The Case for a Creator

In this work, Lee Strobel argues that traditional science, which excludes God from the universe’s creation, is deeply flawed and that “Intelligent Design” is a better explanation for how and why nature evolved as it has.  In a series of interviews with physicists, astronomers, theologians, and others, he offers evidence that the many factors that make life possible are too complex and finely-calibrated to be mere coincidences.In The Case for a Creator, author Lee Strobel makes the case for “Intelligent Design” – the idea that God guided the universe’s creation and earth’s evolution, and that God is not wholly absent from scientific processes.  Strobel interviews several scientists (mostly converts like himself) and seeks hard factual evidence that God guided the universe’s creation, which he presents fervently, though with little input from Intelligent Design’s critics.Strobel, a former Chicago journalist and Yale-educated legal scholar, was an avowed atheist and devotee of hard science; he writes, “For me, living without God meant living one hundred percent for myself” (p.

25).  However, his wife converted to Christianity in 1979, and despite his initial disdain, he followed suit two years later.  He has since become a pastor and noted Christian apologist.  After explaining his change of heart and his reconciling his faith with his admiration for science, he presents his case in a series of interviews with like-minded scientists and theologians who claim that hard science is often flawed and that the natural processes that led to the universe’s existence were divinely guided.The chief example is that the many astrological and biological conditions that make human life possible were more than simply a series of natural accidents or coincidences, and that Intelligent Design makes more sense than Darwin’s long-established model.  The underlying motif is a saying by geophysicist Stephen Meyer: “Maybe the world looks designed .

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. . because it really is designed!”  (p. 71)  Meyer asserts that Darwinism (which disregards the notion of divine design) suffers from inconsistencies, speculation, and sloppy logic, and that the evidence supporting Darwin is them “materialistic philosophy masquerading as empirical science” (p. 41).

  Meyer’s examples include the Big Bang, which he says required such a high degree of fine-tuning in order to produce a planet capable of sustaining intelligent life that it could simply have happened by accident.  He also argues that traditional science cannot adequately explain human consciousness, use of symbolism, creativity, language, and the notion of transcendent God, though Intelligent Design can, by way of its allowance for divine forces.  God meant for humanity to have the ability to understand God’s creations, Strobel maintains, so human intelligence could not simply have been a random accident of natural forces, either.Meyer also uses “disteology” (poor biological or natural design) as an example, arguing that it does not contradict the notion of Intelligent Design.  Some designs that appear counterintuitive (like that of the eye, with its upside-down lens) actually fit parameters that dictate proper function; in this case, the eye’s design allows it proper oxygen and keeps its blind spots from intersecting and affecting the field of vision (pp.

86-88).  Says Meyer, “We infer design because all those [traditional] theories fail and we know of another causal entity that is capable of producing information” (p. 79), referring to God’s guidance.Another expert, physicist Patrick Glynn, backs Meyer’s claims that the conditions making life in the universe possible could not be simply chance because too many natural laws coincide for it to be totally random.  Another physicist, Robin Collins, argues that “just about everything in the universe is balanced on a razor’s edge for life to exist. .

. .The dials are set too precisely to have been a random accident” (p. 131).  As evidence, he offers the laws and parameters of physics and the beauty of nature (not only aesthetics, but proportions and symmetry); Strobel concurs, adding, “If ours is the only universe in existence, then its highly sophisticated fine-tuning cries out for a designer” (p. 150).

Strobel devotes a great deal of energy to the case for Intelligent Design in astronomy, with extensive information from astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and theologian Jay Wesley Richards.  The non-theistic view claims that the earth, sun, and  moon are relatively ordinary bodies, but Strobel argues that too many facts about them to be simple accidents or coincidences.  Complex life evolved too quickly and easily on earth from its earliest stages to be a common occurrence, and earth’s location, size, composition, atmosphere, and capacity for sustaining life are all too fine-tuned and precise to have been accidental (p. 156-157).  Habitable planets cannot simply exist anywhere in the universe, since ecosystems require a wide array of conditions that simply do not exist elsewhere, since life cannot simply appear at random.  The sun’s mass and luminosity allow life to thrive on earth; the earth occupies the “Circumstellar Habitable Zone,” meaning that it receives just enough heat and light to allow animal life (a variation of even five percent would have prevented it); and the “ingredients for life” could not have been created simply from scratch.

  These all attest to a delicate balance that suggests divine fine-tuning (p. 171-174).  In addition, the Milky Way is a “spiral galaxy,” far from the black holes at the universe’s center, spared from many comets, and comprised of relatively light elements needed to sustain life.All of these variables (which, if altered even slightly, would destroy the universe’s delicate balance), says Strobel, had to be set precisely in order for intelligent life to exist.  The guiding hand was God’s, since God wanted humanity to exist and comprehend these facts; he even concludes chapter seven by claiming that “the cosmos was designed for discovery,” thus adding “a compelling new dimension to the evidence for a Creator” (p. 191).

Strobel’s interviews are insightful and, thanks to his journalistic and legal training, full of tough questions which his experts answer capably and clearly.  The work is not overly scientific or loaded with jargon that lay readers would fail to grasp.  However, he interviews only advocates of Intelligent Design and includes little input on the subject from other scientists.  The book thus makes a passionate argument for Intelligent Design, with some rather credible examples, though it lacks the balance that would make the case even stronger.