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Jason A Van Bemmel | Forest Hill, Maryland
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Forest Hill Presbyterian Church
Meeting at:
Newport Terrace
23 Newport Dr.
Forest Hill, MD 21050
Forest Hill Presbyterian Church
2501 Rocks Rd
Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
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5 Reasons Why God Must Exist
Posted by: Forest Hill Presbyterian Church | more..
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God is not the kind of being who might exist or who might not exist. Either God exists or He does not. I see at least five reasons who God must exist, why it is not possible for Him not to exist. I will confess openly that not all of these five reasons rest strictly on logic and science. I deeply value both logic and science, but I think those are only two of several ways of knowing truth. Universal human intuition and aspiration are also valuable guides to reality.

1. Origin: Thomas Aquinas made this case famous in the 13th Century. R.C. Sproul has more recently made it most effectively and simply: The universe is a chain of cause and effect, going back to some point of origin in the past. Denying the cause-and-effect nature of our universe makes science, medicine and life all impossible. Yet you cannot simply trace back the chain of cause-and-effect infinitely. This is called an infinite regress and is a logical contradiction and an impossibility. The universe must have had a beginning and must have had a first cause.

Since time and space are part of the universe, the first cause must be something outside of time and space, something unbound by the constraints of the universe, since it is the cause of the universe. To avoid an infinite regress, the first cause cannot itself be caused by someone or something else. It must be an un-caused cause. This means this first cause must be self-sufficient, self-existing. The first cause of the universe is God.

Objections: The most common objection to this argument is to respond, "Well, if everything needs a cause than even God needs a cause, and whatever caused God must itself need a cause, too." Versions of this objection vary, but they are all very simple category errors and faulty logic. The whole argument is that there must be a first cause which is itself un-caused. The argument never states that "everything needs a cause," but simply that the universe is a chain of cause-and-effect. God, by definition, is un-caused and self-existent. Saying He needs a cause because everything needs a cause is a logical fallacy called a category mistake.

The other objection to this argument is that the universe might be an infinite regress. Speculating that the universe might be a logical self-contradiction is not really a helpful argument. An infinite regress is simply not possible. Many people in cyberspace have been boldly and rudely asserting that infinite regress is possible and/or that cause-and-effect is just a biased and baseless a priori assumption, but cause-and-effect the foundation for everything we do in life.

2. Design: The second reason why God must is exist is that the universe not only has an origin but also shows irrefutable evidence of design by a higher intelligence. This is something which most people can figure out by intuition and simple observation, but atheists would seek to convince us that what we see and experience is not what is real. They say that the universe appears to have been very well designed but is actually the result of random forces of accident - collision, mutation, etc.

Things that are well designed must have been designed well. If you were to find a book on a beach, you would not deduce that it emerged by accident. The language would indicate an author with intent. How much more so the existence of language itself or the incredibly complex code written in DNA? DNA is more sophisticated code than all of Silicon Valley could ever write, and it codes all the structures for all of life. Are we seriously to believe that it's a random accident?

Objection: Evolution explains it all without God, right? Wrong. Evolution is an explanation of how forms have changed over time, but it does not remove the intelligence of God as the origin of the systems of the universe and life. Understanding how a process unfolded over time does not explain who did it or why. The ability of species to adapt to their environment and consistently, repeatedly make advantageous genetic adaptations makes God the Designer more likely not less.

3. Morality: We human beings have a deep sense of morality, a deep sense of what ought and ought not to be. It is not based on what is, but on what we know should be. We can point to social evolution and parental modeling and social conditioning, but all of these things are the mere proximal cause of most moral sensibility. They do not adequately explain the universal presence of a strong moral sense in all cultures throughout all time.

Morality requires God for two reasons:

1. To explain the origin of the human need for morality.
2. To provide a consistent, cross-cultural basis for a universal code of morality.

Some people think the second reason is not something we should be striving to achieve, but everyone actually does seek this, deep down. We are morally outraged by immoral things, whether those immoral things are done by someone in our own culture or in another culture. Consider these examples:

1. If whites could cherry-pick Bible verses and mix them with a sense of racial superiority and use this cultural morality ti justify slavery and Jim Crow, we all know it was wrong, regardless of what the white culture thought.
2. If Hitler could use Darwinian evolution to justify exterminating undesirables by the millions, we all know he was wrong, regardless of whether or not his culture allowed and accepted it.
3. Today, we feel deep moral outrage at female circumcision, the kidnapping and brainwashing of girls by Boka Haram. We know the white supremacist who killed innocents in Virginia was wrong.

Objection: People will try to tell us that this is just emotional cultural conditioning or the expression of a personal preference, but we know that's not true. A moral sensibility is universal. It requires a source in a transcendent moral being, and it requires grounding in some norm that transcends cultural bias, too. Morality requires God. [NOTE: This is not the same thing as saying that you must believe in God in order to be a good person. That's not true or helpful. Many atheists are nicer and more moral than many theists.]

4. Justice: Closely related to the need for God from morality is the need for God for justice. These two are closely related because our deep sense of morality is closely connected to our deep need for justice. We not only have a sense that people ought to do certain things and ought not to do certain other things, but we also have a deep knowledge that wrong should be punished and right should be protected.

Here's the problem: Without God, we never get justice. All human governments are corrupt and fallible. All human justice is unfair and unequal (yes, that's true all over the world, not just in America). There's not final reckoning, no righting of wrongs, no rewarding of innocent suffering, without God. I will address this more below in my response to the problem of evil as a reason for dis-believing in God.

Objection: Just because we all want justice, that doesn't mean that justice has to exist, right? True, but without God, we never get true justice. So if we want to have true justice, justice requires God the Final Judge. This perhaps explains why many atheists become violent revolutionaries. They have lost hope that any final reckoning will occur, so they are determined to make the final reckoning themselves. Sadly, history shows that, even when they succeed, they usually make for the most oppressive and unjust governments - see Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. (If you're a Marxist atheist and you think I'm mistaken in my assessment, please read this book.)

5. Jesus: Oh, no! Now the religious guy is claiming that his God is the evidence that a God must exist. Now we've gone down the rabbit trail of religious mythology to try to prove theism. But wait a minute, please. Jesus is a unique figure in all of human history and among all religious leaders. Consider the following:

1. The disciples of Jesus claimed that He claimed He was the Son of God. No other religious leader made such claims or had personal disciples who made such claims.

2. The disciples of Jesus recorded numerous public miracles performed by Jesus in the presence of hundreds of eye-witnesses, many of whom were the enemies of Jesus and not His followers. No other figure in history and no other religious founder has such claims made about them.

3. The disciples of Jesus all claim that He rose again from the dead, appeared to them in bodily form on numerous occasions, and then ascended into heaven. No other religion makes such historical claims about its founder.

These claims are all made by men who knew Jesus personally and were all recorded in writing within 50 years of the life of Jesus. Moreover, almost all of the men who made these claims were pressured, harassed and even killed for these claims, and yet not one of them recanted. None of the disciple of Jesus ever caved to the pressure and changed his story.

The miracles of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus require God. I've heard many people say they cannot consider Jesus as the Son of God because they don't even believe in God. But if you take the opposite approach to the topic and consider the person of Jesus first, the reality of God follows.

Objection: The most popular recent objection to this claim is to deny that Jesus ever existed or that we can know anything about Him. This is historically nonsensical. For more, please read these posts:

Are the Gospels Myth or History?

How Do We Know Jesus Rose from the Dead?

Did Jesus Even Exist by Dr. Michael J. Kruger

For Further Reading: Believe in God? Why?

NEXT TIME: Answers to the Most Powerful Objection to the Existence of God (The Problem of Evil)

Category:  Apologetics

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