The Miracles of Materialism

Atheists have long derided Christians for believing in miracles. They’re impossible, they say. Jesus can’t turn water into wine, and Moses can’t part the Red Sea. The Bible makes ridiculous claims about impossible events. They can’t be true.

But atheists need to look no further than their own worldview, materialism, to find miracle claims. Their view entails that matter is all there is. There are no souls, angels, or God. There is no cosmic intelligence. Nothing immaterial exists. If something does exist, it’s physical and made up of matter. Once this position is understood, it becomes evident that the atheist’s materialistic worldview makes several miracle claims to explain reality. Here are just three of them.

#1: It would be a miracle for the universe to come from nothing. As the law of conservation of mass states, matter cannot be created nor destroyed. Despite this well-known law, atheists believe that all of space, time, and matter came into existence from nothing and by no one. How can this be possible? If you have nothing to begin with, then you’ll have nothing in the process and nothing in the end. From nothing, nothing comes. Despite this commonsensical idea, notable MIT physicist Lawrence Krauss titled his book A Universe from Nothing. That’s bold. How could you get even one atom, let alone a planet or the entire universe, from nothing? There’s no material to begin with, there’s no time to do any work, and there’s no one to do the working. Nothing would yield an eternity of nothing. According to the atheist worldview of materialism, however, miracles are apparently possible. The absence of something created the presence of everything. Not only did matter appear out of nowhere, but it managed to fabricate a universe that creates and sustains human life without the help of anyone. That means nothing made something and no one made someone. It’s the ultimate free lunch. But creating the universe is only the first problem.

#2: It would be a miracle for the information in DNA to arise without an intelligence. Every time you come across information, you reasonably conclude it came from someone. Books are written by authors, and paintings are painted by painters. If it contains information, it never arises on its own. Our universal experience is that information comes from intelligent agents.

DNA is an information storage medium in your cells that contains the design blueprints for every part of your body. Its data is passed on to miniature factories that create your cells, tissues, and organs. The capacity of DNA to store information rivals any man-made medium. According to biologist Michael Denton, “The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet…could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written.” That blows away the capacity of a hard drive.

Bill Gates, co-founder of the software giant Microsoft, once wrote, “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” Gates’s analogy is telling. Software programs are written by intelligent agents known as programmers. No program—not even the smallest smartphone app—ever programmed itself. Every software application requires a mind to write its code.

Yet, according to the worldview of materialism, there is no God and, therefore, no intelligence or mind. All the information and design code found in DNA came from no person, God, or intelligence. It arose from an entirely mindless and chance process. This is truly miraculous.

#3: It would be a miracle for humans to develop free will. Remember that the atheist worldview of materialism says that matter is all there is. Humans don’t have a soul, an immaterial part of who we are. We’re composed merely of physical tissue. But if that atheist description is correct, then it would be impossible for humans to have free will. That’s because physical objects, no matter how complex they are, don’t have the capacity for free will. A billiard ball, for example, can’t change direction on its own. It doesn’t have free will. Its movement is dependent on the forces of physics. Something more physically complex, like a stapler, has the same limitation. The same would also be true of a car, which is far more complex. Increasing the complexity of a physical object doesn’t increase the capacity for free will. That’s why a human, who is magnitudes more complex, can’t have free will, either, because he is also just a physical object.

Free will, however, is a quality that everyone experiences. There would have to be an immaterial “part” of humans—a center of consciousness—for there to be a “place” where free will can exist. Since materialism asserts there is nothing immaterial, human beings can’t—even in principle—have free will. That’s why it would be a miracle for humans to develop it if the materialistic worldview of atheism is true.

These miracles of materialism are more miraculous than any biblical story. That’s because atheism demands they be possible despite the materialistic worldview being impotent to do any such thing. If the biblical worldview is true, however, then there is a God who created the universe and its laws. Miracles would be possible because He could bend or suspend those laws. Heal a leper? Piece of cake. Turn water into wine? No problem. Part the Red Sea? Child’s play. All things are possible with God.

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Alan Shlemon

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