Monday, August 22, 2016

Hugh Ross: Naturalistic Origin of Life Strangled by Young Universe

Introduction

One of the teleological arguments for God's existence comes from the combination of the incredible complexity and large variation of life and the cosmologically minute amount of time that is permitted by this universe to accomplish such a feat. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross explains:
"As astronomical advances proved the universe to be some 10 to 15 billions years old a majority of both scientists and Christians mistakenly assumed that billions of years allowed ample time for a naturalistic account of life. This error has been costly. Recent scholarship increasingly reveals that time boundaries as brief as only several billions years constrict evolutionary theory so tightly, particularly concerning life's origin, as to strangle it. In other words, a 14-billion-year-old universe is too young for any conceivable natural-process scenario to yield on its own, even the simplest living organism."
"As astronomical advances proved the universe to be some 10 to 15 billions years old a majority of both scientists and Christians mistakenly assumed that billions of years allowed ample time for a naturalistic account of life. This error has been costly. Recent scholarship increasingly reveals that time boundaries as brief as only several billions years constrict evolutionary theory so tightly, particularly concerning life's origin, as to strangle it. In other words, a 14-billion-year-old universe is too young for any conceivable natural-process scenario to yield on its own, even the simplest living organism."- Quote from "A Matter of Days" by Dr. Hugh Ross


Dr. Ross has spent the last few decades studying the universe and what must be in place for it to be hospitable for life's creation and thriving. It turns out that the full age of the universe is not the total amount of time available; indeed, the time is much shorter (nearer to 4 billion years). This constrains the naturalistic process even further. But even if it did have the full age of the universe, 14 billion years is several orders of magnitude too young.


Arguing by Analogy

It is important to note that while this particular argument utilizes the process of elimination (it eliminates chance and necessity to leave only design), it is not merely a negative argument (one that many skeptics claim is a "god of the gaps" argument), but it part of a cumulative case for design, accompanied by positive arguments using analogy. We see natural objects come together in just the right quantities, just the right varieties, just the right configurations, just the right times, and in just the right conditions to form new technologies all the time. However, none of these resulting gadgets are strictly the result of natural processes working by chance or by necessity. On the contrary, they all are the work of engineers, artists, and architects (designers) who had purposes in their minds to be accomplished. When we see that natural objects have come together in just the right quantities, varieties, configurations, times, and conditions to form something new (life), it is logical to conclude by analogy that life must also be the work of a designer.

Conclusion

This is only one formulation of the positive teleological argument for the existence of God. Dr. Ross and his team of scholars at Reasons to Believe expound on these teleological arguments in several books that I highly recommend for anyone interested in the connection between science and Christianity:

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