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March 11, 2016 / BTM

Before You Reach Twenty, You Need to Know What Scientific Evidence Exists to Support the Existence of God

god evidence

Before you reach the age of twenty, it is important to know that there is a substantial list of scientific discoveries which point in the direction of the existence of God, or at least of some sort of a supreme being that exists outside of time, space, and energy.

Your faith shouldn’t be a house of cards: remove one card and the whole thing falls down. There are a number of lines of evidence that together provide a strong argument for at minimum the possibility that God exists. I suggest that God is the most likely explanation to account for all of the lines of evidence laid out in the list.

But before I give you that list, it is important to understand a few things about it:

Knock ’em down proof

There is no one single piece of evidence that is a ‘knock ‘em down’ absolute, undeniable proof for the existence of God.

There is likewise no ‘knock ‘em down’ absolute, undeniable proof against the existence of God (i.e. that undeniably supports atheism).

I get the impression that many people, particularly atheists, are looking for such an overwhelmingly positive piece of evidence to prove the existence of God. Outside of God performing some sort of an undeniable miracle, we will never possess such an absolute piece of evidence.

But the logical reaction to this isn’t a retreat into atheism because science can’t say that it has discovered the final truth about anything either.

When scientists say that they have proven that God does or does not exist, what they are saying is that the weight of the evidence as they interpret it points them in this direction. What they are not saying is that they have found that elusive ‘knock ‘em down’ absolute, undeniable proof for their position.

“If you thought that science was certain — well, that is just an error on your part.”

Richard Feynman (1918-1988), winner of the Nobel prize in physics.

“A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, whereas science is always tentative, expecting that modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.”

Bertrand Russell, Grounds of Conflict, Religion and Science, 1953.

Alternatives exist

Another thing to know about the list of evidence is that there are always alternative explanations for each line of evidence. However, an alternative explanation is not a refutation. Alternatives must provide a better explanation for all the lines of evidence.

Take, for example, the evidence that established that the universe had a definite beginning. There are basically two alternatives that I can think of to explain this evidence:

  1. All time, space, matter, and energy was spontaneously generated out of nothing and organized with exquisite and precise detail all on its own and in a manner that supported life, or
  2. A mind/something supernatural was behind the origin of time, space, matter, and energy and caused it into existence and designed it precisely to support life.

Both alternatives must explain the same set of evidence, and we must judge which does this best.

There’s more

There are other evidences that point toward the existence of God, and particularly the Christian God, that I will discuss in future posts. I am only focusing on the one relating to science here (origins, life, and the universe). I’ve added some quick links to give you a taste of why these are arguments for the existence of God.

Okay, now for the list

A universe with a beginning requires a cause

The fine-tuning of the universe points toward the existence of God

Planetary and solar system fine tuning

The ‘Cambrian explosion’ and the fossil record

The existence of irreducibly complex molecular machines

Nanoengineering inside the cell (and in general that the more we learn, the more complexity we find in the universe and life.

DNA

Near-death experiences and what they can tell us about the existence of the soul

The elegance of mathematics

The hard limits to biological change, evolutionary optimization and point by point macroevolution

The reality of consciousness, free will and reasoning

The waiting time constraint on macroevolution

The frequent appeal to personification of ‘nature’ or ‘naturalistic forces’ or ‘mutations’ or ‘chance’ to ‘direct’ change.

Failure of evolution to provide a robust mechanism for the origin of the universe and of the first form of life

Is there anything on this list that you were unaware of? Did I miss something important?

Which of these evidence do you think are the strongest and weakest evidences for a creator?

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6 Comments

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  1. Melissa / Mar 11 2016 12:18 pm

    You fail to consider that not all Christians view all of this as you do. For me the Big Bang was the mere act of creation from God. Evolution is God not interfering with our Free Will. And so forth.

    • BTM / Mar 11 2016 2:07 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      I think you may be assuming my position on these. I am not arguing for a specific model or explanation of the origins of life or the universe. You probably realize that there are Christian scientists who hold your position and also agree with many of the items I list.

      I am interested to know how free will and evolution are linked in your understanding? Since evolution is blind and directionless and related to biology, how does that relate to free will, which is our capability to make moral choices, both good or bad, as well as to choose or reject God? I am not the only one to conclude that evolution is opposed to free will because under an evolutionary paradigm I am only a product of my genes and blind, random, directionless, naturalistic forces or mutations.

  2. Andrew / Mar 11 2016 4:00 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are familiar with Greg Koukl and http://www.str.org

    Yes? I say that because your comment of “an alternative explanation is not a refutation” is almost word for word out of his Tactics course. I don’t mention this for any other reason than I just happen to go through that part of his course last night. If you are not familiar with him or his organization, I don’t think there is any reason to cite anything here….he would be thrilled that you are ‘blooming where you are planted’ and passing along his wisdom to others.

    • BTM / Mar 11 2016 5:06 pm

      I am very familiar with Greg Koukl and have taught his Tactics class at our church (which I wish he’d rather call Critical Thinking for Christians, but anyway). I can’t say where I first heard the phrase you mention from, but it may have been him. I wouldn’t have specifically linked that comment to him, and I doubt it’s original to him, but I can imagine that it sounded suspect after you listened to it just last night! BTW, I based my critical thinking exercises for kids on Tactics (bottom of this page: https://beyondtm.wordpress.com/apologetics-for-kids-series/).

  3. clang440 / Mar 13 2016 3:21 pm

    Hello,

    The list you have provided is a list of Christian attempts at proving the existence of the presupposed God. This entire list has been refuted by many people over many years. Nevertheless, here they all are, presented again as evidence. I will only comment on a few points and try to keep it short.

    If we are going to speculate on how the universe began, and if in doing so we are going to introduce an unseen, unknown agent as it’s cause, then God as that agent is not the only possibility.  Our universe may be the product of two universes colliding or merging which somehow through a process unknown to us gave rise to the ‘seed’ from which everything we see came from.  It seems to me if we keep looking for a natural ‘first cause’, we will have a better chance of finding it than we would of finding an unseen creator god as depicted by ancient man. If we simply settle for ‘God did it’ then we are left with neither an answer nor the compulsion to look for an answer. 

    Regarding fine tuning and the appearance of design in nature also referred to as the anthropic principle:

    “Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, `This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” Douglas Adams 

    Some brief thoughts on evolution:

    Many Creationists have serious problems dealing with the fact of evolution and will go to extraordinary lengths to try to discredit the theory.  For example, they abuse the fact that there are limitations to our understanding of tiny details such as in the pace and tempo of evolution. They exploit the fact that scientists debate over these details AS IF this refutes or calls into question the massive evidence for the big picture which is that all life on earth is the result of common descent. They are engaged in denying evolutionary science. The purpose of this denial is to create doubt and confusion, so that in their next breath, they can proclaim the Bible as God’s infallible Word. This way, they don’t have to create and defend a coherent explanation of the origins of species on Earth. They don’t have to provide an explanation for all the available evidence. All they have to do is muddy the waters as much as possible. How ironic that this organization boasts it is the sole keeper of Absolute Truth! 

    Evolution is a ‘theory’ which is the highest status an idea can reach in science and it is currently supported by 244,458 peer reviewed articles containing millions of verifiable facts collected by 10s of thousands of scientists working over the past 150 years. It has never been disproved and no better idea has yet been proposed. Evolution is both a theory and a fact. Nevertheless, this will make no difference to those whose business it is to keep 21st century minds twisted into 1st century pretzels.

    Free will is something we can’t help but have. Our capability to make moral decisions is thanks to the development of the brain. Evolution doesn’t care about free will and it certainly is not ‘opposed’ to it. Free will is simply the product of intelligence which is a product of evolution. 

    “Failure of evolution to provide a robust mechanism for the origin of the universe and of the first form of life”  I think you are misunderstanding what evolution is. It is the study of physical evidence. It examines and describes what it sees. It doesn’t speculate on the origin of life. It does not ‘fail’ at providing this mechanism. It makes no attempt to. Try abiogenesis.

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion.

    Andy

    Beyond Teachab

    • BTM / Mar 21 2016 10:53 am

      Hello – You are suggesting a version of the multiverse theory, I believe, which is not supported by a majority of scientists as the origin of time, matter, and energy originated with the singularity (which I mention in the post, you may have noted). That doesn’t mean you can’t believe it, but I hope you have more reasons for it than you state.

      I can understand your wanting to hear more of a scientific explanation than “God did it”. This is my position on ideas like the multiverse (it requires just as much faith in something invisible) or the ‘Theory of Everything’ efforts. This is precisely why I said that we do not currently have undisputable evidence for any specific theory, only a list of facts which we must best explain with a single theory.

      My list actually isn’t an attempt to prove God, it is a list of evidences which I believe point away from evolution. There is a difference. And I’m sure you can imagine that a sweeping statement that they have all been disproven is not evidence in itself. They have not been disproven at all, although there may be different explanations for them, I do not find them more compelling. Most have alternative ideas for explanations.

      To state evolution is a fact is a stretch for sure. We do not have any evidence for species-to-species evolution for one thing, only of evolution or adaptation within a species. In answer to your last point, I am mistaken about evolution. For it to be plausible, we need life to have started on its own (no outside agent, unless you like the seeding by aliens theory, which also has no evidence to support it). Right now we do not have a mechanism to start life which then can be acted upon (evolution requires something to act on).

      I can appreciate how you’d be loathe to accept a God explanation and want to hold out for a naturalistic one given your current worldview. I hope you can appreciate my position that a lack of an explanation isn’t a better explanation. Hope for finding an explanation in the future isn’t a better explanation either. Neither is an ad hominem attack (pretzles aside). Right now I think God is the best explanation. Maybe that will change. No one is suggesting that all scientific inquiry would stop if we accepted that God is the best explanation. Quite honestly, that comes across as repeating slogans meant to illicit fear of people who don’t agree with you. I hope that’s not what you mean because it isn’t productive!

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