"asks why, if God created the universe, he left the evidence so scant. He might have embedded Maxwell's equations in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Ten Commandments might have been engraved on the moon. 'Or why not a hundred-kilometer crucifix in Earth orbit?...Why should God be so clear in the Bible and so obscure in the world?'" [ellipses in original]
There is quite a bit packaged in this succinct statement, let us parse it: If God created the universe, he left the evidence so scant. The universe is the evidence. Absolutely everything in the universe can be lined up and presented as exhibits in a chain of evidence of God's creative work. The atheist has made at least two errors in this regard: One, is thinking that as long as they can concoct materialistic tales about how things may have or could have (or should have?) happened that is enough to ward off God. Two, is thinking that the more materialistic causes we find for materialistic effects the more God becomes superfluous. However, since God created the material realm we should only expect that material effects have material causes. Note also, that Carl Sagan is not claiming that there is no evidence but that the evidence is "scant." He certainly considered it scant enough to be unconvinced. Yet, we must ask what was it that he looked for as being evidence of God's existence? Well, he did tell us:
He might have embedded Maxwell's equations in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The next three segments are recommendation, as it were, to God and tell God how to go about His business. Bible codes is certainly not my field of interest, yet it is interesting to consider what the response would be if we did find Maxwell's equations embedded in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Perhaps, the same responses to claims of codes being in the Bible: you're reading into it, you're manipulating the data, you can make anything say anything. Thus, the results would be inconclusive, at best. Simply stated, if we did find Maxwell's equations embedded in Egyptian hieroglyphs they would not be known as Maxwell's equations but Egyptian equations and Maxwell may be charged with plagiarism.
The Ten Commandments might have been engraved on the moon. This would certainly be interesting. I also suspect that, as per Prof. Richard Dawkins' modus operandi, it would be argued that the engraving would be meaningless since it leaves unanswered the question of who engraved the engraver.
Or why not a hundred-kilometer crucifix in Earth orbit? Planets are spherical and other natural phenomenon have particular shapes. If a hundred-kilometer crucifix did orbit the Earth it would not mean a thing. It would simply be another material object in orbit and surely materialistic theories as to why such an object of such as shape was orbiting the earth would be concocted. Notice that at this point Carl Sagan is making particular reference to Christianity. If two millennia ago Jesus did die on a cross, there would be nothing particularly meaningful about it. It would merely mean that the Roman's were basing their design on the orbiting cross.
Why should God be so clear in the Bible and so obscure in the world? Why indeed? Well, for starters, God is clear in the Bible because the Bible is a condensed version of millennia's worth of history much of which was, as it were, devoid of God's direct activity. But is God obscure in the world? It depends on what we are looking for does it not? I find that people seek the god-according-to-me. God surely is to be found, or so people assume, in the field of my particular interest. Scientists want God to demonstrate Himself in ways that are detectable through the scientific method. Historians want to see God's work in history. Mystics want to feel the presence of God, et al, etc.
Carl Sagan obviously wanted to find God by reaching his particular field of interest - astronomy. In the above quote he refers to the universe, Maxwell's equations, the moon and earth's orbit. Thus, he is, in a sense, confining God to a lab. The lab may be an actual laboratory or an observatory but it is a lab in the mind of the absolute materialist who demands that God jump through human hoops. And yet, it is through cosmology and astronomy that evidence of purposeful creation has been discovered. Meanwhile, without a shred of evidence Carl Sagan was interweaving atheist activist statement with science, "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be."
In this regard Norman Geisler wrote,
"So the Cosmos has created man in its own image, endowed him with life, and sustains his very existence. For all of this man has a moral obligation to perpetuate life in the Cosmos."1
Perhaps God should place each human being in their very own alternate universe in which His presence would be manifest in the manner in which each human being decides that it should be manifest. This brings us to an interesting issue: every person holds to a theology-even the most militant atheists. When we think in terms of what God should do, would do, or what God should not do or would not do, we are imposing our theology upon reality and also up and against the theology of others. Thus, the atheist argues that if God was, then God would __________ (fill in the blank) and since God does not __________ then God is not. Why should we follow a theology, oft disguised as science, which declares that a non-physical being should give off physical evidence? Or why should we expect the materialists theological presuppositions to be accurate if we do not know what God is like in the first place? How do they know what they are looking for or where to look?
For example, Christopher Hitchens argues against design by pointing out that 98% of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct. Stephen Jay Gould argued that the Panda's thumb was not designed because it did not function properly. But from whence did Christopher Hitchens get the idea that extinction goes against design? The designer may have meant certain species to play certain roles only at certain times. The designer may have intended that species only live for a certain span of natural history. They many have been designed to wear-out. While Stephen Jay Gould complained about the Panda's thumb the Pandas were perfectly happy stripping off bamboo leaves off of branches between their paw and thumb-yummy! Who said that it is a thumb in the first place? It is an appendage that suits the Pandas just fine. I can hear the Panda's now, "Let's see you strip hundreds of bamboo leaves off of branches per day-you opposable thumber you!"
While materialists may be looking through telescopes and microscopes, looking at the moon and obits the majority of the entire planet's population, regardless of chronology, geography or theology, claims to have had experiences with God. To discount this as mass delusion or discount it as primitive superstitious ignorance is to make assertions and not to explain anything. The atheist argument at this point goes something like this: no one has ever had an experience with God and we can know this even without having examined each claim of an experience with God because we can know that God does not exists and one of the ways that we can know God does not exist is that no one has ever had an experience with God.
1. Norman L. Geisler, Cosmos: Carl Sagan's Religion for the Scientific Mind (Dallas: Quest Publication, 1983), p. 31
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