Twelve Syllogistic Arguments for the Existence of God
A twelve point outline of logical arguments for the existence of God.
Note from the editor:
I recently got this nice little outline of arguments for the existence of God from a friend Lee Tavares. I have much of this in different presentations on the topic of the existence of God at the web site, but I found this outline to be such a good little synapsis, I thought I would simply publish it as is. Hopefully, this will be helpful to some.
TWELVE INDEPENDENT SYLLOGISTIC ARGUMENTS FOR GOD.
#1) ARGUMENT FROM CAUSALITY.
Premise 1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Premise 2) The universe began to exist.
Therefore,the universe has a cause.
Premise 1 is true for three reasons …
1) "Nothing" by definition cannot do anything.
2) We never experience something coming from nothing.
3) Every instance of change requires a cause (ALL of our experience verifies
this) and something coming from nothing would in fact be an instance of change.
Premise 2 is true for three reasons …
1) There cannot be an actual infinite amount of "quantitative" events.
2) An actual eternal universe would have reached maximum entropy.
3) The big bang shows that the universe ultimately began to exist.
The cause of the universe would have to be a sentient cause …
1) A non-sentient eternal state of being could never change from that eternal state apart from a volitional source (the actual cause of time,space,matter and energy would ultimately have to have been in an eternal state of being).
2) The order and complexity of the effect (the universe) points to an intelligent cause.
*The "universe" is the entire natural world of time,space,matter and energy.
#2) ARGUMENT FROM COMPLEXITY.
Premise 1) The more complex something is,the more likely it is a product of design.
Premise 2) Biological complexity is more complex than all man-made design.
Therefore,biological complexity is a product of design.
Premise 1 is true because to deny it would be tantamount to saying the more complex something is,the LESS it requires an intelligence (which would go against our everyday reasoning).
Premise 2 is true since even the simplest possible cell would be more complex than an entire modern city.
This argument does not commit a false analogy because …
1) While it is true that life has the ability to reproduce and man-made designs do not,the first self-replicating cell would have had to acquire it`s incredible complexity WITHOUT the ability to reproduce.
2) The very fact that life forms even have the ability to reproduce shows how much more complex biological complexity is compared to man-made design.
Life is self sustaining,self repairing AND self reproducing.
Complexity WITHOUT order versus complexity WITH order:
A huge jumbled pile of wooden logs would be an example of complexity WITHOUT order whereas DNA would be an example of complexity WITH order.
Order WITHOUT specified complexity versus order WITH specified complexity:
1) A distinction needs to be made between repetitive order (such as in
crystals) and specified complexity (such as in DNA).
2) Crystals form as a result of built in properties reacting to natural laws. There are no inherent chemical properties of matter that would cause life to come from non-life but there ARE inherent chemical properties of matter that would prevent life coming from non-life.
The argument from complexity cannot be used against God because …
1) It only applies to things that actually began to exist. We know that biological complexity began to exist.Therefore,biological complexity requires an explanation.
2) God is not complex. Something is only complex when it has a high degree of order among many parts. Theists do not define God as having a high degree of order among many parts. God is a spirit who is not made of what he made.
#3) ARGUMENT FROM FINETUNING.
Premise 1) Finetuning is either due to chance,necessity or design.
Premise 2) Finetuning is not due to chance or necessity.
Therefore,finetuning is due to design.
Premise 1 lays out the three options for an explanation of fine-tuning.
Premise 2 is true because …
The law of probability demonstrates that a life sustaining universe resulting from "chance" is literally impossible.
Would multiverses better the odds of a life sustaining universe?
Aside from the fact that a hypothetical multiverse would itself require a beginning according to the Borde,Guth,Vilenkin theorem …
1) There is no evidence of any multiverse.
2) Appealing to a multiverse in order to better the odds of our universe being suited for life would commit the gambler`s fallacy.
What if finetuning was simply the result of necessity?
1) There is no evidence of finetuning resulting out of necessity.
2) Given that everything else in our experience COULD have been otherwise,we have no reason to believe that the parameters for finetuning could not have been otherwise.
3) Even if finetuning WERE the result of necessity,this begs the question of why the universe would exist in such a way that it would produce a life sustaining universe by necessity. How is this any different from saying the universe was ultimately pre-designed to ultimately result in a life sustaining universe?
#4) ARGUMENT FROM THE LAWS OF NATURE.
Premise 1) Laws require a lawgiver.
Premise 2) The universe is governed by laws.
Therefore,the laws of nature require a lawgiver.
Premise 1 is true because "laws" imply teleology. We humans can set up and obey "laws" but how do non-sentient physical objects follow a consistent pattern of behavior apart from a teleological origin? There is no reason that the universe should be law-like when it could just as easily have been a chaotic mess.
Premise 2 is an observable fact of nature.
#5) ARGUMENT FROM THE RELIABILITY OF OUR COGNITIVE FACULTIES.
Premise 1) Our cognitive faculties can only be reliable if they were actually designed.
Premise 2) Our cognitive faculties are reliable.
Therefore,our cognitive faculties were designed.
Premise 1 is true because if our cognitive faculties were NOT designed then we have no reason to believe our cognitive faculties are reliable in the first place. Would you trust getting on a plane that was not designed to function properly?
Can we verify the reliability of our cognitive faculties by cross checking them with other minds?
Nope. We have to PRESUPPOSE the reliability of our cognitive faculties before cross checking anything (circular reasoning). If we start with the premise that our cognitive faculties were actually designed,then we have good grounds to accept their reliability.
Is the theist also guilty of circular reasoning?
ALL of us have to presuppose our cognitive faculties are reliable before even attempting to show that they are. However,the theist has a good reason to presuppose his cognitive faculties are reliable (if they were actually
designed) whereas the atheist does not. After all,how can we presuppose our cognitive faculties are reliable if they ultimately developed through some random process?
Would natural selection make the process by which our cognitive faculties developed a non-random process?
1) The driving force behind evolution is supposed to be RANDOM mutations.
2) Everything on earth (including natural selection) would ultimately have an origin in a random explosion called a supernova since our entire solar system is supposed to have originated in such an explosion. Some atheists would object to calling the big bang a random explosion but can they object to a supernova being called a random explosion?
Premise 2 is necessary in order for any kind of rational discussion. If our cognitive faculties are not reliable,then there is no reason to accept anything at all. It becomes self defeating for the atheist.
#6) ARGUMENT FROM LOGIC.
Premise 1) Objective logic cannot be based on our subjective minds,a non-static universe or immaterial abstractions outside of a mind.
Premise 2) Objective logic exists.
Therefore,objective logic is not based on our subjective minds,a non-static universe or immaterial abstractions outside of a mind.
Premise 1 is true because …
1) Objective logic cannot be based on our subjective minds since they often contradict one another.
2) If Objective logic were a product of our subjective minds,then it would mean the laws of logic were not in place prior to us originating them (which would be absurd).
Objective logic cannot be based on a non-static universe (such as our
universe) because …
1) The universal laws of logic are true whether the physical universe is there or not.
2) One cannot base static objective logic on a non-static foundation (everything we know about the physical universe is ultimately non-static).
You cannot extract objective truths out of a non-static reality. The atheist has no basis for assuming the universal laws of logic are static given that everything else about reality is ultimately non-static.
The laws of logic cannot be based on immaterial abstractions outside of a mind (all of our experience of immaterial abstractions exist within a mind).
Premise 2 is necessary in order for any kind of rational discussion. If the laws of logic are not objective,then we cannot use them to prove or disprove anything.
#7) ARGUMENT FROM FREE WILL.
Premise 1) Free will cannot be the result of mere chemical reactions.
Premise 2) We have free will.
Premise 3) Our free will began at some point.
Premise 4) There cannot be an infinite regression of volitional causal agents to account for our free will.
Therefore,there is a self existent volitional being who accounts for our free will.
Premise 1 is true because in a purely physical world,ALL of our thoughts and actions would be the result of chemical reactions reacting by necessity.
Premise 2 is self evident. If we deny that we have free will then …
1) Moral accountability goes out the window (how can i be held morally responsible for my chemical reactions?).
2) The ability to reason goes out the window since reason depends on the ability to choose between at least one correct proposition and at least one incorrect proposition. Hence,denying free will would literally cripple our ability to engage in any sort of argumentation whatsoever.
3) We would be forced to hold the absurd idea that the universe ITSELF literally made everything from cars to computers to skyscrapers. After all,"we" could not have made those things if all of our thoughts and actions are chemically predetermined.
Premise 3 is true since "we" began to exist (as far as we know) at birth.
Therefore,we have no reason to doubt that our ability to choose began at some point.
Premise 4 is true simply because of the fallacy of infinite regression.
#8) ARGUMENT FROM MATHEMATICS.
Premise 1) Evidence for design within mathematics would point to a teleological source of mathematics.
Premise 2) There is evidence for design within mathematics.
Therefore,there is a teleological source of mathematics.
Premise 1 is pretty obvious since actual design always requires a teleological source.
Premise 2 is true because there are many examples of evidence for design within mathematics …
1) Euler`s formula.
2) The Mandelbrot set.
3) The mathematical relationship between Fibonacci numbers and nature.
4) The mathematical relationships between man and his relationship to the natural world (for example,the mass of the earth is midway between the mass of the observable universe and the mass of the atom).
5) The fact that mathematics can actually describe the universe in a coherent way with simple mathematical equations.
#9) ARGUMENT FROM MORALITY.
Premise 1) If objective moral values exist,then God exists.
Premise 2) Objective moral values exist.
Premise 1 is true because there cannot be an objective standard of morality unless there is an objective moral lawgiver. If an atheist were to appeal to some desired "goal",he would be placing subjective value on the "goal"
itself. The atheist cannot justify any form of objective morality without begging the question.
Premise 2 is true because …
1) To deny it would render morality subjective. If morality is subjective,then any and all actions would literally be justifiable from a subjective perspective.
2) It is universally self evident that certain things are objectively wrong (such as torturing babies for fun). The existence of objective moral values is as self evident as the existence of the external world. Hence,the burden of proof is actually on the one who denies the reality of objective moral values. The fact that many people may deny that the burden is on them does not free them of the burden of proof anymore than the fact that there are literally millions upon millions of people who deny the existence of the external world would take the burden off of them. Both the denialist of the external world and the denialist of objective moral values bear a burden of proof.
If morality is based on the nature of God,then doesn`t that mean we have the right to kill people if God himself executes a sentence of death on whomever he chooses?
No because the objective morality of God entails that circumstances play an important role when it comes to determining what is moral in any given situation. For example,a judge has the moral authority to sentence someone to imprisonment but that doesn`t give normal citizens the right to go around imprisoning people against their will.
If objective morality is ultimately self evident,then why do we need to go outside of man in order to account for it?
Saying that objective morality is self evident doesn`t equate to saying objective morality is inherent to our nature. It simply means that we recognize there is a realm of objective moral values. Objective morality can only be grounded in a being that is inherently moral by nature.
#10) ARGUMENT FROM CONTINGENCY.
Premise 1) The universe has an explanation of its own existence (either by the necessity of its own nature or by an external cause).
Premise 2) The universe cannot be explained by the necessity of its own nature.
Therefore,the universe can only be explained by an external cause.
Premise 1 lays out an absolute dichotomy.
Premise 2 is true because …
1) The universe is fully made of contingent parts (according to all the available evidence). Adding more contingents can only yield a contingent just as adding red tiles can only yield a red floor.
2) If the universe could have been otherwise,then it logically follows that it is contingent as a whole.Since the universe is fully made of things that could have been otherwise,we have no reason to believe the universe as a whole could not have been otherwise.
*If the universe was ever completely non-contingent,then it would be completely non-contingent now (which it is not).
#11) ARGUMENT FROM THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION.
Premise 1) The resurrection would be evidence for God.
Premise 2) The resurrection occurred.
Therefore,the resurrection is evidence for God.
Premise 1 is true because Jesus of Nazareth claimed to have been sent from God.
Premise 2 can be reasonably demonstrated through research into the historical evidence pertaining to the resurrection.
There are three facts of history relating to the historical evidence for the resurrection that even most liberal scholars grant …
1) The empty tomb.
2) The disciples claimed to have seen the risen Christ.
3) The disciples were willing to be killed or tortured for what they would have known was a lie.
While it is true that people have been known to die for their beliefs,never in all of history (without exception) has there been an entire movement where people were willing to die for what they knew to be a lie.
#12) ARGUMENT FROM BIBLICAL FOREKNOWLEDGE.
Premise 1) Biblical foreknowledge would be evidence for God.
Premise 2) The bible contains foreknowledge.
Therefore,biblical foreknowledge is evidence for God.
Premise 1 is true because the bible claims to be the word of God.
Premise 2 can be reasonably demonstrated through biblical research.
Examples of biblical foreknowledge …
1) Scientific foreknowledge.
2) Prophecies of future kingdoms in the book of Daniel.
3) Prophecies of the life of Christ.
4) Prophecies of the restoration of Israel.
5) Prophecies dealing with detailed descriptions of how the generation of the end times would look like.
6) Bible codes.
While many of the so called codes popularized by Michael Drosnin are complete garbage … There ARE real codes in the hidden text of the bible (which ancient rabbis have been saying all along). For example,there is a THREE HUNDRED LETTER sentence encoded in the bible (show me a 300 letter sentence in War and Peace)! There are ONE THOUSAND AND SIX HUNDRED WORDS encoded in the single chapter of Isaiah 53 AND all those 1,600 words are related to the surface meaning of that chapter (a prophecy of Christ). By comparison,the best that skeptic McKay could come up with was his Hanukkah cluster in War and Peace. However,the Hanukkah cluster is GUARANTEED to appear by pure chance alone! The Hanukkah cluster has only 7 words and the longest word is only 7 letters long. Show me a 300 letter sentence in War and Peace. Show me 1,600 words in a single chapter of War and Peace where ALL of those 1,600 words are related to the surface meaning of the text.
World renowned Mathematician Ed Sherman (with over 30 yrs experience) has calculated the odds of the Isaiah cluster happening by random chance at 1 in 10 to the 195th power (1 with 195 zeros after it)!