The fundamental laws of probability answer, “Yes, you do!”
by Dave Bovenmyer
“ACTUALLY NO ONE CAN PROVE THAT GOD EXISTS,” MY UNCLE BOLDLY STATED TO THE ENTIRE SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS. “IN FACT, WE REALLY CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING, NOT EVEN THAT WE EXIST.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” our pastor responded.
Suddenly my uncle jumped out of his seat with a yell. Our pastor had kicked him in the shin under the table.
My uncle decided to drop the argument. He had had enough proof for one day.
Although some people may require more evidence than others to reach a conclusion, the fact that we exist is so obvious that most of us never question it. Yet just as there is an abundance of evidence to prove our existence, so there is an abundance of evidence to convince any open-minded person that God exists.
Of the many evidences for the existence of God, one of the most convincing is the existence of life as we know it. The incredible complexity that we find in living things demands the existence of a master designer.
Even the smallest unit of life, the cell, is amazingly complex: According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The information content of a simply cell has been estimated at around one trillion bits or pieces of information.” That, according to Cosmos television series host Carl Sagan, is equivalent to the total number of letters in all of the books in the world’s largest library.
How do scientists who believe that God had no part in the origin of the universe postulate that such complexity could arise by chance? They resort to their hero — time. “Time is the hero on the plot,” Nobel prize winner George Wald has said. “Given enough time anything could happen — the impossible becomes probable; the improbable becomes certain.”
Prominent evolutionist Julian Huxley has stated that — given enough time — monkeys typing on typewriters could eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare.
Such statements may seem plausible at first glance, but upon closer examination they become ludicrous. In his book Darwin’s Enigma, author and international lecturer Luther Sunderland calculated the statistical probability that thousands of monkeys – enough to cover every square foot of the Earth’s surface – typing on typewriters could produce a specific five-word sentence. Even if each one typed at the fantastic rate of 10 characters a second for 30 billion years, “there would not be the slightest reasonable chance that a single one would type out a single specific five-word sentence of 31 characters,” Sunderland concluded. In fact, the actual probability that any one monkey would type that sentence in 30 billion years is less than once chance in a trillion.
If a single five-word sentence could not be formed by chance in 30 billion years, it is utterly inconceivable that a cell – containing more data than all of the letters in all of the volumes of the world’s largest library – could have formed by random processes.
In 1981, famous British mathematician and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, in his book Evolution from Space, reversed his position on the origin of life. Although he had been an atheist all of his life, he came to the conclusion that the high degree of order in the universe demanded pre-existing intelligence “even to the limit of God.”
According to his calculations, the probability of life as we know it originating by random processes is one chance in 1040000 – that is 10 multiplied by itself 40,000 times.
Since the number 1040000 is so large that it is difficult to illustrate, let us try to visualize a much smaller number, 10157, using an illustration from astronomer and mathematician Peter Stoner’s book Science Speaks.
For his illustration, Stoner chose one of the smallest particles that we know of, the electron. The electron is so small that you can lay 2.5 × 1015 of them side by side to make a line one inch long. If we were to count the electrons in this one-inch line, counting 250 per minute, it would take 19 million years to finish.
Now let’s take 10157 electrons and put them in a pile. Since electrons are so incredibly small, it would seem that our pile of electrons would easily fit within a few square miles. However, the number 10157 is so large that such a pile would actually be inconceivably big.
To help us comprehend the volume of a pile of 10157 electrons, let’s first imagine a solid ball of electrons extending in all directions from the earth 1.5 million light-years, the distance from our galaxy to the next nearest one. (A light year is almost 6 trillion miles.) Would such a ball use up our 10157 electrons? No, it would be extremely tiny in comparison. Our pile of 10157 electrons would be 2 × 1024 times the size of this ball.
Imagine that we took this utterly humongous pile of 10157 electrons, somehow marked one electron, stirred up the whole mess, blindfolded a man, and had him pick one electron at random. His chances of picking the marked one would be one in 10157. And yet, according to Sir Fred Hoyle, the chance of life originating by random processes is not one in 10157, but an almost infinitely less probable chance of one in 1040000.
The figures speak for themselves. There is absolutely no reasonable chance of life originating through random processes.
If someone claimed that a fountain pen had originated over thousands of years through different pressures and forces of nature, we would consider his statement ridiculous. We all know that even something as simple as a fountain pen had to have a designer. How much more so with the incredible complexity of life.
If the evidence for a master designer is so obvious, why do many people still refuse to believe in God? Chapter one of the book of Romans gives the answer, “Although they knew about God,” it says, “they refused to honor Him as God or to give thanks.”
Men do not reject God because of a lack of evidence. We reject Him because, not wanting anyone to tell us how we should live, we refuse to submit to God. Or because deep inside, we know that we have violated the commands of a holy God and cannot bear to face the possibility of His judgment.
But God has provided forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus suffered on the cross, He paid the severe penalty for our violation of God’s commands. If we put our trust in Him and accept this payment for our sins, we will not only know intellectually that God exists, but will experience Him personally as we see Him working daily in our lives.
Reprinted from Potential Magazine