As humans, we seek for the simplest answer, almost never expecting to find it, because our daily experiences seem to indicate that things really arenâ€™t that simple. Because of this, we are inclined to devise complicated ways to explain the simplest phenomena.
Since this is a Christian magazine, consider the question of religion. The answer to "Does God really exist?" is very simply a "Yes" or a "No". But the deliberation by which we reach that conclusion can often be convoluted and exhausting.
Specifically, relying solely on science to prove or disprove the existence of God may lead to more questions than answers. Science, however, undisputedly shows that life and all the things we see in nature are far more complex than we can imagine.
Learning about all these complexities in the world that we live in have continuously convinced me that God exists because His fingerprints are everywhere.
They lie beneath a flower petal, a water droplet, and even something as miniscule as a protein molecule. If there was a good reason to study and embrace science, it is to unravel the wisdom of God.
So for the next few minutes, let us admire and learn about things we see and experience everyday but may not have thought about in depth.
THE HANDPRINTS OF GOD
The Perfect Molecule
Take a droplet of water, for example. We drink from it and bathe in it everyday, but what we donâ€™t see on the surface are the intricate properties that make up a water molecule.
We are all familiar with its chemical structure: H20â€”two hydrogens and one oxygen atom. Simple and, as we will soon realize, beautiful.
All the elements in the periodic table have their own electrons (negatively charged particles). Oxygen is an atom that likes electrons, and so it will tend to attract the electrons of nearby atoms towards itself.
In the case of water, the oxygen, in addition to its own electrons, pulls the electrons of hydrogen atoms towards itself. This results in the water molecule being slightly negative near the oxygen and slightly positive near the hydrogens; this separation of opposite charges is what makes water a polar molecule.
When two water molecules are near each other, the slightly negative oxygen of one molecule will attract the slightly positive hydrogens of the other molecule, since opposites attract.
This slight attraction of water molecules towards each other explains the phenomena of cohesion, by which water behaves as though it were coated with an invisible film. We can observe this in a full glass of water: the water will appear to rise above the rim of the glass but not spill over.
What could be the use of such a trivial observation? What does this have to do with life on this planet? As it turns out, cohesion and adhesion are the mechanisms by which plants hydrate themselves, and as we all know, the worldâ€™s ecosystem requires that plants supply the base of the food chain.
Plants do not have muscles like complex vertebrates do, so they donâ€™t "pump" water up from the roots the same way our hearts pump blood to our heads, against the pull of gravity. They rely on the cohesion of one water molecule to the next to draw up the water from the roots to the leaves.
If water molecules were not polar, they would not be as cohesive and plants would have no way to get the water from the roots to the leaves.
Another property of water that is often overlooked: its ability to maintain a temperature range suitable for life. Water is also involved in maintaining our body temperatures at a precise 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finally, water is also at a pH (a measure of acidity) that permits the pH of human blood to be at a very precise 7.4. To give you an idea of how sensitive a human body is to pH, if blood was at pH 7.0 or 7.8, that person would die within minutes (Campbell, p.50).
If the water in our body was slightly more acidic or slightly more basic, the human race would easily be wiped out. We are alive today because our blood can maintain a constant pH of 7.4.
There are other properties of water that are remarkable and essential to life. Any biology book, even if its authors are atheist, will testify to the necessity of water to life on earth, and any geography book will tell you that seventy percent of this earth is conveniently covered with this life-sustaining substance.
Given that astronomers have yet to find a planet that is covered with water like the Earth, this phenomenon, in my mind, is beyond coincidentalâ€”it is deliberate.
Hemoglobin is a protein. Proteins are not considered to be living organisms, yet their function is sophisticated. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen in the lungs and drops it off in the tissues. Then, it picks up carbon dioxide in the tissues and releases it in the lungs.
Have you ever wondered why or how hemoglobin "knows" when to pick up oxygen and when to drop it off? Imagine if it was "stupid" you would lose oxygen content in the blood en route to the tissue, and by the time hemoglobin gets to the tissue, there would be no oxygen left. Or, the hemoglobin would pick up the oxygen, not knowing when to drop it off, so we would have a large quantity of oxygen in our blood, but none of it nourishing our tissues.
Also, consider the situation of hemoglobin in a pregnant woman. How does the hemoglobin ensure that the oxygen gets to the mother and the baby? In this circumstance, the babyâ€™s hemoglobin has different properties from the motherâ€™s hemoglobin so that the baby is sure to get enough oxygen.
And again, consider the case when you ascend to higher altitudes where oxygen concentration is lower. Once again, your bodyâ€™s natural chemical system takes care of that situation as well, and hemoglobin, a non-living entity, "knows" to pick up the slack and provide your body the oxygen it needs.
Are They Coincidental?
The chances of everything falling perfectly into place to create the perfect conditions for life on earth are very slim. All these random processes would have to occur in a very particular sequence in order for things to be as they are today.
Trying to explain all the randomness that makes up the order we see in the natural world today can be very complicated, which is why many scientists around the world are deeply involved in its study.
There is, however, a simple answer to all this complexity for those who are willing to accept it: God deliberately made things the way they are.
We can see that everything that sustains life has been carefully crafted and elegantly executedâ€”from the simple water molecule, to the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in our blood, to the complex interactions of the various organs in our bodies.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV, Job 12:7-10)
Through everything that God has made, I am reminded and assured that the God who created all these things is also in control of my life.
If He has taken so much effort in forming this earth, what else do I need to worry about? People often say that itâ€™s in the little things a person does that shows what kind of person they are.
In the same vein, it is in nature that we can see the divine nature of God, which is also how He continually shows us His loveâ€”He is faithful in the little things.
He has numbered the hairs on our heads, handcrafted every droplet of water and every molecule of protein; He feeds the birds, He causes lilies to grow, and He clothes the grass of the fields (Mt 6:26-30).
Just as the beauty of nature proclaims Godâ€™s magnificence, almightiness, and glory, so must we thank God and stand in awe of Him.
Then when those who have yet to know God come and ask us, we must reply in the same way that the animals, the birds, the earth, the fish, and the sea respondâ€”that the hand of the Lord has done this.
LET US PRAISE HIM
While scientific discovery and research into nature are not the primary reason for my belief in God, it has added an enriching dimension to my faith in Him.
Science has given me even more reason to rejoice for the life and breath that is given to me by God, and it makes me realize that while I may be a scientist, Iâ€™m finding out more and more about the masterful works of God.
Although the pursuit of science does not replace experiencing His words through the Bible and praying and touching God in the spirit, it gives me a sense of assurance, knowing that my Father in heaven, who so attentively accounted for every iota that supports life on earth, has also made me with the same tenderness and care.
We cannot rely on physical things to maintain our faith in God. Even though faith is the evidence of things unseen (Heb 11:1), the wonder of His creation is daily reminder that God is always within my reach.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Whenever I am discouraged or wonder where God is in my life, I can go out for a walk by the pier, and remember the amazing work of His hands, and I am comforted that the Lord, who made all things well, also accounted for me.
Our heavenly Father loves us and has made everything work together perfectly so that we can live as we do today. Let us not despise His love for us by ignoring the ingenuity that we see all around us in the biological world.
Rather, let us acknowledge that it is a gift of love from God, and let us praise Him for His wisdom.