5. IS THERE EVIDENCE THAT GOD EXISTS?
Does God exist? If so, what is the evidence? Or is the material universe all that is, or ever was, or ever will be? Are we a “by-product” of mindless nature, or a creation of an intelligent Creator?
One approach to answering this question is the “Cosmological Argument”. Thanks to scientific discoveries over the last fifty years, the ancient Kalam Cosmological Argument has taken on a powerful and persuasive new force. As described by William Lane Craig:
• First, whatever begins to exist has a cause.
Believing that something can “pop” into existence without a cause is more of a stretch than believing in magic. At least with magic you’ve got a hat and a magician. And if something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time?
• Second, the universe had a beginning.
More recently, three leading cosmologists—Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin—proved that, “any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning.”
• Therefore, the universe has a cause.
And since the universe can’t cause itself, its cause must be beyond the space-time universe. It must be space-less, timeless, immaterial, uncaused, and unimaginably powerful. Much like… God.
In fact, the very first verse in the Bible reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).
In other words, before anything was made – the eternal God existed – who created all things out of nothing!
The Bible says, “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” (Hebrews 11:3)
Carefully read the below passage found in Romans 1:18-25:
“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”
The Cosmological Argument shows that, in fact, it is quite reasonable to believe that God does exist!
SUPERNATURALISM VS. NATURALISM
There are two other important views and perspectives to consider when asking the question, “Does God exist?”
the idea that behind the beginning of the cosmos is intelligence, a Creator - which would imply that there is intention, purpose and a divine plan.
the idea that behind the cosmos is mindless nature (random chemical realities) which would imply randomness, mindlessness, and purposelessness.
In short, there are two options every person must choose from:
Either God created us or nothing created us.
How do we know which one is right? Are we a by-product of mindless nature, or a creation of an intelligent Creator? This is where it’s important to have perspective on the sciences.
“Operation Science” studies the present, is repeatable, and examines how things work.
It deals with the way things normally operate (i.e. like for example, examining an engine).
“Origin Science” -on the other hand, operates more like forensic science, in which the past is reconstructed on the basis of evidence that remains in the present.
Is there any “forensic evidence” to support supernaturalism? Is there any evidence that we see today that supports an intelligent creator? Answer: Yes, we see evidence in the following four “C’s”
Creation -- the complexity of life.
Where there is a creation there is a Creator! Our complex universe shows evidence of a Creator. Sensory input from the physical world provides knowledge that there is an intelligent Creator behind creation. Sometimes called general revelation, these are things God reveals about himself through nature to everyone. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20).
Conscience -- the fact that man has a moral apparatus that accuses or excuses one’s actions. The moral law written on human conscience points to a Moral Lawgiver. “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” (Romans 2:14-15) NLT
Christ -- The overwhelming evidences that Jesus is who He claimed to be!
“Then Jesus said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.” (Luke 24:44-47) NLT
Communication -- The divine communication, called “special revelation”; these are the things that God told to specific people at specific times in history. “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3) NLT
What are the implications of naturalism? (It’s not a pretty picture!)
If there is no God, and everything in this world is the product of “an accidental collection of atoms,” (as Bertrand Russell famously put it), then there is no actual purpose for which we were made—we are accidents. If we are the product of accidental natural forces, then what we call “beauty” is nothing but a neurological hardwired response to particular data.
If, as the evolutionary scientists say, what our brains tells us about morality, love, and beauty is not real—if it is merely a set of chemical reactions designed to pass on our genetic code—then so is what our brains tell us about the world. Then why should they trust them?
C.S. Lewis puts this vividly:
“You can’t, except in the lowest animal sense, be in love with a girl if you know (and keep on remembering) that all the beauties both of her person and of her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by the collision of atoms, and that your own response to them is only a sort of psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. You can’t go on getting very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditions to like it.”
A French scientist penned to a Christian friend ...
“I don’t know why it’s so hard to live without a permanent commitment. My scientific understanding of man is that we are the result of chance happenings in the universe. Our desires are the results of genes and instincts and hormones, so love is actually an illusion. But I never realized my ideas had drained life of its joy. My lover, Francois, and I cannot live on the basis of these views even though we’re sure that they are correct. It’s almost as if we don’t understand who we are.”
A leading Christian leader in a debate with Atheist Sam Harris ..
“Sam, what interests me is not so much that you don’t believe in God but why you don’t believe in God. I don’t have enough faith to not believe in God. It takes far more faith to believe this is all an accident than to believe that there was a design and Creator behind it. You can’t prove it, and I can’t prove it, so we’re both living by faith. I believe it by faith. You doubt it by faith.” He continued, I asked Sam, “If you were to believe in God, would you have to change your lifestyle?” When he said, “Yes,” I responded, “So that’s the real issue. The issue is not that you can’t believe in God. It’s that you don’t want to believe in God. The truth is that you just don’t want a boss. You don’t want a sovereign Lord who tells you, ‘This is right and this is wrong.’ You want to make it up yourself. You want to be God.”