Is it obvious that God exists? Richard Dawkins does not think so: ‘The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.’ Sam Harris is of the same ilk: ‘nature offers no compelling evidence for an intelligent designer and countless examples of unintelligent design.’ Yet the Bible regards it as so obvious that from the creation we should know that there is a Creator that it declares that if we do not see this, we are without excuse (Rom.1:20).
The heavens do not actually speak but in their own way, they declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Francis Collins is rather less poetic in The Language of God: ‘There are good reasons to believe in God, including the existence of mathematical principles and order in creation.’ In short, we cannot explain the creation without there being a Creator who made it all. The idea that nature is a result of a series of giant flukes is too silly to require refutation. No one believes that something as simple as a beach ball designed itself, so there ought not to be anyone who thinks that anything as complex as the world designed itself.
The concept of truth also points us to God. We are offended if someone lies to us, but we are daily bombarded with the philosophical notion that there is no such thing as truth. In fact, Christians are often lampooned as being arrogant for believing that God’s revelation is truth. The irony, of course, is that the claim that there is no absolute truth is itself an absolute claim about truth. The attack on truth thus rests on a premise that at least one truth statement exists, namely, that there is no truth. The fact that we prize truth is a pale reflection of the truth that God is a God of truth. We cannot live here on earth in any tolerable way without seeing truth as vitally important.
Justice also points us to God. The football player can only argue with the referee about the fairness of his decision if there is a standard of fairness. But it is not easy to see how there can be a standard of law for all of us unless there is a Lawgiver. The law of God is written on the hearts of every human being (Rom.2:12-16). It is because of this that God could judge Israel’s pagan neighbours in Amos’ day, the eighth century B.C. These nations and city-states did not possess the written law of God, but they knew enough to know that they were trampling upon a universal standard of right and wrong (Amos 1:1-2:3). Hence they were culpable before God. Karl Marx was a fierce atheist who utterly repudiated any concept of morality but he was the most moralistic man who ever breathed. We cannot escape a sense of justice and morality. Courts of law may make wrong decisions but without a universal concept of justice, they ought not to exist at all.
An appreciation of beauty is yet another pointer to God. Jesus declared that the lilies were more beautiful than all the glorious royal garments of Solomon (Matt.6:28-29). We instinctively appreciate a garden in full bloom as something far more desirable than a garbage dump in foulest array. God presents the Garden of Eden as a beautiful place (Gen.2), and the new heaven and the new earth as an even more beautiful place (Rev. 21-22). Ugliness in this world came with the curses of the Fall. Yet even what is ugly points to God. As Cotton Mather quipped: ‘There is not a fly, but what may confute an atheist.’
To fail to see these things – that the creation, truth, justice and beauty all point to God – is to fail to see the obvious. It is to become like the centipede in the limerick:
The Centipede was happy quite
Until the toad in fun
Said, ‘Pray, which leg goes after which?’
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.
If I doubt the sun, I cannot see anything – which is rather like our cantankerous atheist today. G. K. Chesterton was full of wonderful insight into the problem: ‘What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled on the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself but undoubting about the truth. This has been exactly reversed.’ Indeed so, for God is obvious.