complexity of God make His existence improbable?
is an argument against the existence of God, lately championed
by Richard Dawkins, author of The
God Delusion, which basically goes like this:
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:
light where God dwells. This is
mentioned in I Timothy and Isaiah:
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:
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]:
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."
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:
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
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,
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:
the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis
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.
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.
nothing cannot do anything, so the first cause must have been
something or Someone.
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
since all material things require
a cause, the first cause must have been immaterial and
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).
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:
is before all things, and in him all things hold together. -
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.
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
God was not created, for there
was no God who existed before Him:
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
He created all things
(including time and space):
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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