I have a bit of a confession to make. Even as a pastor, I at times have doubts about God. When prayers for healing go unanswered, when tragedies occur, when famines continue, when I’m wrestling with some passage of Scripture that seems to contradict what I know about God…in those moments, I at times wonder about God’s existence. Is He really there?
Whenever this happens, I instinctively go back to a few realities that, in my mind, point unmistakably to the fact that God does exist. It’s sort of like when the power goes out at home and we are thrust into complete darkness. Our instinctive response in the dark is to reach for things we know are there—the couch, the wall, a chair. These things help us get our bearings in the darkness. Spiritually speaking, there are a few of those realities that, even in the darkness, remind me of God’s presence.
In this blog post, I’d like to share the first of a few of these realities that consistently point me to God’s existence. This initial one may seem silly or trivial to some, but it is very real to me. My faith in God is often reinforced when I look at the complexity of our physical bodies.
Our skin, with its 2 million pores that help regulate the body temperature through perspiring. Not only that it keeps out certain substances but also allows others in through this highly complex process of absorption.
Our circulation system, 60,000 miles of blood vessels, where blood delivers necessary nutrients to every cell, and it gets those ingredients from the air we breathe (enter the respiratory system) and the food we eat (our digestive system). I just read an article that described how our nose works as a humidifier to so that the 2500 gallons of air we take in each day doesn’t dry out our lungs. Not only that, the turbinates in our nasal passage help slow down the airflow, giving more time for the air to warm to body temperature.
Or what about how our blood clots, or how our bodies fight infection. I remember visiting with a friend of mine who is an optometrist. She said that in Med school she had 3 semesters of classes focused only on the anatomy of the eye. Three semesters! She described for me how amazing our eyes are in terms of the complexity and function. The rods, the cones, the blood vessels, the nerves the tissues, the retina—which has 10 layers.
Each eye has a million optic nerves that travel to the brain. And get this, 60% of those nerves from each eye cross over to the other side. Why is that significant? Because if you have a stroke or a head injury, you wouldn’t completely lose sight one eye. Only 40% because the other nerves go to the other side. And these are just a few examples. Pick any aspect of the human body and you see a marvel of complexity.
It is impossible for me to see this level of complexity without attributing it to an intelligent designer. It’s not just one system we are talking about. It is multiple, highly complex systems all working together. When we see this level of complexity in any other item (a car for instance with its air conditioning, stereo system, engine, windshield wiper fluid, or a computer with the hard drive, and the keyboard and the monitor) we instinctively know this was designed by someone very intelligent.
I have studied the theory of evolution, and while agreeing that at a micro level evolution within a species happens, the theory does not seem plausible to me at a macro level–when looking at the complexity of our bodies and how various systems are interacting with each other. We all know that in a complex system like that, you can’t simply change one variable without impacting multiple systems.
How could something as complex as an eye evolve over time—especially when multiple complex systems have to be in place from the beginning? In the theory of evolution, survival of the fittest requires that the organism receive some benefit from a mutation in order for that particular characteristic to be passed along. But what benefit is 10% of an eye if it isn’t able to see? What benefit is a 40% of a blood clotting system if 100% is needed for it to work?
[And this doesn’t even begin to discuss how we became male and female—how did a male and female evolve at the same time, yet with each having a particular anatomy that allows for intercourse and procreation?]
I realize there are some very smart people that are convinced we evolved over millions of years and who look with intellectual disdain at my conclusions. I get that. But at some point, a theory needs to make sense at a practical level. For me, the idea of God creating us as complex beings is far more believable and plausible. It fits the reality I see all around me.
So when I have doubts about God’s existence, it helps me to meditate on how incredibly complex the human body is and how plausible it is to believe that we are created, “fearfully and wonderfully made”, as the psalmist described it.