Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 7, 2013

8. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Old Testament

When a Scripture passage repeats a point four times in the space of two verses, would you call that a key concept? Read on to uncover the crucial idea that is underscored over and over in the Old Testament.

Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) Galaxy

Small Magellanic Cloud Galaxy
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
(Psalm 19:1)

Astronomers say the SMC galaxy orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way. It’s one of our closest galactic neighbors, only about 200,000 light-years away. Much more distant galaxies can be seen sprinkled around the picture’s edge. Even though SMC is a small galaxy, it is so bright that it is visible by unaided eye near the equator and from the Southern Hemisphere. Ferdinand Magellan used it to find his way across the oceans.


 

What evidence would I give for the existence of God?

In the prequels of the Evidence for God series I outlined my answer if asked to give evidence for the existence of God. A video of a well-known creationist debater failing to adequately answer this question from a sixth-grade atheist at a Creation vs. Evolution debate stimulated this series.

One argument I gave was the Argument from Design, also known as the teleological argument.  It’s the “Watch requires a Watchmaker” argument of chemist Robert Boyle that was later popularized by William Paley.

The Argument from Design is the best argument to give when asked for evidence of God. I have 3 reasons for making this best argument claim:
1. The Argument from Design is Simple
2. The Argument from Design is Logical
3. The Argument from Design is Biblical

These prequels
5. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Simple
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical
7. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Biblical
explain the three reasons.
The present article expands on the last one by giving examples of the use of the Design Argument in the Old Testament.

Old Testament Examples of the Design Argument

The Argument from Design appears either explicitly or implicitly throughout the Old Testament. Yahweh points to His work of creation as a kind of deposition in the cosmos, a global revelation of His identity. Some examples follow.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
    Immediately in its opening chapters, the Bible vividly describes God’s creation of the universe, earth, and man. God introduces Himself to man as Creator in the Bible’s very first verse. He is the Creator (and Designer) of all that we see.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. (Exodus 20:11)
    Yahweh repeats His creation claim in the Ten Commandments, writing it Himself in stone (Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16). He is the Maker of heaven and earth and all they contain, and He did it in Six Days. That is the explicit basis of His requirement of a weekly day to commemorate His work of Creation (Exodus 20:8-11).

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
(Psalm 33:6-9)
    “All the inhabitants of the world” are to have a gut reaction of awestruck respect for the One who created the universe in which we live. Respect and worship is the organic response to His work of creation.

I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
    The Lord’s works engender thanks, particularly His creation of man.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world.
(Psalm 19:1-4)
    The glory of the heavens point to their Creator unceasingly and inescapably. The Psalmist cannot emphasize strongly enough how extensive and loud and clear the witness of Creation is to the Creator. This is the Argument from Design expressed poetically by King David.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. … “To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. … Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. (Isaiah 40:21-22,25-26,28)
    One of Yahweh’s distinguishing characteristics is that He created the stars of the heavens and maintains them so that none are missing – this separates Him from a multitude of false gods. (Contrary to astronomers’ speculations, no stars are “dead” or missing.)

For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the LORD God of hosts is His name. (Amos 4:13)
    The Lord God is identified as the Creator of mountains and wind and Declarer of His counsel to man.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? (Job 12:7-10)
    All of Creation points to the Creator. This is the Argument from Design.

I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:1-2)
Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)
    The One to whom we look for help is identified as the One who made heaven and earth. That’s how He is characterized. Throughout the Old Testament God identifies Himself to people this way. God’s “business card” would read: “God the Creator, Maker of heaven and earth.”

But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:10-12)
“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)
    The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah distinguished the true God from the idols of the nations by identifying Him as the One who made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. This is in contrast to false gods who did not make the heavens and the earth. (Jeremiah 10:2-16). To whom are we ordered to pray? Who will answer when we call to Him? He is the One who made the earth. Jeremiah is using the Design Argument by using the Creation to point to and identify the true God, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever! O may Thy glorious name be blessed and exalted above all blessing and praise! Thou alone art the Lord. Thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before Thee. (Nehemiah 9:5,6)
    The Levites led Israel in worship by first identifying the One they were to worship as the Creator.

Yahweh frequently pointed to Creation to establish His identity and reputation. He asked engineering questions like, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, marked off the heavens by the span, calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales?” (Isaiah 40:12) He grilled Job with many scientific questions that are still unanswered (Job 38-42).

The Argument from Design or the Argument from Creation is one that God uses throughout the Old Testament to identify Himself and call mankind to Himself.

The next article will explore specific examples of the Design Argument in the New Testament.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why are there so many uses of the Design Argument in the Old Testament? (There are many more than those cited above.)
  2. If asked, “Who is God?”, how would you answer? Could you answer without identifying Him as the Maker of the universe?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the eighth article in the Evidence for God series that discusses the question,
“Is There Evidence for God?”
Read the prequels:
1. Evidence for God – Can You Answer a 6th-Grader?
2. Evidence for God – Design
3. Evidence for God – Experience
4. Evidence for God – Can You Prove God Exists?
5. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Simple
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical
7. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Biblical

Read the sequel for New Testament examples of the Design Argument:
9. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – New Testament

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday August 7, 2013 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

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Responses

  1. If “Design Is Best Argument for God”, then the flaws in his design argue against him…

    Like

    • Even if there are flaws in a design, that fact does not argue against a designer. Most man-designed entities have flaws. Very rarely, if ever, will you see a perfect piece. For example, most articles on the internet have flaws (poor grammar, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, faulty concepts, etc), but everyone realizes that despite the flaws, the article was designed. A “flaw” might say something about the nature of the designer, but it doesn’t disprove the existence of a designer.

      Secondly, we live in a broken world. “Flaws” seen today probably weren’t there before Adam’s Fall when Yahweh pronounced everything He had created “very good.”

      Like


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