Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | October 16, 2013

18. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 4 – Robert Boyle

The Argument from Design is a powerful argument for the existence of God. It has convinced countless people throughout history and it’s used throughout the Bible.

Complex designs require a Designer to produce them. The kind of information the designs contain can only come from an intelligent Agent. This is the Argument from Design. The prequels of this Evidence for God series have extensively discussed the Design Argument.

Evolutionists promote the view that scientists support Evolutionism and that scientists do not believe evidence for design. But this is false. Many eminent scientists accept the Argument from Design.

This article and its prequels/sequels present quotations from a number of scientists who have been convinced by the Argument from Design.

Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle (1627–1691)

Robert Boyle

The famed chemist and physicist Robert Boyle is considered the Father of Modern Chemistry. However, he is best known for Boyle’s Law, a law of physics which is a fundamental principle of gas dynamics.

Boyle wrote often of the Creator’s amazing diversity of creation. He argued that obvious design in creation implicitly testifies of a Creator.

“I should think that this delightful and wonderful variety that we may observe, not only in animals themselves considered as entire systems, but in those parts of them that appear destinated for the same function, as particularly that of seeing was designed, at least among other ends, to display the multiplicity of the great creator’s wisdom, and show his intelligent creatures, that his skill is not confined to one sort of living engines, nor in the parts of the same kind (as eyes, ears, teeth, &c.) to the same contrivances; but is able to make for the same use, a multitude of surprising organs or instruments, though not perhaps all equally perfect.”
(From A Disquisition about the Final Causes of Natural Things, 1688)

“When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chymical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself oftentimes reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast Thou made them all!” [Psalm_104:24] (From Seraphic Love, 1660)

Boyle argued that just as the order and complexity inherent in a clock demanded a clockmaker, so the marvels of the world demand a Creator. Here is Boyle’s Clock Argument in his own words:

“I see in a curious clock how orderly every wheel and other part performs its own motions, and with what seeming unanimity they conspire to show the hour and accomplish the other designs of the artificer, I do not imagine that any of the wheels, &c., or the engine itself, is endowed with reason, but commend that of the workman who framed it so artificially, so, when I contemplate the actions of those several creatures that make up the world, I do not conclude the inanimate pieces, -or the vast engine itself, to act with reason or design, but admire and praise the most wise Author who, by his admirable contrivance, can so regularly produce effects to which so great a number of successive and conspiring causes are required.”
(From A Requisite Digression Concerning Those that would Exclude the Deity from Intermeddling with Matter)

Boyle pointed to the existence of extremely intricate structures as evidence of “workmanship” by a Workman:

“I am apt to think there is more of admirable contrivance in a man’s muscles than in (what we yet know of) the celestial orbs; and that the eye of a fly is – a more curious piece of workmanship than the body of the sun.”
(From A Disquisition about the Final Causes of Natural Things)

Boyle concluded that the marvels of the universe compelled a rational observer to believe in a Creator:

“The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author.”
(From Robert Boyle, Works, vol. IV, p. 25.)

Boyle believed design arguments for the existence of God were sound and convincing and were the best arguments to use with a rational, open-minded person. The essence of the Argument from Design is that complex designs require a Designer. Such information as is contained in the designs can only come from an intelligent Agent. Boyle knew this creative Agent to be the God of the Bible.

Boyle saw in the wonders of nature clear evidence of God’s handiwork. He wrote,

“The next attribute of God, that shines forth in his creatures, is his wisdom; which to an intelligent considerer appears very manifestly expressed in the world, whether you contemplate it as an aggregate or system of all natural bodies, or consider the creatures it is made up of, both in their particular and distinct natures, and in relation to each other, and the universe they constitute. In some of these the wisdom of God is so conspicuous, and written in such large characters, that it is legible even to a vulgar reader: but in many others the lineaments and traces of it are so delicate and slender, or so wrapt up and covered with corporeity, that it requires an attentive and intelligent peruser. So numberless a multitude, and so great a variety of birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, herbs, shrubs, trees, stones, metals, minerals, stars, &c. and everyone of them plentifully furnished and endowed with all the qualifications requisite to the attainment of the respective ends of its creation, are productions of a wisdom too limitless not to be peculiar to God: … which do all of them deserve that extensive exclamation of the Psalmist, “How manifold are thy works, 0 Lord; in wisdom hast thou made them all. (Psalm 104:24)”
(From Of the Usefulness of Experimental Natural Philosophy)

For more on Robert Boyle, see
11. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 1
12. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 2
13. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 3
14. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 4

Questions to Ponder
  1. Does the opinion of the Father of Modern Chemistry, Robert Boyle, carry weight with you?
  2. Is Boyle’s Clock Argument analogy convincing? Why or why not?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the eighteenth 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
8. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Old Testament
9. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – New Testament
10. Evidence for God – Stephen King & the Argument from Design
11. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz
12. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 1
13. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 2
14. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz Answers 3
15. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 1 – Ben Franklin
16. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 2 – Isaac Newton
17. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 3 – Johann Kepler

Read the sequel:
19. Evidence for God – Design Convinces Scientists 5 – Albert Einstein

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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 October 16, 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. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to use a past tense when discussing a scientist who’s been dead since 1691?

    Like

    • Purdue University’s online English reference recommends using present tense to refer to or discuss ideas expressed by an author in a particular work. I think either present or past tense is acceptable. In any case, this article mostly used past tense with Boyle.

      Like


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