Welcome to Apologetics Thursday (#Sometimes Friday)! I hope that you have been enjoying these posts. Thinking about and understand why belief in God Is a valid and reasonable thing to have is very important in a Christian walk. Which is why I’m excited about today’s topic. But before we get into the 6 Philosophical arguments for the existence of God. I would like to introduce the man whose work this article is based on, the apologist William Lane Craig. I mentioned one of his books in my post, Top 5 Apologetics books for 2019. If you haven’t heard of Him, I would suggest that you get to know his stuff. I will let him introduce the six arguments and then we will break them down a little more.
Often when people think about an argument, they think about one statement or thought that proves a point. Now this works for simple questions that only require a small amount of evidence to prove. However, God is very big and very not visible. Consequently, if you were going to make an argument for his existence, you’re going to need to look at the evidence from several different parts of reality. Because of this, we will be building a case for God, with these six arguments. Now it’s important to note that this is not a case for the Christian God specifically. This is just to show that there is a creator God. Once we have established that, Jesus is right around the corner.
Number 1. The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Let’s start off with a question that might help us get a bearing on the God question. Where did the universe come from?
When you think through this question you can come up with two basic answers. Either the universe has always existed (it’s naturally eternal). Or the universe has a cause (something or someone created it). This was a big argument in scholarship for a really long time. However, in 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered hard evidence that the universe was expanding. After this discovery people realized that the universe has been expanding from a signal point. This was hard evidence that the universe did have a beginning, which practically ended the debate. Even Einstein, who liked the eternal universe idea, after seeing the evidence said to the press:
“I now see the necessity of a beginning.”Albert Einstein
Since then Science and Philosophy have continued to find strong evidence that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning.
So based off of that evidence let’s start off our case for God with the Kalam Cosmological Argument.
1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its beginning.
2: The universe began to exist.
3: Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning.
Before we discovered that the universe had a beginning. Many people didn’t even consider God as a possibility. After all, if the universe has been around forever then God didn’t create it. And if God didn’t create the world, then every mainstream religion is wrong, because they all say he did. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is important because it shows that God is, in fact, an option and he should be treated as such.
So now that God is an option let’s start getting rid of possibilities.
Number 2. The Contingency Argument
We’re going to get rid of some of the other options by asking another question. Why do things exist?
Well, as we mentioned above, there are two reasons why things exist. Here’s the first reason: Things exist because they were brought into existence by something (they have an external cause). An example of this would be you. You exist because of your parents, they were your cause.
Here’s the second reason: Some things exist because they have to exist (out of the necessity of its own nature). An example of this would be something like numbers. Numbers are not caused they just are. Simply because there will always be something to count; even if nothing existed there would still be 1 nothing. So now that we have some background here is the Contingency Argument.
1: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. Either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
2: If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is an external, transcendent, personal cause.
3: The universe exists.
4: Therefore, The universe has an explanation of its existence and that is an eternal, transcendent, personal cause.
Like we saw in the last argument the universe had a cause, so the first premise is sound. But why does that cause have to be eternal, transcendent, and personal? Well, if the universe exists because of an external cause, then logically it does not exist because of its own nature. That leaves us with a big question. What is big enough to create the universe? Well, there is nothing within the universe that has that kind of capability, which means that it was created by something outside of the universe. Hence why the cause must be transcendent. The first cause must be eternal because if it wasn’t then it would have needed a cause, and then that would need a cause, and then that would need a cause, and so on forever. The question then becomes: If the causes go back forever, how did we even get here? This was first observed by Aristotle. Who concluded that there must be, what he called, an unmoved mover.
“It is clear then that there is neither place, nor void, nor time, outside the heaven. Hence, whatever is there, is of such a nature as not to occupy any place, nor does time age it; nor is there any change in any of the things which lie beyond the outermost motion.”Aristotle, De Caelo, I.9, 279 a17–30
Latter the, unmoved mover, argument was taken up and expounded on by Aquinas (a Christian philosopher).
Now in order to be fair I need to say that the idea of a personal first cause is still largely debated. Right now there are two different ideas as to what kind of thing caused the universe.
Before we get into what they are, we need to take a break and define two terms. The first is intelligent and the other is non-intelligent. When I describe something as intelligent, what I’m saying is that it has the ability to make its own choices (like a human). When I say something is non-intelligent, I’m saying that it has been programmed to do whatever it does (like a tree).
Okay, so now that were on the same page, I’m going to present both points of view. In the next article, I will explain why the first cause must be personal. But first here are the two ideas we’ll be looking at.
1. The first cause is a non-physical, eternal, transcendent, intelligent, personal, being.
2. The first cause is a non-physical, non-intelligent, eternal, transcendent, natural process
Now the second one can be broken up into two kinds of natural processes.
A. a non-physical, non-intelligent, eternal, transcendent, natural process. Specifically tuned to create physical life.
B. a non-physical, non-intelligent, eternal, transcendent, natural process. Specifically tuned to create lots of random physical things.
I think that this is the heart of the God debate. Often people say that it’s between religion and science. However, I think that as we continue to look at the evidence, we will see that it’s really an argument between two different world views. One that believes there is an intelligent, personal, being, beyond space, and time. And one that believes everything within and without of the universe is a non-intelligent natural process. Naturalism vs. Theism.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article and want to read the next post, then follow above and like below.