A short summary of the book, THERE IS A GOD (how the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind) in which Antony Flew explains why he changed his mind.
“Following the evidence wherever it may lead”42
Antony Flew became an atheist at the age of 15. He has been a champion of atheism for over six decades, has held positions at Oxford and the University of Keele and has published thirty-five works.
To the surprise of many, in 2007 Flew published his book entitled: “There is a God (How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind)”.
Flew writes, “I have embraced since the beginning of my philosophical life – (the principle) of following the argument no matter where it leads.”75 Following the argument has led Antony Flew to conclude “I now believe there is a God!”1 (Words in bracket added.)
Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to explain the origin of life – ‘it’s game over!’
In an interview with Dr. Benjamin Wikera, Flew commented on Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in ‘The God Delusion’ that the origin of life can be attributed to a lucky chance. “If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.”a
“We choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance”131
Flew also cited the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald who made the above comment.
Flew was persuaded by the argument that showed the absolute impossibility of producing a Shakespearean sonnet (let alone a living thing) using time and chance.b Flew writes “ … it’s simply absurd to suggest that the more elaborate feat of the origin of life could have been achieved by chance”. 78
DNA – “looked to me like the work of intelligence”75
When Flew looked at the extraordinary complexity and subtlety of the workings of DNA, he concluded “it looked to me like the work of intelligence. … What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements to work together”. 75
When Flew mentions the DNA material, he is referring to the massive increase in our knowledge of DNA over the last 50 years.
Brilliant modern day scientists – not all hardened atheists!
There is sometimes a false perception that the only position for any modern, logical thinking scientist is one of disbelief in the existence of God. The author of this article once had this false idea. The below scientists may not have believed in the God of the Bible but they did believe there was a God.
To the question “Who wrote the laws of nature?” Flew answers, “This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have asked – and answered. Their answer was the Mind of God.”96
Albert Einstein – humble in the face of a vastly superior spirit
“Every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”102
Stephen Hawking – the Mind of God
“… We shall all … be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.”97
Werner Heisenberg – science and religion pointing to the same reality
“In the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought [science and religion], for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”103
Paul Dirac – ‘God is a mathematician of a very high order’
“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”105
Erwin Schrodinger – science is deficient … it knows nothing of good, God or beauty
“The scientific picture of the world around me is very deficient … It knows nothing of beauty and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity of which we somehow form a part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God, with a capital “G”.104
Max Plank – science and religion fighting the incessant battle against skepticism
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for one is the compliment of the other.”105
“Religion and natural science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against skepticism … against unbelief and superstition … [and therefore] ‘On to God!’”105
Scientists know about the reality of invisible things
These brilliant modern-day scientists (Einstein, Hawking, Heisenberg, Dirac, Schrodinger and Plank) were all well accustomed with demonstrating that invisible things were a reality.
Because of the consistency of the universe, these great scientists saw “a direct connection between their scientific work and their affirmation of a “superior mind,” the Mind of God.”c To these scientists, God who is invisible, was a reality. They may not have all believed in a personal God with whom they could communicate but they did believe there was a God who was real.
What Antony Flew believes
“I now believe that the universe was bought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.”88
“The design that is apparent in nature suggests the existence of a cosmic Designer” … “I have since come to see … a persuasive case for the existence of God.”95
“The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.”132
‘The endemic evil of dogmatic atheism’
“And in this, it seems to me, lies the peculiar danger, the endemic evil, of dogmatic atheism. Take such utterances as ‘We should not ask for an explanation of how it is that the world exists; it is here and that’s all’ or “Since we cannot accept a transcendent source of life, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance from matter” or “The laws of physics are ‘lawless laws’ that arise from the void – end of the discussion.”
“They look at first sight like rational arguments that have a special authority because they have a no-nonsense air about them. Of course, this is no more a sign that they are either rational or arguments.”86
Christianity is the one to beat!
Although Antony Flew does not claim to be a Christian, he is very sympathetic towards Christianity.
He writes, “As I have said more than once, no other religion enjoys anything like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul. If you’re wanting omnipotence to set up a religion, it seems to me that this is the one to beat!”157
We urge you to get to know the true living God
If you have concluded in your mind that God exists, we urge you come to know the only true living God. The only way the Bible says you can do this is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God.
Listen to interviews with Antony Flew on YOUTUBE
a In a desperate attempt to override the very powerful argument that life could never arise by chance, Richard Dawkins conjectures that “If the odds of life originating spontaneously on a planet were a billion to one against …” (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, Bantam Press, London, page 138.)
A billion to one is only 1 in 10 raised to the power of 9. BUT the probability of even one single protein molecule consisting of 200 amino acids arising spontaneously by chance is 1 in 10 raised to the power of 260. This is calculated by raising 20 (the number of different types amino acids available) to the power of 200 (the number of amino acids in the protein chain).
Even if the whole universe was packed with amino acids combining frantically for billions of years, it would not produce even one such protein molecule let alone produce a living cell!
b The chance of producing a Shakespearean sonnet by chance is 26 (number of letters in the alphabet) raised to the power of 488 (number of letters in a sonnet) which equals 10 to the power of 690. If the whole universe was packed with typewriters frantically typing out letters for billions of years, not even one such Shakespearean sonnet would be produced.
c From the preface (page XXIII) of “There is a God”. Preface is written by Roy Abraham Varghese.
All numbers noted are page numbers from the book: “There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” written by Antony Flew (with Roy Abraham Varghese), Harper One Publications, New York, 2007. All quotes in italics are directly from Antony Flew’s book.