Existence of God and Creation

1.                 Does God exist?

a.   Naturalism holds that the universe is self-existent and self-operating. The world-process is purposeless and man is only the result of an accident.

b.   Humanism believes that “Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence.” But God cannot be proved to exist by such evidence. Thus atheists say there is no God, while agnostics say they do not know whether there is a God or not.

c.   The Bible simply states the existence of God and does not attempt to prove it (Gen 1:1, Rev 1:8). We are to accept the existence of God by faith.

d.   But it is not a purely subjective faith. It is objectively supported by events in the Scriptures, and by rational arguments using our reasoning. (Ro 1:20 “understood” comes from the Greek word related to “mind” or “intellect”)

2.                 What philosophical arguments are used in an attempt to prove the existence of God?

        Inductive arguments about God’s existence are probabilistic arguments, but so are scientific theories. There is no fully conclusive proof but the cumulative effect of inductive arguments makes the denial of God’s existence very difficult.

a.   Cosmological argument: (related to the universe)

(1)        The gradual “running down” of the universe shows there must be a First Cause at the beginning; this First Cause can only be an infinite great Being.

(2)        The universe is either (a) existent from eternity, or (b) originated from nothing.

(3)        Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics [which says: there is less and less available energy in a system, such as a mixture of hot and cold water] and the disintegration of radioactive elements, the universe is running down like a clock.

(4)        So possibility (a) is impossible; the universe must have a beginning and a First Cause.

b.   Teleological argument: (related to purpose of things)

(1)        The design and purpose of the physical world prove the existence of an intelligent Being (Ro 1:19-20, Ps 94:9, Ps 19:1-2).

(2)        It is extremely difficult to ascribe all these to chance. [Example: density of water highest at 4 degrees, eye for sight, distribution of heat on the earth, presence of the atmosphere and the ozone, etc.]

c.   Moral argument: (related man’s morality)

(1)        Man is characterized by knowledge, righteousness, holiness. The source of all “good” must be absolutely good.

(2)        The existence of moral nature and moral order (absolute right or wrong, truth telling, deep-seated sense of responsibility) in man points to a source, a moral Being (Ro 2:14-15). [Example: Everyone recognizes that murder is an immoral act.] The Bible says that man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-28).

d.   Argument from the idea of God:

(1)        We have in us the idea of God who is a perfect and absolute Being. But this idea has no objective reality (cannot be objectively proved) as compared to something like a storm. This idea must be originated from an existent perfect and absolute Being: God.

(2)        Example: the presence of the word “snow-capped mountain” on a flat tropical island; explanation lies outside of their apparent environment. It is true that an idea may be imagination of a few persons, but the idea of God is universal among all peoples.

e.   Argument from miracles:

(1)        Observable events such as miracles and answers to prayer prove the existence of a higher intelligent Being.

(2)        Miracles are the supernatural acts of God which intervene into natural laws. The purpose is to manifest the glory of God (often to support establishing the Kingdom of God). God is not obligated to follow the natural laws as these laws were originally decreed by God.

(3)        In the Bible, miracles concentrate in the beginning of 4 periods in the history of the Kingdom of God:

(a) Exodus (Age of the Law),

(b) Elijah and Elisha (Age of the Prophets)

(c) Jesus

(d) early church.

(4)        Miracles still happen today. But we must be cautioned against over-extending the definition of miracles (to include common events) or applying the term too casually (to apply to all unexplained phenomena).

For more arguments, please see below.

3.                 Can the Big Bang Theory explain the origin of the universe? Does the Big Bang theory conflict with the Bible?

a.   The Big Bang Theory describes the origin of the universe from a big explosion from some primordial nucleus of infinite density. Based on existing evidences, it is quite certain that the universe came into being with a Big Bang.

b.   Evidences:

(1)        Hubble observed the expanding universe in 1931. There is a red-shift in the spectrum of light from distant galaxies in all directions.

(2)        Cosmic background microwave radiation was discovered in 1965 by Penzias and Wilson. It is the remnants of Big Bang.

(3)        The extension of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity by Penrose and Hawking in 1970 proved that the origin of space-time is a singular point of infinite density.

c.   The Big Bang theory actually helps in proving the existence of God.

(1)        The Bible did not describe the mode of how the universe was formed. The Big Bang theory supports a definite beginning of the universe and contradicts the belief that the universe was always there.

(2)        Observations of cosmic background radiation in 1992 show that the evenness of the radiation is within 0.00003ºK in all directions. Some describes this phenomenon as “no less than the handwriting of God” because the phenomenon demonstrates the amazing precision in the rate of the explosion.

(3)        If Big Bang is not the work of God, it will be like a complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica came into being after an explosion in a printing shop.

For more details on the Big Bang, please check here.

4.                 How does our sun show the evidence of design for human life on Earth?

        Our sun has special characteristics that makes life possible on Earth.

[1]  Mass— The mass of our Sun is among the 4-8% most massive in the galaxy. If it was of higher or lower mass it would probably deliver more frequent intense radiation events.

[2]  Composition— Its proportion of heavy elements is atypical.

[3]  Stability— Our Sun is highly stable which provides a very stable climate for the earth.

[4]  Location— Our Sun has an excellent position in the galaxy, minimizing catastrophic encounters with objects from other systems of our galaxy.

[5]  Planets— It has a very uncommon mixture of inner rocky planets and the large outer gaseous planets which acts as a shield to minimize the number of space objects that impact the Earth.

5.                 In what characteristics is the Earth fit for human inhabitation?

        Isa 45:18 clearly says that God “fashioned” or “formed” the Earth to be a habitat for man. The word has the meaning of planning and designing.

[1]  Stability of the sun: Our sun burns its fuel at an unusually constant and reliable rate. If the sun’s luminosity and Earth’s biomass and biodiversity fall out of sync by even a slight amount, the result would be either a runaway greenhouse effect or a runaway freeze.

[2]  Distance from the sun: The distance from the sun determines the mean temperature of the Earth. The living tissue only retains their properties within a narrow range of temperature variation.

[3]  Size of the earth: The size of the earth determines the constitution of its atmosphere. If it were much larger, it would have retained a large percentage of gases inimical to life. If it were much smaller, its gravitational forces would have been insufficient to retain virtually any atmosphere at all.

[4]  Comet influx: Earth’s gravitational pull is not strong enough to hold onto all of Earth’s atmospheric water. This is replaced by an ongoing influx of water-rich comets.

[5]  Rate of rotation: The rate of revolution of the earth is just right for the continuous renewal of the atmosphere for animal life. Nothing gets too cold or too hot over most of its area.

[6]  The existence of the satellite the Moon: The Moon is the largest satellite relative to the size of its parent body. The moon causes tides, which are of great importance in keeping the oceans fresh.

[7]  Thickness of atmosphere: Theoretically, Earth should have an atmosphere heavier and thicker than that of Venus, but in fact it has a far lighter and much thinner atmosphere.

[8]  Ozone balances: The ozone layer offers essential life protection. It absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Yet, if it is too thick, there will be too little ultraviolet radiation getting through.

[9]  The constitution of the Earth’s surface: The ratio of sea to land ratio is 71% to 29%. This has been demonstrated to provide the maximum possible diversity and complexity of life.

[10]   Balance of carbonates: Carbon dioxide easily reacts with atmospheric water to form carbonic acid. This carbonic acid reacts with rocks to form carbonates. If it were not for some mitigating factors from tectonic and volcanic activities, these carbonates would have leached enough carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere to turn this planet into a permanently frozen, arid wasteland.

[11]   A stable water cycle: Advanced life can survive only if the evaporation and precipitation average between 25 and 60 inches per year, and only if snow and rain condense in the right proportions. A water that meets exacting requirements demands intricate balancing of: the physical characteristics of the sun and Earth; atmospheric composition, temperature, and pressure; wind velocities.

[12]   Seasonal variations: The seasonal variations which take place throughout the year, due to the 23.5° axial tilt of the earth, are very important for the continuance of human life. Were it not for these changes, microorganisms which cause diseases would multiply so extensively that the human race might very well suffer extinction because of them.

[13]   Combination of optimal conditions: Even if the universe contains as many as 10 billion trillion (1022) planets, we would not expect even one, by natural processes alone, to end up with all the characteristics described above.

For more details on the sun and our Earth and other possible life-sustaining planets, please check here.




6.                 Appendix: a list of philosophical (logical) arguments to prove the existence of God.

These are extracted from Kreeft and Tarcelli: Handbook of Christian Apologetics. The ones with blue letters are those included in the question above.

a.   Argument from change

        If there is nothing outside the material universe, then there is nothing that can cause the universe to change. But it does change. Therefore there must be something in addition to the material universe. But the universe is the sum total of all matter, space and time. These 3 things depend on each other. Therefore this being outside the universe is outside matter, space and time. It is not a changing thing; it is the unchanging Source of change.

b.   Design argument (teleological argument)

        The universe displays a staggering amount of intelligibility, both within the things we observe and in the way these things relate to others outside themselves. That is to say: the way they exist and coexist display an intricately beautiful order and regularity that can fill even the most casual observe with wonder.

        Either this intelligible order is the product of chance or of intelligent design.

        It is almost impossible that such order can occur by chance.

        Therefore the universe is the product of intelligent design.

        Design comes only from a mind, a designer.

        Therefore the universe is the product of an intelligent Designer.

c.   Argument from contingency

        If something exists, there must exist what it takes for that thing to exist.

        The universe—the collection of beings in space and time—exists.

        Therefore, there must exist what it takes for the universe to exist.

        What it takes for the universe to exist cannot exist within the universe or be bounded by space and time.

        Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend both space and time.

d.   Argument from miracles

        A miracle is an event whose only adequate explanation is the extraordinary and direct intervention of God.

        There are numerous well-attested miracles.

        Therefore, there are numerous events whose only adequate explanation is the extraordinary and direct intervention of God.

e.   Argument from consciousness

        We experience the universe as intelligible. This intelligibility means that the universe is graspable by intelligence.

        Either this intelligible universe and the finite minds so well suited to grasp it are the products of intelligence, or both intelligibility and intelligence are the products of blind chance.

        They are unlikely to be products of blind chance.

        Therefore this intelligible universe and the finite minds so well suited to grasp it are the products of intelligence.

f.    Argument from truth

        Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.

        Truth properly resides in a mind.

        But the human mind is not eternal.

        Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.

g.   Argument from the origin of the idea of God

        We have ideas of many things.

        These ideas must arise either from ourselves or from things outside us.

        One of the ideas we hae is the idea of God—an infinite, all-perfect being.

        This idea could not hae been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause.

        Therefore, the idea must have been caused by something outside us which has nothing less than the qualities contained in the idea of God.

        But only God himself has those qualities.

        Therefore God himself must be the cause of the idea we have of him.

        Therefore God exists.

h.   Ontological argument (Anselm’s Version):

        It is greater for a thing to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone.

        “God” means “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

        Suppose that God exists in the mind but not in reality.

        Then a greater than God could be thought (namely, a being that has all the qualities our thoughts of God has plus real existence).

        But this is impossible, for God is “that than which a greater cannot be thought.”

        Therefore God exists in the mind and in reality.

i.    Moral argument

        Real moral obligation is a fact. We are really, truly, objectively obligated to do good and avoid evil.

        Either the atheistic view of reality is correct or the “religious” one.

        But the atheistic one is incompatible with there being moral obligation.

        Therefore the “religious” view of reality is correct.

j.    Argument from desire

        Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.

        But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.

        Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.

        This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever”.

k.   Argument from religious experience

        Many people of different eras and of widely different cultures claim to have had an experience of the “divine”.

        It is inconceivable that so many people could have been so utterly wrong about the nature and content of their own experience.

        Therefore, there exists a “divine” reality which many people of different eras and of widely different cultures have experienced.

l.    Common consent argument

        Belief in God—that Being to whom reverence and worship are properly due—is common to almost all people of every era.

        Either the vast majority of people have been wrong about this most profound element of their lives or they have not.

        It is most plausible to believe that they have not.

        Therefore it is most plausible to believe that God exists.

7.                 Appendix: Can we know God?

a.   Man can have partial knowledge of God.

(1)        The Bible presents God as incomprehensible (Isa 40:18).

(2)        But the Bible also says that God can be known and that salvation comes from the knowledge of God (Jn 17:3, 1Jn 5:20).

(3)        Luther describes God as a “hidden God” as well as a “revealed God”.

(4)        Man can have knowledge of God but not full comprehension. But this partial knowledge is perfectly adequate for the realization of the divine purpose in human life.

b.   God wants us to know Him because He communicates the knowledge of Himself to man (Hos 6:6). True knowledge of God can only be:

(1)        originated from divine self-revelation,

(2)        illuminated by the Holy Spirit (1Co 2:10),

(3)        possessed by men with faith.

c.   God reveals Himself through:

(1)        General revelation of nature (Ps 19:1, Ro 1:19-20, Ac 14:17),

(2)        Special revelation:

(a) in history (e.g. to Moses, to Isaiah, to Israelites, Ps 103:7),

(b) through Jesus (Jn 1:18),

(c) by the Scripture (Heb 1:1-2)