Except for epistemic, experiential, logical, coherent and reasonable evidence for the existence of God, I could be an atheist
To that end, my belief in God begins with the following observation:
. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
. The universe began to exist
. Therefore the universe has a cause.
. Matter and energy cannot precede themselves or preexist themselves either physically or chronologically.
. Matter and energy do not have the ability to create themselves or bring themselves into existence from nothing or ex nihilo.
. As we’ll see below, matter and energy cannot exist from infinity past.
. Whatever brought matter, energy, space and time into existence had to have existed outside of these entities.
. Anything that exists has an explanation of it’s existence, either in the necessity of its own nature (like numbers) or in an external cause.
.If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. That is because: Existing outside of time, the Cause is infinite or eternal, Existing outside of matter, the Cause is immaterial or Spiritual, Existing as the Cause of time and energy, space and matter the Cause is immeasurably more powerful than the mathematically precise universe and its exquisitely Finely Tuned constants and quantities. The cause cannot be “scientific” because neither matter nor the laws of physics existed prior to the singularity. The transcendent Cause of the universe is therefore on the order of a Mind. The cause is not scientific but Personal. It’s omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. That Cause, at least in the West is described as God.
. The universe exists.
. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: The explanation of the existence of the universe is God
. If atheism is true, then the universe has no explanation of its existence. This in fact is what atheists would have us believe as literally over a dozen theories have come and gone in the last 10 years in a vain attempt to rule out God as cause of the universe.
. If there IS an explanation of the universe’s existence, then atheism is not true.
. Most atheists would admit that the universe does indeed have a beginning.
. Hence, most atheists are implicitly committed to God being the explanation of why the universe exists.
Some may deny that the universe began to exist, but in reality the universe cannot be infinite. That is because: The Second Law of Thermodynamics rules out the possibility of the universe existing from infinity past. As well -
. It is physically impossible to have an Actual Infinite Number of Things or Events preceding our today.
. A beginningless Series of events in time entails an actual infinite number of things.
. Therefore, a beginningless Series of events in time that leads to the beginning of our universe cannot exist.
. Neither can we get to our point in time by forming an actual infinite Collection of things by adding one member after another.
. A series of events in time is a collection formed by adding one member after another
. A collection formed by adding one member after another cannot be an actual infinite.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: A collection of events in time cannot be actually infinite - therefore the universe cannot be infinite.
I believe in God because His existence answers not just, Why did the universe come into being, but Why is it so finely tuned that we can exist? Note: Fine tuning is a secular neutral term in that it refers to constants and quantities (atomic weight, gravitational constant etc) being just right for the existence of intelligent life in comparison with the virtually infinite range of possible values. So:
. The fine tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design.
. It is not due to physical necessity (there is no reason whatsoever that any given universe would be so finely tuned) nor is this fine tuning due to chance (the fine tuning of our universe is so exquisite that an infinitesimal change in any one of necessary constants and quantities would mean that neither we nor any life would happen).
. True claim: If observers who have evolved within a universe observe its constants and quantities, it is highly PROBABLE that they will observe them to be fine-tuned for their existence.
. True claim: It is highly and extraordinarily IMPROBABLE that a universe exists which is finely tuned for the evolution of observers within it.
Some might think that if the constants and quantities of our universe were different, then other life forms would have evolved. This is simply not true. “Life” means the ability to take in food and use its energy, to grow and adapt and reproduce. Without the fine tuning that we observe, not even atomic matter would exist, not to mention planets where life might evolve. Among other things the universe would have either recollapsed or expanded beyond any ability to congeal. Again, there is no reason to expect that a universe as finely tuned for life as is our universe should exist by chance, nor is there any need or physical necessity for such a universe to exist anywhere except for the sole purpose of life. Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: The fine tuning of the universe is due to design.
I also believe in the existence of God because:
. If God does not exist, objective morals, values and duties do not exist
. But objective morals, values and duties DO exist.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: God exists.
Fact: Moral Goodness and Duty are based on God’s character. Objective moral order is as real and independent of our recognition as is the natural order of things. Physical laws are fully realised in the physical world. Objective moral laws are fully realised in Jesus and Father God. Our perceptions of natural and moral laws are givens of our experience.
. Mercy is required of me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to be merciful. Meanness is forbidden of me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to not be mean. Mercy or meanness are permitted or denied for me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to / not to commit acts of mercy or meanness. God is merciful therefore He commands us to be merciful. God is not mean therefore He commands us to not be mean. God is just therefore He commands us to act justly. What God commands or permits is good and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive. This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective or relative to the situation or to the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy, likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity.
I believe in God because of the following philosophical and metaphysical evidence.
We can ask ourselves, “What is the greatest conceivable being?” Our answer goes past me and you and the Dali Lama and any other "great" human being we can think of and we come to an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being that we commonly call “God” We can call it a Mind or something else but it amounts to the same thing ie.
The Greatest Conceivable Being That Can Possibly Exist.
Therefore we can know that God exists because:
. It is in fact metaphysically possible that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists.
. Because it’s possible that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists, a Greatest Conceivable Being does exist in some possible reality.
. Because of the very nature of a Greatest Conceivable Being, if a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in SOME possible reality, it exists in EVERY possible reality.
. If a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in every possible reality, then it exists in actual reality.
. If a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in the actual reality, then a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in our reality.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, it stands to reason that the conclusion is also true: A Greatest Conceivable Being or God exists.
I also believe a Greatest Conceivable Being - God - exists because:
. Abstract objects, such as numbers and propositions, are either independently existing realities or else they are concepts that find their grounding in and from some Mind.
. Abstract objects are not independently existing realities. Yet we intuitively know that they exist. Our problem is that when we become aware of the sheer volume of potential abstract objects we know for certain that the mind which causes them to exist and find their being and grounding could never be any human mind.
. If abstract objects are concepts in some Mind, then an omniscient, metaphysically necessary being exists. That is, only in an omniscient intelligence or mind can we find the grounding or cause for abstract objects.
. Because some of these concepts exist necessarily they cannot find their grounding in contingent beings, namely us.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the conclusion must also be true: An omniscient, metaphysically necessary being exists. That being is what we call God.
. Because the cosmological argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the cause or grounding of reality as we know it, and
. Because the moral argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the cause or grounding of all objective morals, values, duties and Truth, and
. Because the conceptualist argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the necessary intelligence for the grounding of abstract objects,
I believe that Creator God exists.
While any or all the above may or may not give you pause for thought, The most important basis for my belief in God has nothing to do with any of the above. Instead, His palpable presence in my life. His counsel, His comfort, His correction and guidance, His love and mercy and grace. All of these things are so very real in my innermost being that they compel me to acknowledge the truth of His existence. I am so very grateful that I have been granted the gift of "Wide-Band Awareness." This is an experience that is shared and immediately recognised by people from around the world regardless of race, social stature, gender or intellectual ability. For some reason atheists seem denied this perceptive ability.
Secondly, I believe in God because of the historicity of Jesus. His life, death and resurrection cannot be adequately explained away. Something totally other took place when Jesus appeared on earth.
Third, I believe in God because the heavens and the earth declare His handiwork. There is simply no sufficient explanation for why we are here, why the universe exists and how it came into being other than a “Creator God.” While it's true that atheists have proposed other theories for the "Creation” of the universe, it was not because of any inadequacy in or lack of evidence for the idea of God as Creator. The presentation of alternative theories is only because God as Creator is philosophically unacceptable to atheists.
The type of belief in God that I'm talking about is sometimes called “faith.” But faith is often misunderstood as being separate from reason or evidence. That could not be more inaccurate. For one thing, we are told to love the Lord our God with, among other things, “all our mind.” Second the Bible describes Faith as being “The substance (base / accumulation) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.” While one’s faith does not find its origin in evidence (the origin is purely from God - John 6:44), faith is clearly supported by evidence, reason and logic.
In other words, Faith is anything but blind or uninformed. In my opinion agnostics are the only ones who ‘go as far as the evidence will let them.’ Atheists, as I’ve stated, take the next step because of a philosophically unacceptable conclusion to where the evidence points: Creator God exists. Christians take the next step because of the reality of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord of lords and King of kings lives within their very being.
Nevertheless, my epistemic and experiential belief in God is grounded in logic and reason and that is why I'm not an atheist.
There have been all kinds of criticisms of the above premises. What’s important to note however is that a criticism or an objection is not a refutation. When an intelligent person willfully abandons reason and begins to posit finite infinities, causeless beginnings and beginningless beginnings, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When an intelligent person willfully abandons classical historical scholarship and begins to deny known and knowable facts of history, but only as they apply to the person of Jesus, I know that I’m dealing with someone who is confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When an intelligent person willfully and falsely claims to follow whatever ethical standard is currently in vogue and calls that a reasonable way to live, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate, fearful attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When someone goes in search of ever more complicated solutions, abandoning one after another, after another, after another, not because of new evidence but because of a need to avoid current evidence, and when that person never returns to a simple solution that coincides with current knowledge and common sense, I know that I’ve encountered an individual who has been confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.
That is sad and that is why I’m not an atheist.