The Existence of God
The Bible does not feel the need to argue for the existence of deity. It was written in a culture which recognized that nature alone was insufficient to explain existence. Because of this, most arguments for the existence of the divine must come from reason. Scripture plays an important role in the historical argument and in defining the characteristics of the divine. But unless you allow for the possibility of the supernatural, nothing will convince you of the Biblical truths.
We have two options to explain the existence of the cosmos. One is supernatural, the other is natural. Either all life, non life, order, physics, and truth originated from nothing, or from something. If from nothing, and no supernatural exists, then there are no morals, fate, purpose, meaning, or direction. Indeed the most ardent advocates of atheistic philosophy propose the meaninglessness of the universe without God. If, however, the universe as we know it came from something, that is, from something other than nature (aka divine), then there is purpose, morality, hope, meaning, and direction.
Choosing between the two is more complicated that reading a list of proofs. Our own wants, prejudices, cultural upbringing, and worldview will slant the evidence how we see fit. To be fair with the evidence we must lay all our cards on the table and be honest with our presuppositions. We all have them. Yet that isn’t to say all our opinions are equally valid or make best sense of the data. What we are looking to do is see how all the evidences line up with each other. No matter which viewpoint we choose, not all questions will be answered. In the face of not having all the answers, we must choose a worldview which allows for the most consistency. Nature has many facets that must fit together. Our minds also must be weighed.
The following arguments are three concise looks into arguments for the divine.
-The Natural Argument
The first logical place to begin advocating the existence of God is nature itself. The naturalists (atheists) promote science as able to explain everything. The supernaturalist (theist) sees the same evidence and arrives at different conclusions. Nature by itself does not prove or disprove anything. All evidence can be looked at more than one way, yet only one option is true. Just because we have different perspectives does not mean both are true and legitimate. The closest we can ever get to truth is in finding the most consistent option.
The size and state of the universe is better explained through creationism than naturalism. The universe is both small and enormous. All of it is governed by principles common to all. The atom and the galaxy must both be explained by the same beginning. Nature tells us that things are always breaking down and that energy is always being dispersed. Mass is not destroyed nor created. Yet how does this explain how the atom and the galaxy were formed by the same process? How has one stayed finite while the other is comparatively infinite? The further out we see into the universe the bigger it becomes. How long exactly would it take for the universe to spread if there was a natural ‘beginning.’ How has thermal decay not fully dispersed by now? Nature does not explain how big this universe is. It does not explain time or beginning. Creationism explains modern observation more consistently.
Complexity is better explained by creationism than naturalism. Nature is incomprehensibly complex. Not even experts in limited fields fully grasp all aspects of their study. In a work of art we call this masterpiece. We call it design. We recognize masterpieces in all fields of human creation. Yet the most complex human creation is dwarfed by the complexity of the simplest natural occurrence. This does not point to happenstance; this points to a complex creator. The more we know in science, the less likely it is to have happened on its own. It is more consistent to conclude guidance than coincidence.
Time is better understood alongside creationism than naturalism. Evolutionists love to have time. Yet time is not the friend of the evolutionist. For no matter how much time there is, there must be a beginning of life. The beginning of the universe and of life does not match the time tables they use. Is mass eternal or non-eternal? Since matter cannot come from nothing, then matter is eternal. But does this make sense with what we see? The paradoxes surrounding eternal matter are unable to be answered by naturalism. All nature is governed by time, but cannot be explained by it. Eternal matter is essentially the naturalist’s god. Contrarily, the creationist worldview is not impaired at all by time. Since time is part of nature, it does not rule the supernatural. Believing in a deity which is not impacted by time fits the flow of nature better than an eternal cosmos that had no beginning.
-The Moral Argument
A subdivision of nature that must fit our worldview is the mind, known as morality. Morality cannot be quantified like the rest of nature, so it deserves it’s own study. Morality is surely variable from human to human. But which morals are good and which are bad is not the point. This consideration merely considers that good and bad do exist. Nature cannot explain that. No part of nature has good or bad. Humans with the mind are the only part of nature to conceive of good and bad. If Nature is all there is, then morality is quite un-natural. It is not scientifically researchable or explainable. The only worldview that makes sense of morality is supernaturalism. Something other than nature is the source of good and bad.
This argument doesn’t tell us what good and bad is. Rather, since we all believe in good and bad, fair and unfair, kind and mean, justice and punishment, love and hate, then something other than nature introduced them to humans. This other thing is what is called the divine. What gods we choose to serve is part of a different discussion.
-The Historical Argument
History becomes the grounds on which to believe in the God of the Bible. History is a vast field that incorporates all events in the past. It includes both events thousands of years ago, but also events within the lifetime of the current generation. All history, whether recent or ancient, relies on the same core principle: credible eye witness testimony. We believe Caesar crossed the Rubicon on the same grounds that we accept Abraham Lincoln was president. People who we believe to be trustworthy have written about or passed on by mouth details of those persons and events. The witnesses are trustworthy based on their own character and upon validation by other witnesses. By this same process, recent history and even science, is validated. We even believe in scientific ‘fact’ based on a tall stack of witnesses whom we believe to be credible.
So when it comes to the historical claims of the documents which comprise the Bible, the same process of validation is used as with other ancient history. The reason the Bible is cast out in today’s scholarship is not because the history is bad, but because the story is supernatural. The Natural and Moral arguments discussed above must first allow us to conceive of the possibility of supernatural things. Then when we examine the history of the Bible, we can be fair in judging it’s history. If supernatural things happened, then we would expect exactly what we have.
The Bible documents are often compared to myth instead of history. This is a disservice to both history and myth. The bible documents contain infinitely more accurate geographical and sociological details than any ancient myth. The Bible documents also verify and are verified by thousands of superfluous details discovered throughout validated historical records. Some of the Biblical documents even specifically claim intense research with citations. The Biblical record was written and was read by it’s audience as factual. Calling the Bible myth is a lazy way to brush aside content.
The accuracy of the biblical record is where honest researchers spend time. In matters not supernatural, the biblical documents continue to shine as the most validated accounts in all history. Again, critics do not question accuracy until God is mentioned. If the supernatural exists, then the history concerning divine intervention becomes plausible. If the supernatural does not exist, then no document with the divine can be true. This presupposition is reflected upon the historical records. The true endeavor is to weigh history for what it claims. If the claims are backed with reasonable evidence, then we need to be willing to change our presuppositions. This is the historical argument for the divine.
The Implications of God
If God exists and has communicated through written word, then there are several necessary changes we must make to our lives. First, we are creation, not creator. If God has the power to create us, then He has the power and right to tell us why we were made. Like any created thing, if we don’t accomplish our purpose, we must be cast aside. Believing in a creator should instill more than simply a fuzzy feeling in our heart. It should strike us with a sense of personal obligation. Our very existence is due another being. We are not free to do as we please, but as He pleases.
Our daily behavior, our politics, our religion, and even our entertainment are all subsets of our belief in a creator. We cannot parcel out our lives into categories which exclude our creation. If we were created while sitting in a church, then we were also created while sitting in traffic, at home, or in the voting booth. Holding to a relaxed lip-service form of religion displays a view of a careless Creator. A creator who does not care about his creation could only expect a creation which doesn’t care much about him. Rather if a being is as powerful and perfect as one would have to be to make this universe, it only makes sense that we have an obligation to seek our purpose in all things.