Thursday, November 10, 2011

Arguments for the Existence of God

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Occasionally I present on this blog interactions with seekers who engage me in my role as a GMO volunteer "media missionary." Today's exchange comes from a thoughtful individual in India whom I will call "Raman" (not his real name). He said:

"I have not yet prayed to receive Christ. I would like to investigate more. Does God exist? If yes, can you prove it?"

Here is my response to Raman:

Raman, I'm here to help answer your questions about Jesus. Knowing Him is the most important decision you could ever make. Please visit gospel.godlife.com to find out more.

In response to your question: There are two fundamental bases for belief in the existence of God: reason (natural revelation) and faith (supernatural revelation).

As regards reason, there are a number of solid arguments for the existence of God, which is why some of the world's sharpest minds (Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Johannes Kepler, and Thomas Aquinas are four examples who come to mind) have expressed a belief in a creator God. To name a few:

  • Cosmological - All that we see must be the result of an original cause. This cause is sufficiently explained by none other than God.
  • Teleological - The observed order, direction and complexity of the universe is best explained by a creator God.
  • Ontological - God must exist because our conception of Him exists. He is a being greater than which cannot be conceived.
  • Epiphenomenonological - The existence of spiritual attributes such as morality, beauty, and self-sacrificial love argue for the existence of a God who established these standards.
  • The anthropic principle - Suggests that basic facts, such as the existence of humankind which values the existence of God, in itself argues for that existence.

For further information on each of these arguments, I would refer you to this page on Wikipedia.

As regards faith, the Bible is a series of books, written by numerous authors over a period of thousands of years, claiming to be the inspired Word of God, which contains consistent testimony by eyewitnesses considered historically reliable, in regard to the existence and acts of a supreme God. This testimony is internally harmonious (in fundamental internal agreement), which in itself argues for its claim of divine inspiration.

There are also additional faith arguments, such as "the majority argument" (the majority of humankind believes in the existence of God, which must therefore be taken seriously); argument from experience (many millions of individuals claim to have personally experienced evidence of God's existence, such as answered prayer); and Christological arguments (e.g., the resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historically attested-test fact begs the existence of God).

The answer to the second part of your question ("Can you prove it?") wholly depends on your definition of "proof." For instance, if you demanded that I "prove" the existence of Julius Caesar, I would have to confess that I cannot. I firmly believe he existed, based on the historic testimony of reliable eyewitnesses. But I cannot "prove" it. Likewise, I firmly believe God exists (based on the testimony of even more reliable witnesses), but likewise cannot "prove" this.

Of course, the truly important question is: "If God does indeed exist ... then what are the implications of His existence on my life? What does He expect of me?"

For the answer to that question, I think we need an entirely fresh e-mail.

Is that helpful? Does it raise any additional questions which you would like to discuss? Please let me know, I would love to talk more.

How can I pray for you? Please write back. - Larry

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