Asking a Computer if God Exists

Asking a Computer if God Exists

Years ago, I heard a joke that went something like this. Scientists developed a massively powerful computer that could answer any question. The researchers asked the computer, “How did the universe begin?” The computer whirred, lights flashed, and out popped this answer: “See Genesis 1:1.” That joke originated when computers filled a large room, had spinning reels of tape and flashing lights, and used punch cards. Now, computers are small, use keyboards and monitors, have voice recognition, and speak in many languages. Soon we may have quantum computers with capabilities only dreamed of today. Have you ever tried asking a computer if God exists?

A topic that has received much publicity in recent months is artificial intelligence (AI). As computers become more humanlike with their ability to speak and answer questions, we are coming to depend on them more and more. Knowledgeable people suggest that the growth of AI will dramatically affect business, medicine, and entertainment. Other areas expected to face major changes because of AI are work, war, and education.

Recently, I have seen articles concerning a new AI development that worries educators. It’s called ChatGPT. This app can do more than answer questions. It can write essays. A student with an assignment to write a 500-word essay on a subject can input the topic and let ChatGPT write the paper. I decided this would be a good opportunity for asking a computer if God exists.

Going back to that old story, I asked the computer, “How did the universe begin?” ChatGPT responded with a 237-word essay on the Big Bang that agreed with current scientific theories. It was nicely worded, grammatically correct, and would probably satisfy a school teacher. However, it didn’t fully answer the question, just as the Big Bang theory does not.

Then I asked ChatGPT to write an essay about proving the existence of God. The result was 430 words that read in part:

“One of the most commonly cited arguments for the existence of God is the cosmological argument. This argument states that the universe had a beginning, and that everything that begins to exist must have a cause. Therefore, it is reasoned that the universe must have been caused by something that exists outside of the universe, and that this cause is God. This argument is based on the principle of causality, which states that for every effect, there must be a cause.
Another argument for the existence of God is the teleological argument. This argument states that the universe is complex and ordered, with many intricate systems and processes that work together in harmony. This complexity and order is argued to be the result of an intelligent designer, which is God. The design argument is based on the idea that the universe is too complex and ordered to be the result of chance, and that it must have been created by an intelligent being.
A third argument that is often used to prove the existence of God is the moral argument. This argument states that humans have a moral sense, and that this moral sense must come from a higher being, which is God. The moral argument is based on the idea that moral laws and values cannot be explained by natural causes, but must be the result of an intelligent and moral being.
Some people argue that the existence of God can be known through personal experience, through faith. They believe that God can reveal himself in personal experiences, such as through prayer, meditation, or other spiritual practices. They argue that the existence of God is something that can be known through a personal relationship with God, and not something that can be proven through reason or science.”


That summarized the arguments for God’s existence. Then, however, I decided to make the question more direct by asking a computer if God exists. So I asked ChatGPT, “Does God exist?” The answer came back in 195 words that concluded with:

“Ultimately, the question of whether or not God exists is a matter of personal belief and faith. It is important for individuals to form their own opinions on the matter based on their own experiences, beliefs and personal understanding of the world.”

Since ChatGPT never referred me to Genesis 1:1, I decided to ask, “What do we learn from Genesis 1:1?” I received this response:

“It teaches that God is the creator of all things, including the heavens and the earth. Additionally, it implies that God’s creation of the universe was a purposeful and deliberate act, rather than the result of chance or natural processes.”

I certainly can’t argue with that. I conclude that asking a computer if God exists will never result in a definitive answer to the question. Each of us must reach our own conclusion based on examining the evidence with an open mind.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Reference: ChatGPT from OpenAI

Mangroves Are Essential for Many Reasons

Mangroves Are Essential for Many Reasons
Mangrove Forest

We have mentioned before the value of mangroves and barrier islands for protecting areas prone to hurricanes. Mangroves are essential for many reasons, including solving today’s freshwater and climate change issues.

Mangroves grow in brackish waters that are a mixture of saltwater and fresh. For that reason, they grow in delta areas where rivers enter the sea or in coastal areas with massive amounts of rain. Mangroves can filter out 90% of the salt in seawater that enters their roots, and the mangrove root systems provide a place where marine organisms lay eggs and raise their young. Recent research has shown that mangrove forests store up to five times more carbon than any other land-based forests, storing 87% of that carbon in the soil beneath their roots.

Mangroves are essential for many reasons. They stop shore erosion, sequester carbon, provide a barrier to storm surges, and make a place for marine organisms to lay eggs and raise their young. They also offer a home in coastal areas for bees to build their hives and birds to build their nests. As a result, the honey industry gets much of its wild honey from mangrove forests. In addition, bird watchers have identified many bird species that depend on mangroves for secure nesting areas.

God gave us all kinds of plants to provide for our needs. From the desert cactus to the evergreens in cold weather areas to the seaweed in the oceans to the land trees we use for wood, plants are essential creations of God. Unfortunately, research shows that humans have eradicated 50% of the mangroves in the last 50 years, and we will pay a heavy price for the loss. We must learn to use these incredible resources wisely.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “Family Trees” in World Wildlife magazine winter 2022

Water Shortages Worldwide

Water Shortages Worldwide but Plenty of Water

Potable water shortages are becoming more of a problem in various places on Earth. The water problem in the western United States has received massive attention. On our “Canyonlands” trips, we always spent a day on Lake Powell, but the water level in that lake has dropped so much that the tour boats we used can no longer operate. The Rio Grande separating the United States and Mexico was once a barrier to crossing the border, but now it is so low that people can walk across it just about anywhere.

In many African areas, potable water shortages affect both humans and animals. For example, northern Africa’s Sahara Desert is roughly the size of the United States and is home to many animals and people. In other areas, a lack of wells prevents access to the water underground. So is there a weakness in God’s creation that causes water shortages resulting in thirst and pain for millions of people? The answer is definitely not.

God has provided water stored underground and in the mountain snow, but humans refuse to manage the use of these stored reserves carefully. The desert plants God created, such as the saguaro cactus in the American southwest, prepare to survive the dry season by storing large amounts of water when the rains come. We need to apply that kind of wisdom to avoid water shortages.

Underground rivers contain massive amounts of water in various parts of the world. For example, before the last ice age, the United States had a river we call the Teays, which was much larger than the current Mississippi River. It started in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio winding through northern Indiana and Illinois, eventually joining the Mississippi drainage. It was miles across. When the glaciers came through the area, they diverted rivers and filled the riverbeds with sand and gravel. As a result, the Teays River became buried, and the porous deposits today store massive amounts of water.

The largest freshwater lake on Earth is Russia’s Lake Baikal, which holds more than 20% of Earth’s fresh surface water, equal to all the U.S. Great Lakes combined. Lake Baikal is 400 miles long with 1300 miles of shoreline, an average depth of 2442 feet, and a maximum of 5387 feet.

The bottom line is that, on a global scale, we have no water shortage. Our “blue planet” appears blue from space because of the abundance of water. Unfortunately, like most environmental problems, we have failed to use what God has given us intelligently. We have the technology to provide potable water to everyone on Earth, but greed, selfishness, politics, and poor management combine to cause water shortages. Water is a creation of God that we need to manage wisely and distribute unselfishly.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: “Smarter Ways With Water” by Erica Gies in Scientific American for January 2023, pp 12-14, or scientificamerican.com and Geofacts # 10 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Survival Requires Change

Survival Requires Change - Giant Panda

We are entering an interesting time of change for living plants and animals on planet Earth. We are in a period of rapid climate change, and for many living things, survival requires change. However, for some life forms, this is not an issue. For example, omnivores, animals that eat a wide variety of foods, can change their diet to whatever is available. For example, bears in Alaska eat salmon, but if that is not available, they eat insects, nuts, plants, rodents, and marine shore life such as clams.

For other animals, the situation is much more complicated. For example, giant pandas rely on bamboo for food. Not only is their digestive system designed to eat only bamboo, but even their hands and fingers are designed to modify the bamboo so they can eat it. Polar bears rely on ice flows to get the seals that make up most of their diet. With much of the ice in polar areas melting, the bears cannot secure food, and starvation threatens many of them.

Survival requires change, and for some animals, that means migrating to a different place where they can find their dietary needs. As the oceans warm, cold-water fish migrate to northern areas. Some corals are establishing new colonies in different places as conditions where they have lived for centuries no longer meet their needs. On the other hand, animals with specialized equipment, such as pandas, will face extinction. Humans can step in with temporary solutions, but eventually, some forms of life will cease to exist. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

The fossil record shows us that survival requires change. A significant change in the climate caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, that eventually provided a climate and atmosphere where humans and the animals we depend on could thrive. Asteroid material did not directly destroy the dinosaurs, but the asteroid collision changed the climate. That change produced an environment in which dinosaurs could not survive, but it led to the formation of a climate ideal for humans.

Genesis 1:2 is an interesting passage. A possible translation of the verse is, “And the earth became wasted and emptied, and darkness was upon the face of the deep place.” That would indicate a change in Earth’s condition. God has used such changes to accomplish His will. The flood of Noah was not primarily an environmental act but a response by God to the sinfulness of humans at that time. Climatic change is another tool God has used in the past. In geologic time, there have been periods of hot and cold, and survival requires change. The current change in Earth’s climate is not solely caused by humans. We may contribute to the process, but humans are not the sole cause.

God’s creative processes don’t involve “magic tricks.” Instead, God uses natural methods to shape and mold planet Earth. Some animals, such as dinosaurs, have played essential roles in contributing to the resources that humans would need. When they had completed their mission, a change brought about their extinction. The Bible doesn’t tell us how God did what He did, but the more we study the creation, the more we understand some of His processes. Climate change has been one of them and may be so again.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Our Unique Planet with Continents

Our Unique Planet with Continents

Many things make planet Earth unique, including a life-supporting atmosphere, a large moon, a protective magnetic field, and continents. As far as we know, no other planet has silica-rich continental masses surrounded by liquid water. In these and many other ways, our unique planet with continents is like no other.

So, why do we have continents? Many factors make the continents possible. They include plate tectonics, volcanism, abundant liquid water, and even plant life. It also has something to do with the minerals. Other rocky planets that we are aware of have basalt on their surfaces. Earth’s basalt is mainly on the ocean floor. The continents are made of lighter materials, including granite, sandstone, gneiss, and slate. The continents also have volcanic rocks, cooled magma, and sediment.

Earth’s continents sit high because they are thicker and less dense, making them buoyant enough to sit on top of the basalt. Like other floating masses, the continental plates gradually move. Sometimes they have collided, causing their edges to rise, forming mountain ranges. The granite weathers and breaks down into sand and clay forming fertile land. Tectonic plate collisions formed the Appalachian mountains, which have weathered to become much lower than they originally were.

On the other hand, the Himalayas formed when the Indian Subcontinent pushed north, colliding with Asia. That northward movement is still at work, causing the Himalayas to grow faster than they are eroding. Other mountains formed through volcanic activity. The ash from that volcanism has created fertile areas for crops and vegetation.

Many factors working together create fertile continents suitable for life. Earth is a unique, constantly changing, life-supporting planet of continents surrounded by oceans that temper the climate and supply rain to water the land. From all that science can determine, there is no other planet like it!

Are all the factors that make Earth the ideal place to live just accidental coincidences or do they show design? We cannot explain the vast number of coincidences by chance. We see that our Creator gave us everything we need for life and put us here to serve Him. We have much to be thankful for and a great responsibility to protect God’s great gift to us. Leaving our unique planet with continents to move to another one is not a viable option.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

The Appearance of Design

The Appearance of Design
In the final days of 2022, we are looking back at some of the major topics we have previously covered.

Look around, and you will see amazing things in the natural world that give the appearance of design. Atheist evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has said that biology is the study of things that give the appearance of having been designed. But, of course, he does not believe they were designed because he does not believe in a designer. Is he correct, or is there a better explanation for the appearance of design? Here are some links to past articles in which we have dealt with that topic:

Those are just a few of the past articles on design that show evidence for a Designer. We believe that God has given us two revelations of Himself. One is His creation, and the other is His written word. The authority of the Bible is another subject we have dealt with often. Tomorrow, we will share some links from past articles on that topic.

The Age of the Earth

The Age of the Earth
In the final days of 2022, we are looking back at some of the major topics we have previously covered.

Yesterday, we looked back at what we have said about dinosaurs. Of course, that topic always leads to questions about the age of the Earth. Some insist that the Bible tells us that the planet is 6,000 years old, or at least not more than 10,000 years. Does it really say that? Here are some links to where we have discussed this before:

When considering the age of the Earth, we invite you to go to DoesGodExist.tv and scroll down to video #28, “The Age of Things.”

A helpful booklet on this topic is “GOD’S REVELATION IN HIS ROCKS AND HIS WORD.” It is available to read on DoesGodExist.org.

Those are some of the materials we have produced dealing with the age of our planet and God’s creative process to make Earth the perfect home for advanced human civilization and for working out His plan to defeat evil. Tomorrow, we will consider evolution.

Alien Minerals and Alien Life

Alien Minerals and Alien Life

Andrew Locock at the University of Alberta discovered two new minerals in a fragment of the El Ali meteorite that landed in Somalia. These minerals had never been found naturally on Earth, although scientists had synthesized them in a lab. Chris Herd, an Earth and Atmospheric Sciences professor and curator of the University of Alberta’s meteorite collection, named the two alien minerals “Elaliite” and “Elkinstantonite.”

The tabloids try to use this find to suggest that alien worlds exist that are radically different from Earth. The fact is that these minerals contain the common elements iron, potassium, and oxygen. Like many other “alien minerals” such as Brianite, Xifengite, and Heamanite, scientists have synthesized them. Inorganic materials can form new chemical configurations when they are subjected to temperatures and pressures not seen on Earth’s surface. All of these minerals with unfamiliar names are the product of conditions not present on the surface of our planet.

There are chemical restraints on what elements can sustain life. Biologists tell us that life is “that form that can move, breathe. respond to outside stimuli, and reproduce.” The elements that make those functions possible are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. For example, living things made of iron are not chemically possible, yet iron is the dominant element in meteorites. Oxygen is the one oxidizing element that allows respiration without adverse chemical reactions that would prevent life from surviving. For that reason, life forms breathing chlorine or bromine are not possible.

At the same time, alien minerals in meteorites do not mean that alien life is impossible. On the contrary, if there is life in space, it will be made of the same elements that we are. It may not look like us or live as we do, but we will not have any trouble identifying it as life.

Every time this issue comes up, it reminds me of my experience on a radio show. I was in Washington, D.C., doing a call-in talk show with Larry King (before he became famous) and a local atheist. We had a lively discussion about science and faith with some references to alien life. A caller said to the atheist, “What would you do if a spaceship landed on the White House Lawn and a little green man jumped out with a Bible in his hand and said, ‘Has Jesus been here yet?’” Before I could point out some problems with that proposal, my atheist opponent looked at me, smiled, and said, “Punt.” Larry King responded by going to a commercial.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

How Fast Are You Moving?

How Fast Are You Moving?

If I asked, “How fast are you moving?” you might reply that you are sitting still. However, don’t forget that you are sitting on a planet that is spinning on its axis. A fixed observer in space would say that you are moving with the planet’s rotation at up to 1000 miles per hour if you are close to the equator. At the same time, Earth is revolving around the Sun at roughly 66,000 miles per hour. The Sun is one of 100 billion stars rotating around a black hole at the core of the Milky Way galaxy at approximately 400,000 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the galaxy is moving through space at around 2,200,000 miles per hour. So, how fast are you moving when viewed from a fixed point in space?

The amazing thing about the creation is that each of these numbers is critical for our survival. The spin of the Earth on its axis distributes heat in a way that we are not frozen or burned up. The revolution around the Sun keeps us from being drawn into the Sun or slung into outer space and frozen. The movement of the Sun around the galactic core prevents the black hole at the center of our galaxy from sucking in the entire solar system and destroying it. The galaxy’s movement through space prevents it from being absorbed by another galaxy. The speeds are critically fine-tuned because there is no tolerance for error.

As astronomers look at other solar systems and galaxies, they see the speeds that allow us to exist are not that common in space. The simple statement of Psalms 19 that “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above shows His handiwork” reminds us that we are not the product of an accident. The more we learn about the cosmos, the more obvious it becomes that our existence is a product of intelligent design.

The psalmist also reminds us of the astonishing fact that the Creator cares about us. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have ordained, what is man, that you are mindful of him …” (Psalms 8:3-4). So how fast are you moving right now? Fast enough to exist and to know that there is a reason for that existence. Read Job 1 and 2 and Ephesians 3:9-11 and 6:12 to learn more about that reason.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

UFO Sightings – Real or Bogus?

UFO Sightings – Real or Bogus?

For over 50 years, we have reported explanations for bogus UFO claims. Unfortunately, when researchers have presented natural explanations for claimed UFO sightings, the media rarely reports them. Researchers have written books giving evidence to refute bogus claims of alien visitation to Earth, but they don’t get the attention of the sensational claims.

No thinking person would insist that planet Earth is the only place where life forms might exist. If God saw fit to create life elsewhere, it will be there. However, alien visitation to Earth is poorly supported by the evidence. The distance from Earth to where a life-bearing planet could exist is so great as to rule out any being traveling from another world. UFO advocates claim that aliens are so technologically advanced they can overcome the problem of traveling light-year distances. However, if they are that advanced, they could certainly prevent any detection by earthlings if they choose to do so.

The entertainment industry presents horror movies of aliens using earthlings for food or wars in space between competing alien societies. If you enjoy fantasy, these entertainment presentations may be worth your time. However, for serious students of science or the Bible, this is a useless diversion. We must not become worried or distracted by UFO sightings, thinking that extra-terrestrials are invading us.

Likewise, we need to solve our problems here on Earth and not expect some aliens to come in and do it for us. Besides, aliens could not improve on the message of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. Human greed, selfishness, and exploitation of others will continue as long as humans entertain the notion that God does not exist and that survival of the fittest is our only choice.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Here are some books giving credible explanations of many so-called UFO sightings or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).
UFOs Explained and UFOs: The Public Deceived by Philip J. Klass
UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth by Charles Ziegler and Charles Moore
The Space Gods Revealed by Ronald Story