My area of professional expertise is industrial engineering, also called “process engineering.” I have spent most of my life in the pursuit of process improvement. I have professionally applied myself to manufacturing processes in several industries. I have looked at ways to improve equipment, organization of jobs, the way human beings interact with machines, and the way humans interact with each other.
The purpose of a manufacturing process is to produce quality products, when needed by customers, at minimal cost, in a safe manner. There is one thing I know: a process left to itself does not produce products like that. If we take our hands off the controls, neglect the equipment, or ignore the people doing the work, we get bad products, late shipments, high costs, and increased injuries. If we neglect the process completely, we get nothing whatsoever.
The world around us is full of processes that move toward an organized purpose. We don’t have to look far at all to find them.
John Gerstner, in his book Reasons for Faith (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1960, reprint 1995), uses this example on p. 34-35:
The dandelion sends up a little parachute to carry its seed along on the wind and find a place to germinate. That certainly spells intention … we search in vain to find anything in the dandelion that corresponds to our brain, the brain that enables us to think up useful plans.We find the location of that purpose in “the ultimate cause which we have seen lies behind everything that is.” This is not an argument based on probabilities. Evidence for any purpose whatsoever at any point in any process demonstrates the existence of an intelligence to set that purpose.
I am arguing teleologicaly, that is, arguing from evidence that the things in nature seem to have a purpose. It’s a little like saying things are designed, but not exactly.
So now we have reasoned to a being that has always existed, has great power, and has the power to choose in our last post. Now we add that this Being has intelligence and intention. Only persons show the power to chose, intelligence, and intention. This fits the general idea of the eternal, personal God of the Bible.
The last post in this series will look at some abstract principles and processes that can only be explained by appeal to God.