Does God Exist? – Two Arguments

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Apologetics, Arguments for God's Existence, Atheism

The question of God’s existence carries with it tremendous implications for mankind. In a universe without God, life is ultimately void of meaning and purpose and the cosmos is doomed to a cold, dark, and lifeless future. Man exists as nothing more than a cosmic accident. However, if God truly exists, then the universe has meaning and purpose and man is subject to a higher authority, namely his creator. If God does exist and rational man comprises part of the created order, one would expect rational and intuitive reasons for believing in the existence of this God. So does the Christian have sufficient reason for believing in the existence of a transcendent God? Let’s briefly examine two arguments: the cosmological and moral arguments.

The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument, loosely speaking, seeks to explain the universe – why does it exist and what is its cause? The kalam cosmological argument, one version of the cosmological argument, presents the reasoning this way: (1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause. Before moving further, let’s define what is meant when using the term “universe.” The universe is all space, time, energy, and matter – the totality of the physical world, including the empty space matter resides within.

Premise one should strike the average person as completely obvious.  Based upon man’s uniform experience with nature, all effects have causes. A lit match requires a strike. A tree requires a seed and a seed requires a tree. Objects never pop into being from nothing. Premise two, the universe began to exist, is confirmed both philosophically and scientifically. The philosophical argument rests upon the impossibility of reaching an actual infinite; hence the impossibility of an infinite amount of past event leading up to the present. Scientifically, modern big bang cosmology and the second law of thermodynamics affirm a beginning of the universe a finite amount of time ago – approximately fourteen billion years according to scientists.

What sort of cause could bring about all of space, time, and matter? First, this cause must be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. Second, the cause must be personal since it brought about the universe at a specific point in history. Third, the cause must be immensely powerful as the source of all matter and energy in the universe. Finally, this cause must be uncaused since all effects ultimately require an uncaused cause. The description of this cause sounds very much like the God of the Bible.

The Moral Argument

The moral argument attempts to prove that objective morals exist and the only explanation for their existence is God. What are objective morals? Objective moral values and duties are those that are outside and above man and incumbent upon him to keep. They prescribe how man ought to act.

The intuition and common experience of man clearly reveals the reality of objective morals. Nearly all people would affirm at least one objective moral principle, i.e. it is wrong to torture little children for fun. The relativist who denies objective morality undermines his own beliefs when using words such as should and ought, right and wrong. It is impossible for him to live consistent with a relativistic view of morality. Therefore, if objective morals comport with reality – even one objective moral truth – one must ask from where do these morals find their source? Who or what is the universal lawgiver of this universal law?

Objective morals, by definition, are outside of man and authoritative upon him. Additionally, these moral truths are immaterial. Therefore, the source of these morals must be outside of man, possess authority over man, and be immaterial in nature. This description of the root of morality aligns perfectly with the God of Christianity. God, a moral being, has created man in his image and expects the lives of men to reflect this perfect moral character. Objective morals and the conscience of men point strongly in the direction of the Christian worldview.

Conclusion

The cosmological and the moral arguments address two fundamental aspects of reality: the existence of all matter and the moral fabric woven into the human experience. The Christian position provides great explanatory power regarding these realities – grounding both in the existence of God. The atheist is limited to the material world alone, leaving him powerless to explain the cosmos and morality.

Jordan Tong

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