Ten Arguments for the Existence of God
by C Michael Patton
1. Cosmological Argument: Also called the argument from universal causation or the argument from contingency, the cosmological argument is probably the most well know and well loved among theistic apologists. The basic argument is that all effects have an efficient cause. The universe and all that is in it, due to its contingent (dependent) nature, is an effect. Therefore, the universe has an cause. But that cause cannot be an effect or one would have to explain its cause. Therefore, there must be an ultimate cause, an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause that began the process. This cause must transcend time and space in order to transcend the law of cause and effect. This transcendent entity must be personal in order to willfully cause the effect. This ultimate cause is God.
2. Teleological Argument: (Gr. telos, “end” or “purpose”) This is also know as the argument from design. This argument moves from complexity to a necessary explanatory cause for such complexity. The universe has definite design, order, and arrangement which cannot be sufficiently explained outside a theistic worldview. From the complexities of the human eye to the order and arrangement of the cosmology, the voice of God is heard. Therefore, God’s existence is the best explanation for such design. God is the undesigned designer.
3. Moral Argument: This argument argues from the reality of moral laws to the existence of a necessary moral law giver. The idea here is that if there are moral laws (murder is wrong, selfishness is wrong, self-sacrifice is noble, torturing innocent babies for fun is evil), then there must be a transcendent explanation and justification for such laws. Otherwise, they are merely conventions that are not morally binding on anyone. Since there are moral laws, then there must be a moral law giver who transcends space and time. This moral law giver is God.
4. sensus divinitatus (“sense of the divine”): While this argument goes by many names, the sensus divinitatus argues for the existence of God from the innate sense of the divine that exists within all people. This sense of the divine, it can be argued, is the “God shaped void” within all people. This explains why people, societies, and cultures of all time have been, by nature, those who sense a need to worship something greater than themselves.
5. The Argument from Aesthetic Experience: This is the argument from universal beauty and pleasure. Beauty and pleasure are universally recognized as such. Even subjective variation in one’s definition of what is beautiful are not distinct enough to relativize this principle. From the beauty or the sunset over the Rockies to the pleasure of eating certain foods, there is a common aesthetic experience that transcends the individual. This transcendence must have a ultimate source. This ultimate source is God…
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