Douglas Adams, in a line oft-quoted by atheists, wrote once:
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
The suggestion is that this accurately portrays the relationship between observation of nature and belief in a creator God. In fact, it is a useless and highly misleading straw man argument.
A belief in fairies would be akin to believing in Bertrand Russell’s flying teapot – we don’t have any proof that there isn’t a teapot orbiting Mars, so why don’t we believe in that too? Again, this is an atheist straw man which grossly misrepresents the Christian belief in God.
As John Lennox has pointed out, you are welcome to dismiss the idea of fairies, but it would be ridiculous to look at a beautiful garden and dismiss the idea of a gardener. And that is a more accurate reflection of the relationship between the God of the Christian faith and the created universe.
Sure, it’s possible that all the trees and flowers grew up from seeds that just randomly fell into perfectly arranged rows and patterns.
Maybe blind chance directed all the azaleas into one flower bed and all the petunias into another.
Perhaps it was purely mechanistic geological forces which directed the stones into a pattern which just happens to resemble a path.
We know that cows eat grass – maybe there was a herd of very light-footed cows that came and mowed the lawns – and just happened to nibble every blade to the same height. (After all, evolution seems to work on the micro scale, why not take it on blind faith that it works on the macro scale?)
Maybe all the apparent design is just an illusion.
But would this be reasonable?
My understanding of God makes sense of the universe that I see around me. The created order, to me, bears unmistakable hallmarks of its Creator.
Acknowledging the gardener makes sense of the beautiful garden that he has fashioned. Acknowledging the creator and sustainer of the Universe gives us insight into everything else we see. C. S. Lewis illustrated this perfectly when he wrote:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”