Copyright © 1997, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

     Many today are searching for a Higher Power. Some call this God. Are there observations that can explain why, throughout the world, in all places and all times, men seek for answers?


     First, among all people, it is an undisputed fact that there is design in the world/universe. Order, structure, function and purpose are all clearly seen from the largest to the smallest level. For example, water molecules are built in such a way that when water freezes into ice, it floats rather than sinks. This means that things living in the water during winter can swim under the surface and survive.

     The facts of design have lead some to infer the existence of a Designer/Creator behind it all. One such person is John N. Clayton. This former atheist-turned-Christian credits his change to seeing design in nature and the universe. (You can get free material from John Clayton that is really good in the area of design by writing to JNC, 718 Donmoyer Ave., South Bend, IN 46614-1999, or E-mail to Others, such as the late, nationally-acclaimed astronomer, Carl Sagan, acknowledge that design exists, but they leave it at that. It isn't that Sagan didn't make the inference that a creator could exist; he didn't believe because he had chosen not to believe. (See his book Cosmos.)

     There is a logical implication inherent in the idea of design and a designer. If a Designer does exist, then what we see may have been purposely made in such a way as to testify to His existence. The biblical writers believed this and clearly taught it (Ps 19:1, Rom 1:19).

     Second, not only is there design in the world; there is inherent value in that which is designed. Stars help man to navigate. Seeds, soil, sunshine, rain, worms, all help to grow crops and feed man. Even the lowly slug has its place as nature's carpet cleaner. The slug constantly pulverizes and dissolves hard solid matter that is laying around and helps change it into soil. The world is "good" to man. Whether one believes in a creator or not, this is fact.

     Further observation shows that man seems to be the main object the world/universe is built around. Man seems to be the centerpiece. In other words, the "good" in the world is directed toward man. The concept even has a name. It is called the "Anthropic Principle," and it is an area of current research. Paul Davies, not a believer in God, is one of the foremost writers on the subject. So the existence of "good-directed-toward-man" is admitted both by believers and non-believers.

     If all this "good" is received by man, and man believes in a Designer, what does this say about that Designer? Does it imply that He cares for man? If such is accepted, what could be a possible response from man? Praise? Gratitude? Worship? Seeking fellowship on a deeper level? Indeed some, like John Clayton, have responded in this way. Others, like Paul Davies, are indifferent. But isn't this normal in real life? People receive gifts, but not all are thankful, not all care, not all respond by wanting to know more about the giver. Can it also be said that the goodness built into the world by the Designer is designed to draw man toward Him? Some of the inspired Bible writers have affirmed this (Jas 1:1, Rom 2:4, Acts 14:15-17).


     First, all is not well in the world. While it is true that one can clearly observe design in the machine and that it is good for man, the machine also has problems. Sometimes the earth/universe machine doesn't work right. Malfunction is the keyword. For example, birth defects occur because DNA has errors in it. Tornadoes happen and devastate life and property. Earth is in danger of being hit by space debris such as asteroids and comets. Floods, erosion, animal pests, insect pests, foul air are with us. The obvious conclusion is that something is wrong somewhere.

     Second, something is wrong with man himself. Murder. Rape. Theft. Destruction of property. Violence. Crime. And in all, there is an awareness of being out of control. By this is meant that man clearly does not know how to direct himself. Philosophies, ideas, isms, cults, New Age movements, drugs; all are attempts to find a way to truth. But what some have believed to be the right way has ended in their death. Man is on a sea without direction. This also shows the limitations of man's knowledge. It is not in man to guide himself. Again, the writers of old recognized this (Jer 10:23).

     There is, however, a good side to this awareness, and it is the motivation to seek for answers. The quest for truth can become a prime factor in one's life, and the existence of a myriad of religions and philosophies all testify to this fact. Is the awareness of human inadequacy a design element that the Designer built into the system to motivate man to seek the true answer to life and an understanding of his Creator?

     What about all the physical calamities? Can something be both unfortunate and good? Even though something is not working right, if a person is compelled to find out why the system is not working, and in so doing they discover a greater good, is it not worthwhile? It's sort of like getting a spanking when you were a kid. Unpleasant, yes! But when you look back you see that its purpose was to lead you into being a more responsible person. The spanking was "unfortunate" but it was also "good." (It should also be noted that the spanking reflects an act of justice. It is the penalty for error committed against the authority of the parent.)

     So, can it be suggested that not only the positive design and goodness seen in nature, but even the negative things are designed to lead men to seek the Creator, because they drive man to find out why this wonderful earth/universe machine is not working properly?

     Third, here is another consideration. The Designer that some believe exists seems very remote. There is no direct communication or signs given to unredeemed man today of His existence. So there is a sense of separation from the Creator. Even those who claim to have a "sign" still acknowledge that they are here and the Creator is "out there." Could this also be by design in order to motivate people to find out why? Often in our world we become separated from people because of "things done wrong" against them. Those who were once close friends are not any more because of some error committed or some misunderstanding. In marriage, the awareness of such separation should be a warning, and should motivate those involved to work out their difficulties and to reunite. Could the Creator have such a positive end in mind? Is it possible that sometime in the past or present, the Creator has been offended and this has resulted in a separation? Mere observation cannot answer this question.


     First, several things can be established by observation alone. The earth/universe has design; it is "good" and it is directed toward man, but it is also flawed in performance. Something is wrong. Man is trapped in a dark forest without any sure pathway to the light, and the Designer seems far from us and silent.

     Second, an explanation is needed; something to wrap around these observations and bind them together. This is called a worldview. An inductive study of facts cannot, by itself, give a worldview. A worldview is based on faith and founded on facts. Everyone has a worldview. Some include the idea of a Creator and some do not. Not all that include a Creator are biblical worldviews. So why do men like John Clayton choose a biblical worldview? The answer is that it satisfactorily explains all known observations better than any other.

     Third, the early chapters of Genesis explain what we observe. It tells us that we as humans are "outside-the-garden" people. We are, in fact, separated from a friend who was once close at hand. A break of fellowship occurred when our "father Adam" was put out of the presence of the Creator. We, being his offspring, are also "out here." We learn that Adam disobeyed the commands of the Creator, and this disobedience is the reason for the separation. The term for disobedience is sin (I John 3:4). Sin causes separation (Isa 59:2). In a biblical worldview, the things that we see have logical explanations.

     Not only are we separated, but the land is against us (Gen 3:17ff). Another biblical writer who was well-versed in the Old Testament writings expressed the idea that the whole world is "groaning in travail" until things become right (Rom 8:19-22). This is another consequence of being "outside the garden." Yes, the flaws in the operation of the earth/universe machine testify that something is indeed wrong, and the Bible tells us why.

     But the story gets more personal. We are not guilty of the sin of our father Adam (Eze 18:19-20). Nevertheless, we all have sinned (Rom 3:23). We belong outside the garden! The flaws of our world are designed to lead us to understand that we are separated from God by our own transgressions of His law.

     And what about the "good" seen in our world? Even toward Adam and Eve who just sinned, God still demonstrated His care for them by making them garments (Gen 3:21). Outside the garden, good continues to be directed toward them (and us). Does this have a purpose? Yes! It is to draw man back to his Creator (Rom 2:4). Sadly, not all will respond (Rom 2:5).


     Religious belief can result from man seeing design in nature and inferring the existence of a Supreme Designer. Many see the "good" directed toward man, and conclude that the Designer cares for man. The fact that things have gone wrong in this world testifies that there is a problem, and this drives many more to seek answers. The worldview expressed in the Bible puts all the observable facts together into the most reasonable and consistent pattern.

     To accept this worldview is an act of faith. Worldviews cannot be proven. Nevertheless, many who have studied all sorts of explanations for the above observations have discovered that the Bible has the greatest power to explain what is, and that it rests on very solid and factual ground.

  Link to other Evidences by John Lankford

West-Ark Church of Christ