Take this Quiz
If you are a Christian you believe in God. But do you ever ask yourself why you believe? Furthermore, do you ever think about what the God is like that you believe in? When I teach on the existence and nature of God, I usually distribute a fill-in-the-blank questionnaire to those in attendance to see if they can answer with what the Bible teaches about this topic. In this installment and the next, I invite you to test your knowledge by filling in the blanks with what you believe are correct answers. In this first part we will focus on why we should believe in God. Next time we will examine what God is like.
See if you can provide the missing terms in the following statements. My words will be given at the end (you may even disagree).
Part 1: Does God Exist?
The primary question of all philosophy is, “Why is there something rather than ________?”
Two possible answers:
1. The material universe is __________ and was not created (Naturalism).
2. The universe was _____________ by a Supreme Intelligence (Theism, God).
The Bible clearly answers that God does exist and He created the universe out of _____________ (Gen. 1:2; Psalms 24:1-2; 33:6-9; Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; Acts 17:24; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
Traditional arguments for the existence of God.
1. The cosmological argument says that for every effect there must be a __________. Since the universe exists, something (or Someone) must have brought it into existence.
2. The design or teleological argument says that since the universe exhibits purpose, order, and design it must have had an ___________ _________.
3. The moral argument says that all people recognize that some things are ______ (good) and some things are ________ (bad).
4. The historical argument says that there is valid historical evidence for the events recorded in the Bible and for the ____________ of Jesus Christ from the dead.
5. The personal experience argument says that millions of Christians, for over two thousand years, have testified to having a personal ____________ with God through Jesus Christ.
Answers for Part 1: Does God Exist?
The primary question of all philosophy is, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Ever thought about that? Why are there stars, planets, earth, animals, humans? Well, there are only two possible answers:
1. The material universe is eternal and was not created (naturalism).
If this view is true then there is no absolute basis for moral values, there is no hope for life after death, human consciousness and free will are illusions, and the universe and everything in it will eventually end forever.
This view, however, is now regarded as scientifically untenable. Recent discoveries in physics and astronomy have shown that the universe definitely had a beginning. For instance, in 1964, American radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered that the entire universe contains Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation left over from the initial creation event. This proves the universe (all time, space, matter, and energy) began at a single point in the past. Their discovery has been confirmed by physicists and astronomers many times since then. Many atheists have never been able to accept that fact or provide an adequate alternative theory.
2. The universe was created by a Supreme Intelligence (God).
The Bible clearly answers that God does exist and He created the universe out of nothing (Gen. 1:1, 2; Psalms 24:1-2; 33:6-9; Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; Acts 17:24; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
That being said, there are several powerful arguments for the existence of God. Each of them is a valid case in and of themselves, but together they are impossible for the atheist to refute.
1) The cosmological argument says that for every effect there must be a cause. Since the universe exists, something (or Someone) must have brought it into existence. That someone must have unimaginable power and be personal.
This argument follows the following line of deductive logic.
1. For every effect there is a cause.
2. Anything that began to exist must have had a cause.
3. The universe began to exist (see above).
4. The universe must have had a cause (God).
2) The design or teleological argument says that since the universe exhibits purpose, order, and design it must have had an Intelligent Designer (i.e.: God). It says the order and design of any system infers intelligence and purpose as its organizing cause. The universe (especially Earth) and biological life demonstrate unimaginable degrees of complexity, design, and specificity of purpose; far more than is possible by random chance alone.
The late English philosopher, Antony Flew, who for most of his life was a committed atheist, admitted a few years before his death, “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended Atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.” – Antony Flew, There is a God (2007)
Yes, Flew said modern science proves the existence of God!
3) The moral argument says that all people recognize that some things are right (good) and some things are wrong (bad). Every sane person has an innate sense of morality – right and wrong. The most reasonable explanation is that we were created by a moral and holy God who made us in His image. Without God, there is no basis for saying anything is right or wrong.
C. S. Lewis cleverly illustrated, “If we ask: ‘Why ought I to be unselfish?’ and you reply, ‘Because it is good for society,’ we may then ask, ‘Why should I care what’s good for society except when it happens to pay me personally?’ and then you will have to say, ‘Because you ought to be unselfish’ – which simply brings us back to where we started.” Mere Christianity, Book I, Chapter 3
Thus, there must be some transcendent personal basis for moral values (otherwise nothing can be regarded as good or bad, right or wrong). Only an infinite, eternal, and personal God is sufficient for an absolute basis for morals.
The fact that everyone has some level of knowledge of what is moral is called “General Revelation.” Everyone intuitively knows there is a God who will ultimately hold them accountable. They just don’t want to admit it or have convinced themselves to think otherwise.
As the Apostle Paul says:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20 (NASB)
4) The historical argument says there is valid historical evidence for the events recorded in the Bible and for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christian apologists have provided many valid historical reasons for believing Jesus was actually raised from the dead. We don’t have space to explore all the evidences for the resurrection here, but there are a number of excellent books that document them.
5) The personal experience argument says that millions of Christians, for more than two thousand years, have testified to having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This argument is, by itself only, less adequate than the others to show objectively why we can believe in God and Jesus. Nonetheless, for the believer it may be the strongest evidence of all of them.
So how did you do? However you did, I hope this exercise has helped you get a little better understanding of why we can believe in God. In the next installment you can take the quiz and answer: What is God Like?
© 2017 Tal Davis