Stones from the Stream: A Case for Theism
by David Russell
This essay is a continuation of the series that began with my last post, Image Bearers: Absurdity of Life Without God. In this post I will home in on the reasons why I believe that God exists. I will also give answers to challenges I have heard in the past.
In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. (John 1:1, 3)
I thought that this was the best place to start; where it all began. There are several good cosmological arguments afoot, ranging from the Kalam, to the Leibniz. Either one of these carries great weight; supported by the science of the current times. As John Polkinghorne points out in God is Great, God is Good, he says “Physicists agree that our universe is characterized by precise quantitative specificity which has been necessary for its being able to evolve carbon based life”. This is where I become intrigued. Science points to a universe finely tuned for life. To me, this speaks of intelligence, which lends credence to the two philosophical arguments mentioned above.
The big bang theory is gives us more corroboration from science. In a nut shell, it demonstrates that the universe began to exist sometime in the finite past. At some point there was nothing in existence, and then out of nothing, came something. Scientist in the past relied heavily on an eternal universe, claiming that there was no need to explain how it came to be. This gave way to a taxi cab fallacy. This fallacy, as Dr. William Lane Craig points out, is an error in reasoning. Craig says; “Fallacies can be informal or formal. A formal fallacy involves a breaking in the rules of logic. An informal fallacy involves an argumentative tactic that is illicit, such as reasoning in a circle. The “taxicab fallacy” would be an informal fallacy”. Yet, it is theists that are accused of being science stoppers.
In making way for the philosophical arguments, I am going to pull a little bit from the two in the first paragraph. Leibniz was an eighteenth century philosopher, mathematician, and logician. He claimed that everything that exists has an explanation of its existence. He also made distinctions between things existing within the necessity of their own nature (God) and things that are produced by some external cause (the universe). The Kalam states that, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Something cannot come from nothing. Details of both these arguments can be found in On Guard, by Dr. William Lane Craig.
With these two arguments, in corroboration with the science, we have a heavy hand lending credence to a Creator. Intelligibility suggests, to me, a mind. The evidence pointing to the beginning of the universe and the fine tuning, tells me that it came from something with a mind. This Creator, to be able to create something from nothing, must be enormously powerful.
In debate these arguments usually get more in-depth. My goal here, however, is to ignite your thirst to learn more. There are many categories I have not even touched on such as thermodynamics and infinite regress. The usual objections I get are pretty old. Who created God? Didn’t the universe come into being on the quantum level?
To the first objection I explain how God exists by the necessity of His own nature. This answer usually stops the objector dead in his tracks. The argument on the quantum level still falls short, not only for lack of development, but also because the quantum vacuum in which these particles exist is not ‘nothing’.
Over the years I have seen these cosmological arguments hotly debated. I have yet to see them fall short. They provide great explanatory power and scope. Usually once a debate is concluding, the unbeliever shrinks back and begins to attack religion, without ever addressing the issues brought to the table. Maybe there is truth to theism after all. At least that’s what former high profile atheist Anthony Flew came to believe in his later years. The evidence points to a Creator- Plain and simple; and I’ll leave you with that.