Does God Exist?
Yes, God exists and in fact, the case for atheism is weak. Some people think God hasn't revealed himself enough because they expect God to show up dramatically in their life, yet they are not willing to seek Him. God has revealed Himself to His creation throughout history and He is very active in the lives of those willing to let Him be revealed. He will be as real and close to you as you want Him to be. The Bible says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. However, I believe God made a deal with the Devil and there is a limit to what each of them can do as a result. God also already came to earth in Jesus Christ, yet some people who saw and even knew Jesus didn't believe. On the other hand, the disciples were willing to die for their faith that Jesus was God, and they knew Him more than anyone. There would also be no need for faith, and as we just read, faith is what pleases God. We would also not be rewarded for our faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29). So if God were to come back to earth and reveal Himself to every person, he would not only lose His pleasure, but they would lose their reward for their faith.
"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 you study philosophy, you learn that there are things called ‘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.” This being the case, 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 you 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 they 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 1900’s, 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 they have 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 their position, but they cannot. Atheism simply cannot meet the test for evidence for the seriousness of the charge it makes. Instead, the atheist and those whom they convince of their position slide into eternity with their fingers crossed and hope they do not find the unpleasant truth that eternity does indeed exist and that such a place is an awfully long time to be wrong. 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)."
According to statistics, most people believe in God, but it reality, very few do. Most people have an idea about God, in other words, a "god," but it is not the God of the Bible. If we were to then ask these people if they believed that this God was triune and consisted of the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we would lose some. If we then asked if they believed that God said Jesus was the only way to heaven, we would lose a lot more. If we went through all of the attributes of God, His Old Testament judgments, and Christ's miracles, virgin birth, beliefs about hell, etc, we would lose most of them and be left with very few that truly believe in God. This is also Scriptural for Jesus himself said, "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:14, emphasis mine)" Paul said in the book of 1 Corinthians, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing... I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of hte intelligent I will frustrate... God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise... we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory... but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit... This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned... Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness'; and again, 'The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.'"
If people really believed in God, they would believe His Word, and live their lives in support of that belief. Most Christians appear to live their lives like those who aren't Christian, beside maybe attending church once a week. They believe to avoid hell or because it's useful and beneficial to them in life (e.g. prayer or receiving help from others), but their faith is dead (Romans, Matthew verses on fruit). If they belived what God said in His Word, they would frantically try to see others converted (see Hell).
This is why definitions are so important, particularly in discussions about things that are spiritual, abstract, etc.FOOTNOTES:
© Todd Tyszka
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