Why Believe in God?
You're sitting in the cafeteria with a few people from your biology class. The talk around the table is going a little bit of everywhere and not much of anywhere. Somewhere in the conversation, between chatting about dates and a killer bio test, you casually mention the church retreat you attended last weekend. Someone asks, "You go to church?" Another asks, "You believe in God?" Another says bluntly, "I don't believe in God. How can anyone even know if there is a God?"
You listen uncomfortably as everyone else talks about how evolution disproves God. You leave the cafeteria feeling defeated, maybe even wondering if intelligent people really do believe in God. Yes, says Christian writer Paul Little, many intelligent people do believe in God—and with good reason. In this adaptation from Know Why You Believe, Paul offers some evidence that should not only help strengthen your beliefs, but also give you something to say when the lunchroom conversation turns toward religion.
OK, we'll admit something right off. It is impossible to put God in a test tube or prove him by scientific method. But that shouldn't cause us to say, "God really is dead!" Hardly. In fact, there are many reasons to believe that God is very much alive and active in the universe.
Think about humanity's overall longing for something beyond what we see. It's this longing that causes people to turn to religion for answers.
It is significant that studies of the world's cultures show an almost universal belief in a god or gods. This is not surprising to people who believe the Bible. The writer of Ecclesiastes referred to God as having "set eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This inner longing was described by Blaise Pascal, the great 17th-century mathematician, as "the God-shaped vacuum" in every human being.
Obviously, this "vacuum" isn't conclusive proof. But it is important to remember as we consider other evidence for God's existence.
What Are the Odds?
There are approximately 11 million species of life on earth, including humans. Did all of these, including the universe itself, begin by chance?
Scientists have claimed that given the right conditions, some sort of life form would eventually evolve. How ever, the same scientists who propose this theory are quick to point out its weaknesses. The respected astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle asks, "What are the chances that a tornado might blow through a junk yard containing all the parts of a 747, accidentally assemble them into a plane, and leave it ready for takeoff?" Hoyle answers, "The possibilities are so small as to be negligible even if a tornado were to blow through enough junk yards to fill the whole universe!"
In his book The Intelligent Universe, Hoyle says, "As biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that its chances of originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance."
In the Beginning
In 1965, two physicists discovered that the earth was entirely bathed in a faint glow of radiation. Its waves followed the exact pattern of wavelength expected in a giant explosion. Scientists explained that the waves were the obvious aftermath of a "big bang." Thus, an old theory about the beginnings of the universe gained wider acceptance in the scientific community.