The Human Mind Pointing To God’s Existence


How can you explain the development of the human mind? Have you ever thought about how and why you got your ability to reason? These questions are difficult to explain within a purely materialist worldview. Yet, these phenomena point to the biblical teaching that human beings are created in the image of God.

If we really did originate from rearranged pond scum (the “primordial soup”), then your brain and my brain are just the products of random mutations and natural selection. So how can you be sure that what you think are really objectively legitimate thoughts? How do you know that the brain is not still evolving in its attempt to grasp reason? How did the brain even come to the realisation that there was such thing as objective truth? How do you know that they aren’t really just certain types of molecular movements that merely once conferred a survival advantage on your alleged ape-like ancestor? How do you know that your brain is not sitting in some laboratory vat bathing in chemicals giving you the sensation that you are living on earth?

C.S. Lewis said,

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

Physicist Paul Davies marvels over the human brains amazing ability to process complex mathematics and is at a loss to explain the so-called evolutionary advantage of this capability. He says,

“One of the oddities of human intelligence is that its level of advancement seems like a case of overkill. While a modicum of intelligence does have a good survival value, it is far from clear how such qualities as the ability to do advanced mathematics . . . ever evolved by natural selection. …Attempts to explain this by supposing that . . . mathematical ability simply piggybacks on a more obvious useful trait are unconvincing in my view.”

An excerpt of Dr. Alvin Plantinga’s review of atheist Prof. Thomas Nagel’s book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False” says the following about the human mind:

“NAGEL GOES ON: he thinks it is especially improbable that consciousness and reason should come to be if materialist naturalism is true. “Consciousness is the most conspicuous obstacle to a comprehensive naturalism that relies only on the resources of physical science.” Why so? Nagel’s point seems to be that the physical sciences—physics, chemistry, biology, neurology—cannot explain or account for the fact that we human beings and presumably some other animals are conscious. Physical science can explain the tides, and why birds have hollow bones, and why the sky is blue; but it cannot explain consciousness. Physical science can perhaps demonstrate correlations between physical conditions of one sort or another and conscious states of one sort or another; but of course this is not to explain consciousness. Correlation is not explanation. As Nagel puts it, “The appearance of animal consciousness is evidently the result of biological evolution, but this well-supported empirical fact is not yet an explanation—it does not provide understanding, or enable us to see why the result was to be expected or how it came about.”

Nagel next turns his attention to belief and cognition: “the problem that I want to take up now concerns mental functions such as thought, reasoning, and evaluation that are limited to humans, though their beginnings may be found in a few other species.” We human beings and perhaps some other animals are not merely conscious, we also hold beliefs, many of which are in fact true. It is one thing to feel pain; it is quite another to believe, say, that pain can be a useful signal of dysfunction. According to Nagel, materialist naturalism has great difficulty with consciousness, but it has even greater difficulty with cognition. He thinks it monumentally unlikely that unguided natural selection should have “generated creatures with the capacity to discover by reason the truth about a reality that extends vastly beyond the initial appearances.” He is thinking in particular of science itself.

Natural selection is interested in behavior, not in the truth of belief, except as that latter is related to behavior. So concede for the moment that natural selection might perhaps be expected to produce creatures with cognitive faculties that are reliable when it comes to beliefs about the physical environment: beliefs, for example, about the presence of predators, or food, or potential mates. But what about beliefs that go far beyond anything with survival value? What about physics, or neurology, or molecular biology, or evolutionary theory? What is the probability, given materialist naturalism, that our cognitive faculties should be reliable in such areas? It is very small indeed. It follows—in a wonderful irony—that a materialistic naturalist should be skeptical about science, or at any rate about those parts of it far removed from everyday life.

These are incredible insights coming from an atheist.

Human experience of free will, consciousness, self-awareness, comprehension of objective truth and morality, memory, logic, emotion, acknowledgement of good (and of the absence of good with evil), conscience (guilt and remorse) and a sense of meaning, purpose and destiny are all very difficult to explain within a purely materialist world view (ie. the belief that nothing exists apart from matter, chance and time). These phenomena point to, and are consistent with, a reality existing beyond the material world and are consistent with the biblical teaching that human beings are created in the image of God.

Have you pondered about the idea of a superior mind (being/entity) responsible for life and your existence? The amazing thing about this extremely complex omniscient God is that he is also knowable, and is very much interested in a personal relationship with you. Why don’t you ask him to reveal his reality to you? He is only a prayer away. Please consider praying this prayer to begin your exciting journey with God.

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