by Phil Johnson
o rarely do I find anything worth recommending at The Huffington Post that when something good does show up over there, it's almost a disorienting experience for me.
This article is one of those rare gems. It is a fine application of the teleological argument, mathematically debunking the materialistic assumption that the order and intricacy we see in the universe arose by sheer chance out of chaos.
The article quotes Stephen Barr ("Modern Physics and Ancient Faith," Notre Dame, IN: University Press, 2003) to demonstrate why trying to account for an orderly universe by "proposing an infinity of unobservable entities is no more scientifically defensible than proposing a single unobservable one (God).
"Indeed, sustaining a purely materialistic view of the universe, Barr asserts, requires repeatedly pleading for a multiplicity of envisioned infinities—of universes, planets, durations, realities, observers, etc.—a habit that severely undercuts the materialist position."
Here. Read the whole thing; then come back:
This is not complicated truth: Nature is governed by laws. These imply the existence of a lawgiver. Earth's seasons follow a complex rhythm established by the rising and setting of the sun, the tilt of the planet's axis, the speed with which we circumnavigate the sun, the temperature of the sun, and the distance between earth and sun—plus a host of other considerations. It is an extremely precise timetable. Change any of those factors by a few percentage points and the earth would eventually become as uninhabitable as Mars or Saturn. That kind of orderliness implies to reasonable minds that our world was made by intelligent Master Designer.
Such a common-sense observation, however, is rejected out of hand by virtually all modern rationalists, materialists, atheists, and philosophical naturalists. They insist it is more reasonable to assume that nobody made the universe; it just happened. All that order arose spontaneously out of chaos. In short, everything originally came automatically, by accident—out of nothing.
On the face of it, that's a totally absurd idea. Order implies thought, purpose, design. Only intelligence can devise and design order into a system. And (whether you observe particles with a microscope or planets with a telescope) the vast layers of intricate complexity and painstaking order we observe in the known universe argues powerfully for an intelligence more boundless than even the most sophisticated human mind could ever begin to comprehend.
(Incidentally: anyone who truly sees that point should not be awed or intimidated by mere academic or scientific credentials—especially when we realize that philosophers and scientists are forced to revise their theories all the time. And that has been the case since the beginning of creation.)
Even on a relatively small scale of complexity, simple common sense grasps the incontrovertible truth of this argument. You could take a bag of watch parts and shake it for all eternity, and a working watch would never emerge from the bag. The only way to get a watch is to have a watchmaker design and build it. The same thing is true with the universe. It could not have happened by accident.
Ronald Nash, in his book Faith and Reason (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994, p. 135.), writes this:
It's nice, for once, to see an article in The Huffington Post saying essentially the same thing.
But it's doubly ironic when you realize that there's a droning nest of nattering voices over at Biologos relentlessly insisting that teleological arguments are "unscientific" and therefore invalid, And most of the contributors there claim to be Christians.
Just as the material universe reflects the order and arrangement of a far Greater Intelligence, the intellectual climate of the world today (including the religious world) reflects the chaos that is the inevitable fruit of sin. Romans 1:19-32.