Have you ever admired the beauty of a flower or the grace and power of a Bengal tiger? Have you ever stood upon the shores of an ocean and thought of all the variety and intricacy of the life that dwells there? Have you ever looked up into the sky and admired the grace of a bird in flight by day and the awesome vastness of the heavens by night? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a weeping child and been struck by the complexity of the human eye? Have you ever listened to a doctor speak of the wonderment of the human brain and nervous system? Not to mention the immune system or the delicateness of the chemistry of the blood in your veins?
Do these things speak to you of a Creator? To some, the greatest witness to special creation is the argument based on design. Its official term is teleology from the Greek word for “an end accomplished.” Teleological arguments have been used by philosophers for thousands of years to speak of the reasonableness of believing that a Creator God exists. The theme is well stated by Galen, A. D. 200, who wrote: “How can a man of any intelligence refer all this to chance, as its cause; or if he denies this to be the effect of foresight and skill, I would ask what is there that foresight and skill do effect? For surely where chance and accident act, we do not see this correspondence and regularity of parts. Was it chance that made the skin give way so as to produce a mouth? Or if this happened by chance, did chance also place teeth and a tongue within that mouth? For if so, why should there not be teeth and a tongue in the nostrils or the ear?”
Design most certainly speaks of a Designer! Did your automobile form and assemble itself? Does the joining of random chunks of steel, which just happened to be the correct size and shape, suffice to explain its body? What about all the other hundreds of parts that make up a functional, operating motor vehicle? Only a fool would try to convince others that the automobile is self-designing and self-existent. For you and I both know, through experience, that there are such things as the Ford Motor Company that have engineers and factory workers that combine together to design and assemble our cars and trucks. We have seen these assembly plants. We know they exist and we know their function. They make automobiles!
But Creation is different, in that no human was there to observe it when it occurred. Creation is an event of the past that cannot be scientifically repeated. Does this mean it did not actually happen? If someone were not aware of automobile assembly plants, would he doubt that cars and trucks have a maker?
Let us briefly consider the complexity of the Universe. Consider the random creation of one protein molecule. There are about 1500 separate bits of order to the structure of the simplest protein molecule. The number of steps needed to build the first ‘machine’ by chance is 1500. The probability of this being achieved by chance is therefore 10450. More astonishing is the admission of a well-known evolutionist, Julian Huxley, who said the horse evolved by a “million mutational steps.” Now consider, a million successive, successful steps, each with a probability of one-half all occurring perfectly from beginning to end would be 10300000. And this speaks only of the horse!
Now try to fathom the orderly, random, and chance creation of matter, the laws of nature, stars, galaxies, the solar system, the earth’s hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere and finally the consciousness of humankind all by pure chance evolution or natural selection. The supposed age of the Universe, 15-16 billion years, would not begin to be enough time for all this to have occurred.
Let us again consider the automobile. What would the odds be of the random, chance assembly of your automobile? Let us take it apart one piece at a time and place each part neatly on the ground in close proximity to one another. Now let us sit back and wait for your vehicle to assemble itself. Silly? Yes! I know, let us kindly help it along by throwing them all into a giant container, in their engineered and predetermined correct order, along with some glue, nuts, and bolts and shake the container each time the next item is added. Then remove the product of your labor. Do you see a functional automobile? Would you expect to see a functional automobile? Hardly! And is not the Universe many times more complex?
Quite frankly, reason contradicts evolutionary theory. The facts of everyday life contradict evolutionary theory. Even evolutionists do not interpret the human artifacts they find as anything other than made and designed by intelligence and purpose. It seems strange that they choose to interpret the orderly physical world around them differently than the orderly world of human affairs. But that is the way hardened unbelief affects our judgments. The irrational is accepted as possible and true.
In 4th century B. C. Greece, Aristotle looked around at the world he lived in and believed and taught that God was responsible for the earth and heavens. He, God, gave it the energy and design that are behind all the life movements in the universe. Aristotle’s science and metaphysics states that all living things have a good or an end proper to their species towards which they naturally tend to develop and it was God who gave them their design and purpose. Of course, Aristotle’s explanations about the workings of many things on earth and the heavens were inaccurate. He was limited by the lack of modern technology and his culture. But, as Brodie admits, “Aristotle, however, has emerged as surprisingly unhumanistic…his ethics has, unquestionably, a religious dimension, though it lacks the characteristics which humanism most likely finds objectionable.” Aristotle had one of the greatest minds of all time. He has contributed to many subject areas. He developed much of the formal logic we still use today. He took the time to investigate the world around him with an open mind. And he concluded that God is behind it all. God is the designer and the initial energy source for the Universe. Why is this important? Aristotle derived from Creation God’s intended message for natural revelation—God exists with awesome power and intelligence. Because he and others have come to similar conclusions, the rest of us are also responsible to acknowledge the reasonableness of accepting a God of creative force and design. No one can defend themself by saying “I did not know that a God exists.” The universe and world around us scream of such a God.
However, natural revelation can only take us so far in our knowledge of God. Although we can conclude that God is favorably disposed toward our world because He sends blessings to everyone in the world in the form of rain, seasons, sunshine, etc., we do not know if he is capable of being our friend and lover. Without special revelation (Scriptures and Jesus Christ), Aristotle concluded in Nicomachean Ethics (Book 8, section 7), in a section on friendship, the following: “Equality does not seem to be the same in friendship as it is in just actions, for in the case of just actions equality is primarily that which is in accordance with merit, quantitative equality being secondary; but in friendship quantitative equality is of primary and equality of merit only of secondary importance. This becomes evident if a wide gap develops between the parties in respect of virtue and vice, or of affluence or anything else; because they no longer remain friends, and do not even expect to do so….In such cases there is no precise limit up to which they can remain friends, because friendship still lasts in spite of continual losses; but where there is a great gulf, as between God and man, friendship becomes impossible.” Aristotle saw a great gulf in goodness and royalty between God and man. To Aristotle, God could care about us but He could never be our friend.
We can only speculate about what Aristotle would have done with the Christian message. Would he have received the Christ message as a completion of his own longing for contact with his god? I am sure he would have been astonished at the personal love and involvement God showed in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Would that revelation have broken his heart, or would it have seemed foolish to him? Who knows? It must be pointed out, however, that some students of Aristotle (Thomas Aquinas) have embraced the Christ message as a fulfillment of the Aristotelian quest for contemplative truth.
God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, does want to be our friend! But, as Aristotle saw, a great gulf separates us from Him. The whole Old Testament is a record of how God plans on bridging that gulf. The life, work, and mission of Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the desiring human heart that wants that gulf to be closed. God speaking in Jesus says in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” And in John 6:37 He says: “Those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Personal acceptance and application of His sacrificial death and resurrection is the way God has provided to close that gulf. God’s love wanted that gulf to be closed. And His wisdom provided the way. No proud may come, no one seeking to enter on merit may come, only those who want God’s love and forgiveness and know they cannot do anything to earn it. Aristotle died not knowing about God’s solution to the great gulf problem, or about God’s desire to bridge that gulf. But we know. You know. With Aristotle we can have questions about what he would have done had he known, but with you and I the facts are before us. God has provided the Way, do you want to come to Him? You can! Receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart as you believe that he died for you and will forgive you. His outstretched arms bridged the gulf fixed between you and Him. It is up to you to respond to His grace by relying on Him to save your soul and bring you to God, your ultimate Friend!