Fingerprints of the Creator

October, 2020
Dan Reynolds PhD

Our God is infinite in love (1 Jn 4:8), knowledge (Heb 4:13), wisdom, and power (Heb 1:3). He is eternal (Ps 106:48) and not bound by time. He is personal and exists as a Trinity of three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As a person, God has a mind, emotions, and a will. Human beings also have attributes of mind, emotion, and will because we were created by Him in His image (Gen 1:26). We know God became a man who came into the world to rescue sinners who would believe on Him for eternal life. The fingerprints of the God of the Bible are everywhere in His creation. He has left clues of his power and wisdom everywhere. The universe and all that is within it were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16).

The divinity of Christ and the triune nature of the God-head has been recognized by Christians since the first century. Although the scriptures do not use the word “trinity,” the idea is clearly expressed in various passages (for example: Gen 1:26; Jn 1:1–4,14; Ex 3:13–15, Jn 8:48–59; Jn 10:24–28; Jn 14:5–9; Matt 28:18–20; Acts 2:32–36, Ps 110:1, Matt 22:41–46; Phil 2:4–8; Heb 1:1–14; Mark 2:1–12). The triune nature of God facilitated a love relationship within the Godhead before the creation (Jn 17:24). God was loving within Himself before the creation; we know that God is love. God the Son was Creator of the universe (Heb 1:2). He was there during creation week, actively creating all things and consequently was an eyewitness to the history of creation. And the creation was “very good” (Gen 1:31) as we would expect from a perfect and righteous creator. According to the scriptures, the ultimate reality is a person, not a thing. The first cause of existence is a personal (Jn 1:1–5), omniscient, omnipotent, all loving being and not merely an impersonal force or set of physical laws.

The fingerprints of the Creator are all over His creation (Ps 19:1, Rom 1:19–20); the evidence for a creator is overwhelming. God has left His fingerprints all over creation from the inside of the atom to the structure of the cosmos and everything in between. Hallmarks of design include irreducible complexity, planning and foresight, purpose, complex specified information, and fine tuning. The universe has these “fingerprints” all over it. We know God has spoken to us through special revelation and general revelation. Special revelation is the Word of God, the Bible. General revelation has been made to all mankind through all of God’s creation, including the physical universe and personal beings such as ourselves.

What can man deduce from a study of God’s creation? First, let’s consider the physical universe. We know the universe had a beginning. The universe includes all matter-energy, space-time, the laws of chemistry and physics, quantum mechanics, the four fundamental forces, all subatomic particles, the information in biology (DNA, RNA, proteins, sugars), things we have yet to discover, and personal beings such as ourselves. We know the universe had a beginning by at least two observations: the expansion of the universe and the second law of thermodynamics. The expansion of the universe run backwards leads to a singularity where time has stopped (had a beginning). The second law states that the useful energy of the universe must decrease with time. A universe like ours that still has an abundance of useful energy could have only existed for a finite amount of time—it had a beginning. Logically, the universe could not create itself. Scripture plainly teaches the universe had a beginning (Gen 1:1). We know that physics and chemistry are fine-tuned to permit life as we know it to exist. Change any of the laws or constants of physics even slightly and we would not be here. And there is nothing in physical law requiring physics to be as it is; it appears that multiple “coincidences” in physical law have conspired to facilitate our existence. Slight changes in the laws of physics could result in different stars, a different set of elements with different chemical properties, a different set of subatomic particles, different fundamental forces, etc. So, we have a fine-tuned universe which began to exist a finite time ago.

Any naturalistic scenario for the unfolding of the universe must also account for much additional fine tuning. The most widely accepted explanation for the current state of the cosmos is the big bang theory. Noteworthy problems are the required initial low entropy and the rate of the expansion of space-time. Low entropy systems are very improbable, so ad hoc explanations such as inflation have been suggested. No one knows what would start or stop inflation or if it really happened. The expansion of space had to be at a very finely tuned rate. Too slow, and the matter would fall back on itself due to gravity, resulting in a big crunch. Too fast, and gravity would not have been able to pull hydrogen together fast enough to form stars; the universe would merely be a diffuse cloud of hydrogen gas.

Then there is our planet, Earth. Earth has the right mass, the right atmospheric pressure, and is the right distance from the sun to allow the solid, liquid, and the vapor states of water to coexist. We know water is essential for life as we know it. Water, which covers roughly 70% of the earth’s surface, has a high heat capacity, making it able to moderate the climate. The shape of earth’s orbit is almost circular, facilitating a stable climate. The axial tilt of the earth, stabilized by the moon, allows for seasons and a stable climate. The rotation of the earth helps maintain global temperatures in a narrow range. There are feedback mechanisms in place to help maintain a consistent climate in response to variations in, for example, carbon dioxide levels and temperature. When carbon dioxide levels increase, plant growth increases globally, stabilizing carbon dioxide levels. When the temperature increases, so does water evaporation and cloud cover, which can reflect sunlight back into space. The earth has a magnetic field that protects us from the charged particles emitted by the sun and from cosmic rays. Our atmosphere contains oxygen that is converted into ozone that protects us from dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Of course, oxygen also facilitates energy production in larger animals and humans through respiration. There is enough oxygen to support higher organisms while not so much that combustion would be a major threat. Our sun is a stable and relatively quiet star that emits the frequencies of light necessary for photosynthesis. The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn help protect the inner solar system from large comets and meteors that could damage the earth. Our solar system is located in a sparsely populated area of our galaxy greatly reducing the threat of nearby supernovae and facilitating observation of the universe beyond our galaxy.

The fossil record bears witness to the Flood and the sudden and recent appearance of complex animals on the earth. Much of the organic material in the fossil record contains trace radiocarbon (half-life, 5730 years). This is true of fossil coals at any depth and with alleged ages of hundreds of millions of years. Careful experiments have made contamination very unlikely. Because radiocarbon has such a short half-life, the only explanation for its persistence in fossils is for the animals and plants from which they were derived to have been buried in the last few thousand years. This is what we would expect if the fossil record was formed recently due to a global flood. And more than half of all known phyla are found in a relatively thin layer at the bottom part of the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion is evidence that vastly different organisms appeared suddenly from the beginning of the record. There are no obvious precursors in the record as would be expected from evolution (descent with modification from a common ancestor). So vast amounts of biological information in the form of various and varied organisms appear abruptly, recently, and at the beginning of the fossil record. Darwin knew of this and realized it was not in accord with his theory of gradual evolution over vast periods of time. The problem has only gotten worse since Darwin’s day. The sudden appearance of multiple organisms fits fiat creation by God.

Consider the human genome. Once thought to be mostly “junk,” the human genome is now believed to be mostly functional. We have discovered information processing in the cell: DNA is transcribed into mRNA that is then translated into proteins; DNA may contain multiple overlapping codes in the same DNA segment; DNA can be read forward and backwards; a single mRNA can undergo post-transcriptional processing to ultimately afford hundreds of different proteins; synonymous codons 1 can lead to the formation of proteins with different three-dimensional structures (hence different functions) yet with the same sequence of amino acids; the integration, timing, coordination, and regulation of the production of proteins, of metabolic pathways, and of reproduction are finely tuned and controlled; an additional layer of information is found in patterns of selective methylation of some bases in DNA (epigenome), and so on. Proteins as enzymes are required to transcribe DNA into mRNA, yet DNA is required to code for the same enzymes. And without ribosomes, consisting of proteins and RNA, mRNA could not be translated into proteins. The DNA, RNA, protein system is completely integrated into a functional whole. Remove any of its parts and it ceases to function. It is irreducibly complex and an enormous challenge to explain by an unguided evolutionary process.

When DNA is replicated, occasional errors are made. The cell is equipped with proof-reading machinery to correct these errors. Without the proof-reading machinery, errors would accumulate rapidly with the eventual result of error catastrophe and a breakdown of the system due to loss of essential information. Only an intelligence could foresee the need for error correction. A self-replicating molecule, fortuitously generated by a blind mutation process, would not last long without proof-reading machinery.

There are only two alleles for most human traits. This fact alone speaks to the youth of the human genome and is consistent with humanity descending from a single male/female pair. There are traits with more than two alleles. These can be explained by early mutations, small tribes after the Babel dispersion facilitating fixation of mutations, genetic hotspots, and variations built into Adam and Eve from the start. The diversity within the extant human genome is accounted for by God building genetic variation into Adam and Eve recently and by rapid population growth after creation and the Flood. The fact that there are three major types of mitochondrial DNA (inherited from women only) in the world today is consistent with all of humanity being the descendants of the three wives of Noah’s sons. The measured mutation rate of human mitochondrial DNA and the observed variation in extant human mitochondrial DNA are consistent with humans emerging from a single pair of individuals 6000 years ago.

Now let’s consider the personal, human side of God’s creation. Consider what it means for us to be personal beings. The freedom to make conscious choices distinguishes personal entities from impersonal machines. The existence of good and evil, morality, human dignity, accountability, justice, freedom, love, and everything in the personal realm hinges on our freedom to choose. If materialism is true, then we are merely complex chemical machines that function under the illusion that we have the freedom to make choices. In that case, our inner life is merely the result of brain chemistry, which evolved according to natural selection. For the materialist, there is no soul, no afterlife, no transcendent standards of good and evil, and no free will. However, everyone experiences making choices daily: what to eat for breakfast, which radio station to select, when to leave work, whether to call a friend or watch the news, etc. The personal realm is a part of our nature and is testimony to the God who made us. Indeed, even materialists themselves can’t live without the constant reminder that they make choices. Worldviews that deny the personal are in conflict with everyone’s daily experience; they are denying what everyone knows first-hand is true. Our universal experience of making choices is empirical evidence for the personal. Chemistry and physics are incapable of producing personal entities. How could they? Chemistry and physics consistently conform to physical law in every detail. That means that any entity which can be explained by chemistry and physics alone can’t be personal. Since humans do have a personal dimension, the cause of humans must transcend chemistry and physics—our cause must also be personal. The God of the Bible is a personal agent that can explain the origin of the personal side of human nature.

Consider special revelation, God’s Word, the Bible. Christians believe the original manuscripts were inerrant and infallible. We have thousands of copies of the New Testament which agree with one another to a high degree, making it certain that we have texts very close to the originals. The Dead Sea Scrolls (radiocarbon dated to 300–200 B.C.) contain copies of almost all of the Old Testament. These copies are essentially the same as those made over a thousand years later—a testimony to the care taken when transcribing the texts. Many predictions (prophecies) made in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament in detail, especially concerning the Messiah (as fulfilled by Jesus Christ). These predictions were made before the fact. Such accuracy can only be explained by a supernatural intelligence that knew the future before it happened.

The Bible portrays humans as extremely precious, loved, and ingenious yet depraved, deceived, sinful, selfish, proud, and rebellious. The truth about ourselves is hard to swallow, so we look for other explanations for our existence. The Bible portrays a precious yet fallen human race in need of redemption, a way out of selfishness and the guilt it brings, and a right understanding of reality. We need to be restored to a right relationship with our Creator. And God has provided a Way for this restoration. God became a man, Jesus Christ, who came to earth and lived a perfect sin-free life and then paid the penalty of our sins on our behalf: Christ died for us. Then God raised Jesus from the dead. All who believe on Jesus have their sins washed away by his death (Rom 10:9–10) and are given new life because of his resurrection.

In creation, we see matter-energy, space-time, the fundamental physical forces, physical law, the biological world, and human nature. There is little doubt now that physics and chemistry are fine-tuned for life as we know it, which even famous atheists admit. Biology contains and pro- cesses coded information in large molecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins, saccharides, etc. through irreducibly complex biochemical systems. What we know about chemistry and physics suggests the fine-tuning and information in the universe are consistent with physical laws but not explained by them. Nature reflects the work, planning, and foresight of a powerful and creative intelligence. Humans have a free will. The undeniable truth is that people make decisions freely every day; we all know this to be true from our daily first-hand experience. This fact alone says we were made by a person and not by impersonal forces for the latter could only produce biochemical robots with no freedom to choose. The world is a mess because we humans are deceived, are selfish, and make bad choices. God has shown His love for us by sending Jesus to die in our place. He is our only hope for this life and the next, and the only explanation adequate to explain the creation, including the personal side of human nature. God’s fingerprints are all over His creation, including ourselves.

The Bible explains: the existence of the universe and the fine tuning of physics, the information in biochemistry, why humans are able to make free choices, human dignity, what is wrong with the world, and the solution to the world problems, Jesus Christ.

  • 1. Synonymous codons have different bases but code for the same amino acid.