Translations

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES (APOLOGETICS): Does God Exist - Teleological Argument (published 11-16-2022; article #372; series article #3)

4/7/2017 Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

 Introduction

Greetings, dear reader! I trust that you are well. This is my third article on Christian Evidences (in Topic Sections). My first article, on 10/28/2022, introduced the topic series and explained my purpose for writing it. My second article, on 11/4/2022, proved the existence of God, by the moral argument.

This article is the second answer – of three answers – to the question: Does God exist? I will affirm the teleological argument for the existence of God. Each answer proves – independently – that God exists. One proof is sufficient. We have three proofs.

Are you ready to build “the second pole” that supports the “bright street light?” I thought so!

The Teleological Argument

“Teleological,” a Greek transliteration, is the academic word. The argument is also called “the argument from design” or “the design argument.” The line of reasoning is deductive. As I will show, the argument is both valid and sound; therefore, it is true.

As my first article states:

The teleological argument: If the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists. The creation indicates intelligent design. Therefore, an Intelligent Designer, God, exists.

Definitions for the argument are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary – with one exception, which I will explain.

Creation: “the act of bringing the world into ordered existence.”

Intelligent design: “the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence.”

Design: “a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down.”

Designer: “one who creates and often executes plans for a project or structure.”

The exception is that I will establish that “intelligent design” is fact, not theory. This article will prove that the Creator created and designed His creation. Future articles will establish that the Creator created according to His eternal purpose and plan.

Major premise: if the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists.

We understand, innately, the concept of “design.” It is self-evident. For example, in the year 2002, my intellect designed the initial building plans for our house. (We moved in on 6/7/2003.) I took the photograph (below) of our house on 1/29/2022 – when a little snow was on the ground. Two vehicles – which had been designed and built by intelligence – were in the garage. The porch furnishings had been designed and built by intelligence. What intellect designed the trees that are in the background?

Every design has a designer. The truth is axiomatic (self-evident). Our house did not simply appear, from nothing, one fine morning! Intelligence designed and built it.

The atheist may quibble that not every design has a designer and claim that snowflakes have design without a designer. The reply, of course, is obvious. The United States government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration article – “How do snowflakes form? Get the science behind snow,” 12/19/2016 – has microscopic views of snowflakes and explains that certain weather conditions create snowflakes! Ask the atheist, “Who created the world and the weather conditions that create snowflakes?”

The major premise is valid. I must prove, next, that the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design.

Minor premise: the creation (the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design.

The creation – all that exists, in the space-time continuum, including us – indicates (points to) intelligent design. Evidence from the universe, the earth, and the human body are three, of several, lines of proof.

The Universe

The universe is immense. Looking into a clear sky at night, we see countless stars. We live on planet earth, in our sun's solar system. Our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy. There are billions of galaxies.

The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a featured article – “How Big is Our Universe?” – that speculates that the universe could be “infinitely large” – and that it is expanding. The article also speculates, theoretically, that other universes could exist.

Several sources speculate that the universe is about 92 or so billion light-years in diameter. For example, the Space.com article – “How big is the universe?” By Nola Taylor Tillman and Jonathan Gordon, published 1/28/2022 (with assumptions based on the unproven Big Bang theory)speculates that the observable (by telescopes) universe is “28 billion light-years in diameter.”

The article references sources and speculates, however, that the universe (beyond telescopic observance) could be “around 92 billion light-years” in diameter, or could be “at least 7 trillion light-years across,” or could be infinitely large. The various speculations depend on the shape of the universe (i.e., “closed like a sphere, infinite and negatively curved like a saddle, or flat and infinite”).

Yes, to say that the universe is immense is an understatement, even if its size and shape are unknown.

The universe is complex and governed by “fundamental constants.” NASA's “How Big is Our Universe?” article (as referenced above) includes evolutionary assumptions but states, regarding our galaxy: “The Milky Way is a huge city of stars . . . .”

Cities are designed. Who designed the “huge city of stars” that compose our Milky Way galaxy? (The Milky Way is one of billions of galaxies.) The article describes several complexities of the universe, including our solar system, our Milky Way galaxy, pulse rate of stars, supernovae, and “. . . the vast panorama of the observable universe.”

Fundamental constants, or laws, govern the universe. These are physical laws (or laws of physics). The universe is governed by at least 23 fundamental constants or physical laws. What are these constants of the universe? Research finds several scholarly articles on the subject. I will reference one only.

The article, on ScienceBlogs (part of Science 2.0), is: “The Fundamental Constants Behind Our Universe,” by Dr. Ethan Siegel (PhD in theoretical astrophysics), 5/29/2013. The introduction speculates the age of the universe, by the unproven Big Bang theory. The author then lists and explains the “26 fundamental constants,” or “the laws” “that govern” “our Universe.” The article details each constant or law.

Some of the universal constants or laws are familiar to us – such as the speed of light, Newton's laws of gravity, Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, and others. The author concludes by stating:

We don't yet know where the values of these constants come from, or whether that's something that will ever be known with the information available in our Universe.

Intelligent minds have discovered the fundamental constants, or laws, that govern our complex universe. Evolutionists “don't yet know” the source of “the values of these constants.” I affirm that an Intelligent Designer is the source of those fundamental constants.

Have you heard of the anthropic principle? The Britannica article, “anthropic principle” states that that the universe appears to have been structured for human life. The article goes into further detail on the origin and meaning of the “anthropic principle.” The first paragraph of the article states:

anthropic principle, in cosmology, any consideration of the structure of the universe, the values of the constants of nature, or the laws of nature that has a bearing upon the existence of life.

“Structure,” by common definition, refers to that which is arranged, or organized, in a definite pattern. I affirm, not only that an Intelligent Designer is the source of the fundamental constants of our complex universe, but also that the Designer used them to create all life – including human life.

The Earth

The earth is a unique planet. The Britannica entry on Earth (by Raymond Jeanloz, last updated 10/18/2022) includes at least sixteen pages of depth and detailed information. The article assumes the unproven theory of evolution and supports the theory of “man-made” global climate change, which is a fierce topic of political and scientific debate, as I pen this article. The entry, however, includes several known facts.

The entry begins by stating:

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest planet in the solar system in terms of size and mass. Its near-surface environments are the only places in the universe known to harbour life.

The earth is unique, since it is the only known place in our immense and complex universe that is the home of life. The following are seven, of many, facts that the article details, which have made life on earth possible.

Earth's distance from and orbit around the sun: the earth, unlike other planets in our solar system, is the right distance from the sun (149,600,000 kilometers or 92,960,000 miles). Closer would be much hotter. Farther would be much colder. The earth orbits the sun every 365.25 days (once a year). The orbit is elliptical (or oval). The “orbital eccentricity” (variation in the earth's orbit) is 0.0167 – which is very slight. If the variation were less, then the earth could plunge into the sun. If it were more, then the earth could fly outwardly into space.

Earth's size, spin, and axis: at the equator, the circumference of the earth is 40,076 kilometers (24,902 miles.) The earth spins (rotates on its axis) every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and four seconds (once a day). The earth tilts on its axis at 23.44 degrees (which produces the four seasons).

Earth's atmosphere has the right mixture for life – 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. The other 1% includes other gases. The atmosphere has layers (from lowest to highest): troposphere stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. The atmosphere protects us from the sun's harmful radiation.

Earth's hydrosphere includes surface waters (liquid and frozen), groundwater (in soil and rock), and water vapor in the atmosphere. About 71% of the earth's surface is covered by ocean. (My father was a water well-driller, so I know about drilling wells, to find groundwater.) The earth's hydrologic cycle transfers water from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere in a continual cycle (e.g., rain falls and eventually recycles into the clouds).

The moon - the earth's satellite: the moon orbits the earth, at a distance of 384,400 kilometers (238,900 miles). The moon stabilizes the earth's axis, creates ocean tides, and provides “a night light.” The distance between the earth and the moon is exactly right for life.

Earth's gravitational field: gravity is what holds our feet to the ground and gives us weight. The mass (size) of the earth produces gravity. The earth “pulls down” on us (gravitational acceleration), at sea level, at about 980 cm/sec2 (32.2 feet/sec2). If gravity were stronger, then we could not be able to move or be crushed. If gravity were weaker, then we could have trouble staying on the ground or float into space.

Earth's magnetic field: the magnetic field is what points a compass north. It surrounds and protects our planet from the sun's solar winds. The strength of the magnetic field is exactly right for life.

Intelligent minds have discovered these, and many other, facts about our unique planet. The earth is the only known planet, in our immense and complex universe, that is the home of life.

Planet earth evidences extremely detailed and accurate points of design, which I have referenced. This evidence points to a very Intelligent Designer.

The Human Body

A healthy human body comprises an amazingly complex number of systems that function in perfectly organized symmetry. Of many sources, I have selected the OpenMD.com guide Human Body Systems – contributors: Shani Saks, MD; Reitze Rodseth MBBS, PhD; Lynette Stewart, BSN. The introduction states:

Organs of the human body are commonly grouped into eleven systems. Each body system includes organs and structures that serve a common purpose. The systems are highly interdependent, working together to sustain life and enable interaction with the surrounding environment.

The guide explains each of the eleven systems of the human body. Intelligence has grouped the organs of the human body into eleven systems. What Intelligence created the human body?

The human brain is the world's best computer. Our eyes are the best video camera. Our heart is the best pumping device. My analogy can be continued to associate other parts of our bodies to devices that intelligence created. Intelligence designed the computer, video camera, and pump. Who designed the brain, eyes, and heart?

Intelligent designers create artificial (replacement) parts for a damaged human body. Of many sources, I have selected the NEO.LIFE article: “Replace Your Used Body Parts With a Bionic Upgrade: A soft robotics researcher says bionic limbs that imitate living tissues could be viable within a decade.” By Stav Dimitropoulos, 9/15/2022. The article compares the human hand to a “bionic” (artificial) hand (created by human intelligence). Regarding the human hand, the author states:

Take the human hand, for example. It’s an incredibly complex and versatile part of the body, containing 27 bones, innumerable muscles, and a mind-numbing quantity of ligaments and tendons. The tiniest grab of an object is the sublime end product of the synergistic work of all these hand components.

Regarding the “bionic” hand (designed by human intelligence) the author states:

A bionic hand, on the other hand, works by detecting signals coming from a user’s muscles. When the user flexes the muscles in their residual limb just below their elbow, special sensors placed on their skin pick up small electric signals, which are converted into intentional bionic hand movement.

Intelligence created the “bionic” hand. Who created the original human hand?

By way of a personal illustration, on 3/29/2016, I almost died, when the other driver violated my right of way. My brain, left eye, left shoulder, right knee, and right foot were damaged. I was hospitalized 36 days. My brain and left eye recovered fully, with no surgery needed. My left shoulder, right knee, and right foot required surgery, to repair the damage. I have a total of 25 surgically installed metal items (i.e., rods, pins, screws) in those three joints.

The X-ray of my left shoulder (below) was taken on 6/27/2016. The skilled surgeon used ten metal items (one rod and nine screws) to reconstruct my left shoulder.

Who had constructed my original shoulder, before it was damaged?

The creation – specifically, the universe, the earth, and the human body – indicates (points to) intelligent design. The minor premise is valid.

Conclusion: therefore, an Intelligent Designer, God, exists.

Since the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists. I have proved it.

The Intelligent Designer is called God – the divine architect of the universe. The argument is sound and must be true. It cannot be wrong.

The Atheist's Quibble

The atheist may quibble, by claiming “faults” in God's designed creation. He may theorize that the human body could have been designed better. He may point to various defects in the earth that cause various and significant natural disasters.

The reply is simply that God, the Creator, created according to his eternal plan. Later articles, in this Christian Evidences series, will explore the nature of God and the inspiration of the Bible. As those articles will prove, the Creator designed the earth perfectly, perfectly fit for perfectly created humans. Sin, however, as God knew would happen, entered the world. The physical deterioration of aging and death are the consequences of sin. The earth was damaged, due to the worldwide flood, in the time of Noah. The earth continues to endure that damage, which causes natural disasters.

The atheist should be careful in his quibbles. The prophet Isaiah cited the word of the Lord:

Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (Isaiah 29:16, NIV)

See also Isaiah 45:9 and Romans 9:20. The atheist, as the pot, does not need to question the Creator, the Potter, as to why He designed the universe, the earth, or the human body, in the fashion that He did.

Rest assured, dear reader, that all the atheist's quibbles are easily resolved and fall away. Later articles in this series will elaborate.

Conclusion

Our imaginary street light now has two strong poles to support it. The teleological argument, by itself, proves that God exists.

We have one more pole to build – the cosmological argument – that, alone, will also prove that God exists. This article is enough “pole building” for now.

Biblical faith is grounded in evidence, as these articles on God's existence are establishing. By evidentiary faith, we see and know the unseen.

The words of the apostle Paul will conclude this article:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)


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