Sunday, May 22

Does God Exist? (Part One)

Does God exist? This is one of the most important questions an individual has to consider at some point in their life. If God exists, what is He? How did He get here? Why did He create us? While those questions have been addressed in other entries, in this entry, we will seek to examine some of the evidence for God. Although absolute proof for the existence of a Divine Creator cannot be realized by any one of us, the compelling evidence, when it is logically and rationally evaluated, indicates the existence of a Creator God. (Photo credit: Hubble, 1234rf)

Understand that you cannot conclusively prove nor disprove the existence of God. As Hebrews 11:6 conveys, "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." It is then a simple matter of faith. Paul defines faith in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Faith is not limited to religion. We cannot prove much of human history, yet we accept it regardless. We cannot prove that love exists, we cannot see it, hear it, smell it, or taste it - yet we can feel it. Likewise, God can be felt. Simply because you do not see something does not mean it does not exist.

First, there is clear evidence of supernatural creation all around us. Just as Paul writes in Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." From the complexities within our cells to the vastness and wonders of the universe, as well as each planet, each individual's function, God's divine nature and invisible qualities are clearly seen. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reveals that “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Each of us recognize, somewhere deep within ourselves, that God exists. Whether we choose to accept that or not is another story entirely.

The rock thrown off a bridge cannot choose whether or not it will obey the law of gravity, it is bound by the law of gravity, and therefore must follow it. However, each individual is bound by a moral law, whether they realize it or not, but unlike the law of gravity or other natural laws, the individual can choose whether or not it will obey or adhere to the moral law. Each of us deep within recognizes that we should not steal, should not murder, should not commit adultery, should not lust, should not dishonor our parents, should not lie, should not curse, yet we do anyway. Note the behavioral inconsistency of the atheist college professor.

An atheist college professor sits in a classroom all day long and teaches his students that they are nothing more than chemical hiccups, or accidents, and have no purpose except survival - survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, he tells them. He proceeds to go home after work, kisses and hugs his wife and children, and continues to sit down and watch the news on the television. He is appalled at the violent deaths and crimes he sees, and is angry at the man who murdered another man, whom he had never met. This is called a behavioral inconsistency. The professor believes he is nothing more than a chemical accident, yet seeks justice for the murderer, and loves his wife and children. However, this is inconsistent with his worldview.


Credit: Hubble
Everyone has a worldview whether or not they realize it. "A worldview is what we assume to be true about the basic makeup of our world. A worldview is like a mental map of reality. We believe certain things about ourselves and God and life, and then we interpret our experiences through them."[1] In the case of the atheist professor, he believes that he is nothing more than a chemical accident, yet his actions - his behavior - is inconsistent with his beliefs. Seeking justice for the murderer would make no sense in an atheistic worldview, because there would be no absolute morality, it could be likened unto a lion killing an antelope, a bear eating a fish, a bird eating a worm. In the atheistic worldview, the individual should be more happy than appalled, because the loss of one indicates a possible increase in food for him, less competition. 


People could assert that a moral code, a moral law, exists, however, what defines this moral law? The typical response is, "myself. You cannot impose your own morality onto others." However, this is a self-refuting statement. By stating, "You cannot impose your own morality onto others," the individual who stated that is attempting to impose his own personal morality onto other people. In reality, morality is not merely a subjective, there is some kind of absolute morality somewhere that we all adhere to in some fashion, one that would make sense if given by a Creator. If God exists, and is the God of Christianity, it would make sense to love others. It would make sense to seek justice, because these are attributes of the Divine Creator. Consider now the laws of logic. Laws of logic reflect the attributes of the creator: immaterial, universal, invariant, unchanging. 

As conveyed by Dr. Jason Lisle, "How could there be laws without a lawgiver? The atheist cannot account for (1) the existence of laws of logic, (2) why they are immaterial, (3) why they are universal, (4) why they do not change with time, and (5) how human beings can possibly know about them or their properties. But of course, all these things make perfect sense on the Christian system. Laws of logic owe their existence to the biblical God. Yet they are required to reason rationally, to prove things. So the biblical God must exist in order for reasoning to be possible. Therefore, the best of God's existence is that without Him we couldn't prove anything at all! The existence of the biblical God is the prerequisite for knowledge and rationality. This is called the 'transcendental argument for God' or TAG for short. It is a devastating and conclusive argument, one that only a few people have even attempted to refute (and none of them successfully.)"[2]


Another arguments used to lend credence and support to the existence of God is the Cosmological Argument, also known as the first-cause argument. The argument was first stated by Aristotle but was later developed by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). James L. Christian, in Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering, writes, "We live in a world of matter-in-motion. This is an obvious empirical fact. Aquinas observed that if an object is at rest, then it is not in motion; but any object at rest is potentially in motion. Motion is the actualized potential of a particular object. All objects at rest are potentially in motion, but no object will be activated into motion unless it is caused to move by something that is actually moving. No object at rest can be activated by another object at rest, nor can an object at rest set itself in motion. This means simply that every object in motion was set in motion by something else; but that something else must have been set in motion by something before it, and so on. Therefore we are the potential motion of the next series."[3]


Christian continues, "But if we attempt to account for motion by going back in our minds in an infinite regression, we find ourselves in a logical contradiction - a dead end. Something must start the series, and this something, from a purely logical standpoint, must be something without an antecedent activator. Such an activator must necessarily be pure actuality and not potential. Whatever this pure actuality is, it is the 'unmoved mover' which, writes Thomas, 'everyone understands to be God.'"[4] Essentially, everything which begins to exist must have a cause. The universe began to exist, as evidence by such things as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, therefore, the universe must have a cause.


However, by attempting to logically go back in our mind, we are faced with an infinite number of causes. If cause and effect should cease to exist, so too would science. Inevitably, we are faced with one of two choices: either there is an infinite chain of nonprimary causes (nothing ultimately responsible for all observable causes and effects) or there is an uncaused primary Cause of all causes (the One absolute Cause that initiated everything).[5] When we examine the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics, we understand that there is no new mass or energy in the universe, energy cannot be created or destroyed (by natural means, not supernatural), but it can change its form of matter. For example, a log from a tree can be burned, and turned into ash. The energy is still there, but it has changed its form.

The second law of Thermodynamics essentially states that the amount of usable energy in the universe is winding down - every time an event takes place, some energy becomes unavailable. In other words, all phenomena (mass and energy) continually deteriorate into lower and lower levels of usefulness.[6] Why is this important? Every cause must be at least as great as the effect which it produces, and will produce and effect which is less than the cause itself. When we logically go back in our minds, as noted, we are faced with an endless cycle of causes, of motion. What is more likely - that many uncaused primary sources are the cause of all sources - or that the universe began to exist because something caused it to exist, something set the universe into motion? This would be the first cause, and the source of that cause would be the unmoved mover: God. This can be likened unto a domino: one of the dominoes must be moved first before the others are set into motion, and something must set the first domino into motion.



Credit: 123rf
Note that everything which begins to exist must have a cause. I did not say that everything which exists must have a cause, only what begins to exist. Mathematical truths and laws of logic did not begin to exist, they are uncaused, and would still be true even if the world had not been created. God does not need a cause because He is uncaused. This is not special pleading, but a rational fact. The third argument we will examine is the Teleological Argument. This is the argument for intelligent design, and as these entries are written for the layman to read, we will not be going into technicalities. Essentially, the argument states that life, the natural laws, as well as the entirety of the universe display and demonstrate enormous specified complexity, bearing the mark of design, necessitating that the universe came from a Designer.


Assume that you are walking along on a sidewalk in the middle of winter and you happen to glance at the snow as you are passing by. You notice that there are words in the snow, and as you lean in you make out, in clear format, "E=mc²." Someone comes along as you are examining the writing in the snow, and you note to the person that someone must have come along recently and written the formula in the snow, because it exhibits the markings of intelligent design. You recognize that it did not happen given enough time and chance, but was the product of something intelligent. In Understanding Intelligent Design, William A. Dembski and Sean McDowell write:


"Let's briefly look at a cell magnified a billion times. On its surface we find millions of openings, like portholes on a ship. But these are not mere portholes. They regulate the flow of materials in and out of the cell. Cells exhibit nano-engineering on a scale and sophistication that scientists have hardly begun to scratch. Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of DNA's structure, described the cell as 'a minute factory, bustling with rapid, organized chemical activity.' That was in the early 1980's. Scientists now think of the cell as an automated city. Inside the cell we find a host of raw materials maneuvered back and forth by robot-like machines all working in unison. In fact, many different objects move in perfect unison through seemingly endless conduits. The level of control in these choreographed movements is truly mind-blowing."[7] 


Dembski and McDowell continue, "And this is just one cell. In larger organisms, cells must work together for the proper function of organs such as hearts, eyes, livers, and ears, and these in turn must work together for the life of the organism. If we peer further inside the cell, we find coils of information necessary to construct proteins. Proteins themselves are remarkably complex molecular systems. A typical protein is composed of a few hundred amino acids arranged in a precisely ordered sequence that then folds into a highly organized three-dimensional structure. That structure enables the protein to perform its function inside the cell. Biologists today cannot even describe the activities within the cell without comparing it to machines and other feats of modern engineering. The reason is that nearly every feature of our own advanced technology can be found in the cell."[8]


Information is the key feature to life. The DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) in even one cell of the human body holds the equivalent of about 8000 books of information. Note that the human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells, each with a DNA strand that could be, when uncoiled, three meters in length. In fact, if the DNA in an adult human were all strung together, it could stretch 70 times from the earth to the sun and back.[9] Atheists provide that given enough time, chance, and matter, anything could happen, however, probability statistics illustrate otherwise. Information cannot rise from non-information. You cannot get something from nothing. The needed information for life has to be assembled somehow, by something. Life itself requires too much information to have arisen by mere random chance. The information in the cell necessitates an Intelligent Designer. As noted by W. Gitt, "There is no known natural law through which matter can give rise to information, neither is any physical process or material phenomenon known that can do this."[10] 

Also, "...the earth in orbiting the sun departs from a straight line by only one-ninth of an inch every 18 miles—a very straight line in human terms. If the orbit changed by one-tenth of an inch every 18 miles, it would be vastly larger and we would all freeze to death. If it changed by one-eighth of an inch, we would be incinerated. The sun is burning at approximately 20 million degrees Celsius at its interior. If the earth was moved 10% further away, we would soon freeze to death. If it was moved 10% closer, we would be reduced to ashes. Are we to believe that such precision 'just happened'? Think about it: the sun is poised at 93 million miles from earth, which happens to be just right. Did this happen by chance or by design? It’s no small wonder that the Psalmist alludes to God as the grand designer when he declared: 'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other' (Psalm 19:1, 6)."[11]


Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and now Dawkins, Hawking, and other atheists assert that anyone who believes in God is intellectually unwarranted, a fool, an unstable. Their claim, however, is without warrant. To state that "there is no God" is a universal negative: they are stating something they cannot possibly know. Outside of the Bible, a case could be made for the existence of a Divine Creator, and it is rational, it is logical, it is a warranted belief. Another evidence to consider is beauty. Aesthetics is the study of beauty, typically associated with modern forms of art. However, to judge something by its beauty would indicate that a universal concept of beauty exists. This would suggest that, though judgment is unique to each individual, attempting to determine the aesthetic value of something would require rational judgment on an emotional level.

If beauty exists, and the ability to judge beauty most certainly exists, then the Source of this mental acuity of imaginative appreciation would also be both rational - and emotional. As noted by the Institute for Creation Research, "The vast differences between individual tastes and between cultures, both in time and in location, speak to the enormity of such possibilities and to the unfathomable wonder of the hunger for "beauty" in every human being. That such a hunger exists only in the human being is a wonder in itself! The flower is not impressed with its own majesty; it merely exists with no conscious awareness. The chimpanzee does not gaze longingly on the enigma of the Mona Lisa, nor do the stars muse on the heavens they themselves grace. In fact, all humanity eschews destruction and random chaos as "ugly" and attempts to mask death with various levels of cosmetic disguises, and this speaks to the realization that some sights and sounds are not beautiful, and thus there must exist a standard of perfect beauty."[12]


The world and everything in it would be nothing more than the product of "an accidental collocation of atoms," as put by Bertrand Russell, if God did not exist. If we are nothing more than chemical hiccups, or accidents, than what we call "beauty" is nothing short of a neurologically hardwired response to a particular set of processed data. Timothy Keller, author of The Reason for God, states, "Doesn't the unfulfillable longing evoked by beauty qualify as an innate desire? We have a longing for joy, love, and beauty that no amount or quality of food, sex, friendship, or success can satisfy. We want something that nothing in this world can fulfill. Isn't that at least a clue that this 'something' we want exists? This unfulfillable longing, then, qualifies as a deep, innate human desire, and that makes it a major clue that God is there."[13]


In the next entry, we will examine, elaborate, and expound upon several other arguments for the existence of God. We recognize that none of these arguments necessarily prove that God exists, but it is our hope that they will lead to to conclude that God exists, that He loves you with a perfect love, only wants the best for you, and is waiting for you to seek Him. "The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, he will forsake you." (2nd Chronicles 15:2b) We also recognize that the reader may not draw the same or even similar conclusions that we have, and we ask that you remain civil in your comments nonetheless, if you do choose to comment.


Thank you for reading this entry of "The Truth." You can reach us at vexx801@yahoo.com or The Truth Ministries team at thetruth.ministryweb@gmail.com, visit us at our facebook page, or visit The Truth Ministries main ministry website. Take care, and God bless you, reader. Troy Hillman


Sources:
[1] McDowell, Josh, and Sean McDowell. The Unshakable Truth. 1st ed. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers , 2010. 17. Print.
[2] Lisle, Dr. Jason, and Ken Ham. The New Answers Book 3. 3rd ed. Greent Forest, Arizona: Master Books, 2009. 268-269. Print.
[3] Christian, James L. Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering. 3rd ed. New York City, New York: CBS College Publishing, 1981. 377. Print.
[4] Ibid.
[5] "Everything Has a Cause ." Institute for Creation Research. Institute for Creation Research, n.d. Web. 20 May 2011. .
[6] "The Effect Problem ." Institute for Creation Research. Institute for Creation Research, n.d. Web. 19 May 2011. .
[7] William A. Dembski and Sean McDowell. Understanding Intelligent Design. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest Publishers, 2008. 122-123. Print.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Hill Roberts and Mark Whorton. Holman Quicksource Guide to Understanding Creation. Nasville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing, 2008. 323. Print.
[10] W. Gitt, In the Beginning was Information. Bielenfield, Germany: CLV. 79. Print.
[11] "Is there any conclusive proof of God?." Got Questions. Got Questions Network, n.d. Web. 22 May 2011. .
[12] "God Caused Beauty ." Institute for Creation Research. Institute for Creation Research, n.d. Web. 20 May 2011. .
[13] Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. 1st ed. New York City, New York: Riverhead Books, 2008. 138-139. Print.

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