Beauty fits better in a world with God than in a world without God… The secular worldview of naturalism says that God does not exist and that life in this world is the product of mindless, unguided natural evolutionary processes. But according to naturalism, evolution runs exclusively on the track of survivability. So how does the mechanism of naturalistic evolution driven by survivability produce artistic beauty when aesthetics doesn’t seem to contribute to survivability? Put another way, why so much beauty and creatures that can appreciate beauty when beauty doesn’t contribute to human survival? This is known as the problem of nonutilitarian or nonuseful values: beauty does not seem to be survival-conducive.
In evaluating this argument, consider the words of Christian philosopher William C. Davis: “If everything (including humanity) is the result of random, impersonal forces which encouraged only survival, then it seems highly unlikely that the process would yield organisms (humans) which recognized values like these [artistic beauty] which aren’t survival-conducive… But values like these [artistic beauty] are what we would expect if humans (and the human environment) were created by a personal, loving, and beauty-valuing God. God’s existence is a much better explanation for the existence of nonutilitarian value than any explanation without God.” [Reason for the Hope Within]
One of the fish in my tank told the other fish that he has discovered the explanation for the daily arrival of food which he observed always coincides with a large shadow; therefore the shadow produces the food. When asked what causes the shadow, he says “it’s a natural law”.
Another fish disagreed. She believes that the shadow is a sign of some Being that lives outside of the tank entirely. She also claims (with no evidence) that this Being loves the fish and provides for them. The first fish informed her that she is irrational and unscientific.
Skeptics should find it most comforting to consider the possibility that they may be wrong, and that there may be a God who made the world, and who one day will fix everything that’s wrong with it.
This thought is heartening because we all have dreams for a better world—dreams of freedom and beauty, of goodness and love. Most of us hope we can somehow make this world a better place.
But if, as naturalism claims, this material world is all humans have ever known, if this is “normal” and things have been this way for millions of years, then our dreams make very little sense. What do we mean by “better”? To what are we comparing this world?
However, our dreams make a lot of sense when we put them in a framework of belief in a God who created a perfect world that was ruined by sin, and who purposes to make everything right, and good, and beautiful. The Biblical narrative tells us that the Creator also happens to be a Redeemer and that paradise will one day be restored. The last chapter will be glorious.
Perhaps even skeptics could get excited about that.
I see myself immersed in the depths of human existence and standing in the face of the ineffable mystery of the world and of all that is. And in that situation, I am made poignantly and burningly aware that the world cannot be self-sufficient, that there is hidden in some still greater depth a mysterious, transcendent meaning. This meaning is called God. Men have not been able to find a loftier name, although they have abused it to the extent of making it almost unutterable. God can be denied only on the surface; but he cannot be denied where human experience reaches down beneath the surface of flat, vapid, commonplace existence.
–Nikolai Berdyaev, Russian religious and political philosopher
Without faith, there’d be nothing but indifferent material forces at work. It’s only when the idea of events having an author is introduced that the universe becomes cruel, as opposed to merely heavy, or fast-moving, or prone to unpredictable acceleration.