“If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are the wonders that our ancestors told us about? – Gideon (Judges 6:13)
Where is God? The question seems strange. If one does not believe in God, the question is meaningless. If one believes in God, then one probably also believes that God is not bodily. It is not located in the space-time of the physical universe. Thus, the question seems to make no sense.
However, the question is asked many times, especially after tragic events.
This question was asked by the great warrior Gideon, quoted above. It was pronounced more than 3,000 years ago, after years of oppression of his countrymen by a foreign conqueror. In the recent past, the question was asked by those who suffered from World Wars I, II and the Holocaust. In modern times, the question arose after events such as 9/11 and the Covid pandemic. The question is asked by Ukrainians as they experience the systematic destruction of their country.
In 18th century Europe, the Age of Enlightenment saw a dramatic increase in empirical science associated with the use of logic and mathematics. Science has begun to explain the mechanisms behind many natural phenomena and, in some cases, how to mitigate their harmful effects. Many superstitions were debunked, leading to increased questioning of religious dogma.
The universe and everything in it came to be seen as a complex deterministic mechanical structure, and all of its secrets were expected to eventually yield to science.
Over time, the question “Where is God?” has become the assertion that since we do not see God or His effect on the human condition, it follows that there is no God. The new science explained how things happen, even if it couldn’t explain “why?” The path to trying to understand “why?” was also eliminated by eliminating God. The universe and everything in it came to be seen as a complex deterministic mechanical structure, and all of its secrets were expected to eventually yield to science.
Science has come a long way since the 18th century. It is now known that the universe is not a deterministic mechanical structure and many scientists have serious doubts as to whether we are theoretically capable of unlocking all of its secrets. A famous theorem of mathematical logic (called the “incompleteness theorem”) discovered in the 20th century implies that our knowledge of the universe must necessarily always remain incomplete.
In modern times, science has probed the outer reaches of the universe and detected elementary particles. He measured ripples in space-time. He unveiled the code of life and developed a technology to detect and measure the invisible. Many people (including scientists) have never reassessed the question raised in the 18th century regarding the existence of God.
However, there would seem to be an insurmountable difficulty in attempting to scientifically verify the existence of God. How can we confirm the existence of something that is undetectable? Scientific investigation is based on what we can observe, hear, smell, taste or feel. Modern technology has provided us with scientific instruments such as telescopes and microscopes, amplifiers and chemical sensors that can heighten our senses. However, science cannot detect God with such an instrument.
Science is adept at detecting and measuring what is not directly detectable.
It turns out, however, that science is adept at detecting and measuring what is not directly detectable. One of the simplest instruments, a compass, detects a magnetic field. Even if a magnetic field is not detectable by any of our senses or by any instrument that augments our senses, its existence can be determined by its effect on things we can directly observe. In this case, it’s the effect the Earth’s magnetic field has on an iron compass needle. This is a very simple example. There are many other much more sophisticated examples of detecting the unobservable by their effect on things that can be observed.
Since we can only detect God by examining any effect he may have or has had on physical objects in our universe, we will begin with the universe itself. The laws of physics imply that the universe came into being from absolutely nothing. There are two possibilities: either the universe was created, or it came into existence on its own. If it was created, it may have a non-random structure. If it appeared by itself, non-random structures are absolutely not expected. Indeed, the non-random implies a targeted design.
The question we have to answer is: can we tell the difference between a created universe and a universe that came into being on its own? More specifically, can we scientifically demonstrate that our universe has a (non-random) structure?
When we examine various entities in the universe from a scientific perspective, we find that they appear to have non-random properties that make the universe suitable for the existence of life. This is a well-known (and accepted) principle in physics; its technical name is the “anthropic principle”. There are a large number of these non-random properties.
An example is the force of gravity. If it were a little weaker, the stars would not produce enough light and heat for life to exist on nearby planets such as Earth. If the gravitational force were a little stronger, there would be no stars. Instead of burning steadily for long periods of time as our sun does, they would explode as soon as they form. Anyway, there could be no life anywhere in the universe.
Another example is the electromagnetic force. This force is what causes iron to be attracted to a magnet. That’s what makes a compass work. If it were a little weaker, there would be no atoms. If it was a little stronger, there would be no molecules. Either way, there would be no complex structure that could possibly be alive. Even something as simple as water would not exist.
These are just two examples among many others, but how do we know that they are not just coincidences? mathematical physics can measure the amount of order (or disorder) in any conglomeration of objects, including the universe. This measurement is called “entropy”. The calculation of the entropy of the universe yields a value that implies that the universe is so well ordered that it is practically impossible that it could have formed without the direction of an extremely intelligent entity. So we see that the structure of the universe itself contains the evidence which implies that it was created by God since there were no physical entities before the creation of the universe.
The structure of the universe itself contains evidence that implies it was created by God, since there were no physical entities before the creation of the universe.
A scientific analysis of the structure of all living things leads to the same conclusion. Every living organism on Earth contains a molecule called DNA in its cells. DNA defines all the properties of the organism. It contains a huge amount of information for even the simplest virus.
An exact mathematical calculation shows that the odds of the simplest known virus DNA forming spontaneously anywhere in the universe since the beginning of time (by current science’s best estimates, there are about 13, 8 billion years) are so weak that realistically it could never happen by chance. The odds are not 1,000,000,000 to 1 (one billion to one) or even 1,000,000,000,000 to 1 (one trillion to one) but a staggering 100,000,000…… [4,000 zeros!] to 1 (no name for such a huge number at 1).
Thus, we see that the fundamental structure and design of all living organisms on Earth also point unambiguously to a Creator. It follows that we can unambiguously answer the question of the existence of God in the affirmative using pure science.