Is there an argument for the existence of God?

All of us as Christians have probably been asked by friends, family or co-workers the question, “Do you really believe there is a God? What proof do you have that he exists?” Most of us would answer with things like, “Jesus existed and walked this earth and he was God in the flesh” or we might point out that the bible was written by God. No matter what your knowledge of the subject at hand, I found some pretty convincing arguments supporting the existence of God. What follows is information, although a little lengthy, that covers a wide range of positions held by people over time. It is a very good read and I would encourage all of you to read to the very end. When you are finished, I believe you will have a strong defense in the argument for the existence of God.

The question of whether there is a conclusive argument for the existence of God has been debated throughout history, with exceedingly intelligent people taking both sides of the dispute. In recent times, arguments against the possibility of God’s existence have taken on a militant spirit that accuses anyone daring to believe in God as being delusional and irrational. Karl Marx asserted that anyone believing in God must have a mental disorder that caused invalid thinking. The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud wrote that a person who believed in a Creator God was delusional and only held those beliefs due to a “wish-fulfillment” factor that produced what Freud considered to be an unjustifiable position. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche bluntly said that faith equates to not wanting to know what is true. The voices of these three figures from history (along with others) are simply now parroted by a new generation of atheists who claim that a belief in God is intellectually unwarranted.

Is this truly the case? Is belief in God a rationally unacceptable position to hold? Is there a logical and reasonable argument for the existence of God? Outside of referencing the Bible, can a case for the existence of God be made that refutes the positions of both the old and new atheists and gives sufficient warrant for believing in a Creator? The answer is, yes, it can. Moreover, in demonstrating the validity of an argument for the existence of God, the case for atheism is shown to be intellectually weak.

To make an argument for the existence of God, we must start by asking the right questions. We begin with the most basic metaphysical question: “Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?” This is the basic question of existence—why are we here; why is the earth here; why is the universe here rather than nothing? Commenting on this point, one theologian has said, “In one sense man does not ask the question about God, his very existence raises the question about God.”

In considering this question, there are four possible answers to why we have something rather than nothing at all:

1. Reality is an illusion.
2. Reality is/was self-created.
3. Reality is self-existent (eternal).
4. Reality was created by something that is self-existent.

So, which is the most plausible solution? Let’s begin with reality being simply an illusion, which is what a number of Eastern religions believe. This option was ruled out centuries ago by the philosopher Rene Descartes who is famous for the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes, a mathematician, argued that if he is thinking, then he must “be.” In other words, “I think, therefore I am not an illusion.” Illusions require something experiencing the illusion, and moreover, you cannot doubt the existence of yourself without proving your existence; it is a self-defeating argument. So the possibility of reality being an illusion is eliminated.

Next is the option of reality being self-created. When we study philosophy, we learn of “analytically false” statements, which means they are false by definition. The possibility of reality being self-created is one of those types of statements for the simple reason that something cannot be prior to itself. If you created yourself, then you must have existed prior to you creating yourself, but that simply cannot be. In evolution this is sometimes referred to as “spontaneous generation” —something coming from nothing—a position that few, if any, reasonable people hold to anymore simply because you cannot get something from nothing. Even the atheist David Hume said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.” Since something cannot come from nothing, the alternative of reality being self-created is ruled out.

Now we are left with only two choices—an eternal reality or reality being created by something that is eternal: an eternal universe or an eternal Creator. The 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards summed up this crossroads:

• Something exists.
• Nothing cannot create something.
• Therefore, a necessary and eternal “something” exists.

Notice that we must go back to an eternal “something.” The atheist who derides the believer in God for believing in an eternal Creator must turn around and embrace an eternal universe; it is the only other door he can choose. But the question now is, where does the evidence lead? Does the evidence point to matter before mind or mind before matter?

To date, all key scientific and philosophical evidence points away from an eternal universe and toward an eternal Creator. From a scientific standpoint, honest scientists admit the universe had a beginning, and whatever has a beginning is not eternal. In other words, whatever has a beginning has a cause, and if the universe had a beginning, it had a cause. The fact that the universe had a beginning is underscored by evidence such as the second law of thermodynamics, the radiation echo of the big bang discovered in the early 1900s, the fact that the universe is expanding and can be traced back to a singular beginning, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. All prove the universe is not eternal.

Further, the laws that surround causation speak against the universe being the ultimate cause of all we know for this simple fact: an effect must resemble its cause. This being true, no atheist can explain how an impersonal, purposeless, meaningless, and amoral universe accidentally created beings (us) who are full of personality and obsessed with purpose, meaning, and morals. Such a thing, from a causation standpoint, completely refutes the idea of a natural universe birthing everything that exists. So in the end, the concept of an eternal universe is eliminated.

Philosopher J. S. Mill (not a Christian) summed up where we have now come to: “It is self-evident that only Mind can create mind.” The only rational and reasonable conclusion is that an eternal Creator is the one who is responsible for reality as we know it. Or to put it in a logical set of statements:

• Something exists.
• You do not get something from nothing.
• Therefore a necessary and eternal “something” exists.
• The only two options are an eternal universe and an eternal Creator.
• Science and philosophy have disproven the concept of an eternal universe.
• Therefore, an eternal Creator exists.

Former atheist Lee Strobel, who arrived at this end result many years ago, has commented, “Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God’s existence … In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.”

But the next question we must tackle is this: if an eternal Creator exists (and we have shown that He does), what kind of Creator is He? Can we infer things about Him from what He created? In other words, can we understand the cause by its effects? The answer to this is yes, we can, with the following characteristics being surmised:

• He must be supernatural in nature (as He created time and space).
• He must be powerful (exceedingly).
• He must be eternal (self-existent).
• He must be omnipresent (He created space and is not limited by it).
• He must be timeless and changeless (He created time).
• He must be immaterial because He transcends space/physical.
• He must be personal (the impersonal cannot create personality).
• He must be infinite and singular as you cannot have two infinites.
• He must be diverse yet have unity as unity and diversity exist in nature.
• He must be intelligent (supremely). Only cognitive being can produce cognitive being.
• He must be purposeful as He deliberately created everything.
• He must be moral (no moral law can be had without a giver).
• He must be caring (or no moral laws would have been given).

These things being true, we now ask if any religion in the world describes such a Creator. The answer to this is yes: the God of the Bible fits this profile perfectly. He is supernatural (Genesis 1:1), powerful (Jeremiah 32:17), eternal (Psalm 90:2), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), timeless/changeless (Malachi 3:6), immaterial (John 5:24), personal (Genesis 3:9), necessary (Colossians 1:17), infinite/singular (Jeremiah 23:24, Deuteronomy 6:4), diverse yet with unity (Matthew 28:19), intelligent (Psalm 147:4-5), purposeful (Jeremiah 29:11), moral (Daniel 9:14), and caring (1 Peter 5:6-7).

One last subject to address on the matter of God’s existence is the matter of how justifiable the atheist’s position actually is. Since the atheist asserts the believer’s position is unsound, it is only reasonable to turn the question around and aim it squarely back at him. The first thing to understand is that the claim the atheist makes—“no god,” which is what “atheist” means—is an untenable position to hold from a philosophical standpoint. As legal scholar and philosopher Mortimer Adler says, “An affirmative existential proposition can be proved, but a negative existential proposition—one that denies the existence of something—cannot be proved.” For example, someone may claim that a red eagle exists and someone else may assert that red eagles do not exist. The former only needs to find a single red eagle to prove his assertion. But the latter must comb the entire universe and literally be in every place at once to ensure he has not missed a red eagle somewhere and at some time, which is impossible to do. This is why intellectually honest atheists will admit they cannot prove God does not exist.

Next, it is important to understand the issue that surrounds the seriousness of truth claims that are made and the amount of evidence required to warrant certain conclusions. For example, if someone puts two containers of lemonade in front of you and says that one may be more tart than the other, since the consequences of getting the more tart drink would not be serious, you would not require a large amount of evidence in order to make your choice. However, if to one cup the host added sweetener but to the other he introduced rat poison, then you would want to have quite a bit of evidence before you made your choice.

This is where a person sits when deciding between atheism and belief in God. Since belief in atheism could possibly result in irreparable and eternal consequences, it would seem that the atheist should be mandated to produce weighty and overriding evidence to support his position, but he cannot. Atheism simply cannot meet the test for evidence for the seriousness of the charge it makes. Instead, the atheist and those whom he convinces of his position slide into eternity with their fingers crossed and hope they do not find the unpleasant truth that eternity does indeed exist. As Mortimer Adler says, “More consequences for life and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from any other basic question.”

So does belief in God have intellectual warrant? Is there a rational, logical, and reasonable argument for the existence of God? Absolutely. While atheists such as Freud claim that those believing in God have a wish-fulfillment desire, perhaps it is Freud and his followers who actually suffer from wish-fulfillment: the hope and wish that there is no God, no accountability, and therefore no judgment. But refuting Freud is the God of the Bible who affirms His existence and the fact that a judgment is indeed coming for those who know within themselves the truth that He exists but suppress that truth (Romans 1:20). But for those who respond to the evidence that a Creator does indeed exist, He offers the way of salvation that has been accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

Advertisements

Advancing Through Adversity

At medical checkups, children periodically need immunizations. Boys and girls may not understand that inoculations protect them; from their point of view, they are experiencing pain—while someone who loves them is allowing it! Such an experience affords a little insight into God’s dealings with His children. It answers one of the questions we often ask when painful things happen to us: Where is God or Why is this happening to me?

The Bible tells us that “in all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isa. 63:9). You may remember your earthly father restraining you so that the doctor could administer the injection. Perhaps you recall him commenting that the experience hurt him more than it did you. That is exactly what our heavenly Father is describing in this Bible passage. To a childish mind, it is an utterly incomprehensible concept, but when we have children of our own, we grasp it clearly. We then begin to understand what kind of a God we have. He Himself entered into all our agony, and He has tasted the last drop in our own cup of suffering.

Where is God? He is where the pain is. The book of Isaiah says, “He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him” (Isa. 53:5).

As you face hard times, look into the Savior’s tear-stained face—you won’t see anything but love. If we would follow Jesus, we must bear the fellowship of His suffering. We must go where He is, and the cross is one of the sweetest places to find Him.

What It Means to Love God

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. (Psalm 63:1–2)

Only God will satisfy a heart like David’s. And David was a man after God’s own heart. That’s the way we were created to be.

This is the essence of what it means to love God — to be satisfied in him. In him!

Loving God will include all his commands; it will include all his word; it will include thanking him for all his gifts; but the essence of loving God is enjoying all he is. And it is this enjoyment of God that glorifies his worth most fully.

We all know this intuitively as well as from Scripture. Do we feel most honored by the love of those who serve us from the constraints of duty, or from the delights of fellowship?

My wife is most honored when I say, “It makes me happy to spend time with you.” My happiness is the echo of her excellence. And so it is with God. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

None of us has arrived at perfect satisfaction in God. I grieve often over the murmuring of my heart at the loss of worldly comforts. But I have tasted that the Lord is good. By God’s grace I now know the fountain of everlasting joy.

And so I love to spend my days luring people into joy until they say with me, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

(reblog | Daily Devotional | John Piper Ministries)

The Supremacy of the Son of God

As I was reading my bible this morning I came across the following verses in Colossians, Chapter 1. These verses are very explicit in explaining who Jesus Christ was, is and will forever be. These verses leave no doubt in my mind who Jesus is and what He has done for me. If you ever have doubts about Jesus, your relationship with Him or any other concerns, read these verses prayerfully and you will understand what He has done for you.

And it’s important that you continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Empowered By God Himself

God the Spirit is important to us in our daily lives. He is so important that Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away … if I go, I will send Him to you”. He’s the Spirit of truth who interprets God’s Word for us, and helps us remember and apply it to our life. He’s also our encourager, and He empowers us to obey.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t bring attention to Himself but always seeks to glorify Jesus. He guides us, challenges us, and transforms us. Allow the Holy Spirit to transform your life. Then, all of your challenges, problems and rough times will seem insignificant because you have been empowered by God Himself living within you.

Facing Your Giants

As you start your week you may already be looking toward Friday and realize you have some major challenges waiting for you along the way. You might think to yourself, “How will I ever get through all this?” It’s important to realize that the Lord is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, and He has the power to give us the victory no matter what challenge we face.

Trusting in the Lord gives us the courage to face our giants. Being so armed, we can respond to challenges on the basis of three important truths:

Who Christ is in us—our Savior and Provider.
• Who we are in Christ—God’s adopted children, eternally secure and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
• What we have in Christ—the promise of access to almighty God.

Instead of fixing our attention on how big the obstacle is, let’s begin focusing on the greatness of our God. If we’ll trust and obey Him, His Spirit will equip us for the challenge, and our faith will glorify Him.

How Infiltrated Are You With God’s Patience?

Has anyone told you about God’s patience? His patience and willingness to put up with you! “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8).

God is very patient with us. Think about this—how many times have you committed the same sin and then asked God to forgive you? If you’re like most, you’ve probably done it a lot. Although God’s patience is infinite, we shouldn’t take advantage of His love for us.

How does this apply to you and your daily living? 1 Corinthians 13:4 states,  “Love is patient!” Patience waits. It listens. It’s slow to boil. And according to Jesus, this is how we should treat others. How infiltrated are you with God’s patience? You’ve heard about it. Read about it. But have you received it? The proof is in your patience. Patience deeply received results in patience freely offered!

The next time you find yourself losing patience with someone think about how much patience God shows you on a daily basis. It’s infinite, right?

The First Step of Love

God loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately! God loves you with an unfailing love. And his love—if you let it—can fill you and leave you with a love worth giving!

Could it be that the first step of love is not toward others but toward him? Could it be that the secret to loving is receiving? You give love by first receiving it. “We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASB). Long to be more loving? Begin by accepting your place as a dearly loved child. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV).

We need help from an outside source. A transfusion. Would we love as God loves? Then we start by receiving God’s love.

Contentment—Something We All Desire

Contentment is something we all desire yet too seldom have. If it comes, it usually seems short-lived. And often we think that contentment is possible only if all our circumstances are comfortable and there are no conflicts or misunderstandings in our relationships.

The apostle Paul proves that perfect conditions are not the source of contentment. He wrote his letter to the Philippians while he was in a Roman prison. Contentment was something he had to learn, not through comfort but through hardship and suffering. Paul relied on spiritual truths to enable him to face his difficulties God’s way—without complaint, worry, or fear.

In every trial, we have a choice to view the situation from our perspective or from God’s. Depending on our focus, we either react emotionally or respond spiritually, based on God’s Word and promises. Inner turmoil and outward agitation result when we focus on feelings instead of spiritual principles. But when we habitually see every matter from God’s point of view, then irritation, anger, and blame will be replaced by an inner quietness and confidence.

Is it really possible to face serious trials and have God’s peace? According to Paul, the answer is yes. We can be content in all circumstances through Christ’s strength (Phil. 4:13). This isn’t a natural response but a supernatural one, which God alone can produce in the lives of His children. If we’ll let divine truths interpret our trials and trust the Holy Spirit to empower us to respond in faith, our heart will find rest no matter what goes on around us.

How Much Patience Does God Have With You?

Paul’s conversion was for your sake.

I want you to take this very personally. God had you in view when he chose Paul and saved him by sovereign grace.

If you believe on Jesus for eternal life — or if you may yet believe on him for eternal life — Paul’s conversion is for your sake. It is to make Christ’s incredible patience vivid for you.

Paul’s life before his conversion was a long, long trial to Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” Jesus asked. “Your life of unbelief and rebellion is a persecution of me!” Paul had been set apart for God since before he was born. So all his life was one long abuse of God, and one long rejection and mockery of Jesus who loved him.

That is why Paul says his conversion is a brilliant demonstration of Jesus’ patience. And that is what he offers you today.

It was for our sake that Jesus did it the way he did it. To “display his perfect patience” to us. Lest we lose heart. Lest we think he could not really save us. Lest we think he is prone to anger. Lest we think we have gone too far away. Lest we think our dearest one cannot be converted— suddenly, unexpectedly, by the sovereign, overflowing grace of Jesus.