COLUMN: Debating the ultimate question
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 14:02
Often on a university campus, the most important debate of all arises: Is there a God? Likewise, is it logical to believe in one? Is it rational? Does it conflict with science? Does it even matter? Have we evolved and advanced past the point of these questions? These are all good questions that require good people with good answers. In my case, I have no intention of preaching, but rather of expressing a few thoughts in a calm, rational and logical manner. Despite my own inadequacy, I hope many of us will find value and possibly even ask ourselves some difficult questions. I’m even more hopeful that some of us will seek for the answers.
In our quest, we may look to men such as John Locke, the writings of whom much of our country’s history is founded upon, including influence on the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Aquinas, a powerfully influential philosopher from the 13th century. And of course, Rene Descartes, the man who dramatically and forever impacted our mathematical system with the Cartesian plane. There are many more, but what I find interesting is each of these very famous and highly influential men tried very hard to prove the existence of God through philosophy. Aquinas tried to prove the existence of God and the nature of the soul through sensory experience; Descartes through incredibly deep rationalization and reasoning. Locke in many ways accepts it as simple fact and uses empirical — verifiable — observation and experience to support the claim. It is true some other philosophers were agnostic, but the fact remains that many of the greatest historical impacts upon philosophy have come through people trying to discover and prove the existence of God. Of course, there is no question we could also look to many of the founders of this country, most of whom believed devoutly in a creator who had a divine role in the founding of our nation.
We may believe in evolution as a scientific plausibility to explain certain phenomena. Darwin found finches change over time due to natural selection as per their environment. I don’t dispute that. But where does a finch come from? Where does this planet come from and where do we come from? Certain scientists say it is all the product of impalpable chance, a sort of Big Bang. Evolutionists often argue we are only slightly more advanced than the lesser animal kingdom. This idea is much less ennobling than the idea that we are “created in God’s image.” Imagine the pain and human misery that could be avoided if we all understood we have more in common with God than with a gorilla.
Now suppose we arrived on another planet and found something similar to an iPad. Surely, even the most morally confused would not assume it was created by chance, however infinitesimally small. We would immediately begin to search for the intelligent designer who created it. Why? Because its vast complexities and designs require a steady, intelligent hand to put it in such functional order. Now, take a moment to realize the very eyes that are reading this paper are infinitely more complicated and organized than an iPad. Your digestive system, pulmonary system, respiratory system and every other system are stunningly intricate and flawlessly organized. Not only are they each individually more complex and perfect than an iPad, but they all work together in incredible harmony. It is true that disease and bodily imperfections are present in this world, but the reasons why require a much deeper and more significant conversation, one far more involved than a single newspaper column can effectively provide.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the astronomer who studies the orbit of the moon and stars. Everything is in perfect balance. If Earth were not held consistently in just the right place, then temperatures would fluctuate so much that life would be virtually unsustainable. What would we ever do without the moon? When we really truly and honestly ponder the vast complexities and perfect order of our universe, we find it to be a greater leap of faith to deny the existence of God than to believe He designs and directs it all.
This is exactly what happened to Francis Collins, the man who was primarily in charge of mapping the human genome project. He started as a stark atheist and ended as a deeply committed Christian. He said, “To get our universe, with all of its potential for complexities or any kind of potential for any kind of life-form, everything has to be precisely defined on this knife edge of improbability … You have to see the hands of a creator who set the parameters to be just so because the creator was interested in something a little more complicated than random particles.”
Philosophers, the founding fathers, geneticists, mathematicians and now a fellow student at Utah State University firmly declare God lives. He is real. All of existence testifies of Him and logic and reason defy any other thought.
–Richard Winters is a senior majoring in Law and Constitution Studies and Communication Studies. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org