Does believing in God require blind faith? Do we have to choose between science and faith? Is God real?
It’s the most important question to answer in life. If He doesn’t exist, we can carry on the way we are. If He does exist, our eternal home hangs in the balance. One thing is clear though, burying our heads in the sand doesn’t make it true or untrue — it just makes us uninformed.
Come on, let’s explore the evidence. Stick with me, this is going to blow your mind!
Originally published Dec. 19, 2017.
We’ll start by looking at the big picture and then narrow the focus each step of the way. First, we’re going to get our science on and then talk about the accuracy of the Bible. In order to contain these topics to one blog post I have to be ridiculously brief, but I’ve tried to offer extra resources if you’d like to dig deeper.
This is not over your head, try to soak it all in with a clear mind. I promise this will get you thinking in a fresh way. I’m so excited, let’s go!
Is our home planet the result of cosmic happenstance? One thing everyone can agree on is that the planet Earth is not ordinary. It is the only known planet able to sustain life. Let’s see what makes our home so special.
There are at least 30 parameters for a life-sustaining universe. If you wipe out one, there can be no life. The laws of physics are balanced on a razor’s edge for life. Here are a just a few powerful examples:
Gravity, as we know, is what pulls matter together. Without it, there cannot be planets, stars or complex organisms. If you change the force of gravity within one inch, anything larger than the size of a pea would be crushed.¹
“Imagine a ruler divided into one-inch increments and then stretched across the entire universe a distance of some 14 billion light years. … The setting for the strength of gravity could have been anywhere on the ruler, but it just happens to be situated the right place so that life is possible.” — “A Case of A Creator,” film by Lee Strobel
The cosmological constant is the expansion speed of space. Space was once thought to be static, but now (thanks to Hubble and Einstein) most scientists agree that it is ever-expanding. If space expands too quickly, the universe (galaxies, stars, planets) can’t form. The cosmological constant is fine tuned to 1 part in 100 million billion billion billion billion billion. Did you take that in? ¹
“The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.” — Michael Turner, astrophysicist
An inhabitable planet
There are about 20 characteristics of a planet that can sustain life, such as these:
- an oxygen-rich atmosphere
- liquid water
- large continental land masses
- a home star of the right temperature and mass
- an orbital path that is neither too far nor too close to the home star
- a moon large enough to stabilize the tilt of planet’s axis and its tides
- a magnetic field strong enough to deflect the sun’s radiation
The chances of all the necessary factors to sustain life appearing at the same time on the same planet are 1:1,000,000,000,000,000. ¹
After we’ve looked at a tiny sample of our environment’s fine tuning, let’s look at life itself.
Life in its smallest unit is a cell. They perform thousands of routine functions on a microscopic level. They are able to communicate to one another though chemical signals to determine how to form an arm or leg, and to make sure your head ends up on top. They are able to convert energy, divide, even repair.
A cell contains everything it needs to exist on its own and replicate, and most are so small they are not even visible to the human eye! Now, if you put one living cell in a sterile test tube with the perfect solution and temperature for a cell and poke a needle into it, the molecules will come out. But even in a perfect environment, another living cell cannot reform itself. It cannot be put back together.¹
Not only can something not come from nothing, but even the parts that exist can’t be put back together to form what they once were.
The chance of a simple 200-component organism developing by mutation and natural selection, just once, is less than one chance out of a billion trillion, according to Henry M. Morris in his book “For Time and Forever.”
According to evolution, the organism would have started with one part and successfully added 199 parts — one more after each generation. You can see the problem with the mathematical odds when you consider that even a one-celled plant can have millions of molecular parts.¹
DNA, located inside the cell’s nucleus, is a carrier of genetic information. It is the blueprint, design and instruction to make proteins, molecules, legs, eyes, hearts. It is the language of life, as they say.
Each human cell holds a copy of the entire 3 billion letter human genome. That coding would would take a fast typist, working 8 hours a day, 50 years to type it out. It would fill 5,000 books stacked 200 feet high. And it all fits inside a microscopic cell nucleus too small for the human eye to see.¹
“Who placed this working code, inside the cell? It’s like walking along the beach and you see in the sand, ‘Mike loves Michelle.’ You know the waves rolling up on the beach didn’t form that — a person wrote that. It is a precise message. It is clear communication. In the same way, the DNA structure is a complex, three-billion-lettered script, informing and directing the cell’s process.” — “Is God Real,” everystudent.com
Could we have come from a fish? Apes? I’m going to start with basics, in case you are a baby scientist like me. According to the book “Explore Evolution: Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism” (which I highly recommend), there are three definitions of evolution:
- Evolution #1: Change over time
- Evolution #2: Universal Common Descent (Darwinism)
- Evolution #3: The Creative Power of Natural Selection (Neo-Darwinism)
Charles Darwin changed the course of thinking in the 1800s with his book “Origin of Species” in which he proposes that we all came from one organism and have changed into multiple species slowly over time by natural selection (see above illustration).
Creationists believe that instead of one family tree we are an orchard of trees. God created organisms as stated in Genesis and they have evolved with variation since.
For the sake of time, there are three major problems that stood out to me with Darwinism during my reading:
1. Missing transitional animals. If every species has evolved slowly over time, one would expect to find intermediate organisms, but the fact is that we don’t. Transitional animals are the rare exceptions. Also, textbooks often fail to mention that many of the sequential mammal-like reptile samples presented are from different geographical locations and widely separated sedimentary rock. There is no neat order of fossil transition in the earth’s sedimentary layers one would expect to find. Not to mention some fossils from millions of years ago (such as the jellyfish, nautilus shell and ginkgo leaf) are exactly the same today as they were then.(Also see the Cambrian explosion.)
2. Hitting the limits. Natural selection can take away or vary features, but can it add an eye? “Explore Evolution” gave a couple interesting examples of breeding regarding this dilemma. “Breeders have tried for decades to produce a chicken that will lay more than one egg per day. They have failed. Horse breeders have not significantly increased the running speed of thoroughbreds, despite more than 70 years of trying. Darwin’s theory requires that species have an immense capacity to change, but the evidence from breeding experiments shows that there are definite limits to how much a species can change …”
Dog breeding is another example of how forced natural selection and interbreeding can lead to defects rather than advantages. Great Danes, bred for large size, now have bodies too large for their hearts and can develop bone cancer. Bulldogs, bred to have large heads, now need their puppies to be delivered by Cesarean section. Breeding evidence does not show an unlimited elasticity for change.
3. The molecular machine.
There is one last argument that stands out from the book — the machine-like tail found on a bacterial cell. Stay with me here, this is amazing.
During Darwin’s lifetime cells were thought to be simple blobs of protoplasm. Today we know cells are complex structures with motors, machines and circuits. Pictured is a flagellum (the whip-like tail) that powers a bacteria cell. It goes up to 100,000 RPMs and is built like a human machine — complete with a rotor, shaft and stator.
What does this have to do with evolution? This flagellum has 30 different protein parts. All 30 parts are necessary for function, and if you take away one it will not work. The problem Darwinists have is finding how natural selection could build such a structure. “According to Darwin, complex structures can arise — but only gradually, as natural selection preserves and accumulates numerous, small variations over time,” the book says.
The bottom line: “You can’t put something together like that gradually because they need a large number of parts working together at the same time before they will work at all,” says biochemist Michael Behe. See him explain it here.
Darwin himself said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications my theory would absolutely break down.”
Darwinsim works well for small scale change and variation, as an Evolution #1 subscriber would say, but random mutation and natural selection don’t have the creative power to make all life from one single organism, even given all the time of eternity.
How did we get a conscience? What defines right and wrong for us? Why don’t more people randomly kill each other because they want their shoes or don’t want to wait in line or even just on a whim? Only about 0.0046% of Americans have killed another human being.¹
Can molecules endlessly rubbing together or random species mutations create a conscience, a set of morals to live by? Even motorcycle “bad to the bone” types draw a clear line from drinking too much beer or creating a ruckus, and rape or child abuse. It is an inner voice telling us right from wrong.
Scientists still do not know where the conscience is located in the human brain.
The golden ratio
We are not recklessly designed globs, either. There is an art form and pattern found throughout nature at both microscopic and galactic levels. It is called the golden ratio.
The golden ratio is 1:1.61 (or 0.618 in its inverse). It is a perfect and symmetrical pattern, as seen in the diagram above. It is created by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part.
Didn’t get that? Me either, let’s look at this phenomenon in pictures. Look for the perfect spiral in each photo below.
The golden ratio is found in the shells, sunflower, pinecones, the galaxy, a hurricane, an unfurling leaf, petals, even the ocean waves! It’s also abound in the human body. Look at this photo of a woman’s face. I placed the golden ratio (without the spiral) over her face and it matched up to her features perfectly.
Here just a few examples of how the human body adheres to the 1:1618 ratio:
- The hand is as long as the upper arm.
- The foot is as long as the forearm.
- Each finger is longer than the next at the golden ratio.
- The measurement between the floor and navel compared to the navel and top of the head adheres to the ratio.
The golden ratio in a numeric pattern, is known as the Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 … When you add the previous two numbers it equals the next number. When you divide a number by its immediate predecessor in the pattern you will get 1.618.
The Fibonacci sequence makes it easier to identify even more things that fit the golden ratio. For example, the number of petals and tree roots and branches are normally in the Fibonacci sequence:
- Lilly: 3 petals
- Buttercup: 5 petals
- Chicory: 21 petals
- Daisy: 34
This phenomenon has been discovered and rediscovered throughout history and can be found in ancient pyramids, buildings and artwork. In fact, the most successful structures, art forms and compositions of all time seem to be based on this divine proportion.
Musical instruments are often based on the golden ratio. And some of the greatest music ever written reflects a correlation with the famous 0.618. For example, Mozart’s Sonata n. 1 in C Major and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, first movement, both adhere to the ratio.¹
And if you’re not blown away by the nature, waves and even music, listen to this: “Astronomers have discovered variable stars that periodically dim and brighten at frequencies close to the famed golden mean,” American Scientific reports.” The whole universe is singing His song!
In fact, the very dimensions that God himself gave Noah to build the ark adhere to the golden ratio. “This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high (Genesis 6:15).” The ratio 5:3 equals 1.66 (as accurate as possible with such simple numbers). The same is true of the measurements for the ark of the covenant. They also equal 1.66.¹
If this fascinates you, look up fractional geometry! Wow. The rabbit hole goes deeper and deeper.
I think we can all agree that our planet and the fact that we even exist is astounding, but maybe you still aren’t convinced that necessarily means we have a creator who has purposefully designed us and our world. Let’s keep building and move on to the most controversial book of all time, the Bible.
By a vast measure, the Bible is the most printed book of all time. Six billion copies of the Bible have been printed in 426 languages. That means 90 percent of the population has a Bible in its own language.¹
When I looked for the Top 10 printed books of all time, none of the lists were the same. They each recorded different books in different orders. But two things were the same in every list:
- The Bible is always listed at the top with numbers in the billions.
- The second books, though varied, are each numbered in the millions.
The Bible has been printed and circulated at least six times more than any other book in history. Why? It has been imperative for me to research the Bible and its integrity if I am going to follow it and live my life by it! Let’s go over some common questions.
Is the Bible true?
One factor that sets the Bible apart from other world religious writings is it’s remarkable consistency. The Bible is composed of:
- 66 books
- written by 40 authors
- in 3 languages
- in 3 continents
- over 1,500 years
… and yet its themes and story remain unified. It was written by farmers, shepherds, kings, prophets, tax collectors who all agree on the two subjects notorious for war and discord — religion and politics! How could all 66 books written in prisons, palaces, wilderness deliver one message, the same message? It is the message of God’s eternal plan and how He will save His people.
Can I get a witness?
The gospels were written in a time when other eye witnesses were still alive. In fact, there were at least 300 eye witnesses of the resurrection still alive when 1 Corinthians was written (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Writings would quickly be disregarded if false testimony was given with so many witness still present.
The gospels — the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — offer four accounts of Jesus’ time on Earth. What is noteworthy is that each of the books seem to be written completely independent of one another and speak from very different points of view. It’s not what you would see from a more coordinated collaboration. If you and I were going to corroborate a believable but made up story, wouldn’t we sit down and go over exactly what we would say to ensure it was consistent? It’s just not what happens in the gospels.
Some mention details others leave out. One might tell the first part of the story and another tells us the second, all depending on the author’s point of emphasis. It’s what would happen if we each just told the same story naturally.
Matthew is speaking to Jewish audience and wants to convey Jesus as the king and predicted deliverer. Luke gives us a history lesson and shows Jesus’ “human” side. John’s focus is evangelism. Mark stresses Jesus as a servant, who suffers for the good of others. Together, they give us a fuller picture.
And by the way, if I were writing the Bible I might have conveniently left out that Moses committed murder. Or that David killed a man because he got his wife pregnant. Or maybe that Paul relentlessly persecuted Christians before he wrote one-third of the New Testament. But these and hundreds of other sins and details did not get left out. There they sit in print for us to read thousands of years later. Why? Instead of only representing one-sided perfection, these misfit heroes of the Bible can give us hope in our own lives. We are not perfect, we do terrible things as well, but God can still use us as he used them.
There are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, according to J. Barton Payne’s “Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” lists. That’s a total of 1,817 biblical prophecies, many of which have been fulfilled. No other book has dared to be so laden with telling the future. See some examples in this article at Bible Study Tools.
What about the harder to believe stories?
I’ve heard people say something like “Yeah, I believe the Bible, except for Jonah being swallowed by a fish and living. That’s too much.” Why it wouldn’t be Jesus rising from the dead or even the whole Earth flooding, I don’t know, but it’s important say that God is not constrained by the natural laws he created.
And honestly I don’t think humans would be happy with or without the miracles. If he had never done anything supernatural, outside the laws of physics, we would question if he was really there or if he was truly all-powerful. Yet when He does them, we say “Nah, I can’t believe that could ever happen.” Do you see my point?
That said, I admit to still being curious about some specific stories. In an effort to be as brief as possible I can’t go into all of them, but check out Answers in Genesis for things like:
- Could Jonah survive being swallowed by a fish?
- Was There Really a Noah’s Ark & Flood?
- What about dinosaurs?
Has the Bible been altered?
The Bible is not a translation of translations. It was written in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew, which people still speak today.
No one questions whether we have the original words of Plato, but there are only seven ancient copies, and the oldest are separated from the original by 1,200 years. Socrates has no surviving manuscripts. The closest book in printed ancient copies to the Bible is Homer’s “Iliad” with 643 copies within 500 years of the original.¹
By enormous contrast, there are more than 5,600 copies of the new testament within 100 years of the original. And recently fragments from Mark have been found that were copied less than 100 years from the original.
The Dead Sea scrolls
In the 1940s, a shepherd boy found what are now known as the Dead Sea scrolls in the Qumran Caves in Israel. The Dead Sea scrolls contain the oldest copies of scripture ever found, even as early as 4th century BC. Secular archeologists confirm their validity.
Fragments of the book of Isaiah were recovered, which was written hundreds of years before Christ, and not a word had been altered. It is safe to say that the Bible has the same words today that it has had throughout the centuries. The accuracy of the words are reliable. The scroll is shown in the photo above.
Does archeology support the Bible?
The Bible is not a collection of cleverly invented stories (2 Peter 1:16). It is full of names, people, places and stories that can be verified. Thousands of ancient writings from hundreds of sites have been excavated confirming the Bible’s accuracy.
Of course, not all archeologists agree on dates and interpretations. Cutting technology changes previously set datings and new artifacts suddenly bring people “into existence,” but it is compelling and worth investigating on our journey of proof.
Here are a just a very select few archeological findings that support the Bible:
- Many ancient cities such as Babylon, Ur, and Beersheba mentioned in the old testament have been located and date back to coordinating times in the Bible.
- Proof of the Hittite population (enemies of the Israelites) didn’t exist until the 19th century.
- What is believed to be the city of Sodom was discovered and appeared to be abandoned suddenly as stated in Genesis 19.
- Jericho excavations show that it was violently destroyed as the account details in Joshua 6.
- King David’s palace was recovered.
- Herod the Great’s palace was found, where Jesus was tried.
- Stone tablets have been recovered proving that Pontius Pilate existed, which had been up for debate.
- The Bible lists detailed genealogies in Genesis, Numbers, Chronicles, Ezra, Matthew and Luke. These confirm prophesy (Jesus was from the line of David) and reinforce scriptural accuracy and historic timelines.
- Seven compelling evidences
- Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
- 10 Archaeological Discoveries Consistent With Biblical Passages
- FAQs of biblical archeology
- You Can Believe the Bible
The Bible is worthy of your attention on an academic level and personal level. At least consider spending some time in the most-printed book ever written, the one that shaped humanity more than any other.
However, it is remarkable that where confirmation is possible and has come to light, the Bible survives careful investigation in ways that are unique in all literature. Its superiority to attack, its capacity to withstand criticism, and its amazing facility to be proved right are all staggering by any standards of scholarship. Seemingly assured results “disproving” the Bible have a habit of backfiring.” — Clifford Wilson
And all of this leads us to where we need to be — Jesus. No other man in the history of the earth has been more influential than Jesus Christ. Even his birth became a dividing point in time — AD and BC. The question I have asked many times is this: How can a man who lived over 2,000 years ago affect my life today?
Did Jesus really exist?
Looking for proof of Jesus outside the Bible, Lawrence Mykytiuk wrote this article detailing specific works from non-Christians that mention Jesus. I counted at least seven examples in his text, maybe the most notable coming from Tacitus, a Roman senator and historian who, in fact, despised Christians.
Mykytiuk writes, “As far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist. Referring to the first several centuries C.E., even a scholar as cautious and thorough as Robert Van Voorst freely observes, ‘… [N]o pagans and Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus’ historicity or even questioned it.’ “
Jesus Christ fulfilled over 300 prophesies in the Bible. He essentially fulfills the old testament. Here are the major eight, all written between 500 and 1,000 years before Christ’s birth:
- The Messiah will die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16).
- The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
- The Messiah will remain silent while He is afflicted (Isaiah 53:7).
- A messenger will prepare the way for the Messiah (Malachi 3:1).
- The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
- The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend and suffer wounds in His hands (Zechariah 13:6).
- The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
- The betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13).
According to “Science Speaks,” written by Peter Stoner, the chances of the eight major prophesies of Jesus being fulfilled by one person is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. 1:100,000,000,000,000,000
The chances of one man fulfilling 40 of the prophesies in the Old Testament is 1:100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.¹
According to author Josh McDowell, Jesus fulfilling just eight of the 300 prophesies is equivalent to covering the entire state of Texas two feet deep with silver dollars, marking one of them red, blind folding a man and asking him to find the red silver dollar. The chances of him finding it on his first pick would be the same as one man fulfilling just eight of the prophecies about the Messiah.
I’m running out of time to get into proof that Jesus rose from the dead, but it’s so fascinating I can’t help myself. Aside from the hundreds of eye witnesses, in chapter 19, John describes the crucial blow to his death: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.” Medical professionals think his beating and hanging on the cross alone would not have been survivable. But if that weren’t enough, this outpouring of blood and clear fluid would have come from a punctured lung and the clear fluid that surrounds the heart. Read more here.
This is a test
If you believe Jesus at one time walked the face of the Earth, you have two decisions on your hands. This is a multiple choice test with only one correct answer.
Jesus was only one of these:
A.) a liar
B.) a lunatic
C.) or Lord
Those are your options. It is called the trilemma. He was not a good, moral teacher. He could only be one of these things. In the words of author C.S. Lewis (a once determined atheist):
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
The disciples believed Jesus to be the son God and gave up everything to follow Him. In fact, all of them (aside from Judas who hanged himself after betraying Jesus) remained loyal and committed to Christ, continuing to spread the gospel until their deaths. All were martyred for their faith except John, who died in exile.
The second mandatory question, if you answered C, is if you will decide to follow Christ?
Can all these consistencies in science and history, all these one in a billion chances, be a role of the dice? They cannot. You are not the result of a primordial soup, as Strobel puts it. We were created, designed and this post doesn’t even get to the fact that we are also deeply loved!
God does not ask us to follow Him blindly. His fingerprint is all around us, even on us. And the best part is that He wants us to explore His creation, and there will always be more for us to discover — even in Heaven.
If it is difficult for you to believe in another dimension, a spiritual world you can’t see with your eyes, keep in mind that even String Theory proposes at least eight alternate dimensions.
Once you come to the realization you were created, not a happenstance mistake, you can’t look back and you can’t live your life the same way. This changes things. How will it change your life?
“You don’t have to have to commit intellectual suicide to come to the conclusion that there is an intelligent designer because today science is pointing more directly and powerfully toward a creator today than another history in the world.” — Lee Strobel
I used to think that my natural skepticism held me back in my faith. Now I understand that if I don’t stop at only asking a question, but take the next step of actually seeking answers, my relationship flourishes with God. In fact, he invites my questions and provides answers in unexpected ways — a random book someone lends me, a sermon on the radio, a passage in the Bible, a nature program I watch with the kids.
As my questions have been answered over the years, I have changed the essence of my questions from “Do you exist and are you good?” to “Lend me your wisdom, Lord. I can’t wait to learn more about you and your creation.” I wrote this post to share what I’m learning and to encourage people to dive below the surface of everyday routines, chatter and entertainment to see something bigger.
If something has struck you here, if there is something you read echoing in your ears, follow through. Don’t let the birds peck away at the scattered seed on the ground, let those seeds sink in fertile soil and bloom! Oh, how it will change your life!
Let me offer some resources for you to continue with. Don’t let that spark that was just lit by God fizzle immediately. Fan it, feed it, grow it, because with it comes a new life. A better life, a fuller life.
I’m here for you. Write a comment. Send me an email. Don’t hesitate for one moment to do it. I might not be able to explain quantum physics to you, but love talking about God and His creation!
What part do you relate to more? The science? The Bible’s history? Prophesy? Depending on your preference, check out one of these resources (all free except the books) to go deeper:
- “The Case for a Creator,” 1-hour video by Lee Strobel
- “Information Enigma” 21-minute video
- “Signature in the Cell: Stephen Meyer Faces his Critics,” video
- “Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism”
- “Signature in the Cell”
- “Why you can believe the Bible,” a sermon by Voddie Baucham
- “From God to Us: How we Got Our Bible,” a book by Norman Geisler and William Nix
Have more questions?
Me too! I have so many questions. Here are some sites I go to regularly to type them in:
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29