong nuclear force coupling constant, the weak nuclear force coupling constant, the electromagnetic force coupling constant, the ratio of electron to proton mass, the expansion rate of the cosmos, the entropy level of the cosmos, the mass density of the universe, fine structure constant, the decay rate of a proton, just to name a few. Similar lists can be given for the producing of a life-supporting planet or for life itself. (Note: lists are available upon request.)
Late in the twentieth century, scientists and mathematicians began to apply mathematics to these kinds of lists. The problem is that when you have a large number of independent variables and each of them has a finite probability, the total probability becomes astronomical. If you draw a card from a deck of cards once, the odds of getting an ace of spades is one in 52. The odds of drawing an ace of spades twice in a row back-to-back is one in 2,704 (1/52 x 1/52). The odds of doing it four times in a row is one in 7,311,616. This same technique has to be applied to all of the variables necessary to produce an atom, a planet, life, etc., if the calculation is done on a purely chance basis. The probability figures come up with numbers like one chance in ten to the 800th power! Even famous atheists like Francis Crick and Antony Flew have agreed that chance is not a valid means of explaining these numbers. They suggest that aliens or some other intelligence is responsible, which does not answer the question but just pushes it back one level.
Another response to our argument is to maintain that the cosmos is so vast and so old that, no matter what the odds are, it will happen. The problem with this explanation is that, as scientists examine the cosmos, they do not find it to be infinitely old or infinitely big. If the big bang theory is accepted in any of its versions, the cosmos is finite in both size and age. Textbooks will estimate the number of baryons in the cosmos as ten to the 78th power, and that is not in the range of the probabilities that exist. The cosmos is not big enough nor old enough to allow chance to be an operating mechanism. Proposals of parallel universes and virtual existence are not supported by evidence and appear to be desperate attempts to avoid the admission of intelligence in the creation.
What About Imperfection?
I am the father of a son born blind, mentally retarded, with cerebral palsy and a form of muscular dystrophy. For centuries philosophers and skeptics have maintained that any argument for intelligence in the cosmos is negated because of the imperfections seen in everything around us. The miracle of the birth of a baby is blunted when that baby has enormous congenital problems. Many people see the violence of a supernova or a volcano or earthquake as a negation of any suggestion of intelligence and design in the creation. Some of the problem here is ignorance of the scientific purpose in things we see as violent. Volcanos and earthquakes are positive natural forces that benefit life on earth. Without them, new land to replace eroding continents and new minerals to sustain life would not exist. In other words, life would not be possible. Even hurricanes have a positive function in the overall ecosystem of this planet. What we consider to be imperfection is sometimes a function of our ignorance.
The other variable that has to be included in this discussion is the purpose of the existence of man. If your view of man is that he is simply the apex of evolutionary process, then finding any real purpose for our existence is problematic at best. As pollution, war, and overpopulation create havoc on the planet, the value and justification for man's existence becomes blurred at best.
The biblical explanation of man is that man is created in the image of God. That means man is primarily a spiritual being, not a physical one. The Bible also indicates that God's purposes in creating man have no physical significance. Passages like Job 1 and 2, Ephesians 3:9 – 11, and Ephesians 6:12 make it clear that man is a part of something far grander and more magnificent than those things that happen in space and time. Imperfection in this physical world is far less significant if you understand that this world is not the sum total of our existence. It is hoped that the reader will want to pursue what the nature of that existence is and how we play a significant role in the battle between good and evil. It is also hoped that in doing this the reader will find meaning and value in life that will lead to a better, more fulfilling, and more peaceful life here than has been experienced before.
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If you are interested in pursuing these things in more detail, we invite you to contact us. We have available books, audio CDs, DVDs, correspondence courses, and booklets/pamphlets and all can be obtained on loan without cost. You can get more information on what is available by requesting our catalog, or additional copies of this pamphlet can be ordered from the addresses below.
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