A: I can give you a three word answer: “there are laws”.
Q: Can you clarify that a bit?
A: OK, but that will require more than three words. There are laws of nature; there are laws of morality; therefore, I expect a law giver. Let’s begin with the laws of nature.
Q: Fair enough. How do you get from the laws of nature to God’s existence. There aren’t really laws of nature, are there? I mean to say, there isn’t a “Big Rule Book of the Universe” hidden away in a Black Hole somewhere with all these rules written down. Isn’t the phrase “laws of nature” just a figure of speech?
A: True, the laws aren’t human laws, but I’m not inferring to a human law maker. I’m saying the universe behaves as if it was governed by rules and that’s best explained by the activity of a rational creator.
Q: So what are the laws of nature?
A: The laws of nature are just mathematical descriptions of the way physical things behave. It’s interesting that the universe behaves in a predictable, constant manner and that we can use mathematics to predict how the universe will behave!
Q: Why is that interesting?
A: It didn’t have to be this way. The universe could have been a sea of chaos; an atomless, patternless, ever-changing pandemonium. It’s easier to produce a mess than it is to produce order; there are many, many more ways for things to be chaotic than there are to be organised. So it is inconceivably improbable that the universe is ordered by chance.
Q: But if the universe wasn’t ordered we wouldn’t be here asking the question “why is our universe so ordered?”, would we?
A: But that doesn’t explain anything! Suppose the human race survives a plague which should have wiped us off the face of the Earth. We wouldn’t say, “oh well, we don’t need to explain how we survived, because if we hadn’t survived we wouldn’t be here wondering how we survived!” The bottom line here is: we’re part of the universe and our existence makes this universe even more extraordinary! We need an explanation for the universe that also explains why it contains conscious embodied observers (i.e. the human race).
Q: OK. So the universe is orderly and that’s very unlikely to be the result of chance. How does that get us to God?
A: I haven’t finished yet. Our universe is not only ordered. The laws of nature allow all sorts of interesting things to happen. For example, interesting and beautiful objects like stars and planets can form; we get interesting structures like galaxies. Life can survive, thrive and become complex and conscious. It didn’t have to be this way. Why do particles have natures that allow them to combine, separate and recombine into stable structures? Why are there any particles at all?
Q: So that suggests a plan?
A: Basically, yes. The universe has intricacy, beauty, majesty – all the valuable features that would give any rational agent a reason to value it.
Q: You mentioned something about maths earlier. Why is that important?
A: The mathematics describing nature is challenging, yet beautiful and elegant. So, first, it seems that the creator of the universe was a mathematician of the highest order. Second, because the laws of nature can be written in the language of mathematics, and because our brains are (incredibly) sophisticated enough to grasp this maths, we can understand the universe. Finally, this suggests that we were made to understand and appreciate this universe.
Bottom line: the laws of nature suggest order and purpose; order and purpose suggest a creator!