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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 seems to assume that God is either (1) a part of the physical universe, or (2) that God is of such a nature that He came into being through some sort of process or random arrangement in time. Neither the Bible nor the traditions of Christian philosophy teach either of these assumptions.

Instead, the Bible teaches us that God is not only greater than our universe, but that He is greater than all of the realms of reality. As wise King Solomon said when He dedicated the temple,

" But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens, the heavens of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have built?" - I Kings 8:7

Secondly, the Bible teaches that God created all things:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

The God of the Bible is not only greater than the universe, but He is greater than all of the heavens - even the highest ones. He also created them, so He does not owe His existence to them or to any random process within them.

Rather, He is the ground of all being - the necessary, pre-existent first cause of all things. Why do Christian theologians and philosophers say this? There are very sound philosophical reasons for it.

First of all, nothing cannot do anything, so the first cause must have been something or Someone.

Secondly, the first cause could not have had a cause, or it would not have been the first cause. So the first cause must have been pre-existent.

Thirdly, since all material things require a cause, the first cause must have been immaterial and pre-existent.

Fourthly, think of the immaterial things that you know of, such as abstract objects, time and space.  Of these, many are not causal.  Of those that can cause things, the only one that could conceivably cause something without being acted on first is the consciousness that governs self-aware minds.  Even a spatial quantum vacuum field, though it might be considered immaterial, must be disturbed or acted upon in order to cause something.  Time does not appear to be causal, though it does regulate cause and effect by keeping everything from happening at once. This would mean that the first cause must have been an immaterial, self-aware consciousness (a spiritual intelligence).

Computer game universes and the imaginary universes of the human mind illustrate that it would be possible for an unembodied mind to create a universe. The detail of that universe would depend upon the characteristics of that mind. This may not be the way that God created the universe, but it is one conceivable way.  In favor of this idea is the fact that the Bible teaches us that universe is contained within God and held together by Him:

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. - Colossians 1:17

And so Dawkin's argument is based on ignorance of the Bible and is therefore a straw man argument. The "god" Dawkins believes that he is refuting is not the God of the Bible.

Although God's thoughts are very complex, this does not necessarily mean that His fundamental essense is. It may be very simple. But that is beside the point; without knowing what God's fundamental nature is, how could Dawkin's possibly know that God's existence is improbable?

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.

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 in some ways from the flow of time. Why do I say this? Because our conscious awareness of time 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.

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 light of these scriptural revelations, Dawkins' argument that the God of the Bible is improbable is clearly a straw man argument based on ignorance of the Bible. It completely misses the point of the necessary pre-existence of God as the first cause.  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.


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!