Punting the problem…

One of the things I remember clearly being a child was my mother saying (paraphrasing):

When you see the miracle of a birth you know there is a God.

The first thing that I’ll note, is that watching my wife do so, given the painful mess that it was, well, seemed anything but holy. Certainly the crowning itself and the bucket of placenta that followed, was not necessarily a catalyst for pious thought (my mom was an O.B. nurse, so I will cut her some slack here).

Yes, the child that resulted, once cleaned of said detritus of birth certainly seemed a miracle and has remained such ever since – but that more in a sense of a miracle that we be blessed with such luck to have this great son, rather than a miracle in sense of divine creation (though, to admit, if ever one feels a metaphysical connection, it is with one’s children).

Anyway, I digress, because certainly the idea that a single cell, and the microscopic DNA that we cannot even see, should yield something so complex as a child or an adult cannot be argued to not seem truly miraculous. Nor can one argue that one looks at the complexity and interactions of life on this planet that it is not hard be believe that this is all a matter of chance,  the simple result of the probabilities of quantum mechanics starting at an infinitely dense singularity.

However the obvious solution, and the one favored by something like 95% of the inhabitants of the planet, that God (or gods – plural) did it, doesn’t unfortunately solve the problem. Not even close – it just “punts” the problem along.

Here’s the thing, if we are to assume God, in his infinite wisdom, power, and perfection, created everything, then where did God come from? How did God come to be?

From the perspective of Judeo-Christian dogma, that of course is a giant rat hole. For simplicity’s sake I’ll accept (begrudgingly I admit) the standard answer – he has always existed and he will always exist (“I am that I am“).

So, that accepted, what are we saying here? Are we saying that essentially out of the ether, out of happenstance, luck as it were, sprang an infinitely intelligent, infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely perfect, infinitely good, God? A God that was capable of creating the nearly unimaginable complexities both of our universe and life itself? And yet, yet, somehow this bit of convenient magic is more believable, more “probable” than life evolving from a series of quantum interactions spawned at the Big Bang itself?

For if it is improbable that a billion year long series of (theoretically) scientifically explainable interactions would yield the world as we know it, isn’t it equally improbable that a god would spring out of nothingness capable of creating the same?

In short if it seems impossible that life could have formed itself on its own, it is equally impossible that a god would have flitted into existence that could create that same life. The probabilities are literally the same (or at least within the same magnitude of improbability).

To which of course the faithful will argue, “But I have a book that says so!” of which I would answer, “A book that is clearly incorrect on many accounts (for instance, the Sun does not revolve around the Earth) and conversely I have reams of books, not self-referentially based on a single book, that give scientific credence that life may have evolved on its own – yet again, your view is more probable?”

That said, does it mean I am correct? No.

I am no more able to prove there is a God than to prove there is not. However the point remains – God is not a more probable solution than natural processes like evolution. Much as we would like to anthropomorphisize nature itself, believing a sentient being created “the heavens and earth” is akin to believing the Sun revolves around the Earth – a supreme act of narcissism.

However, though clearly I doubt, it does not mean it’s not true.


At some level I would note that the earlier Judaic vision of God being all too human, a “jealous god”, in some sense seems more probable. That a God might arise with flaws rather than in perfection, seems more logical.

On the other hand, if you believe as I do, that it’s likely some sort of “multiverse” exists, then in all the infinite probabilities of that, the idea that a perfect being might arise is not all that improbable. This is sort of a play on the “infinite monkeys theorem” – that is, “Given an infinite number of monkeys working an infinite time, eventually they would produce God.” Granted, monkeys creating God sounds a little offensive, but no more so I suppose than some find the idea of evolving from them!

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