Patterns that Point to Design

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Chuck Colson spoke yesterday about Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt’s interesting new book, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature. Wiker’s and Witt’s argument, as you may recall, is that the wonders of our world point to a universe full of meaning—meaning that, in turn, points to a Designer. The uniqueness of their work is that they focus on the arts and sciences to make their case.

Chuck already touched on the book’s argument about Shakespeare. The authors show that all efforts to force his works into a tidy little box have come up short. Materialism and deconstructionism insist that all people and all literature are basically the same—that “everybody is a genius, so no one is.” Shakespeare’s beautiful and profound plays and poetry stand as a living rebuke of such a despairing worldview.

Wiker and Witt write, “The playwright’s themes pose a profound challenge for materialism. . . . But more fundamental still is the challenge Shakespeare’s genius poses to any worldview that would reduce everything, including the human mind, to the mindless flux of matter and energy. . . . Are we really to believe that natural selection moved from a single cell in a dirty pond to this?”

But that’s only the beginning. From exploring the genius of one human being, the authors move on to exploring another kind of genius. Specifically, they go on to talk about geometry and chemistry.

But they’re not talking about the intelligence of the human beings who came up with the Pythagorean Theorem and the periodic table. After all, these things weren’t invented by humans. What they’re pointing to is the genius that created the orderly physical and mathematical laws that govern the whole universe. Without this intentional design, there would have been no Pythagorean Theorem or periodic table to discover.

The authors ask that, if the world was born out of chance, how is it that nature acts according to rational laws? If we’re all here because of random and meaningless events, it doesn’t make sense that, one, there are mathematical and scientific laws that govern our world, and, two, that our efforts could discover what those laws are. We would be fumbling in the darkness of randomness, looking for explanations that didn’t even exist.

But the universe is full of patterns—patterns that extend to the smallest particles of an atom, that can be seen in the orderliness of the periodic table of elements. Furthermore, they’re patterns that the human mind could discover and comprehend. How does random chance explain all that?

Materialists look at these natural laws and patterns and say that they allow a closed and godless universe to function properly. Wiker and Witt show that this is utterly “absurd.” They give the proper respect to these natural laws and patterns by showing that there’s nothing random or godless about them. The universe is saturated with evidence of the Designer’s existence. The very mathematics and science—and literature—that lead some to posit a barren and meaningless existence are actually the very keys to discovering a universe full of intelligence and meaning.


From BreakPoint®, October 13, 2006, Copyright 2006, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “BreakPoint®” and “Prison Fellowship Ministries®” are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries.