Does God Exist?

 

The Value of Arguments

  • No full proofs (no all compelling arguments), rather just more probable.

  • This means that rhetoric (being a convincing speaking), makes a difference.

  • Further, when you make an argument you should try to do it from the background of the person that you are speaking to.

  • God can and does use these to draw people to himself.

 

The Burden of Proof

  • “The burden of proof is the responsibility someone has to defend or give evidence for his view. Generally, the rule can be summed up this way: Whoever makes the claim bears the burden.” Greg Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, 59.

  • I.e. the theist since he says there is a God needs to give his reasons for thinking this. The atheist since he says there is no god needs to give his reasons for this. The default position is the weak agnostic who says I do not know if there is a god or not.

 

If there is No God

Richard Dawkins: “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.... DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.” (River out of Eden, 1995, Pg 132)

 

“Twentieth-century man came to understand this. In the play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, Beckett is saying; we just kill time waiting—for what, we don't know. In a tragic portrayal of man, Beckett wrote another play in which the curtain opens revealing a stage littered with junk. For thirty long seconds, the audience sits and stares in silence at that junk. Then the curtain closes. That's all.” http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god

 

If God exists:

Then there is hope, meaning, purpose, value to life and the possibility of abundant life forever.

 

Define “God”

  • “The term “God,” is traditionally understood, signifies a personal being who is worthy of worship.” Gould, BTCOG, pg 1.

  • The being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

  • God refers to the greatest possible being (or maximally excellent being).

 

Defining Atheism

The belief that “there is no God.”

Or “one who lacks belief in God.”

 

Belief in God is Properly Basic

  1. Beliefs which are appropriately grounded may be rationally accepted as basic beliefs not grounded on argument.

  2. Belief that the biblical God exists is appropriately grounded.

  3. Therefore, belief that the biblical God exists may be rationally accepted as a basic belief not grounded on argument.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/documents/podcasts/defenders-2/Existence-of-God-Belief-in-God-as-Properly-Basic.pdf

 

Arguments for God’s Existence

 

God makes sense of the universe

 

WLC’s Kalam Cosmological Argument:

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

  2. The universe began to exist.

  3. Therefore the universe has cause.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/in-defense-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument

 

Loke’s Cosmological Argument

1. There cannot be an infinite regress of cause-and-effect

(Because an actual infinite has a greater number than what could be counted by the process of counting one event after another.)

2. Therefore there must be a First Cause of the universe.

 

St Thomas Aquinas’ Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes

  1. We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.

  2. Nothing exists prior to itself.

  3. Therefore nothing is the efficient cause of itself.

  4. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results.

  5. Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.

  6. The series of efficient causes cannot extend ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.

  7. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

 

Types of Causation

  • The material cause: “that out of which”, e.g., the bronze of a statue.

  • The formal cause: “the form”, “the account of what-it-is-to-be”, e.g., the shape of a statue.

  • The efficient cause: “the primary source of the change or rest”, e.g., the artisan, the art of bronze-casting the statue.

  • The final cause: “the end, that for the sake of which a thing is done”, e.g., the statue is made as a memorial of the figure, or to show off the artists skills, or to inspire those who see the statue.

 

Rowe’s Cosmological Argument

  1. Every being is either dependent of independent

  2. Not every being is dependent

  3. Therefore there exists at least one independent being (namely, God)

 

Leibniz’s Cosmological Argument

  1. Anything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause [A version of PSR].

  2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

  3. The universe exists.

  4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3)

  5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God (from 2, 4).

 

The Teleological Argument

God makes sense of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.

  3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Video from: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/finetuning

 

                “This fine-tuning is of two sorts. First, when the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, you find appearing in them certain constants, like the constant that represents the force of gravity. These constants are not determined by the laws of nature. The laws of nature are consistent with a wide range of values for these constants. Second, in addition to these constants, there are certain arbitrary quantities that are put in just as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate, for example, the amount of entropy or the balance between matter and anti-matter in the universe. Now all of these constants and quantities fall into an extraordinarily narrow range of life-permitting values. Were these constants or quantities to be altered by less than a hair’s breadth, the life-permitting balance would be destroyed, and no living organisms of any kind could exist.22

For example, a change in the strength of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life-permitting universe. The cosmological constant which drives the inflation of the universe and is responsible for the recently discovered acceleration of the universe’s expansion is inexplicably fine-tuned to around one part in 10120. Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang’s low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010(123). Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010(123).”23 And it’s not just each constant or quantity that must be exquisitely finely-tuned; their ratios to one another must be also finely-tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.” William Lane Craig, Atheism: Five Arguments for God. Available at: http://www.christoncampuscci.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Atheism.pdf

 

Robin Collins, The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-tuning of the Cosmos, available at: http://home.messiah.edu/~rcollins/

 (1) Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is very, very epistemically unlikely under NSU: that is, (LPU|NSU & k´) << 1, where k´ represents some appropriately chosen background information, and << represents much, much less than (thus making P(LPU|NSU & k´) close to zero).

(2) Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is not unlikely under theism: that is, ~P(LPU|T & k´) << 1.

(3) The theistic hypothesis was advocated prior to the fine-tuning evidence (and has independent motivation).

(4) Therefore, by the restricted version of the likelihood principle, LPU strongly supports theism over NSU.

Where: LPU stands for Life-Permitting Universe, NSU stands for naturalistic single-universe hypothesis, k is the background information, and T the theistic hypothesis.

 

The Watchmaker Argument

  • If you found a watch in a field it is more likely it came from a designer then by chance.

  • Similarly the universe has the appearance of design suggesting a designer.

  • Whether this is successful depends on how close one considers the analogy or on whether this is the inference to the best explanation.

 

Moral Argument

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

  2. Objective moral values exist.

  3. Therefore God exists

Moral arg video: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/moral

 

Evans, C. Stephen, "Moral Arguments for the Existence of God", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries/moral-arguments-god/>.

“1. There are objective moral facts.

2. God provides the best explanation of the existence of objective moral facts.

3. Therefore, (probably) God exists.”

 

Miracles

The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, including the empty tomb and the change in the disciples from that of cowards to martyrs, provides substantial support that a miracle occurred, indicating that God exists. Further, it can be deduced that God loves you.

 

We are restless till we find our rest in God

  • Lewis, “If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, then the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.” (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chap. 10, "Hope")

 

The Ontological Argument

St. Anselm, Archbishop of Cantebury (1033-1109), Proslogium:

[Even a] fool, when he hears of … a being than which nothing greater can be conceived … understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding.… And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater.… Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is no doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality. Kenneth Einar Himma, Anselm: Ontological Argument for God's Existence, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/

 

Plantinga’s Modal Version

  1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

  2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

  3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

  4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

  5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

  6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Plantinga, Alvin C. God, Freedom, and Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974. Pages 98-112. See also: Plantinga, Alvin, The Nature of Necessity (Oxford, 1974), chapter 10.

 

Pascal’s Wager

                      God exists             God does not exist

Believe         infinite gain          finite loss

Disbelieve    infinite loss           finite gain

 

Who Made God?

  • Once you understand what God is (by definition) you realize this question is incoherent. Who made the unmade?

  • God exists necessarily.

  • God’s nonexistence is impossible.

  • God could not but exist.

  • God exists in all possible worlds.

 

Argument of the change in the life of your friends who know Jesus

Their life of love should testify to the existence of God.

James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

 

The Meaning of Life According to Christianity

The chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever – that is one and the same thing – meaning God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. That is to say that God is most interested in your eternal happiness and God knows that you will have most joy in knowing Him.

 

Bibliography

https://appearedtoblogly.wordpress.com/theistic-arguments/

 

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