Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christian Apologetics Series 4: The Existence of God

In our last post of the series, we saw that God must exist to provide a foundation for truth. In this particular post, I wish to further this thought by providing additional reasons why it is very logical to believe God exists.

(Note: Although I certainly believe that the Christian God is the God of which I speak in this particular post, I will not as of yet be entertaining that idea. Instead, I will be analyzing that idea in the following posts.)

Cosmological Argument

It is a warm, sunny day, and you have decided to go to a park with some friends. As you turn around looking for a field where you and your friends can play, you get hit in the back with your frisbee. If you're like me, you immediately turn around to ascertain who threw the frisbee into your back, so you can give them a high-five for their good aim. It will never cross your mind that maybe the frisbee just happened to hit your back because you know that there was a cause (someone throwing the frisbee) to the effect (getting hit in the back). 

This is called the Law of Causality, and it is a universal principle. For every effect, there is a cause. Frisbees just don't hit people in the backs of their own accord! Examining the world around us, however, we see a pretty marvelous effect that would require a very marvelous cause in order to be. In other words, cause and effect is not just true within the world, it is also true of the world. The world must needs have a cause. 

There are a few options as to what this cause could be. One might assert that the universe caused itself into a being - that a big bang exploded the universe into being. This assertion raises the question, what caused this explosion?

The universe could not possibly have created itself. As R.C. Sproul puts it in The Consequences of Ideas
"For something to create or cause itself, it must be before it is. It must be and not be, or exist and not exist, at the same time."

This is a clear violation of any rational thought. We are then left with two options, either the universe is self-existent, or there is a self-existent being (or God) who created the world in the first place. Either way, something has always existed.

The great philosopher Immanuel Kant argues against the cosmological argument on the basis that the law of causality is limited solely to within the world, and not to the world itself. Further, Kant argues that just because reason dictates there must be something self-existent, doesn't prove anything because that assumes the universe is rational. Well, yes, actually, it does. I would like to respond to Kant's views, but since he already tells us that reason would detail that he is wrong, what more is there for me to say? His argument that the universe is irrational cannot be proven, nor disproven. But I believe that just as a frisbee only hits you in the back if there was a cause (someone throwing it), that the universe only exists because God made it.

Teleological Argument

A book is owned by almost everyone. It is a dictionary, and it includes many detailed descriptions of different words commonly used in that tongue. It is well-organized too (alphabetization certainly makes words easy to find). If you are examining a dictionary, you would find that it always has a publisher. Whether it be Webster's, Oxford, or the American Heritage Dictionary, you can tell that it has been intelligently designed by someone. 

This same concept seems obvious in our world today. When we see items of pure beauty, we automatically think about how it was made, of who designed it. Yet many people would deny that this very world with all its intricacies was made by a creator. Instead, they say that this world was developed over time by sheer chance. 

Science is said to be the end-all for answering this type of question, but since science is limited to what we have observed, and no one observed the beginning of the universe, I much prefer to answer these questions with logic and common sense. Common sense dictates that this universe could not have come by random chance. 

There is great order in the universe, and it seems illogical to assume that such order could have been formed randomly. After all, random is defined by Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary as, 
"Lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern."

Unplanned order just doesn't happen in the rational world. You don't get a dictionary ordered alphabetically by sheer random chance, and you don't get a world with great order in any similar fashion.

The Biblical Response

We have seen now ample reasons from the world around us to believe that there is a God who existed and created the world. Of course, Christians shouldn't be surprised. We were told this very fact in Romans 1:20
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

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