One thing that seems very obvious to me is the existence of God. Even the Bible makes it clear in Romans 1:20 that God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature can be seen in creation and understood.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NASB)
Yet, many people struggle with the question of whether or not God exists.
The first part of this brief eBook by Mark Driscoll does a great job going through five arguments for the existence of God:
- Ontological Argument from Highest Ideal
- Teleological Argument from Design
- Cosmological Argument from First Cause
- Kalam Argument from Time
- Axiological Argument from Morality
My summarization and comments on these five arguments:
- The Ontological Argument from Highest Ideal was formulated by Anselm and popularized by Descartes. Even in a first-year university course on philosophy, I was presented with Descartes infamous meditations. In essence, the argument posits a difference between ‘representative reality’ and ‘intrinsic reality.’ Since the idea of a ‘most perfect being’ has a higher ‘representative reality’ than the ‘intrinsic reality’ of Descartes himself, he supposes that the ‘most perfect being’ had to Himself put the idea of a ‘most perfect being’ into his mind. This argument is typically not used by Christians due to its flaws. Many will point out that we can imagine things greater than us without them existing. To counter this, any idea with more 'representative reality’ than Descartes must simply originate from something with an equivalent or higher level of 'intrinsic reality.’ Thus, Descartes’ Evil Demon would not have to exist and could simply be an idea from the 'most perfect being.’ However, the philosophical problems with this make it an argument I typically do not use. Ultimately, I do agree with Anselm that God is the most perfect being though.
- Teleological Argument from Design posits that whenever we see elements of design in our everyday lives, we typically assume an intelligent designer. Accordingly, when it comes to the elements of design in the universe or in DNA, it is acceptable to also assume an intelligent designer.
- Cosmological Argument from First Cause asserts that for every effect there is a cause. An assertion that is known as the law of causality. The argument posits that God is the uncaused first cause.The
- Kalam Argument from Time asserts that the existence of time necessitates a beginning as a reference point from which time proceeds. The argument posits that God who transcends time and is thus eternal initiated time.
- Axiological Argument from Morality contends that people across the globe have an innate understanding of right and wrong. It posits that this universal norm exists because we are created with a conscience that provides us with an innate moral law given to us by the Lawgiver.
The fourth and fifth arguments are typically combined as the 'Kalam Cosmological Argument' and J.P. Moreland is one who presents this. We know the universe has a cause because (1) it is impossible to cross an actual infinite, and (2) the second law of thermodynamics, amongst other reasons.
- With regard to (1), the existence of an actual infinite would mean that there is no number higher than the actual infinite, which is not reasonable. Furthermore, if the universe is an actual infinite, the domino that led to the present would not have an initial cause, and we would not have reached the present since an actual infinite would have to be crossed.
- With regard to (2), the second law of thermodynamics means the universe is running out of useful energy. This cannot be reversed and has been happening for a finite amount of time.
Mark Driscoll’s book then presents the reader with Pascal’s Wager. Essentially, if God does not exist, and we live life like He does, we do not lose anything in the ultimate sense. However, if God does exist, and we live life like He does not, we lose everything in the ultimate sense. I agree with Pascal on that, but believing in God simply for that reason leads to shallow faith in God. This article is to argue that there is a God and another article argues that there is overwhelming evidence that the God of the Bible should be believed as this one true God.
“Either God is or he is not.” But to which view shall we be inclined? Reason cannot decide this question. Infinite chaos separates us. At the far end of this infinite distance a coin is being spun which will come down heads or tails. How will you wager? Reason cannot make you choose either, reason cannot prove either wrong… . Yes, but you must wager. There is no choice, you are already committed… . Let us weigh up the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win you win everything, if you lose you lose nothing. Do not hesitate then; wager that he does exist (Pascal, 1966)
The following are some of the points I try to make when talking with those why are not sure of the existence of God:
- There are over 32 scientific parameters that if ever so minutely altered, the existence of the universe and life on earth would not have been possible. Physicist Robert Dicke and others make this claim. The four electromagnetic forces alone are in the right proportions to prevent the collapse of the universe while ensuring the formation of stars. Even Stephen Hawking and other physicists who deny the existence of God admit that the universe appears to be fine-tuned.
The impression of design is overwhelming. (Paul Davies, 1988)
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics … and that there are no blind forces in nature. (Fred Hoyle, 1981)
As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? (George Greenstein, 1988)
Luck in the precise form and nature of fundamental physical law is a different kind of luck from the luck we find in environmental factors. It cannot be so easily explained, and has far deeper physical and philosophical implications. Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alteration. (Stephen Hawking, 2010)
- Currently, a predominant explanation for the origin of the universe is the Multiverse Theory that posits we are one of many universes produced by a ‘universe builder’ which determines the constants for each universe. The hypothesis is made to account for the sheer improbability, if naturalism is true, that we are the only universe. Essentially, it just pushes the question back one step further. Where did the ‘universe builder’ come from?
- Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity makes it clear that space, time, and matter are interlinked. There was a point when all three were equal to 0. We know from other facts that the universe had a beginning. The Big Bang Theory posits that space, time, and matter were all compressed in a singularity. What transcends space is omnipresent, what transcends time is eternal, and what transcends matter is supernatural.
- We cannot have an infinite regress of causes so there logically has to be a first uncaused cause. Since everything that comes into existence or has a beginning needs a cause, the universe needs a cause. But since God never came into existence or had a beginning, He does not need a cause.
- This intelligent uncaused first-cause is living because life only arises from life until someone has evidence of abiogenesis which is the hypothetical unobserved process of life arising from non-living matter.
Therefore, I believe there are at least six things we can logically deduce about God:
- God is an intelligent designer.
- God is omnipresent.
- God is eternal.
- God is supernatural.
- God is the uncaused first cause.
- God is the source of life.