• James Werner

A DESIGN SPEAKS OF A DESIGNER

Updated: Mar 11



One of my favorite things to do is to spend time outdoors enjoying the beauty of nature. From the majesty of the skies to a simple wildflower it seems like there is a master painter or designer behind it all. Even in the most seemingly simple creation there seems to be such complexity, order and purpose built into it. Who, or what is behind it all?


Recently, I was walking on the sand with my family in beautiful San Diego. We came upon a very intricate sand sculpture. The artist or creator of this amazing piece of art was just putting his final touches on his masterpiece. Even if the architect of this creation had not been there, it would have been obvious that this was created by an intelligent mind. We would not have assumed that this was just a result of the wind or the waves arranging the sand into this beautiful form. This was definitely the product of intelligent design.


This is consistent with our everyday experiences. We see things designed for a purpose all around us and instinctively understand there was a designer behind it. This common sense type of observation and inference was made famous by William Paley, the English theologian and moral philosopher (1642-1805) when he stated that every watch requires a watchmaker. If you were walking out in nature and you discovered a Rolex watch in the dirt, what would be your reaction? First, you would probably be excited to find something so expensive and valuable. But beyond that what would be your conclusion about the cause of the watch being there? Would you think this was a product of erosion? Maybe it was the result of many years of wind and rain reacting with the natural forces of nature? We all know this would not be our reaction. We know someone at some time in the past accidentally left or dropped it there. We know that the watch was designed by an intelligent watchmaker.


A watch is very complex and there are many components working together to allow it to function properly. However, the universe we live in is much more complicated and precise than a Rolex watch.


For many years our family has taken a summer camping trip in Northern California near Lake Tahoe. We found a spot that is located far from the highway and separated from civilization. Our camping spot is in a large meadow that is surrounded by miles of forest. One of my favorite things to do is go out into this meadow late at night and stare up at the heavens. It is incredible to see the vastness of our galaxy and observe the brightness and precision of all of the stars. It looks like jewels that have been poured out on a black velvet canvas. In many ways it makes me feel very small and like a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things. But then I think of Who created it all, and that I am a part of His creation, it leaves me in awe.


Isaac Newton once wrote,


“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

In a previous post I discussed the evidence for God’s existence. The conclusion was that God is the best explanation for the beginning of the universe, or the Cosmological Argument. However, the universe did not explode into some chaotic form. The universe came into existence with extreme precision and has a very complex design. This is another very compelling line of evidence for God’s existence. In this post we will focus on the evidence of design that speaks of a designer.


TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT


Teleological comes from the Greek word “telos” which means design. The Teleological or design argument for God’s existence goes like this:


1. Every design has a designer

2. The universe has a high complex design

3. Therefore, the universe had a designer


We have already briefly explored the first premise which seems to resonate with our experience and common sense. Every design has a purpose and designer behind it. So, what about the “bigger picture” such as the universe we live in? We will spend the majority of this post on premise number two. The universe has a high complex design.


THE UNIVERSE IS DESIGNED FOR LIFE


In essence, there are very specific requirements or conditions for life to exist and thrive. In my previous example, the “watchmaker” built-in very specific requirements for the watch to work and display consistent accurate time. Our universe is “designed” in a way that has just the perfect conditions for us to even exist. A more technical term for this is called the fine-tuning of the universe. There are certain constants in nature that have very precise values and if they even varied slightly life would not exist.


There is a wealth of scientific knowledge that demonstrates the requirement of fine-tuning for life to exist. Scientists call these constants “anthropic constants”. Anthropic is a Greek word that just means “human” or “man”. This “Anthropic Principle” describes the evidence that our universe is extremely designed or “fine-tuned” to allow and support human life to exist on our planet earth.


In Jeremiah 33:25, God declares,


“I have established…the fixed laws of heaven and earth.”

This is one of many passages of Scripture that demonstrate once again the Bible got it right. For thousands of years the Bible has recorded that the laws of physics do not vary.


To give an example of how incomprehensibly fine-tuned our universe is, consider the following: If the gravitational force were different by one part in 10(with exponent of 40), our sun would not exist and neither would we. To give some perspective to this number, imagine if you stretched a tape measure across the entire vast universe. If the gravitational force were represented by a particular mark on the tape measure, we would not exist if the mark varied by more than one inch. That is only one example of many precise values in our universe. Any variation and life would not exist.

{Source: The Case for a Creator - Strobel}


Astrophysicist Hugh Ross has calculated that there are over 100 defined constants that strongly point to an intelligent Designer. I will just list a few here. The following in an excerpt taken from “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.


Anthropic Constant 1: Oxygen Level On earth, oxygen comprises 21 percent of the atmosphere. That precise figure is an Anthropic Constant that makes life on earth possible. If oxygen were 25% fires would erupt spontaneously, if it were 15%, human beings would suffocate.


Anthropic Constant 2: Atmospheric Transparency If the atmosphere were less transparent, not enough solar radiation would reach the earth’s surface. If it were more transparent we would be bombarded with far too much solar radiation down here. (In addition to atmospheric transparency, the atmospheric composition of precise levels of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and ozone are in themselves Anthropic constants).


Anthropic Constant 3: Moon-Earth Gravitational Interaction If the interaction were greater than it currently is, tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe. If it were less, orbital changes would cause climatic instabilities. In either event, life on earth would be impossible.


Anthropic Constant 4: Carbon Dioxide level If the CO2 level were higher than it is now, a runaway greenhouse effect would develop (we’d all burn up). If the level were lower than it is now, plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis (we’d all suffocate).


Anthropic Constant 5: Gravity If the gravitational force were altered by 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent, our sun would not exist, and, therefore neither would we. Talk about precision.


Anthropic Constant 6: Centrifugal Force If the centrifugal force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit around the sun.


Anthropic Constant 7: Rate Of Expansion If the universe had expanded at a rate one millionth more slowly than it did, expansion would have stopped and the universe would have collapsed on itself before any stars had formed. If it had expanded faster, then no galaxies would have formed.


Anthropic Constant 8: Speed Of Light Any of the laws of physics can be described as a function of the velocity of light (now defined to be 299,792,458 meters per second). Even a slight variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth.


Anthropic Constant 9: Water Vapor Levels. If water vapor levels in the atmosphere were greater than they are now, a runaway greenhouse effect would cause temperatures to rise too high for human life. If they were less, an insufficient greenhouse effect would make the earth to cold to support human life.


Anthropic Constant 10: Jupiter. If Jupiter were not in it’s current orbit, the earth would be bombarded with space material. Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that might otherwise strike earth.


Anthropic Constant 11: The Earth’s Crust. If the thickness of the earth’s crust were greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.


Anthropic Constant 12: The Earth’s Rotation. If the rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, temperature differences would be too great between night and day. If the rotation period were shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would be to great.


Anthropic Constant 13: Axis Tilt. The 23-degree axis tilt of the earth is just right. If the tilt were altered slightly, surface temperatures would be too extreme on earth.


Anthropic Constant 14: Atmospheric Discharge. If the atmospheric discharge (lightning) rate were greater, there would be too much fire destruction; if it were less there would be little nitrogen fixings in the soil.


Anthropic Constant 15: Seismic Activity. If there were more seismic activity, much more life would be lost; if there were less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift. (yes, even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it).


These are only 15 out of more than 100 constants. Dr. Hugh Ross’ calculations that all of this could have happened without Divine design is an overwhelming number. It is one chance in 10 (with exponent of 138), that is one chance in one with 138 zeros after it. There are only about 10 (with exponent of 70) atoms in the entire universe. In effect, there is zero chance that any planet in the universe would have the life-supporting conditions we have, unless there is an intelligent Designer behind it all.


Can you think of a more reasonable explanation? Why such intricate and purposeful design? It seems clear that it is the product of a powerful, loving, purposeful, intelligent designer that is beyond nature.


Yes, the beauty of design is everywhere. Like an artist who signs his painting, God’s signature is in all of His creation, from the universe as we have been exploring down to a single cell in our body. While the intent of this post was to establish design in the universe, I would like to briefly scratch the surface of showing God is also behind the design in biology as well.


COSMOS TO THE CELL


Biology must ultimately deal with the important question of the origin of life. While much time is spent on evolution and natural selection, ultimately a far more pressing question is how did life get here in the first place? While that is not the topic of this post, it is significant to bring up.


Charles Darwin and other scientists of his day did not have an appreciation or thorough understanding of the “complexity” of the cell. Many thought the cell was very simple. With the advancement of science, we now know they are packed with information. Information is stored in codes of a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). In his book “Signature in the Cell” Dr. Stephen Meyer shows that this blue print of information cannot be explained naturally and provides positive evidence of a designing intelligence. {Source: “Stealing from God” Turek}


A couple of years ago I had the privilege of attending a lecture at Biola University where James Tour gave a presentation. He is an American nano-scientist and professor of Science and Nanoengineering and Computer Science at Rice University in Houston Texas. His awards are many including being inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015. He was named one of “The 50 most Influential Scientists in the World Today” and was named “Scientist of the Year” by R&D Magazine in 2013. The list goes on and on.


I remember being amazed at not only his enthusiasm for his subject matter, but also how he described a “simple cell”. It is not so simple. He described things on the molecular level that was astounding. As he described the functions of a cell, it was like he was talking about a large factory. In short, he described these very highly sophisticated molecular machines that control the cellular process. They were extremely complex, highly calibrated and had a purpose and design behind them. This is probably why he confidently says,


“Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”

Every cell in our body contains DNA which is packed with information far more complex than a computer. There are four letters in the DNA alphabet and the exact sequence they form is the code that is unique to your body and how it functions. Each cell in your body contains volumes of information. To get a perspective, it has been estimated that the DNA in a single cell contains about 4,000 books and each book would have about 500 pages of information. Think about the chance of this originating from random non-living matter. Information is understood to be created by an intelligent designer.


It must be noted that while many scientists recognize and acknowledge the appearance of design, they differ on what caused or who originated the design. Atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins has written, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”


CONCLUSION


All of us, regardless of our worldview, must account for this appearance of design. Purposeful, intentional designs are always the creative product of purposeful intelligent designers. As Christians, when we discover such designs whether in the cosmos or in a molecule our most reasonable of all the explanations is the God of the Bible.


As we review the Teleological Argument, it seems like we have provided that premises one and two are true, thus the conclusion would also be true. The universe had a designer. This designer fits our description of God.


1. Every design has a designer

2. The universe has a high complex design

3. Therefore, the universe had a designer