Sunday, October 24, 2010

Observing Is Believing

The universe we observe is a physical universe, created transcendently by God from outside our currently observed dimensions of time, space, matter, and energy. God is not confined to the dimensions we observe. He exists beyond them in dimensions we do not experience. But He also exists in our physical dimensions. Humanity observed Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity.

Since God created our universe with its time, space, matter, and energy, one would expect Him to leave behind observable, telltale signs of His work, just as we would expect an artist or artisan to do. New Testament disciples Thomas and Philip (John 14:11) had difficulty believing in Christ as the revelation of the Father. Christ provided a mundane “learning aid.” He implored them, “At least believe the evidence of the miracles themselves.” Observing the incarnate Son of God, what He said and what He did, helped them judge the truth of His divinity. Their conclusions were supported by physical evidence.

Those who perceive intelligent design (ID) in our cosmos and in our living systems base their judgment on observations of the physical realm. Even as Christ urged His disciples to believe based on His works, so we may observe the complex, ordered, functional systems surrounding us. It is not difficult to perceive plentiful and overwhelming evidence of design.

What is simple and credible to some observers does not seem simple and credible to others. They may, by an act of their will, reject the idea of a physical order intelligently designed by a supernatural agent. Others complain that ID is religion because God must enter the discussion. Some may grumble that we should not conclude the reality of ID based on scientific principles because ID is not legitimate science.

Objections to ID are not limited to secularists. Some thoughtful theists do not possess a vision of ID as an apologetic tool either within the church or outside its doors. It is surely true that the full message of God’s love and redemption for man is not revealed merely by inspecting the order and design of the cosmos.

The path to belief in God is traveled by scholars of history, philosophy, theology, and science, to name a few disciplines. The knowledge provided by each of these fields is God-gifted. The structure of our faith and belief system is supported in multidimensional ways. Observation of the design features of our universe and its life forms is one of the strong support pillars of that structure.