I’m convinced that we, as Christians, have fallen down on the job of learning about our God and the universe he created. Many of us use the argument that we just don’t have time to put into that type of learning. Of course, I’d disagree. The question isn’t a matter of time, but one of priority. In the book “Passionate Conviction: Modern Discourses on Christian Apologetics”, J.P. Moreland writes in an article that Christians should be learning everything they can about God and the universe, especially in the area of their vocation. I agree. And, I believe it is vastly important that a Christian start by understanding how to talk about God and his existence.
One of the challenges facing Christians today is how to talk about God and his existence. Christians often find themselves facing adherents to atheism (the belief that there is no God) and agnosticism (the belief that God is unknowable). With both, they may be unwilling to engage the Bible as evidence of God’s existence and consider a personal testimony to be a personal experience that is unrelated to them. So, is it possible for a Christian (who believes that there is a God and that He is knowable) to present the existence of God intelligently to an atheist or an agnostic? Absolutely. There are a lot of ways to argue the existence of God. Following is one such argument. It is an argument founded in an understanding of Romans 1:18-20. Romans 1:18-20 declares that God has given man enough revelation in nature to discover two things about him: his divine nature and his eternal power.
If you’re speaking to a person who initially refuses to engage the scripture or your personal testimony, then a different approach must be taken. The following is an argument that starts with the universe or any part thereof and argues to the existence of God. It’s important to note that this argument brings us only to the point that we can discuss two things about God. This argument only addresses God’s eternal independent existence and his unchanging nature. You may find that, after you argue this point, an atheist or an agnostic will be willing to admit the existence of a greater being, but may not yet be ready to believe that this being is the God found in the Bible. So, you still have both apologetic and evangelistic work to do after this point. But, at least you have a starting point!
Samuel Clark’s cosmological argument for the existence of God:
1. Something has always existed.
2. If something has always existed, then there has either always existed one unchangeable, and independent being or there has been an endless succession of changeable and dependent beings
3. Either there has always existed one unchangeable and independent being or there has been an endless succession of changeable and dependent beings.
4. An endless series of dependent and changeable beings is caused by something external to itself or it is self-sufficient (carries the cause of itself within itself)
5. If an endless series of dependent and changeable beings is self-sufficient, then one being (thing) within the series must be self-existent.
6. Every being within an endless series of dependent and changeable beings depends on another being within the series for its existence.
7. An endless series of dependent and changeable beings cannot be self-existent.
8. An endless series of dependent and changeable beings must be caused by something external to itself.
9. The external reason for an endless series of dependent and changeable beings must be either a dependent being or a self-existent being.
10. The external reason for an endless series of dependent and changeable beings cannot be a dependent being.
11. The external reason for an endless series of dependent beings must be a self-existent being.
12. If an endless series of dependent beings exists, then a self-existent being must exist.
13. This self-existent being must have existed from eternity and be unchangeable and independent.
In every day terms:
1. Something has always existed.
2. If something has existed, then it’s either one infinite, independent, and unchangeable being or it’s a infinite series of dependent beings.
3. So, either a self-existent and unchangeable being has existed or there is a endless series of dependent and changeable beings.
4. If it’s a endless series of dependent beings, then it either was created by something else or it created itself
5. If the endless series of dependent beings created itself, then one of the beings within the series must have been self-existent so that it could start the series.
6. By definition, every being in an endless series of dependent beings depends on another in the series for its existence.
7. So an endless series of dependent and changeable beings can’t have created itself.
8. If that’s the case, then the series must have been caused by something outside of itself.
9. The external source of the series must either be a self-existent being or an endless series of beings.
10. We’ve already shown that it couldn’t be an endless series (because then this series would be a part of that series).
11. So, the cause for an endless series of beings must be a self-existent being.
12. If an endless series of beings exists, then a self-existent being exists.
13. If a self-existent being exists, that being must be eternally independent and unchangeable.
How does that work out? Since humans are a part of the universe, let’s use humans as an example. We are an endless series of humans from the day of creation. So, either we created ourselves or we were created by something outside of ourselves. If we created ourselves, then one human in the series had to have existed by itself so that it could create the series. Every human (dependent being) is dependent on another human in the series for his or her existence. Since we are dependent on other humans for our existence, there couldn’t have been one who started the human race. So, we must have had an outside cause. That cause itself must either be a self-existent and eternal being or another endless series of dependent beings. Now, this is where evolutionists and others will often put in different theories of creations ranging from the primordial soup to alien intelligence planting life here on earth. However, each of those series of creation is, in itself, a series of dependent events or beings leading to the endless series of human life. So, tracing it back, human life would be a smaller part of a larger series of dependent beings. So, since it can’t be an endless series of beings, then it must be one self-existent being that caused humans. If an endless series of beings exists (humans), then a self-existent being exists. We exist, so that being must exist. And, if that being exists, then he must be eternal, independent, and unchangeable.
In an argument like this, we can see that God exists and that he is knowable, even if all we can know about him (if we never move beyond this argument) is that he has existed eternally and independently without change and we can also see that, if dependent things exist, then they are dependent on him for their existence.