Chaos or Order?

By Wayne Greeson

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Psa. 19:1).

With the increase of man’s knowledge comes the constant confirmation of the Psalmist’s statement. The evidence continues to build that this universe is not the product of chance but a system of order and design. The design of the universe points to a designer.

The argument from design is a powerful argument that proves the existence of God. Atheists feel the force of this argument in discussion and debate and they are often compelled to take a rather strange position. To refute the argument from design, the atheist will often assert that there is as much disorder in the universe as order. The conclusion is drawn that the existence of randomness and disorder in the universe disproves a total system of order and design, thus there is no designer.

This argument was presented in the Bales-Teller debate by the atheist Woolsey Teller. Mr. Teller repeatedly argued that the world and the organisms in it are so poorly made that this world could not have been designed, thus there is no designer. Mr. Teller said, “Any comment on the God idea and design in nature would be incomplete if we failed to consider the arrangement of the planets in their relation to the sun, that is, their placements in point of distance, and what occurs because of their positions. Now, if the universe was designed (and the universe includes our solar system), it was designed in a very peculiar way” (Bales-Teller Debate, 1947, p. 49).

Mr. Teller proceeded to argue that the lay-out of the planets of the solar system was “ridiculous” because of its lack of order; thus the universe could not be the creation of a divine being. This general line of argumentation has been used by atheists in numerous debates.

While the atheists’ “argument from chaos” sounds impressive, it is built upon a faulty premise. The assertion that there is chaos or disorder in the universe is an unproven and false premise. Recent scientific studies have concluded that what superficially appears to be random behavior in systems, closer observation reveals complex patterns and design!

Within the last decade, a number of scientists have studied apparent random behavior of various systems such as air turbulence, the development of sunspots, the spread of flames, water dripping from a faucet and water movement in the oceans. Studies in this area have been advanced to the point that last year there was a scientific conference on the subject in Monterey, California, the International Conference on the Physics of Chaos and Systems Far from Equilibrium. Scientists involved with these studies have concluded, “There is order in chaos. Underlying chaotic behavior there are elegant geometric forms that create randomness in the same way a card dealer shuffles a deck of cards of a blender mixes a cake batter . . . Random-looking information can be explained in terms of simple laws” (Scientific American quoted in the Miami Herald, Jan. 14, 1987).

The atheists’ “argument from chaos” is an argument from ignorance. For an atheist to declare that a particular system or organism is without order, design or purpose simply reveals that the atheist is ignorant of the order, design and purpose of that system. Closer examination and study of what appears to be without design or purpose can often expose design and purpose.

A good example of the atheists’ argument from ignorance is the once weighty “evidence” of vestigial organs. A vestigial organ is an organ or structure of the body that has no apparent purpose and has supposedly degenerated because of lack of use. One hundred years ago, science listed over 186 organs of the human body as “vestigial organs,” organs with no apparent purpose. These “useless” structures were seen as evidence of evolution and disproof of the existence of God. Today, only five organs remain on the list of vestigial organs and even the classification of these five as vestigial organs is hotly debated by the scientific community. The problem with “vestigial” organs was not that they had no purpose, but that men were ignorant of their purpose.

Order, design and purpose, not chaos, rule throughout the universe. Even seeming chaos is carefully ordered. Order and design demand a Designer. That Designer is the God of the Bible. “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One . . . I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded” (Isa. 45:11-12).

Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 424
July 21, 1988