Hidden in Plain Sight: Evidence for God and the Call of the Cosmos
Atheists and Agnostics often will say they’re open to evidence for God, but they just don’t see any. When Chelsea on Netflix asked celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson if he believed in God, for example, he skirted the question, implying (but never actually saying) “No,” and then wrapped up his response this way. “If you have good evidence, I’m good for it. But I’m evidence-driven, more than I’m faith-driven.”
Tyson’s vague response satisfies (at least temporarily) people who look to celebrities to supply answers to life’s big questions. For the rest of us, though, the burden of evaluating evidence and drawing reasonable conclusions remains. And I don’t know of anyone putting together evidence and making it accessible to us on video better than Illustra Media.
Illustra’s latest, The Call of the Cosmos: What the Universe Reveals about God, is stunning. Through a combination of actual video and CGI animations, The Call of the Cosmos lays out before us features of the universe that reveal its vast size (Did you know scientists estimate there are ten times more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the earth?) and complexity (Or that a single grain of sand contains more atoms than grains of sand on the earth? Or that the human brain houses a million trillion synapses?), along with several features unique to our planet that come together to make it habitable while also making it an ideal platform from which to observe and study the universe. Who or what could have arranged such a marvelous confluence of conditions?
Does our planet just happen to be a place where life can flourish? Or was it intentionally designed to be that way? If we begin with a worldview of philosophical materialism, then the former is the only allowable option. Robert Jastrow, for example, former Director Emeritus of the Mt. Wilson Observatory, concedes that evidence from Big Bang cosmology and human life imply a Creator. But as a materialist limited to material explanations for everything, he can’t accept that as a possible explanation for the evidence he clearly sees. And this leaves him, he admits, “in a completely hopeless bind,” which he finds “unsatisfactory.” “I feel as if I am missing something. But I will not find out what I am missing within my lifetime.”
For the non-materialist, though, or anyone open to the possibility of a transcendent mind behind the universe, it becomes possible to discern an Artist and Engineer Extraordinaire behind it all. I like the way that Paul Nelson of Biola University puts it in the film.
“God as our Creator has this infinite array of possible ways of communicating with us. One of them could be, he just comes down here and grabs us by the shoulders and says, ‘Wake up! You’re in trouble!’ Right? But God’s a lot more subtle than that. And, in particular, he doesn’t bend our wills to his. In a way that’s really mysterious and hard to understand, he puts things in front of us and says, ‘Now, you, respond.’”
And one powerful way for him to communicate with us, at least those of us open to hearing from him, is the beautiful and marvelously complex world he made for us to inhabit.
I hope you’ll check out this great new film. And the next time someone says to you, “I don’t see evidence of God,” remind him that he hasn’t made any statement about the universe or the evidence but has rather made a statement about his vision. Pray for him, and if he’s open to it, point him to the marvelous array of resources at Illustra.