Evidence for the Existence of God
America is the only world power which claims to have had its origin in Christian principles. Our national motto is: In God We Trust. But, in both obvious and subtle ways, faith in God and Christian principles of morality and conduct are being undermined in our country. This can be seen from the continual attacks leveled against our national motto with its reference to God, our pledge of allegiance (“one nation under God”), and the wording of prayer in schools, public assemblies, and civic functions. It is not an uncommon thing to see many, if not most, state universities publishing materials which are either atheistic or, at the least, skeptical in their approach to religion in general and toward Christianity in particular. Books attacking the existence of God are commonplace reading in our schools and colleges. Because such criticism of the foundations of the Christian system has gone unanswered, many have given up their faith in God.
This generation is one of questioning and probing for the truth. Men are not, nor should they be, content to accept as truth what someone has told them. They want evidence. This should be true for the theist and the atheist alike. This means that those of us who do believe in God must give evidence for our faith in Him—the kind of evidence which will prove that it is far more reasonable to believe in the existence of the one true God of the Bible and His miraculous creation of the world over against the atheistic position which says that there is no God. There is certainly nothing wrong with one’s desire to examine the evidence that is available and to see for oneself if his beliefs are actually worth his devotion. The Christian has nothing to fear from such an objective search for the truth. An honest evaluative attitudes towards the evidence is both healthy and commendable.
Therefore, the purpose of this discussion will be to strengthen one’s faith in God. All the evidence cannot be presented, neither can all the specific questions be answered. But it will present a convincing affirmative position that will prove not only that the Christian’s faith in God is not in vain, but that atheism with its position of organic evolution as the explanation of origins is both unreasonable and, consequently, untenable. This discussion will show that the Christian’s faith rests on solid ground and that he has no fear of a direct confrontation with the evidence.
Belief in the existence of God is the most basic of all positions. It is logically prior to any other religious consideration. If God does not exist, then there can be no meaningful discussion regarding the inspiration of the Bible, for there is not a God to inspire a Bible. There is no Jesus as the Son of God, for this not a God to have a Son. There is not a church where God wants men to worship Him, for there is no God to worship, etc. Great Bible doctrines of the immortality of the human soul, the judgment of the righteous and the wicked, and even a discussion of righteousness and wickedness, become superfluous considerations, if God does not exist. Therefore, the question of God and His existence is the ultimate question. But if it can be shown that God does exist, then these matters do become most meaningful. Man will see that he was created for the glory of God and not for selfish gratification of animal lusts.
The Question of Proof
“But can the existence of God be proven?” someone will ask. It is certainly not possible to prove the existence of God in the same way that you can prove a book weighs three pounds, for God cannot be measured by such finite human senses. It is not possible to prove the existence of God in the same way that you prove that a car is red, for there is nothing in our human environment to which God may be properly liked. God cannot be put under a microscope nor seen through a telescope. No, we cannot prove the existence of God in any of these ways.
However, there are other means of reason which must be used whenever one searches for this type of reality. Inferential proof is the culmination of many lines of evidence all pointing to what appears to be an inevitable conclusion. This is the kind of proof that will be given for the existence of God.
Mind or Matter?
Notice, arguments for the existence of God begin by looking around us. The universe is here. Our world exists within that universe. In this world is a whole host of living things which had a beginning. But where did they come from? It goes without saying that nothing comes from nothing. If there ever was a time when actually nothing existed, then nothing would exist today. But life is here now. Therefore, it must have had an origin. Life must have come from something or some Being.
It is at this point that one is faced with choosing one of two possibilities: mind or matter. One of the two has to be responsible for what is here. What caused the world to be? If the hunter were to see the track of an animal in the forest, he immediately infers that a certain type of animal has been there before him. The previous presence of that animal walking on that spot was the cause, while the track which has been left behind is the effect. This most basic principle can be illustrated in countless ways. It is used by all of us every day. Though attempts have been made to deny this causal principle, still each attempted denial implicitly appeals to it.
As has been pointed out, our world is composed of mind and matter. It is logically impossible to suppose that each exists independently of the other or that each is both cause and effect unto itself. Instead, we reasonably assume that either mind or matter (but not both) is cause, and the other is effect. One existed previous to the other and is responsible for the existence of the other. But which came first?
It is more reasonable to believe that mind acted upon matter that mind was the cause and matter the effect. For example, a nest does not create the bird to sit in it. The automobile does not create the driver to drive lt. The computer does not create the programmer to operate it. Rather, one immediately sees the a priori insight that mind is superior to matter. The huge slab of marble will never change itself into a beautiful piece of sculpture. It simply does not have the power to act upon itself in some purposeful and meaningful manner. It is only when mind, being superior to the material (in this case, the slab of marble), operates upon the inert, lifeless material that any real and meaningful form begins to take shape. A most beautiful and lasting art form has been created only after intelligence molds and shapes the matter.
But mind or intelligence must be assigned to a person or being. It does not exist in merely an abstract form. This intelligent, infinite Person who is the Creator of all life is God, The Bible opens with the majestic declaration, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). All forms of life had their origin in the mind and creative force of God. Matter could not have brought about our present situation; only mind, only God could have exhibited such casual ability. Yes, God is! This argument for the existence of God is presented in the Bible in the following words: “For every house is builded by someone; but he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
Plan and Purpose
The argument is further reinforced by the fact that one sees countless examples of intelligent causation throughout nature. The plan and purpose which are found everywhere in nature point to a single intelligent Creator as the cause of this order. It is absurd to think that the orderliness found in our world is the result of the blind forces of nature working by mere chance. It would be analogous to saying that a wind storm roared through an electronics warehouse, and the personal home computer came into being as the end result of such disorderly elements. To hold to such an explanation of origins for the home computer is absurd. But this is no more unreasonable than the atheist’s position that the universe simply happened through millions of years of gradual development. The development of the home computer produced by a storm in an electronics warehouse is but a minor marvel when compared with a universe without a Creator!
Our Earth is a sphere posed in free space. It rotates on its polar axis and revolves around the Sun. It is tilted at just the right angle and is some ninety-three million miles from the Sun and about two-hundred-forty thousand miles from the moon. All of these facts about our world have been studied from elementary textbooks on life science. Yet none of these things is by mere chance; all are by design. The combination of the various physical elements of our universe—oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc., in proper quantities so as to produce an innumerable variety of things—makes a strong argument for the existence of a great arranger.
Our universe is so orderly with its intelligent design that we are able to formulate scientific law. We live, make, build, create, and dream dreams for the future of our world, all based on the intelligent design of the world. To say that it is the result of purely blind forces of nature having no purposefulness, as the materialist does, is an absurdity! But it is reasonable to believe that this orderly design points to a single, intelligent God who is the cause and creator of this order!
There are some who would react to this type of reasoning by arguing that there is an alternative notion about the origin of life as we now know it. Organic evolution is the theory which holds that all forms of presently known organic life have come about through gradual, progressive changes in lower life forms. According to this notion, man was not created by a direct manifestation of supernatural power but has come to existence by means of gradual development from lower life forms. They believe this theory very strongly. Such is evidenced in their attitude toward creationists and their refusal to allow creationists to present their position to students in high schools and colleges. This has raised the issue: Should creationists be allowed equal time to state their case so students can make an informed, intelligent choice? Should creation scientists be given the freedom to express their views? Should public debates be allowed between evolutionists and creationists? So far, the atheistic reaction to this has been, “No!”
Theory or Fact?
Be sure that everyone understands that the theory of evolution is just that, a theory. In fact, it may be well described today as a mixed bag of many different, conflicting theories. The idea that organic evolution is “fact” and that all good scientific evidence supports it is simply false.
The theory of evolution has no adequate explanation as to how life could have come from non-living material. Generally, the argument runs along the line that there was a primeval soup out of which the primary building blocks of life—nucleotides and amino acids—were produced from molecules of water, methane and ammonia interacting with electricity in the absence of free oxygen. But how did water come to be? Methane? Ammonia? Evolutionists make a quantum leap from nothing to something, to say nothing of the quantum leap from non-living material to the living. This blind leap of faith taken by the evolutionists from nothing to this supposed primordial brew, from that to replicating macro-molecules, and if that were not enough, from that on to an actual organism, has not and cannot be demonstrated by the scientific method.
There is the problem of the gaps in the fossil record of life on Earth. It is an insurmountable problem for the evolutionist. Where are the transitional forms which must be there in order to substantiate the evolutionists’ position of lower forms of life gradually developing into high forms of life? They are not there. It might be noted that these gaps are not just found occasionally but in all of the prehistoric record. Naturally, the animal world has a marvelous ability to adapt to its environment. This type of modification within a species or genera is accepted by both evolutionists and creationists alike. However, the claim of the evolutionist that this limited adaptive change has caused evolutionary progression from one category of living organism to another is false. Where is the evidence for such? There is none.
The scientific method is inherently incapable of dealing adequately with certain metaphysical questions, for example, the origin of the world, the eternality of matter, the origin of man. The foundation of the scientific method is observation and repeatability. The question of the origin of the material world is a question beyond the range of material evidence from the standpoint of observation and experimentation. Who has seen or observed the development of one species into another? What laboratory experiment could one conduct so as to observe, test, analyze, and repeat such for empirical verification? It is simply beyond the limits and abilities of science to deal with that which it cannot observe, analyze and test in a laboratory setting.
For anyone to say, “All scientists believe in evolution,” or, “Evolution is the best rational explanation of the universe,” is simply uninformed. Responsible persons stand on both sides of this issue, and they need to be heard.
Years ago, religious dogmatism was so strong that the scientific community was unjustly shackled in its pursuit of truth. Often, due to prejudice, they were not given a fair hearing. Their character was called into question and, perhaps, maligned and ridiculed. However, today the shoe is on the other foot. An age as ours cannot truly consider itself enlightened when it refuses to consider openly new ideas as well as evaluate old ones. There should not be the intimidation of young and old in voicing their honest convictions. Is it not educationally sound to allow a fair hearing of alternative view on any topic of investigation? No harm can be done in the context of honest search for truth when those competing theories are respectfully represented.
From this, one can see that this discussion regarding God, His existence, and the place that such discussion as this should have in the free marketplace of ideas, is far from over. This research has not touched the “hem of the garment,” so to speak, regarding the wealth of material available to the honest student interested in this great question. It does demonstrate that the Christian position—the position which holds that the one true God of the Bible does exist and that we are the result of His creative power—is by far the more reasonable position, and that the Christian has nothing to fear from an honest evaluation of the evidence.
Jim Laws studied Philosophy of Religion and Apologetics under Thomas B. Warren at Harding Graduate School of Religion. He has also studied Philosophy at the University of Dallas, Middle Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Bible College (Ph.D.). He earned a JD degree from Concord School of Law in Los Angeles, CA.