1. Can We Prove God Exists?

Creation vs. Evolution

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Exodus 20:2  

Where did I come from?

How can we prove God exists? Would it not be great if He would show Himself every morning, say around seven a.m., and greet us from the clouds with a “Good morning, America”? That would certainly tell us that God exists. Too bad He does not do that. Well, even if He would appear on this cloud, still many would explain this as only a freak natural phenomenon, or mass hypnosis, or the result of drug abuse.

During my research I asked many Christian believers: “Why do you believe that God exists? What is, for you, the evidence that God exists?” After a few moments of thinking, I usually would get one of the following answers:

  • I just know it.
  • I feel it in my heart.
  • I have seen Him at work in my life.
  • God has answered prayers.
  • Because the Bible reveals Him.

These are all good answers, and after I myself became a Christian, I also experienced God “at work” in my life. As a skeptic, however, looking for hard evidence, these answers are not sufficient. They are all purely subjective. As such, they relate to personal experiences and convictions, but none is based on hard and objective evidence that proves God exists.

And that’s just exactly what I needed, objective evidence. In order to commit and submit my life to God I required solid, hard, undeniable, objective evidence for God's existence. And I also believed that, if God exists, and He indeed created us, He must have made sure to reveal Himself to us in some manner; if not in person, then at least through His creation – the world around us. It would be logically inconsistent to me that God exists and would not communicate to His creation.

As many others before me – I realized that I could turn to science to prove God's existence by researching the origins of our existence.

Studying our origins has, over the centuries, always attracted much attention and only three serious alternatives have ever been proposed:

  1. We’ve always existed and will always exist – a steady state universe.
  2. We are created by a Creator God.
  3. We are the product of natural processes solely influenced by chance and time.

It is interesting to realize how these three views of origins are reflected in the three main views of the world religions: Pantheism believes we’ve always existed, Monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe we are created by a Creator God. And finally Atheism rejects the existence of any intelligent force (Creator) in the universe.

How can modern science help us find clues to our origins?  

Let’s start by eliminating the first alternative view – that we have always existed. Through astronomy we know as a virtually undisputed fact, that the universe, our solar system and our planet have not always existed and also that our sun and earth at some point in the future will cease to exist. We can also prove that the universe is expanding, showing that there was some central point of beginning. Also through paleontology (studying early life on earth) and archaeology we know that mankind has not always existed on earth, but has only been around for a relative short period of time. So, no serious scientist believes anymore in a steady state universe, and we can focus our research on studying:

How did we come into existence?  

Creation vs. Evolution

Before mankind became “enlightened” there was never a question demanding proof for God's existence. However, over time, man has grown more impressed with himself at the center of the universe. In 1859 Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species[1], presenting an alternative theory to explain our existence. Darwin’s theory became the basis for a belief system independent from God.

It has been said that Darwin has done more harm to the Christian faith than any persecution in history. The evolutionary model, largely due to its posture as the “scientific” explanation for the origins of life, caused many believers to doubt the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Bible. It planted a serious seed of doubt as to the credibility of the Bible: “If the first chapter of the Bible is not true, then likely the rest of the Bible is questionable as well!

We need to emphasize up front that – despite many claims – evolution is NOT a fact. Neither evolution nor creation is a natural law or a scientific fact, but each is merely a model. What does this mean?  The process of evolution, just as the act of creation, cannot be observed or repeated, so both models remain unproved by science. Therefore neither can be called a natural law (such as the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics, which describe well proved and observed behavior subject to laws of nature) nor a scientific theory (which requires the possibility and evidence of repeated observations).  So evolution – just as creation – is only a model used to explain the observations in the world as we know it. It is not a fact, not a natural law, not even a scientific theory, but just a model!

I would also like to emphasize, that there are only two possible models for the origins of life: evolution or creation. There is no alternative, and these two are mutually exclusive. Either our space/time based universe needed a Creator God or it did not.  This has an important implication: If we can prove that evolution is NOT a viable model/explanation, than we have indirectly found proof that God exists! Therefore in studying the evidences we will focus both on evidence to show that evolution is a faulty model as well as evidence pointing to the existence of a Creator God. More on the Evolutionary theory.....

What is Evolution?

In the evolution model, the entire universe is considered to have evolved by natural processes and random selection into its present state of high organization and complexity. In this model the universe began in a state of pure randomness.  Gradually it has – by “survival of the fittest” – become more ordered and complex. In order for the complex structure of the universe to have been produced by present natural processes, a vast amount of time was required.

As taught in our public schools today, the Organic Theory of Evolution account for the origin of mankind goes something as follows:

“Life on this planet originated several billion years ago, when electrical disturbances caused reactions in the chemicals of the primeval ocean. These reactions produced amino acids, which organized themselves into living cells. In time, the descendants of these one-celled organisms at random began to mutate, developing into various multi-celled plants and animals. As each new organism appeared, a natural selection would occur.  Each life form was either better or less suited to its environment, and accordingly it would flourish or disappear.  Those species of plants and animals more adaptable to their environments developed; those that could not adapt simply died. Man is the highest product of this development. He descended from the same ancestors as did the apes; more remotely, from the same ancestors as all mammals. He is himself still developing; that process is stalled by our present lifestyle, but biologically ongoing evolution is inevitable.”

The concept of evolution is associated with Charles Darwin, who set forth evolution in The Origin of Species and further developed his ideas in the later The Descent of Man. These concepts have been applied to many scientific disciplines, and the theory has been revised along the way.  More recently its tenets have been upgraded with more recent scientific discoveries especially in the areas of genetics/DNA (usually called Neo-Darwinism).

The basic elements of the evolutionary model remain:

  • Change over long periods of time: entities/organisms change over time. These changes are random and are only based on pure chance.
  • Natural Selection: positive changes strengthen the organism and increase its chances for survival. Therefore (random) positive changes will be preserved and even favored over the original organism.
  • The only forces at work are random change (chance) and (long periods of) time: evolution is completely controlled by natural processes and the natural environment. There is no controlling power or other influence.

Simplified, evolution’s equation for mankind becomes this:

Change + Time  à  Mankind

Many education systems have spoon-fed and brainwashed us with these concepts. These ideas sound so reasonable and have been taught by many highly educated people, therefore many believe it is the truth. However, is it actually true? In the following chapters we will examine the concept to find if scientific observation does support this model.

We like to believe in chance!

Have you noticed how many people tend to think that if there’s a chance something can happen, it actually will occur? The statistical probability might be very small, and all odds are against it, yet many still are willing to wager. That’s the idea behind gambling. The odds are against us – we all know that – but we might be …. lucky. So many folks are willing to bet their money on it. Casinos and lotteries capitalize on this tendency of many to think that if they only try, and keep trying, they have a good chance at winning.

Evolution is an identical concept.  This idea is that, even if its chances are tiny, it could happen, and if you just try enough times it will happen; that’s exactly the idea behind evolution. That’s probably why it appeals so strongly to so many.

What is the Creation model?

The Creation model, on the other hand, postulates a Creator God or Intelligent Designer. Random chance and lots of time simply cannot combine to create life. Intelligent intervention is required. This occurs either by a comprehensive act of creation, bringing basic systems of nature into existence at once, fully functioning at the start, or by a process directed over time by the Creator God towards completion.

Among Christians there are different models on HOW God created our world. These differences largely relate to timing; that is, did God directly and immediately create the world, or did He only design and guide the natural processes? To simplify, we identify two main views:

  • Creationism (also called Scientific Creationism, Young Earth Creation, and Six Day Creation). This view believes God created everything in six literal 24-hour days. Everything was created by the direct act of God. The creative sequence is described precisely in Genesis chapter 1 and occurred 6,000-10,000 years ago. Proponents base this view on the literal reading of the Bible and support this interpretation by data from natural sciences interpreted to show a young age of planet earth. Well known creationist organizations are the Institute for Creation Research[2], Answers in Genesis[3] and the Creation Research Society[4] which present programs to demonstrate the evidences for a young world, limits to the original created species, the uniqueness of human life, and a global flood about 5,000 years ago.
  • Intelligent Design (also called Theistic Evolution, Old Earth Creationism or Progressive Creationism). This view accepts the majority view of scientists that the universe is old; several billions of years old, in fact. Proponents agree with evolutionists that species of organisms formed over extraordinarily long periods of time, but dispute and deny that this happened only by random chance. Divine interventions and/or guidance over the course of time have brought about present life forms. There are a number of different approaches within this view.

Dialogue, existence of God

Evolution vs. Creation and the Role of the Creator

    • The Intelligent Design movement argues that certain features of the universe and living organisms can be explained logically only by an intelligent cause and certainly not by undirected natural forces. A well-known organization in this movement is the Discovery Institute[5].
    • Proponents of the Gap Theory believe in direct creation by God, but also in an old earth, explaining the age of the earth by postulating a large time gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.
    • The Day-Age Theory is probably the most popular view among Old Earth believers. To explain the age of the universe and earth, adherents translate the Hebrew word “yowm” as period or age rather than day. Thus God created the earth as described in Genesis, however each creation “day” lasted an entire age. Various Christian organizations are proponents of this view. Reasons To Believe[6] is likely the most well known.

Do not allow time to become the focus of discussion!

Unfortunately many discussions about the existence of God end up being discussions over a young earth versus an old earth. 

The non-believer argues the earth is much older than the Bible claims; therefore the Bible is not true, and its God does not exist.  Often the believer starts to defend the Bible and the discussion quickly centers upon arguments about “time.”

A famous illustration of this is the 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial.” Lawyers William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow (the latter representing teacher John T. Scopes) tested a state law which barred the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, of “any theory that denies the story of the Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” This is often interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution. The state won, but the defense was made to look ridiculous defending – by only using scripture – the young age of the earth. On a side note, the Scopes trial was presented in a very distorted and biased movie titled Inherit the Wind that portrayed Christians supporting the creation view as scientifically ignorant and closed-minded.

The age of the earth is not relevant to the discussion of God’s existence. The evidence that the evolution model is not adequate to explain our existence is supported by scientific observations. As we will see, these scientific data are also consistent with the claims of the Creator model.

Lastly, always keep in mind God created time, therefore He has total control over it and it can never limit Him in anyway.  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day(2 Peter 3:8).  

So there are multiple views on how God created human life. These views differ mostly on how to reconcile Biblical creation with scientific observations.  According to surveys over the last twenty years, Christians are evenly divided between the Young Earth and Old Earth views.

In our approach to creation, the question of “how God did it” will not be further debated as it is irrelevant to prove God’s existence. We will explore the proofs that support the existence of a Creator God/Intelligent Designer, not how the process worked.         

Note that all views of creation share these points in common:

  • The concepts of time and three-dimensional space are designed by the Creator God.
  • God, the Creator, designed all natural laws to support His creation.
  • Life forms are too complex to come into existence just by natural laws. The Creator God was involved in their development/formation.
  • Mankind is created in the image of God, and not just a more advanced animal.

A Framework for Discussion: the Big Bang

As we prepare to examine the evolution model in more detail, we need to understand its claims about human origins. As this is the model taught in schools and universities and is widely accepted by non-believers, it provides an excellent framework for discussions with honest seekers of truth.

For this reason we will use from here on the Big Bang model and the associated time line as a reference for our discussions.

According to many in the scientific community, a significant amount of data suggests the universe came into existence via the so called Big Bang event. This is said to have occurred perhaps 15-20 billion years ago, when the universe began to expand outward from one infinite small point in space. Through nuclear fusion processes hydrogen (the first element) was converted to helium followed by other heavier elements and through the force of the initial “explosion” – the Big Bang – these elements pushed outward. Even as stars and planets are formed from dust, the universe is still expanding. Observations of the so called red shift have led scientists to postulate that stars at the edge of the universe are moving outward at velocities approaching the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). This expansion has left various traces (cosmic background radiation) that have been measured[7] and seems to confirm the theory of the Big Bang event. Currently this model is generally accepted by the vast majority of cosmologists and astronomers.[8]

An evolution timeline

A "Scientific" Timeline

Through analysis of our solar system and the earth’s geology, the majority opinion among scientists is that that earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago. The first microscopic life forms (bacteria) are said to have appeared 3.7 billion years ago. There is a wide range of views on how long humankind has been around, but recently most estimates are in the 50,000 – 100,000 years range.

This framework identifies four major events that each allows us to study what science can teach us about how these events came about:

  1. The Big Bang
  2. Formation of planet earth
  3. First life on earth
  4. Appearance of human beings

Each of these events on the evolutionary timeline will be the main subject of one of the next chapters. We will enter the realm of cosmology and astronomy, and use a telescope to find out how “random” the Big Bang, and how “common” our planet really are. Later we will use a microscope to study molecular biology and genetics to discover what these disciplines can teach us about the complexity of even the simplest life forms and genetic mutations.

next chapter: More about Creation vs. Evolution:  Studying the Big Bang


[1] Charles Darwin , On the Origin of Species  by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life  (1859).

[2] Institute for Creation Research  in Santee , CA. Website www.ICR.org.

[3] Answers in Genesis , Petersburg , KY. Website www.AnswersInGenesis.org.

[4] The Creation Research Society , St. Joseph , MO. Website www.CreationResearch.org.

[5] Discovery Institute , Seattle , WA . Website www.Discovery.org.

[6] Reasons To Believe, Pasadena , CA. Website www.Reasons.org.

[7] Among many sources: Dr Hugh Ross , The Creator and the Cosmos  (2001), chapter 4.

[8] All ages and dates mentioned are current estimates supported by a majority of scientists. However these dates are derived using techniques subject to various criticisms.

 

next chapter: More about Creation vs. Evolution:  Studying the Big Bang

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