Beauty in Nature and Science Points to God

faith, I believe / Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
"Beauty is crucial to the human enterprise because it triggers wonder."
(Fr. Thomas Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty
Back in March, I shared a little bit about Why I believe God exists. I went into more detail about how I am my own proof of God’s existence and recently I’ve been thinking more deeply about how Beauty in Nature points to God.
I love nature. I love how beautiful our world is. If I allow myself a moment or two, I like to sit outside and watch the birds fly about their daily chores, listen to their chatters with the squirrels, and close my eyes and feel the wind glide through me. A brisk stroll through a quiet nature park brings me instant peace and escape from the world. A few years ago, our family ventured to Idaho and the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Park area. Shortly after entering the park we pulled over to stretch our legs and let the kids run out their pent-up energy. We walked to the river bank and I took in the surroundings and breathed in the fresh air and I couldn’t help but cry, it is just so beautiful.
Nature also fascinates me.
Take the birds, for example. They rise in the morning and immediately get to work. No pushing the snooze button; they get going right away -to survive, to feed themselves, to feed their young if they must. They go about their days with an order, with a purpose. But they didn’t have to check their email or wait on any work order first. Their purpose and way of life is inherent. (I’m a bit envious of this actually. Life might be easier if I didn’t have to waste half the time trying to figure out what my purpose is.)

But it’s not just the birds, all the animals amaze me. Some of them more or less than others. I love the variety and also the similarities visible throughout the natural world. It’s amazing to me to learn and see how each species has the right kind of fur or skin or legs or tails, claws or sharp teeth or even no teeth that’s just right for their unique environment, tastes, and survival needs.

Like the ant eaters with their long noses obviously designed to suck the ants up, or birds with beaks long enough and strong enough to break open a pine cone and reach the fruity seeds tucked inside. The metamorphosis of a butterfly and lizards that can grow new tails especially intrigue me. Then there’s this mimic Octupus that can change its form as needed.

All animals are all wonder-ful in their own ways – even the gross ones are kind of cool. Creepy crawly things are gross, however, a spider’s geometrically perfect web captivates me; the orb spider’s distinct zig-zag design is too cool. I love Okapi’s for their super radical leggings and somewhat mismatched top, along with the zebra’s stripes, the giraffe’s unique spots, the hexagonal formation of the turtle’s shell pattern, and the perfect spiral on a snail’s shell.

Speaking of spirals in nature, have you ever heard of the Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci Number? It’s mind-boggling mathematics that is seen throughout all nature and even in man-built architecture. I remember when I first discovered this one boring day in my high school Pre-Calc class – I was so bored I was actually reading my math book! I can still hear the explosions going off as the revelation of this incredible mathematical equation active in nature blew my mind away. Here’s a cool video that shows the awesomeness of Numbers in Nature. Watch that and then try and tell me there’s no Intelligent Designer!

Aside from the various designs, colors, and the structures of life forms (animals & plants), how nature works intrigue me the most. The unique and perfectly rhythmic life cycle, photosynthesis, the fact that plants are made up of minerals from the earth that in turn feed animals (including humans) and provide sustenance for their survival, the process of how the majestic mountains, powerful volcanoes, peaceful valleys & planes, magnificent caves, and rivers & oceans form. It’s all so AWE-SOME! And let’s not get started with the weather! I have a fearful admiration and respect for weather. Oh, and space! Ouch; my head hurts already. My mind can only handle so much at once!
When I think about all this, especially the part about spirals and the Golden Ratio, I think about evolution – how all this amazing creation started out and came to be. My mind goes way back – to the unfolding of the universe: Starting with the first stars, exploding into nebulas, then black holes, and super novae, spinning into new galaxies, then to hard matter (planets) and it’s been a “spiraling” (there it is again!) progression from one thing to another to another to another since then.
ok, now my head really hurts.
What’s most interesting to me, though, is that out of the whole universe – the earth formed and that the earth is so unlike any of the other planets – at least from what we know so far – with the presence of water and the various forms of solids and gasses constantly mixing and interacting together to form the beautiful landscapes of our planet. Continuing down the path of evolution’s history, after the initial gasses and solids – something quite miraculous occurred – LIFE. Moving, breathing, living life forms. And then after the first life form, came more! All the plant life and animal species , the dinosaurs (?) and then us – humans.
Interestingly, common links are found if you study and compare the largest known objects of the universe with the smallest known ones, everything is still so similar – just in a different scale and unique variations. (Check out this interactive Scale of the Universe. Your kids will love it, too.)

And to think that all of this – this “spiral of evolution” – started from one simple point and followed a very purposeful and intelligent order and turned into the present day unfathomable universe we now live in. This was not random. The path of evolution is smart. Intelligent. Purposeful. There’s no way it could have just done all this randomly on its own. There’s no way a sunflower could know to spread its seeds out in a spiral pattern because it’s more efficient that way – on its own. There’s no way a flowers’ nectar attracts the hummingbird for both feeding and re-pollination or a pine tree’s needles could absorb moisture from fog in the absence of rain – all on its own. White light beams from the sun hitting raindrops on the way down at a specific angle separating the different colors that make up the beam and displaying them beautifully in a perfect, unbroken arch in our sky couldn’t just coincidentally do that – all on its own. DNA from two different life forms couldn’t mix and combine to form a completely new genetic code for a whole new & unique life – all on its own. Two hydrogen atoms would not know they need to bind together with just one oxygen atom to form water – all on its own. The earth’s moon could not orbit the earth approximately every 28 days and affect the earth’s oceans tide in the process – all on its own. Nor could the trees shed their leaves and the summers turn to autumn as the earth makes its way around the sun year after year.

I don’t mean to say that God is constantly ‘turning the crank’ of the universe’s gears to make it all work or that there are any little fairies or elves painting the flowers’ designs or teaching the birds how to fly. I’m saying, based on my own simple observations, and from what little I retained from my formal education, that everything has an order, nature has a purpose. It is not random. It’s all too smart, too ordered, to factually or even logically say that everything is some random coincidence of various chemicals and energies bumping into each other here and there.

On page 34 & 35 of Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion he presents the atheist “belief” in this way:

What most atheists do believe it’s that although there is only one kind of stuff in the universe and it is physical, out of this stuff comes minds, beauty, emotions, moral values – in short the full gamut of phenomena that gives richness to human life…Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain…An atheist…believes there is nothing beyond the physical and natural world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe…

To which I respond: Without some sort of supernatural creative intelligence, how would we, and all the natural universe, come to be and function so intelligently and with such an obvious intelligent design?
On page 52 he further explains how he defines and advocates an alternative view to the “God Hypothesis”:
…any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligences being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.
I beg your pardon, Mr. Dawkins, but your atheist philosophy/hypothesis is utterly absurd. Something can not come out of nothing. There has to be some sort of an original cause that initiated the MOTION and the process of evolution. How could a creative intelligence just intelligently evolve from nowhere? Creative intelligence requires at least some form of prior intelligence or it would cease to be…intelligent. 🙂

The laws of physics, the powerful forces of gravity, the intricate workings of chemistry – all of that – could not make itself without an initial cause and design. In order to set something new into motion, the original cause would need to exist outside of existence. Something from within could not start itself if that which is within did not previously exist.

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