There are several lines of evidence related to the existence of God, but perhaps the most intuitive argument comes from our observations of biology. As we examine the complexity and inter-connectivity of biological systems, we can’t help but come away with the impression these organisms and cellular micro-machines have been carefully crafted by a master artist. Even committed atheist, Richard Dawkins, (in his seminal work, The Blind Watchmaker), concedes the appearance of design: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Biologist Robert Dorit puts it this way: “…the apparent fit between organisms seems to suggest some higher intelligence at work, some supervisory gardener bringing harmony and color to the garden.” Is God real? The appearance of design in biology provides yet another piece of evidence.
The argument for God’s existence from the appearance of design is known as the “Teleological Argument” (the Greek word, “telos,” means “design”). The argument was first developed by William Paley (1743 – 1805), who argued the intricate, complex, detailed nature of a watch begs intuitively for the existence of a “watch maker”. If we see similar evidence of design in biological systems, doesn’t this also beg for the existence of a biological designer sufficient for the task? Here is one possible formation of the argument:
(1) Human artifacts (like watches) are products of intelligent design
(2) Biological systems and cellular micro-machines resemble human artifacts
(3) It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, biological systems and cellular micro-machines are the product of intelligent design
(4) But, biological systems and cellular micro-machines are vastly more complex and sophisticated than human artifacts
(5) It is reasonable to conclude, then, the designer responsible for such biological systems and cellular micro-machines must be vastly more intelligent and sophisticated than any human designer
(6) God is vastly more intelligent and sophisticated than any human designer
(7) God is, therefore, the most reasonable candidate for the Intelligent Designer responsible for biological systems and cellular micro-machines
It all comes down to this: can natural forces alone (i.e. the laws of physics and chemistry, unguided chance mutation, and the creative power of natural selection) account for the complexity and “appearance” of design cited by so many atheist biologists? The complexity we see in cellular organisms must be attributed to one of three mechanisms (or some combination thereof):
All of us, regardless of worldview, must account for the appearance of design from one of these three causal factors, and the “burden of explanation” is equally shared. As a theist, it’s not enough for me to point to the insufficiency of naturalism and then default to intelligent agency. I must demonstrate the deficiency of chance and natural law and the positive evidence for intelligent agency (one chapter of my next book is dedicated to this cumulative case for design). The atheist must, however, provide an account for the appearance of design from chance and natural law alone, and the burden of proof is as real for the naturalist as it is for the theist.
In future ColdCaseChristianity.com articles, we’ll examine a few common evidences for design in biological systems as we make the case for God’s existence known as the Teleological Argument. Is God real? Purposeful, intentional designs are always the creative product of purposeful intelligent designers. If we find such design features in biology, God is the most reasonable explanation.