Why Believe in God? Part 4
Order in the World and Inside Us
by Ernest O'Neill
In other words, those so-called answers are not an explanation of creation at all. Normally when one sees a world like this or one sees a mountain -- one responds the same way as Einstein does or the same way as the most primitive person in the whole universe would respond. One says, "Who put the mountain there, who put the world here?" Maybe you will say, why do you ask "who"? Why do you ask, who put the world here? I can see that something must have started it all somewhere, but why do we say it's a "him" and not an "it"?
“It” or “him”?
Well, loved ones the same way as we draw other conclusions from everyday life. We look at what is here and we work back to the kind of force or being that would have had to create it. Let's say you go out of your room door into the dormitory corridor and you see a bone lying on the floor. You just do not say, "That cannibal girl down the corridor or that savage counselor has been chewing up freshmen again." You don't. If you see a bone that looks gnawed, you know what normally produces gnawed bones. There's a dog somewhere and that dog is out again. Or if you work it the other way, you go outside your door and find a piece of paper with a simultaneous equation on one side and part of "Paradise Lost" written on the other. You just do not say, "That stupid dog has lost his assignment again!" However, clever the dog is you know that a dog cannot produce "Paradise Lost". A dog cannot produce simultaneous equations. And that's why we say, "who".
Can you imagine a chair making you? Can you imagine even an animate object like a dog making you? We can’t. We automatically say no. Whatever made us, whether he made us in one moment, or whether he made us over a period of time, he must have been capable of putting these powers of development within us. So, he must be as personable at least, as we are. That's why we ask "who"? The being that created us must be at least as personal as we ourselves are.
If you look at this incredible world and look at three and a half billion of us different people, not two of us are the same. Not even twins are absolutely the same. Look at three and a half billion of us with different faces, with different ways of loving and being kind, with different ways of being understanding, and with different abilities to communicate with each other's personalities.
The order around us
Then look at the universe itself. Its seasons are absolutely reliable, with planets that orbit so precisely, we can depend on them to be in that spot when we shoot our man to the moon. Our bodies seal themselves when they are cut, often without much care on our part. Our blood contains more than 64 different substances and travels miles and miles around our body every day and never becomes sludge, but continues to maintain itself in its present state. Consider the air pressure that is exactly right for us. All you have to do is go up in a plane to begin to experience the difference of pressure on your body and our air pressure is exactly right.
Water itself is a miraculous substance that is exactly right in its boiling point and its freezing point for us to maintain our lives. When you look at a world like this, you have to conclude, some person who is at least as personable as us and as intelligent as us has designed this thing. You just do not think of it as something that happened by chance.
It's like the old illustration that the philosophers have used for generations. You are walking along the beach -- you find a watch. Your mind immediately says, "There must be a watch maker." There must be someone who is able to calculate the infinitely small distances that are connected with the manufacturer of a watch. You just don't think of taking the watch apart, throwing it into a dishwasher, letting it turn for 15 minutes and expecting that time plus chance will produce a perfect watch again. It won't. Time plus chance could not have produced this carefully, ordered, designed world that we have.
Why do we think we should do the right thing?
There is another reason, which I think is strong for believing that there is a God and it is something a little different from our personableness. Have you ever thought of this? There are three and a half billion of us here in this world, who spend most of our time being self-assertive, self-defensive, trying to get our own way and insist on our own rights. That's what comes naturally to us, isn't it? The more of us that are born, the more of us that lie, the more of us that steal, the more of us that fornicate, the more of us that swear, and the more of us that fight. We spend a lot of our time fighting -- personally, internationally, nationally, and socially. The bigger a city becomes, the more of a jungle it becomes. We find it far easier in our personal lives to lose our temper than to keep our temper. We find it far easier to be critical of other people than to be kind to other people. Yet we keep on saying these things are wrong. Now why? From where do we get that sense of moral obligation?
You all agree it's a nuisance to us. It brings guilt to us. It doesn't make life easy and it isn't easy to obey these things that we say we should do. We all say we should love each other, and yet we find it more natural to hate each other. We all say we should be unselfish towards each other and yet we find it more natural to be selfish. We all say we should build each other up and yet we find it more natural to criticize each other and tear each other down. Yet we keep on saying that those things are wrong.
Now, it can't be herd instinct because you know often you do what you believe is right against the pressures of your peers. It certainly isn't what is convenient because often you do things that you feel you ought to do that are very inconvenient. It can't be what pays you to do, because often it is a real disadvantage to you, to do what is right. It can't be what you were educated to do because wherever you go in the world, unselfishness is lauded as something that a person should be. Wherever you go in the world, everyone condemns cowardice in the face of enemies. Everybody condemns anyone who lets their friends down. Wherever you go in the world, even where there is no education, you'll find the standards are more or less the same. How could that be when none of us take to goodness naturally, and when it is a nuisance to us? Is it not because there is a being that has created us, who has standards that are higher than our natural ones and has wishes for our lives and plans for us that He is continually trying to communicate to us through our consciences?
Is there a God? The circumstantial evidence points to that as the most rational and the most plausible reason for the existence of our world, for our own existence as persons, for the order and design that is evident in our universe and for the sense of moral obligation that our conscience continually communicates to us. Yes, I would say it's the most rational explanation for all that we see around us. And it's the one that your mind is driven to most naturally and most logically, if you simply let your mind work in an unprejudiced common-sense way.
Empirical evidence that complements circumstantial evidence
Yet, all that is just circumstantial evidence, compared with the empirical evidence that is provided in this history book (the Bible). Next time I would like to try to talk about the evidence for the existence of God that is in this book and about its reliability. If you believe this moment that there is a God, you have obvious obligations and you can see them yourselves. That's the real test. What are you going to do now if you believe there is a God who put you here? What are you going to do?
Let us pray. Lord God, we see that it is difficult to avoid the calls and clams of logic and of the evidence that we see around us. Lord God, we would ask your forgiveness if we have been avoiding this issue for too long, so that we would be as free as Huxley is, to do whatever he wants. Lord, we see that is not using our minds and that we are obligated before you to use these minds and to follow them out to logical conclusions, and then to arrange our lives accordingly. So, Lord God, this coming week we intend to begin to look for you and for your voice in our consciences and to begin to respond to you and to find out why you put us here. We will do this in honesty and truth, for your sake and for our own. Amen