Recently, my teenage son had a friend ask him, “How do you know God exists?” That's a big question.
My observation is that many people of every age and stage of life, either publicly or privately, whether they grew up in church or not, at some point wonder about this same question.
A few weeks ago, I Googled this question and more than 210 million results popped up in less than one second. Which result is true? While I appreciate a search engine like Google, I’d like to suggest that there is a better place to discover the answer. When we understand the complex design of our universe, it points to a designer.
The book of Genesis gives the account of creation. It was not written as much to explain how God created the heavens and the earth but to explain that God did indeed create them. Chapter 1 records God creating light and setting these lights in the sky — the sun, moon and stars — to separate the day from the night and to be the signs to mark the seasons, days and years.
We see evidence of this based on what is called the fine-tuning argument. There are many complex constants of our universe that allow Earth to sustain life, like the constant of each day having 24 hours, the uniformity of gravity, and the dependability of time and seasons. Imagine the chaos it would create if time was inconsistent and seasons were random.
Sir Isaac Newton was a brilliant mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian and author who lived in the 1600s. He studied the planets, understood the uniform nature of gravity that calculates time, developed Newton’s laws of motion, and discovered the complex connection of nature working together. He marveled at the design of our solar system and wrote, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”
What about those of us who aren’t brilliant scientists and mathematicians? What will help us understand this complex universe?
It was the English clergyman William Paley in the 1700s who simplified Newton’s brilliant analysis so that the rest of us could understand the significance of the fine-tuning argument. Paley explained that every watch has a watchmaker.
Frank Turek, author of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist,” explains it this way: Imagine you’re walking along in the woods and you find a Rolex watch on the ground. What caused that watch to end up there? The wind and the rain? Years of erosion or an explosion? Nothing explodes and creates order. The watch had a watchmaker. We can rightly assume that someone accidentally lost that watch in the woods, not that it showed up by chance.
Scientists have discovered, and are continuing to discover, that the universe we live in is much more complex than a watch. It has been precisely designed to keep time, days, years and seasons. Every design has a designer. The universe has a highly complex design; therefore, the universe had an intelligent designer.
However, God didn’t wind up this world we live in like a clock and then let it go, wishing us good luck and hoping everything worked out. God created humans in his image to bear his image, giving dignity to our humanity. He didn’t leave us to figure life out on our own but desires a personal relationship with every precious person.
Maybe you’ve wondered: If God really created the world, why is life so hard? Or why am I hurting? God never promised that life would be easy, but he did promise that he would be with us.
The Bible is one long story of how God’s rescue meets our rebellion and our loneliness meets his love. His words of comfort are spoken through Isaiah the prophet, “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
When we live knowing that God has created us and saved us through his son, Jesus Christ, we will see that he can make beauty from what is broken.
If we don’t understand who Jesus is and why he existed, we will not understand who we are and why we exist. His life is like a light to help us make sense of the life we live and the world we live in. He helps us discover meaning in the mundane and forge a future out of failure. We can experience joy in discouragement, peace in the seasons of waiting, and hope from despair.
Matt Mylin is a pastor at Worship Center, a Lancaster church. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.