Is the Existence of
complexity of God make His existence improbable?
There is an
argument against the existence of God, lately championed by Richard
Dawkins, author of The God
Delusion, which basically goes like this:
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
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
The eternal realm
of light where God dwells. This is mentioned in I Timothy
“...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
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."
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),
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
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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
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