(This is an excerpt from A Beginner's Guide to Talmage by Calvin R. Stephens
Nature Testifies of God. Human Reason, operating upon observations of nature, strongly declares the existence of God. The mind, already imbued with the historical truths of the divine existence and its close relationship with man, will find confirmatory evidence in nature on every side; and even to him who rejects the testimony of the past, and assumes to set up his own judgment as superior to the common belief of ages, the multifarious evidences of design in nature appeal. The observer is impressed by the manifest order and system in creation; he notes the regular succession of day and night providing alternate periods of work and rest for man, animals, and plants; the sequence of the seasons, each with its longer periods of activity and recuperation; the mutual dependence of animals and plants; the circulation of water from sea to cloud, from cloud to earth again, with beneficent effect.
As man proceeds to the closer examination of things he finds that by study and scientific investigation these proofs are multiplied many fold. He may learn of the laws by which the earth and its associated worlds are governed in their orbits; by which satellites are held subordinate to planets, and planets to suns; he may behold the marvels of vegetable and animal anatomy, and the surpassing mechanism of his own body; and with such appeals to his reason increasing at every step, his wonder as to who ordained all this gives place to adoration for the Creator whose presence and power are thus so forcefully proclaimed; and the observer becomes a worshiper.
Everywhere in nature is the evidence of cause and effect; on every side is the demonstration of means adapted to end. But such adaptations, says a thoughtful writer, “indicate contrivance for a given purpose, and contrivance is the evidence of intelligence, and intelligence is the attribute of mind, and the intelligent mind that built the stupendous universe is God.” To admit the existence of a designer in the evidence of design, to say there must be a contriver in a world of intelligent contrivance, to believe in an adapter when man’s life is directly dependent upon the most perfect adaptations conceivable, is but to accept self-evident truths. The burden of proof as to the non-existence of God rests upon him who questions the solemn truth that God lives. “Every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Plain as is the truth so expressed, there are among men a few who profess to doubt the evidence of reason and to deny the author of their own being. Strange, is it not, that here and there one, who finds in the contrivance exhibited by the ant in building her house, in the architecture of the honey-comb, and in the myriad instances of orderly instinct among the least of living things, a proof of intelligence from which man may learn and be wise, will yet question the operation of intelligence in the creation of worlds and in the constitution of the universe?
Man’s consciousness tells him of his own existence; his observation proves the existence of others of his kind and of uncounted orders of organized beings. From this we conclude that something must have existed always, for had there been a time of no existence, a period of nothingness, existence could never have begun, for from nothing, nothing can be derived. The eternal existence of something, then, is a fact beyond dispute; and the question requiring answer is, what is that eternal something—that existence which is without beginning and without end? Matter and energy are eternal realities; but matter of itself is neither vital nor active, nor is force of itself intelligent; yet vitality and activity are characteristic of living things, and the effects of intelligence are universally present. Nature is not God; and to mistake the one for the other is to call the edifice the architect, the fabric the designer, the marble the sculptor, and the thing the power that made it. The system of nature is the manifestation of an order that argues a directing intelligence; and that intelligence is of an eternal character, coeval with existence itself. Nature herself is a declaration of a superior Being, whose will and purpose she exhibits in her varied aspects. Beyond and above nature stands nature’s God.
A Beginner’s Guide to Talmage, Calvin R. Stephens, pp. 42-5.