In January of 2004, the atheist community was rocked by a major announcement. Antony Flew, probably the world’s most influential atheist of the last 50 years, publicly acknowledged his move from atheism to belief in God’s existence (he hasn’t embraced Christianity just yet, though). Let me give you some perspective. Flew’s announcement is equivalent to Billy Graham calling a press conference and telling the world he is leaving Christianity. Can you imagine the shock waves throughout the Christian world?
So why did this life-long atheist ditch atheism? Flew said he “had to go where the evidence leads.” And what was that evidence? “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries.... I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”
Whoa. Did you hear that? A really smart atheist was convinced by the scientific evidence for God’s existence. If only everyone could be as open-minded and honest as Flew. So what is Intelligent Design? And what evidence is he referring to?
Intelligent Design makes two basic claims: 1) Intelligent agents leave behind evidence or “fingerprints” and 2) in the natural world we have discovered those fingerprints. The first claim is uncontroversial.
Think about it. You’re an intelligent agent. Everywhere you go you leave behind evidence of your presence. It could be a note you wrote, clothes you left on the floor, or actual fingerprints you smudged on a sliding glass door. If someone enters a room after you and looks closely enough, they’ll find evidence you had been there. Likewise, when we investigate the natural world, we find Someone’s fingerprints. Here are two examples.
First, scientific discoveries of the last century provide strong evidence the universe exploded into existence in the Big Bang. Yes, I said the Big Bang. And no, if you accept the Big Bang it does not mean you accept evolution. This is an unfortunate myth Christians sometimes believe. If Big Bang evidence is persuasive to you, then you must also accept an old universe (approximately 12 billions years old). But some Christians think an old earth is necessarily connected to evolution. That’s nonsense. In fact, don’t get stuck on debates about the age of the earth. It’s more important that God created than when He created. Whether you think the earth is young or old, Christians on both sides can join forces against macroevolution.
The important thing about the Big Bang is it points to a beginning and therefore, to a Beginner or First Cause. If you heard a small bang in the room next door and asked your mom what caused it and she said it was nothing, would you be satisfied with her answer? Of course not. You’d check it out for yourself. You’d look for the cause of the small bang. Well, what’s true of small bangs is true of big bangs. The Big Bang implies a beginning and therefore, a Beginner. And no one fits that description better than God.
Second, recent scientific discoveries show our universe is finely tuned. This simply means there are certain details in the universe that had to be “just right” in order to produce life. For example, the gravitational force must be constant. The expansion rate of the universe must be constant. A life-sustaining solar system can have only one star. And on and on.
Scientists tell us there are more than 50 “just right” details in the universe that make life on planet earth possible. What are the chances of this happening? Really smart guys who calculate this stuff tell us there is a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent chance. In other words, there is no chance for chance. Instead, a finely tuned universe points to a Fine Tuner, God. These are just two examples of the evidence but we’ve got more. Biological information in DNA. Irreducible complexity at the molecular level. Earth’s special location in the universe. The more we discover about our universe, the more we see God’s fingerprints all around us.