Even Richard Dawkins admits that when we consider the intricate complexity of the natural world around us it reveals design. The difference of course is that he says that our eyes are deceiving us. It is only the appearance or illusion of design. In other words, he extols a triumph of blind faith over common sense. We see design all around us in terms of technology and media and we never dream of questioning if there was a designer. Faith and God’s Word, however, confirm what our senses and common sense tell us, there is design in nature and there must be a Designer, which is God.
Nature reveals an astonishing intricacy in terms of design. Wherever we look, near or far, we see design – the galaxies, the earth’s ecosystem, the living cell, bacteria, DNA, bird flight and the human body. The inescapable conclusion is that there is a Designer. Many organisms have a beauty and sophistication far beyond what is needed to make them merely fittest to survive.
Hugh Binning (1627–1653) taught philosophy at the University of Glasgow and later a minister in the same city. A prolific author, he had a formidable intellect and knowledge of theology and philosophy. Yet he was able to explain things in a clear and concise way. Here he dwells on the way that the glory of God revealed in His Creation should fill us with wonder.
The Evidence for a Designer
God is that self-being who gave all things a being, who made the heavens and the earth. This is the most glorious manifestation of an invisible and eternal Being. The things that are made show Him forth. Suppose a man was travelling into a far country and wandered into a wilderness where he could see no inhabitants but only houses, villages and built up cities. He would immediately conclude that some workmen had done this; this had not been done casually but by the skill of some rational creatures.
How much more may we conclude the same when we look on the fabric of this world. We see how the heavens are stretched out for a tent to cover those that dwell on the earth. The earth is settled and established as a firm foundation for men and living creatures to live on. All things have been done in wisdom. We cannot but immediately imagine that there must be some skilful and wise designer and mighty creator of these things.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed” (Hebrews 11:3). Indeed only faith in the word of God gives a true and distinct understanding of it. There have been innumerable wanderings and mistakes of the wise of the world about this matter because they lack this lamp and light of the word of God, which alone gives a true and perfect account of it. They have fallen into many strange imaginations. There is so much of the glory of God engraved on the creatures without and so much reason imprinted on the souls of men within that it is certain no-one could seriously and soberly consider the visible world without being constrained to conceive of an invisible God. This would be so were it not for the judgement of a darkened understanding in those who do not glorify Him in as far as they know Him.
Would everyone not think within themselves that all these things, which are so excellent, cannot come from chance or make themselves? They clearly owe their being to something beside themselves. It is certain that that to which they owe their being cannot itself originate from any other thing otherwise it would be endless. There must therefore be some Supreme Being, derived from nothing else and from which all things have come.
The Wise Goodness of the Designer
God made all these things “very good” (Genesis 1:31) to declare His goodness and wisdom. Creation may be called a large book extended and spread out before the eyes of all men, to be seen and read of all. It is certain that if these things in their order and harmony, being and qualities were considered in relation to God’s majesty, they would teach and instruct both the fool and the wise man in the knowledge of God. How many engravings He has made on creation to reflect to any seeing eye the very image of God!
Consider the vast and huge dimensions of the heavens and the earth, yet they are merely one throne to His majesty and earth (in which many palaces are constructed by men) His footstool. Consider the sheer multitude of creatures, the variety of birds in the sky and the multiplicity of animals on the earth. They are hosts as Moses speaks (Genesis 2:1). Yet none of all these are useless, all of them have some special purposes that they serve. There is no discord or disorder, nothing superfluous or lacking in this whole kingdom. All declare the wisdom of Him who “made every thing beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Everything is most fit for the use for which it was created so that the whole earth is full of His goodness. He makes every creature good one for another to supply one another’s needs. The elements and the things made from them have so many different natures and compositions yet all these opposites are so moderated by supreme skill that together they make up one excellent and sweet harmony or beautiful proportion in the world. O how wise must He be who alone contrived it all! We can do nothing unless we have some design or pattern before us. But when God stretched out the heaven, and laid the foundation of the earth was instructed or counselled Him. Certainly, none of all these things would have entered into the heart of man to consider or contrive (Isaiah 40:12-13).
There are wonders which faith can contemplate in the smallest and most inconsiderable of the creatures. O the ingenuity and skill of the finger of God in the composition of flies, bees, flowers etc. People ordinarily admire extraordinary things more, but the truth is that the whole course of nature is one continued wonder.
Wonder at the Designer
You say that God made heaven and earth but how often do you think on that God? How often do you think on Him with admiration? Do you ever wonder at the glory of God when you gaze on His works? This volume is always observable before your eyes — everything showing and declaring this glorious Creator. Yet who takes any more notice of Him in this than if He were not at all? Such is the general dullness that many never ponder and digest these things in their heart. They should do this until their soul receives the stamp of the glory and greatness of the invisible God which shines most brightly in those things that are visible. By this they ought to be in some measure transformed in their minds and conformed to these glorious manifestations of God engraved in large letters in everything that can be seen.
Faith in the Designer
The apostle says “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed”. This is the same faith spoken of in the end of Hebrews 10 by which the “just shall live”. To believe with the heart in God, the Creator and Father Almighty is an aspect of saving faith. Faith should view God’s almighty power, and sufficient goodness and infinite wisdom, shining in the fabric of the world with delight and admiration at such a glorious fountain-being. Faith should climb up to view His majesty by considering it in His creation. The saints in the Old Testament did this to a greater extent than we do. They had more excellent and becoming thoughts of God than we. It should make Christians ashamed that heathens who had no other book opened to them but that of nature, read it more diligently than we do. The saints of old who did not have such a clear testimony of God as we now have, learnt more from the book of Creation than we do both out of it and the Scriptures.
We look on all things with such a careless eye and do not observe what may be found of God in them. Truly, I think there are many Christians and ministers of the gospel, who do not ascend into those high and ravishing thoughts of God in His being and works as would be fitting even mere scientists. How little can they speak of His majesty or think as befits His transcendent glory! There is very little in sermons that contains wonder or unique thoughts of a Deity but in all these we are as careless as if He were an idol.
Contemporary books which focus on the evidence around us and are easy to follow include Hallmarks of Design and He Made the Stars Also by Stuart Burgess. They are published by Day One Publications.