As children growing up, each of us at some point becomes aware of the laws of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause, and each cause must be sufficient to produce the effect in question.
Then when in childhood or adolescence we become aware also of the beauty and power of nature, most of us will say to ourselves, “There must be an explanation for all of this.” What we see is this magnificent natural world, and we know intuitively that it must have a cause, and that the cause must itself be colossal.
Not only that; but we have also by this time learned to distinguish objects and events that are designed from those which result from impersonal forces such as wind erosion, earthquake, or chemical reactions. We may not be able to articulate exactly how we make such distinctions, but every child can accurately tell a slab of marble from a statue. (We will elucidate the precise criteria for design in a future post.) Finally, we also have understood by this time that design invariably signals personhood – that is, it implies intention, which is an activity of mind, and only of mind. Put it this way: design is a mental activity — and we know this as children.
But then the child returns to her classroom and does not consider the matter further for months or years, until her next experience of nature, and again she tells herself, “There must be an explanation for all of this.” Even then she does not pursue the inquiry in any deliberate way; and before long her elders begin teaching her that her intuition is not true, that it is irrational and superstitious, and that science shows that everything is the unintended result of impersonal forces.
But it is perfectly rational to apply the laws of cause and effect to the universe itself – why wouldn’t we? – and perfectly rational to infer mind from design.
Anything which exists either had a beginning or it didn’t, and if it did, then it either had a cause or it didn’t. The evidence of science overwhelmingly shows that the universe did have a beginning. What is irrational is to suppose that anything could come into existence, uncaused.
What we all need is someone to confirm that our childhood intuition was and is true.
Those who confirmed that intuition for me are men such as William Craig, Michael Behe, Hugh Ross, J. P. Moreland, John Lennox, and Stephen Meyer. I thank my God for each one.