The Case for a Creator: How Lee Strobel Became a Devout Christian Through Science
Does science bring out the worst in people? Or do people bring out the worst in science? Obviously, these two questions can be debated incessantly, and evidently, there probably isn’t going to be an answer that completely satisfies both sides. Science has created so much hesitation towards religion that naturally people are going to feel hatred towards the concept of God-leading to numerous debates, riots, and arguments over the very concern. Therefore it is true to say that science does indeed bring out the worst in people. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that humans themselves have created the foundation and values of science; and these foundations in return are against religion. Indeed, the idea that people bring out the worst in science would also be an accurate statement. As such, it is unsurprising that many people agree that science and faith towards God are pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum. Science and faith are just so different, with completely different values, that one would be called “deranged” to even try to tie these two phrases together.
Lee Strobel isn’t one who is afraid to be called “deranged”.
In 2004, Strobel, with the help of Jane Vogel, wrote the book The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God. In the beginning of this book, Strobel reveals that he was and still is in love with science. He was captivated by what science had to offer, and his brain automatically seemed to make a room for it. As mentioned earlier, science and religion are frequently conflicting, and as a result, Strobel’s faith towards God had almost completely vanished by the time he was in high school. Soon, he considered himself to be an atheist, and he stayed an atheist for a very long time. It wasn’t until his wife became a Christian did Strobel become interested in whether or not science and faith could work together. Thus, he began his long journey to find evidence primarily in science that proved God’s existence. Strobel then realized how much science and faith can indeed be compatible with each other. The evidence that transformed Strobel into a strong Christian is quite intriguing…
Strobel decided to begin his research from the start. Literally. If he wanted a good amount of evidence that pointed towards God, he ought to start from the beginning of the universe. Needless to say, Strobel had known from his early years of school that scientists believed the universe began its life from a big explosion. This explosion had occurred everywhere all at once, filling every inch of what we now call “space” with particles of matter. “But what caused the explosion? Did it just happen-first there was nothing, then there was something? Or did something-or someone-make it happen?” These questions were going through Strobel’s head, and he needed answers. After much investigation, he had narrowed it down to two theories. The first theory is called “Spontaneous Existence.” This theory is immensely complex and boggling, but to pull out the main points, the Spontaneous Existence theory basically states that 1) Nothing caused the universe, 2) The universe itself has no cause, and 3) The beginning of the universe simply happened, with no reason whatsoever. But Strobel would not accept that, and it was inevitable why he didn’t like this theory. Imagine if you were on your phone when suddenly it exploded into bits and pieces. Horrified, you run to the phone repair shop to ask what had happened to your precious phone. The phone manager simply shrugs and says “Nothing caused it-your phone just happened to explode for no apparent reason.” Impossible! There is no way a phone explodes for no reason! There must be an explanation! This scenario may sound bizarre, but according to the Spontaneous Existence theory, it is possible. That is why Strobel seemed to respect the Kalam Argument more. This theory states that “1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause, 2) The Universe began to exist, and 3) Therefore it has a cause.” Strobel felt that this theory made a lot more sense. Suddenly, an idea formulated in his mind. If the universe indeed had a cause, which meant that something- someone, to be exact- must have had a personal reason to create it.
Later in the book, Strobel begins to find corroboration of God in physics and astronomy. In this section, Strobel begins by indicating a principle that has been impressing scientists for decades. This is called the anthropic principle. This is “the observation that the universe has all the necessary defined characteristics to make human life possible.” The anthropic principle is also possibly the biggest evidence towards God’s existence. An example of this principle can be found in gravity. The force of gravity varies throughout different parts of space. It just so happens that the force of gravity is set precisely on Earth for life to be possible. Coincidence? Probably not. However, if the force of gravity in space were to be tampered by the slightest, there would be instant changes. Animals the size of human beings would be crushed immediately, insects would need to have thicker legs to survive, and not even the largest animal on Earth would be able to endure the sudden change of gravity. All of this would have been anticipated if the force of gravity were to have been changed even by a faint touch. It seems like a miracle that the force of gravity is just right for it to be able to sustain life! Not only is the anthropic principle visible in gravity, but it is also visible in many other things (examples would be the energy density of empty space, the difference in mass between neutrons and protons, and the electromagnetic force). Strobel decides to ask Robin Collins, who has degrees in physics, mathematics, and philosophy, how precise you would have to be to make the universe just the way it is. Collins comes up with a good analogy: “Let’s say you were way out in space and were going to throw a dart at random toward Earth. It would be like successfully hitting a bull’s-eye that’s one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter!” (There were actually more trillionths added on, but if I were to include them all, it would probably take up this entire page.) Using common sense, it is obvious that hitting a bull’s-eye this small at random would be impossible. There had to have been someone who had an intelligent design for the universe to get it this inimitable. That someone must be God.
Towards the end of the book, Strobel begins to talk about the evidence of God in biological information. In the wonderful world of science, the start of life has always been an enigma for scientists. DNA is simply so complicated, so complex, that scientists today still don’t have a clue to what caused life to form. Concerned, Strobel turned to his friend Stanley Miller, a scientist who at that time was studying protein-forming amino acids. Miller tells Strobel that so far, there are three scientifically possible explanations to the creation of life. The first one is random chance. As guessed, this is the idea that if you let amino acids randomly react with each other for millions of years, life is eventually going to emerge. Of course, this theory isn’t taken very seriously by scientists, and it became discernable to Strobel that there were significant problems to this theory. According to Strobel, this theory would be equivalent to trying to make a book by throwing scrabble letters onto the floor-it just wouldn’t work. The amino acids would have to form the right bonds with each other, and then they would have to connect with each other in a specific progression. The probability of all of this happening by chance are actually quite hilarious when you think about it. This leads us to our second theory, natural selection. This is the idea that when organisms reproduce, their offspring have multiple discrepancies, and ones that have qualities suitable for the environment have a better chance of survival. Therefore these adaptations are passed on to the next generation. This theory is also a letdown for science-for you can only have natural selection after you have life! The creation of life itself was the very thing Strobel was trying to figure out! Evidently the natural selection theory was also not a possibility. This leaves us with our last theory, chemical attraction. This is the theory that proteins and DNA were naturally attracted to each other, and therefore like magnets, they could put themselves together. At first, Strobel felt that this made sense, for there have been a lot of instances where chemical attractions of two elements have explained why a molecule has been formed. This could be the one theory that could successfully explain what created life. Despite this interesting idea, there are still multiple flaws to this proposal. If certain proteins and DNA were attracted to each other, then you would just have a repetitive sequence. As Strobel pointed out, if chemical letters A and G were attracted to each other, you would constantly end up with the repetitive sequence AGAGAGAGAGAG…, a sequence too simple to create life. All of these theories are kicked out of likelihood, with science still nowhere close to discovering how life formed. One question remained for Strobel. Where did the DNA and protein come from? The answer would obviously be from outside of the Universe, outside of the system. As Strobel said in his book, “It looked to me as if that cause might be an Intelligent Designer.”
In the end, after much reading, numerous gatherings with renown scientists, and extensive research, Strobel had concluded that not only had science proved God’s existence, but science and faith had worked well together. People can bring out the worst in science. But people (like Strobel) can also bring out the best in science. In return, science can bring out the best in people. Who knew that it was in science in which Lee Strobel’s faith in God became strong? Who knew that Lee Strobel would become a pastor for more than 10 years, focusing on helping people learn the truth about Jesus and Christianity?