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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,  and perfect, will of God."   -Romans 12:2


Is the Existence of
 God Improbable?

Does the complexity of God make His existence improbable?

by Rusty Entrekin

There is an argument against the existence of God, lately championed by Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, which basically goes like this:  

Any being that could create life would have to be very complex, and would  therefore be highly unlikely to form by chance. Because theism makes use of a higher complexity to explain a lesser one, it is a much less probable explanation of the origin of life than naturalism.

This is an agnostic argument, based on probabilities. Agnosticism is more honest than atheistic fundamentalism, for no man can know that there is no God, unless he himself has the divine quality of omniscience. However, theistic fundamentalism may not be dishonest, for if God has revealed himself to a man, that man can honestly claim to know that there is a God.

In particular, Dawkins is seeking to discourage belief in the Judeo-Christian God, the God of the Bible. If the God of the Bible exists, then there are three great realms of reality:

1.       The eternal realm of light where God dwells. This is mentioned in I Timothy and Isaiah:

“...who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” - I Tim 6:16:

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity... Isa 57:15a

2.   God, who in relation to His creation is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent [and in relation to the eternal realm in which He dwells, since Christ is called the Father of Eternity in Isaiah 9:6]. The New Testament reveals in I Corinthians 2:10 that the mind of God the Father is so great that God the Spirit must search it out [the searches probably take place instantaneously]:

""For us, however, God has drawn aside the veil through the teaching of the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, including the depths of the divine nature."

3.       Creation. This would include the “heaven of heavens,” perhaps consisting of the highest dimensional realms (think of how a three dimensional realm is higher than a two dimensional one), and the physical universe (the firmament of heaven), including the earth.  These are all mentioned in Deuteronomy  10:14: 

“Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”

Dawkins' argument assumes that God is either (1) a part of the physical universe, or (2) that  in the realm in which God dwells, complexity is just as unlikely as it is in our universe. The Bible certainly does not teach the first assumption, though Dawkins may not know the Bible well enough to be aware of that.

But what about the second assumption? If that is what Dawkins is speaking of, how could the man possibly know such a thing? He has not stepped into the metaphysical realm outside of the universe (or perhaps above it, if it is a realm of higher dimensions) to examine it's properties. So how could he possibly know that God is improbable? Let's take a little time to consider what some of the qualities of that metaphysical realm might be.

In our universe, which had a beginning and is of finite age, time limits the number of arrangements (such as life) that can form by chance.  But the realm where God dwells is not subject to time, which is a created thing, so all of the possible arrangements within that realm could occur instantaneously, in “no time” at all:

Isa 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

In our universe, the second law of thermodynamics (the overall tendency of things to go from order to disorder in  time) greatly decreases the probability of life forming by chance.  But in a timeless realm of the right properties, even those things which are most unlikely to form in time could actually be bound to happen. A supremely good, all-knowing, and all-powerful Intelligence might be bound to arise. (This is because good is a characteristic of the highest forms of intelligence.) In such a realm, the arrow of thermodynamics would point in the other direction, from disorderly to orderly.

Furthermore, are the most basic structural components of God's intelligence as complex as those of human intelligence? Although God is vastly complex in intellect or mind, His foundational components could consist of something very simple - quantum states of light, for instance. To equate the complexity of his basic nature with ours is like assuming that binary computer intelligence has the same foundational components as human intelligence. Given simpler foundational components, a complex intelligence could be much more likely to arise by chance in a realm not subject to time. 

We do not know the nature of the light in which God dwells, but we can ponder and speculate. How can a being dwell in light? Such a being would have to be unembodied (pure spirit):

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

How would light interact in an eternal realm not subject to time? We do know that the light in our universe can carry signals, and we utilize this property in fiber optic networks. Light particles, waves and beams can interact, align, and even collide. These interactions could form ordered arrangements of patterns. 

Imagine, for instance, a realm filled with a form of light particles, which, because there was no time, transmitted instantly. Please keep in mind that cause and effect can be conceived of to occur even where there is no time. For instance, consider the logical flow of thoughts on this white page. They are all present at once on this page, though you must read them consecutively within time to comprehend them. Once you have comprehended them, however, they also seem to exist in your mind all at once. Now, imagine this white page to have not just two dimensions, and not just three dimensions, but even more: dimensions that transcend us.

In this timeless, multidimensional  realm of light with the property of cause and effect, all of the things that could possibly happen in it would exist simultaneously.  Were you to follow this chain of cause and effect in linear order, an arrangement of the highest order can be conceived of as emerging  - a multidimensional, self-conscious, self-organizing being who simply "is." Following the chain of cause and effect, we might find that thought signals are carried by the states of the light particles. Further following the chain, for companionship, this great Mind could generate, radiate, or "begat" co-equal but subordinate minds (the Spirit and the Son); and one of them (the Son) might be given the task of creating entire multidimensional  "programs" (to use a seemingly appropriate, but perhaps very crude analogy) of universes with complete physical laws and time that run simultaneously. 

How could time-bound beings such as you and I exist within a timeless mind? Our conscious awareness of the universe seems to be distinct from the flow of time. Why do I say this? Because each of us is like a man sitting on a tiny island in a vast river, watching the succession of cause and effect events flow by. If our consciousness has an element that is independent of time, then certainly God's consciousness and self-awareness can exist independently of time, too.

So perhaps we have been barking up the wrong tree by thinking of time as an external thing that exists independently of conscious awareness. Perhaps it is simply a quality of consciousness. If so, then perhaps God created time by creating beings who are aware of the succession of cause and effect events around them as they occur in logical order.

Please do not take these ideas as more than they are. They are only conjectures, thought experiments intended to illustrate conceivable ways that God could have sprung into existence, like an instantaneous explosion. They are intended to help you see that God is not an implausible idea at all. In fact, He may be the very best explanation for our own existence.

Please do not take or teach speculations like this as fact. Out of fear that someone might do just that, I was hesitant to write this. As my wife put it, "God is like a beautiful flower. Why not just enjoy the flower as it is? Why try to mentally dissect it? If it weren't for men who challenge the existence of God, you would not have to think about things like that." Perhaps she is right, and these speculations are going too far or are very incorrect. Let us not at all be surprised if the metaphysical reality, and the nature of God, concerning both of which God has revealed very little to us, are much more profound.

De 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Let's step onto more solid ground now, and consider some of the things that God has revealed to us about His nature. How does the Bible further describe this vast God whom Dawkins, like a tiny Chihuahua yipping at a patient Great Dane, has rashly pitted himself against?

God was not created, for there was no God who existed before Him:

Isa 43:10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  

The name He has chosen for himself, "I AM" (YHWH) seems designed to teach us about his timeless, uncreated, self-existent nature:

Exodus 3:14 And God saith unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT WHICH I AM;’ He saith also, ‘Thus dost thou say to the sons of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’

He created all things (including time and space):

Re 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

He is greater than all of His creation:

2Ch 6:18  But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! 

Ps 68:33  To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

In fact, all of creation is contained and held together within Him!

Colossians 1:16  for it was through Him [the Son] that everything was created in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.17  So He existed before all things, and through Him all things are held together.

Acts 17:28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Consider this synopsis of a short story I once wrote: 

Suppose that one day, man will be able to create simulated human beings who live in a software universe with virtual physical laws like our own.  Imagine that a "programmerist" - a virtual man who believes in a programmer, and an "aprogrammerist" - one who does not, are concluding a conversation. The aprogrammerist says,

“How can you believe that there is a programmer? If there were such a being, he would be much more complex that you or I, and therefore highly improbable. I think that you, my friend, are deluded, for he almost certainly does not exist.”

All the while, the aprogrammerist is unaware of any reality outside of his own, incognizant of why or how the physical laws in his software universe exist, and of course, living life as though he is not being watched and listened to by his programmer at all.

In summary, in the eternal realm where God dwells, complex order may be probable, since this realm is not subject to time or the time-based second law of thermodynamics. In that realm, innumerable cause and effect arrangements, including One of the highest order and complexity, could occur in "no time" at all.

The Bible reveals that the nature of God and the eternal realm in which He dwells is not the same as the nature of this universe or the human intelligences within it. In light of these scriptural revelations, Dawkins' argument that the God of the Bible is improbable is exposed as sheer conjecture. If Dawkins wants to challenge the existence of the God of the Bible, he must take into consideration more of what the Bible teaches regarding His nature.

~ 

 

Rusty Entrekin is a theology graduate of Louisiana College. He and his wife Julie have seven children, with four still at home, and four grandchildren. Currently, he resides in Kennesaw, GA. He writes apologetic and theological articles to help people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. If this article has blessed you, and you would like to free him up to write more, you may make a donation below.

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Rusty previously decided not to apply for 501c3 ministry status, so that he can write about political matters without worrying about government interference. Because of this, your gifts will not be tax deductible. However, you will receive a far greater reward for your donation:  treasure in heaven!