ANTHONY FLEW, one of the twentieth century’s most outspoken atheists, once argued that God is imaginary using the following story:
Two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, “Some gardener must tend this plot.” The other disagrees, “There is no gardener.” So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. . . . Yet still the believer is not convinced. “But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible to electric shocks, who comes secretly to look after the garden he loves.” At last the Sceptic despairs. “But what remains of the original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?”
Why is there something rather than nothing?Many others will agree that God is nothing more than an imaginary gardener, a superstition, a myth.
To counter this argument against God, all one needs to do is ask this logical, rational, and reasonable question: ‘Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?’
Many atheists concentrate on issues with a gardener they believe to be imaginary and ignore the question of why a garden exists in the first place.
Complexity is explained to arise from either Nature itself or a Creator. Atheists propose the idea of spontaneous generation, or self- creation, but this is a statement that shows itself to be false by definition.
A fundamental law of science is ex nihilo nihil fit – out of nothing, nothing comes. And as Aristotle said, “Nothing is what rocks dream about.”
Some people deride Christians for believing in magic, yet embrace greater magic than anything found in the Bible – life forms appearing from non-living objects, arising out of nothing with no cause.
Next, their argument often ignores the basic laws of causality – an effect must resemble its cause. How can an impersonal, meaningless, purposeless, amoral universe accidentally create beings who are full of personality and obsessed with meaning, purpose, and morality? As philosopher J. S. Mill, no friend to Christianity, said: “It is self-evident that only mind can create mind.”
Further, intelligence does not arise from non-intelligence, which is why even Richard Dawkins (noted atheist) and Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) admit that intelligence had to engineer DNA and life on earth. They just say it was a superior alien race who seeded the earth, which of course, begs the question of who engineered that superior alien race.
But what of evolution? Doesn’t evolution explain life and intelligence? Not at all. Evolution is a biological theory that attempts to describe change in already existing life forms – it has no way to answer the question of existence. This one piece of evidence alone began to turn Anthony Flew away from atheism.
These facts being evident, it then becomes quite easy to offer a simple, reasonable, logical proof for God in the following way:
The only premise that can be attacked is premise five, but the fact is every drop of evidence in the possession of science points to the fact that the universe is not eternal and had a beginning. And everything that has a beginning has a cause; therefore, the universe had a cause and is not eternal.
Any fanciful assertions of collapsing universes, imaginary time, and the like are just that – fanciful – and require more faith than to believe in God. The two choices are simple: matter before mind or mind before matter.
“But who created God?” many ask. Why not ask, “Where is the bachelor’s wife?” or “What does the colour blue taste like?” It’s a category mistake – you don’t make the unmade. Is it more reasonable to embrace a cause that contains none of the characteristics of its effect (personality, love, meaning, purpose, etc.) or a cause that embodies them all (a personal God)?
The conclusion is that a personal Creator exists. Moreover, this Being who created everything mirrors the God described in the Bible well, as evidenced by what one can infer just from the fact of creation alone.
In stark contrast to the article he had written many years earlier, Anthony Flew wrote a very different kind of book in 2007 entitled There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In it, he recounted his atheism and relayed how, due to evidence and reason, he came to believe that a creator God exists. The one who initially posited an “imaginary gardener” wrote, “I think the origins of the laws of nature and of life and the Universe point clearly to an intelligent Source. The burden of proof is on those who argue to the contrary.” Mr Flew died in 2010. •