THE QUESTIONS PROJECT: How can we know that God actually exists?
If we started with information that already assumes there is a God (i.e. religious texts) we’d quickly find ourselves in a circular argument. Although, ultimately we end up there for details. But we really need to start somewhere else.
Let’s start with what we can observe. Science has opened up an amazing vista of the universe for us. We have peered into the expanse of galaxies, and even gazed on the birth of stars. Thanks to advanced physics and space telescopes, we’ve wrestled with dimensions and numbers of heavenly bodies that defy human comprehension.
We have also looked inward, we have found the human brain has more neurons than there are stars in the heavens. The genetic strands by which the simplest cell is composed contain specific information more precise than the most complicated computer program. What’s more, the microscopic “factories” that replicate this complex information are even self-powering!
How did we even discover these things? Science relies on constant laws and systems. Under given conditions, the same result will occur every time. If you follow the laws of optics, we can build a space telescope. By observing those laws we can You can focus on an object, by the constant laws of physics, you can determine the distance and size of that object.
A definition of “design” by Merriam-Webster is: the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work. It’s an indisputable observation: the universe works. According to science, for billions of years. Astronomy understands it as a collection of functioning systems.
The idea of all the particles and parts of the universe organizing themselves into systems wouldn’t be a big deal if we hadn’t discovered another law of the universe called, “entropy.” Quantum physicists like to talk about it as energy dissipated in a closed system. But for us regular folks, it really plays out in the simple fact that everything tends to flow from order to disorder. Just don’t clean your house for a month and see what happens. Entropy is a physical truth of the universe, and yet something drives the universe from disorder to order.
The greatest reality that flies in the face of entropy is life. Nothing is a more ordered system of systems than life. Even the simplest cell is a miniature factory. Like your TV or car, all parts have to be working or it doesn’t work at all. So for life to exits; not only must there be working systems, they must all come into existence at the same time.
Whether we are talking about constellations or human bodies, we are talking about functioning systems. Functioning systems are by definition, the product of design. That raises an assertion that just won’t go away. If there is a design, there must be a designer.
Design also implies others things like intentionality and purpose. We can be sure that whoever designed the first mouse trap definitely had a purpose in mind.
One final step in this path of reason. Every creation is created by a designer greater than itself. Whether it’s a mouse trap or the entire universe. The creator is greater, or “transcends” the thing they created. What do we call a creative entity that transcends all of reality? We can use any label of our choosing, but the term, “God” certainly sounds appropriate.
Granted, this is only one line of reasoning that points to a Creator. The truth is, it only takes us as far as this: such an entity actually exists. But just the fact that there is a solid line of reasoning that leads to this conclusion should compel us to seriously search. After all, if everything was designed on purpose and for a purpose, could there be a more fundamental mystery worth exploring?