By the Numbers
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
When it comes to science, I will be the first to admit that I am a layman. I am not formally trained in the field, which probably puts me in the same boat as most people! However, I have been blessed with that one skill which I prize above most any other. I can read. In fact, over the last five or six years, I have been doing a whole lot of reading, particularly in the field of Christian apologetics, which is one of the courses I am privileged to teach at the Bible college where I serve as a professor.
That reading has led me to discover some facts about science, both in regard to the cosmos and the origins of life in particular, that are quite illuminating. Like most of us, I grew up in an educational system in which evolution served as the philosophical backdrop, and while it went by the title, the Theory of Evolution, is was taken pretty much the accepted paradigm. Being raised as a Christian, my worldview was in conflict with what I was taught about many facets of science, but for the most part, I just took it for granted that this was how things were. At school we went along with evolution, but in personal conviction and life, it was the biblical worldview that informed by life and my faith.
However, I was under the impression that Darwinists at least had a more convincing evidential platform upon which to build their hypothesis. It turns out that that is not the case, and, in fact, I am more persuaded today than ever that Darwinism is more of a religion than a real science. Just a look at a few of the recent discoveries both in biology and cosmology should suffice to explain what I mean.
When Darwin formulated his theory and wrote his book, The Origin of the Species, it was the mid 1800’s – the steamboat days, in other words. We didn’t know much about the cell then compared to what we know today. In fact, it is almost comical to hear how some scientists of the day described the cell, seeing it as little more than “a simple homogenous globule of plasm.” Needless to say, we have found that the “simple” cell is anything but!
It wasn’t until former cryptographer, Sir Francis Crick, realized that the DNA molecule was really an information repository housing a genetic code made up of a four letter chemical alphabet 3.1 billion characters long that the mystery of the cell began to be unlocked. In fact, DNA itself, as complex as it is, doesn’t even begin to explain just how complex the cell really is. Here is how it was described in the documentary, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
“In a process known as transcription, a molecular machine first unwinds a section of the DNA helix to expose the genetic instructions needed to assemble a specific protein molecule. Another machine then copies these instructions to form a molecule known as messenger RNA. When transcription is complete, the slender RNA strand carries the genetic information . . . out of the cell nucleus. The messenger RNA strand is directed to a two-part molecular factory called a ribosome. . . . Inside the ribosome, a molecular assembly line builds a specifically sequenced chain of amino acids. These amino acids are transported from other parts of the cell and then linked into chains often hundreds of units long. Their sequential arrangement determines the type of protein manufactured. When the chain is finished, it is moved from the ribosome to a barrel-shaped machine that helps fold it into the precise shape critical to its function. After the chain is folded into a protein, it is then released and shepherded by another molecular machine to the exact location where it is needed.”
To me and to most readers, I’m sure, this sounds like the workings of a modern factory more than it does something that is going on all the time in each of the one-hundred trillion cells in our bodies. Nevertheless, this is what we have discovered so far, and there are many mysteries about which the best of molecular biologists are simply having to admit that we do not have the first clue. Yet the materialist, or Darwinian naturalist, would have us believe this all formed by random chance over millions of years through the process of natural selection. This undirected process supposedly created all these complex systems, even filling them with information that the cell can somehow interpret and use to carry out its functions. Bill Gates has said that DNA is like a computer code, only a lot more complex than anything we have been able to produce. However, the thing about code or any form of information is that it is created by an intelligent agent outside the system.
We often use the simple illustration of a message written on the sand of a beach. We would expect the waves to create repeating patterns in the sand, but if we saw a message that said, “Good to see you here. I hope you enjoy your day!” you would not for one moment assume that it was the result of an unguided, natural process that took millions of years. Why? Because we know that the presence of information necessitates intelligence. After all, no one thinks the markings on the Rosetta Stone were brought about through the random workings of wind and erosion.
Besides this, the odds of even the simplest protein forming by random chance is 1 in 10125. That may not mean much to many of us, but that number is so enormous and the probability so remote as to defy any reasonable possibility. For example, if you took all the matter in the known universe and broke it down and counted all the subatomic parts (that’s protons, electrons, etc.) there would only be 1081 of those in the entire universe! Besides, it takes a lot more than that simplest of proteins to make up the complex systems of the human body. The eye alone is so amazingly complex that we could not even imagine making something even close to its equal. This is what Dr. David N. Menton said in an article entitled, Can Evolution Produce an Eye? Not a Chance!
“It has been estimated that 10 billion calculations occur every second in the retina before the light image even gets to the brain! It is sobering to compare this performance to the most powerful man-made computer. In an article published in the computer magazine, Byte, (April 1985) Dr. John Stevens said: ‘To simulate 10 milliseconds of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the retina would require the solution of about 500 simultaneous non-linear differential equations one hundred times and would take at least several minutes of processing time on a Cray supercomputer. Keeping in mind that there are 10 million or more such cells interacting with each other in complex ways it would take a minimum of a hundred years of Cray time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second.’”
Now, that is complexity at its finest! There is no way you’ll ever convince me that natural selection, working on random mutations over time produced that! Besides, there hasn’t been enough time! After all, given that scientists believe the universe is roughly fifteen billion years old, that’s only 1017 seconds! The unlikeliness of this all happening by undirected, natural process led Nobel Prize Laureate, Sir Francis Crick to say,
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.
Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle agrees, saying,
The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2,000=1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”
By the way, these men were not theists, but atheists, who gave credit for the origin of life on earth to the theory of panspermia, meaning that life came to earth byway of “seeds” transplanted here either on comets, asteroids, or by an alien race (no, I’m not kidding). The point is, that these men, though atheists, were honest enough to acknowledge that there is no way for life to have begun by chance. Not only that, but Hoyle had such a regard for the apparent design in the universe that he admitted,
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
What Hoyle is admitting to is the unmistakable precision and design built into living systems. However, the story does not even remotely end there. The design which Hoyle implies extends far beyond the origin of life into the very nature of the cosmos. Before the 20th Century, science had embraced the Steady State model of the universe, meaning that they believed it was eternal and static. However, it was not long after Einstein published his theory of General Relativity that scientists, running equations based on his theory, determined the universe had a beginning. Einstein himself resisted this notion, even fudging the numbers in his own equations to escape this inevitable conclusion. He later admitted this to be the greatest mistake of his career. It wasn’t until Edwin Hubble was able to confirm through observation that the that the universe was indeed expanding, that Einstein, and eventually the entire scientific community, embraced what Hoyle derisively called, the Big Bang model of cosmology.
Today, the Big Bang theory is the accepted paradigm of cosmology. Our universe, we now know, had a beginning. There was a moment when all matter, energy, space, and even time came into existence in what is known as a singularity. In that moment, our universe came into existence with characteristics so finely tuned that they boggle the mind. After all, when one thinks of a “bang” or an explosion (and this was certain a release of immeasurable power), we don’t think of it producing order. And yet that is exactly what happened.
For example, in the first few pico-seconds after the Big Bang, the four fundamental forces of the universe were irrevocable set. Had any of them been different by even the slimmest of margins, we would not have a universe capable of sustaining life. A pico-second, by the way, is one trillionth of a second, or, as it was explained to me, the time it takes something traveling at the speed of light to cross the breadth of a hair. In that infinitesimally small amount of time, the values of those four fundamental forces: the electromagnetic force, the gravitational force, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, were forever set. Just how precise are they? Well, the weak nuclear force, which operates inside the nucleus of an atom, is so finely tuned that were it altered by as little as by one part in 10100, we would not have a universe capable of sustaining life.
Even more amazing is the fine tuning of what is known as the cosmological constant, or the energy density of empty space (also known as dark energy). This is the energy that governs the expansion rate of the universe. Were this off by as little as 1 part in 10120 we would not have a life-sustaining universe. This one design feature alone is sufficient evidence to many scientists to acknowledge that the universe seems to have been fine-tuned to an amazingly narrow set of specifications to allow for life. However, there are hundreds of these fine-tuned features that testify to the careful and exacting way in which our universe was designed.
As I said, I am not a scientist. I just read a lot. Sometimes when I quote these kinds of statistics to my wife, she quickly puts her hands over her ears and squeezes her eyes tightly shut. It appears that not everyone is as interested in this stuff as I am. However, these facts are extremely important for reasons not so directly related to science. Rather, the assumption of evolution has served as a lens through which many have viewed reality. In other words, it has become their worldview. Materialism serves as the philosophical and scientific underpinnings for atheism and is currently fueling a change in our national ethos toward a more secular worldview, where biblical absolutes are being exchanged for a moral relativism that allows individuals to define right and wrong to suit themselves. After all, if this all came about by chance, there is no objective moral law, or for that matter, an objective moral law Giver to whom we are accountable. That sounds good if your lifestyle choices are in conflict with the plain revelation of scripture.
However, if Darwin got is wrong; if the assumptions our society has made about reality are false, then there are serious, even eternal ramifications for that error. For those of us who believe the Bible, the science I have pointed out in this essay is only confirmation of what we have always believed. In fact, the Bible predicted many of the discoveries science is now coming to terms with. For example, we now know that the galaxies are not merely moving away from us through empty space, but rather that it is space itself which is expanding. This is a relatively new discovery as far as science goes, and yet seventeen different times in scripture the Bible tells us that God “stretches the heavens.”
As the numbers go, it would seem that the pendulum is swinging back in God’s favor. “The book of nature is testifying to the accuracy of the book of scripture,” as we might say. In fact, if it’s hard facts and numbers you like, the accuracy with which biblical prophecy is fulfilled is enough to convince any honest man or woman. For example, within His lifetime, Jesus fulfilled 300 prophecies regarding his first coming. In Science Speaks, Dr. Peter Stoner looks at the probability of one person fulfilling just eight (8) of those 300 prophecies.
Let’s take a quick look at these prophesies, the corresponding fulfillment in the New Testament, and the likelihood that one person could have fulfilled these predictions purely by chance.
Eight Prophecies of Fulfilled in Christ’s Lifetime:
Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matt 2:4-6
Forerunner of Christ (John) Malachi 3:1 Mark 1:2-8
Enter Jerusalem on a Donkey Zechariah 9:9 Matt 21:4-11
Christ Betrayed by a Friend Psalm 41:9 Luke 22:21
Christ Betrayed for 30 Pieces of Silver Zechariah 11:12 Matt 26:15
30 Pieces of Silver to Buy Potter’s field Zechariah 11:13 Matt 27:3-10
Silent when Accused Isaiah 53:7 Mark 14:60-61
Christ Crucified Psalm 22:16 John 19:17-18
Dr. Stoner concluded that the likelihood of one man fulfilling all eight of these prophecies is 1 chance in 1017. Imagine filling the state of Texas with silver dollars two feet high, marking one with an “X,” and then parachuting blindfolded into the state and randomly picking up that one silver dollar. Of course, the more of these prophecies you add, the higher the stack of silver dollars! These numbers are actually conservative and have, in more recent times, been adjusted to an even more remote possibility.
Needless to say, this is only one of many, many evidence we could give of the Bible’s credibility, not only from fulfilled prophecy, but through the science of textual criticism, the archaeological record, and much, much more. No other ancient document comes close in regard to reliability, not to mention the millions of lives that have been transformed by its message of hope.
There’s really not much more to say. I wrote this paper simply to lay out some of the things that I have spent many years now studying and observing. I didn’t need them to be convinced myself, but we are living in skeptical times. Perhaps you have struggled with the claims of the Bible in the light of what your professors at the university told you. Maybe you’re afraid to go against the prevailing winds of culture that want to discard what many perceive to the outdated values of the ancient world. Maybe you’ve struggled to make sense of it all and don’t really know on which side of the line you stand.
One thing is for certain: these matters are much too serious to be taken lightly. Someone else, regardless of who they are, should not be deciding this for you, much less celebrities or the talking heads of our culture who have no real stake in your eternal destiny. My advice to you would be to do the research yourself, and while you do, ask God to make Himself real to you. I believe He will. If we seek truth with all our hearts we will run into Him, because He is the author and embodiment of all truth. He is the answer you seek. He offers you a life of meaning and purpose. All you have to do is be willing to place your life in His hands.
The evidence will only take you so far. In the end, faith is a matter of the heart, but the evidence is still important. It serves to confirm the credibility of a faith that is certainly under great scrutiny today. No one can honestly say that the evidence unequivocally points to materialism. There are too many brilliant scientists who see the same evidence and are persuaded that a personal God designed this universe for you and me. The Bible says that men refuse to believe, not because of the lack of evidence, but rather due to the suppression of it (see Romans 1:18-20). In other words, they don’t believe because they wish to avoid the moral accountability that such faith brings. This is why I say that Darwinism is more religion than science. The leaps in reason often taken to defend materialism have taken on a religious fervor (check out the multiverse theory, for example). The science we know today makes a very good case for a Creator. In fact, there are many things now, such as the origin of the universe that materials are powerless to explain by way of any natural processes. They just have to “believe” that there is a naturalistic answer out there.
You must decide for yourself at whose altar you will worship, but for certain you will worship at some altar. Something will receive your devotion and become the lens through which you choose to view reality and which informs your choices, even if that something is you. This question will not be decided for everyone by this or any other article. However, going by the numbers, God is looking better all the time.
 T. H. Huxley, 1869
 Dr. David Menton, Can Evolution Create An Eye? Not a Chance!” Missouri Association for Creation, Inc. (1997)
 John Stevens, Byte Magazine, (April 1985)
 Crick Francis, Life Itself. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1981) 88.
 Hoyle Fred, Evolution from Space. (West Sussex, England: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd., 1982) 24
 Sir Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering and Science 45 (November 1981): 8–12.
Dr. Randy Bunch is the pastor of West Kern Christian Center, located at 1000 6th Street in Taft, as well as a graduate advisor and adjunct professor at Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California. He is the author of several books, including his new devotional, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World. For more information, or to purchase your copy, go to immuntablebook.com. For more information on the ministries of WKCC, you can go the ministry’s website at wkcconnect.org.