The debate over Intelligent Design usually focuses on the biological component of Design theory and thus many lay-people may be unaware that there is also another, even more powerful design argument based on physics. Some writers have written on this topic for the general public, Hugh Ross, for one, but perhaps the best book I've found that deals with this issue is a work by University of Delaware physicist Stephen Barr. Barr's effort is entitled Modern Physics and Ancient Faith and is an erudite and very comprehensive treatment of the support that contemporary physics gives to belief in a cosmic Designer.
The scope of Barr's study encompasses not only physics but also mathematics, philosophy, and theology. His scholarship and learning are impressive yet the book does not swamp the reader with math or recondite technical concepts. Barr explains the concepts of physics which bear upon the matter of design lucidly and cogently.
The framework upon which the arguments of the book are hung is a comparison of the worldviews of materialism, the belief that matter is all there is and that all phenomena are ultimately explicable in terms of material processes, and theism, the belief that behind the phenomena of the world there lies an intelligent mind which has created and ordered the cosmos.
For at least two centuries materialism waxed strong among philosophers and scientists. Materialism was based upon the evidence of our senses, it was the philosophical foundation for science and thus of knowledge. If we couldn't test a hypothesis empirically without invoking immaterial entities and explanations it was dismissed as literal nonsense. Theism was based upon speculation and putative revelation. It was not knowledge, it was faith. Theism began to diminish among educated people during the Enlightenment, and its complete demise was prophesied repeatedly throughout the twentieth century.
Gradually, however, it began to dawn on philosophers and scientists throughout the last century that advances in physics were reversing the momentum that materialism had achieved. It was beginning to become clear that theism was more compatible with the phenomena being discovered by scientists than was materialism and that materialists were having to resort to the most bizarre, untestable hypotheses in order to save their worldview from utter loss.
There were five developments in particular, Barr calls them plot twists, which support the theistic view and which are difficult to explain in terms of materialistic atheism:
There are, Barr argues, only three ways to explain these phenomena naturalistically: They are the product either of the laws of nature, natural selection, or chance. He argues that only the last of these avoids logical difficulties which beset the other two. Even so, for the universe and life to have arisen in the form it has by chance requires that the materialist resort to "infinities of unobservables." They have to posit an infinitely existing universe or an infinite number of disparate universes, or an infinite number of discrete domains in the present universe, or a near infinite number of planets (to account for the emergence of life), or they have to posit an infinite number of worlds constantly splitting as observations and choices occur. As Barr says, "It seems that to abolish one unobservable God, it takes an infinite number of unobservable substitutes."
Modern Physics and Ancient Faith goes into a great deal of detail about each of these developments or plot twists, and although some of it may seem a little arcane, particularly the discussion of symmetries in physics, almost all of it is quite accessible to the interested layman.
As mentioned above, this is one of the best books available on the contemporary argument for the existence of a transcendent intelligence based on the physical facts of the cosmos. We recommend it to anyone interested in the intersection of science, religion, and philosophy. A published review of it can be found here and the book can be ordered here.