Logical arguments for the existence of God. A power point. Notes included below.
Arguments for the Existence of God
A philosophic question: Does God reveal his nature both through general (natural) and special revelation? On some level, both the cosmological and the teleological arguments assume general revelation is valid. Psalms 19:1-4, Job 38:1-42:6 as well as Romans 1:18-20 are examples of Bible writers applying "general revelation" as reason to believe in God.
I. Cosmological Argument
Aristotle: The "unmoved mover" but he assumed the physical universe had existed forever, so applied it in a different way
Avicenna, Muslim philosopher 980-1037 AD A more modern version
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) gave the modern version of this argument.
The cosmological argument could be stated as follows:
- Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
- Nothing finite and contingent can cause itself.
- A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
- Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.
God is the uncaused cause. We know that everything in the universe has a cause, so what caused the universe?
"That the universe exists is perhaps the greatest mystery of all." Why does anything exist? Leibnitz: Why is there something rather than nothing?
Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
The rather strong evidence for the Big Bang seems to support the cosmological argument. The universe was created!
More modern version:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. The universe has a cause/causer.
My opinion: This argument is a good one. In the modern version, it is useful, but it is too abstract to be of much general use.
II. Teleological Argument
The argument from design. Like David said, The heavens declare the glory of God Psalm 19:1-4. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
William Paley: The watchmaker argument.
As we will see, fantastic new evidence has arisen in the past 30 years to support this argument.
Fine tuning argument
Necessary information for life argument
III. Moral Argument (also called the axiological argument)
This may well be the strongest of the arguments for the existence of God. All of us believe that there is right and wrong, good and evil. We believe that these are absolutes, not just relative things. What is the source of morality-of right and wrong?
1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values would not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
If there is no morality, then what compels us to do good or even defines for us what is good to do?
Even Richard Dawkins is morally outraged at all the evil done in the name of religion!!!
If an absolute morality exists. If the word "good" "right" "wrong" and "evil" have any real meaning, then we have a strong argument for God.
Does a human being have value? (more than the $4.57 worth of elements) The we accept the moral argument.
Do you believe in innate human rights? US Constitution: We hold this truth to be self-evident: All men were created equal. If so, then you believe in the moral argument.
Note: The alternatives are postmodern relativism or scientific materialism. We will talk about these when we discuss the Christian World View.
IV. Ontological Argument. Anselm of Canterbury 1077 God is the thing "that than which nothing greater can exist." Alvin Plantinga. God, by definition, is the maximally excellent thing.
V. The Inspiration of the Bible.
If it can be shown that the most reasonable conclusion from all the evidence is that the Bible is divinely inspired-that it could only be the product of supernatural intervention-then we have a strong argument for the existence of God.
The teleological argument will be affective for some and the moral argument will be affective with many. These arguments are best presented within a broader argument for the Christian world view. My favorite of the five arguments for the existence of God is from the inspiration of the Bible because this "kills two birds with one stone." This is true, because the first four arguments establish God, but which God?