Does God Exist?

by Justin Taylor

In this short paper, I'd like to attempt to do a number things, depending on where you, the reader, are at in your spiritual journey. If you are an atheist, then my goal is to convert you. Quite a task you say! I don't want to convert you to Christianity as of yet, but only to agnosticism. If you are an agnostic, I'd like for this paper to help you to look at some of the reasons that Christianity is more reasonable than atheism. If you are of the belief that there are many ways to God, then I'd like for this paper to cause you to reconsider your view. If you are a Christian, my prayer is that you'd be able to use some of the points in this paper in dialoguing with your friends. With that daunting mission ahead of me, I shall proceed. My only request is this: Give me a fair hearing. You may or may not agree with my points, but I do hope that you will engage your mind in the material below. Much more could be said concerning all of the arguments. In fact, thousands of books have been written on the subject. This is intended as an introduction to the issue for those who are interested. I will do my best to present the case for the Christian God. If my arguments are unconvincing to you, however, this does not mean that God does not exist -- it only means that I haven't written a persuasive paper.

I'd like to begin my looking at the faith of atheism. Atheism, according to the standard definition set forth in Paul Edward's Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is the belief that there is no God. Atheists have tried to avoid this definition as of late because it cannot be consistently held. To say that there is no God is to make a certain claim. It is the claim that you have searched the entire universe, and that you know all that there is to know, and have concluded that there is no God out there. It requires omniscience, or an all-knowing power, which we do not have. Einstein claimed that he had only about 2% of the world's knowledge. Most of us would claim far lower than Einstein! However, what if the knowledge of God existed in the other 98%+? To make an absolute claim to atheism is not a reasonable thing to do. Let's consider an example: Jim makes the claim that there is gold in Alaska, and Joe makes the claim that there is no gold. To prove this, Joe will have to uncover every square inch of land in Alaska in order to show that there is no gold anywhere. Even if he did this, there still may be gold that he cannot see! Jim, on the other hand, may uncover gold with the first scoop of his shovel! Claiming that you know that God does not exist is not the most reasonable thing to do.

Let's move on to agnosticism. This is the belief that one does not know whether or not God exists, or that this sort of knowledge cannot be known. This, in fact, appears to be quite a reasonable position. A true agnostic will be open to the evidence, and will be willing to look at arguments on both sides. In the excellent book The Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft lists over twenty arguments for the existence of God. For the sake of time and space, I will share just one argument that I think is quite reasonable.

It makes three major points:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

In this form, it's actually quite a simple argument. It should be noted, however, that some of America's brightest philosophers, such as Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. William Lane Craig, and Dr. J.P. Moreland have convincingly advocated this argument in the most rigid of academic settings.

The first point, that whatever begins to exist has a cause, is really quite obvious. In fact, to deny it is absurd. You know that cars on the street did not simply pop into existence, and that the computers that we see did not simply appear one day! They all have a cause. The old phrase, "Out of nothing, nothing comes" is plain for all to see.

What about the second point? Did the universe really come into existence, or has it simply always been here? Amazingly, the scientific evidence conclusively shows that the universe did begin to exist about 15 billion years ago. One discovery, which is in fact the "discovery of the century," is articulated in the Big Bang Theory. Many, however, misunderstand what this theory says. It does not say that matter and particles collided to make a big explosion; it says that time, space, and matter where literally created out of nothing! But this simply cannot be! Didn't we just say that things cannot simply pop into existence, and that "out of nothing, nothing comes"? There must be a cause for this.

That leads to the final conclusion: there was a cause to create the universe. Renee Descartes, the "father of modern philosophy," pointed out that a cause must be greater than its effect. It is far greater to be personal than to be impersonal. Therefore, this cause must have been a personal being. There is only one explanation: The universe was caused by a personal being. The universe was caused by God.

But there are so many religions! Many feel today that there is a God, but that there are many ways to get to Him. They tell us that its like a mountain, with many paths leading to the top, or that its like a bicycle tire, with all the spokes starting at different points, but meeting in the center. This simply cannot be. The religions in the world contradict each other in some very significant ways. In fact, we should be concerned about whether or not a religion is true.

In philosophy, there is a certain law called the "Law of Non-contradiction." It is quite simple: Two opposite things cannot both be true at the same time and in the same relationship. For example, to say "I exist" and to also say, "I don't exist" is to speak nonsense. These statements contradict each other, and can't both be true. However, the Eastern religions deny this law, and say that two contradictory things can both be true. Therefore, if I am searching for a religion of truth, then I cannot accept their claim.

Let's take a look at some of the Western religions. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity make up the three main traditions. They differ on one very significant point: The person of Jesus Christ, who he was, and whether or not he rose from the dead. Christians assert that he was the Son of God, that he died for our sins on the cross, and that he actually conquered death by rising from the dead. If I can show that these claims are true, then Christianity will be the religion of truth.

The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is voluminous and massive, and I can only scratch the surface of just some of the evidence in this paper. If you are not familiar with the arguments, I encourage you to do an investigation: the evidence will amaze you. Let me briefly mention three E's: 1) the Empty Tomb, 2) the Eyewitness accounts of appearances, and 3) the Effect the resurrection had on the world.

1) Jesus' tomb was found empty three days after he was buried. If it was occupied, then how did the story spread that it was empty? The Jewish and Roman authorities would simply march over to the tomb, point to the body, and the story would be over if it was all a lie. However, they couldn't do this! So how can we explain this? Perhaps the body was stolen. Friend, let me begin by saying that not a single scholar holds to this today. Among the intellectuals no one has used this argument for over 100 years. The disciples had no reason to steal the body -- they were devastated by Jesus' death. They were also of a very high moral character. Also, there is absolutely no evidence for this claim. The authorities wanted Jesus' body to remain in the grave! If they stole it, they'd simply produce it and say, "See, here it is! There really was no resurrection!" This explanation simply fails. Jesus' tomb was empty.

2) Jesus appeared alive to his followers after his death, and he first appeared to women! Why is this so strange? Well, in first century Judaism, a woman could not give any legal testimony and was considered a lower class citizen. If the story was made up, why didn't Jesus appear to the disciples first? The answer: the story is what really happened. Couldn't it have been a hallucination? This suggestion also fails. Hallucinations are not contagious like the common cold; they do not spread. Also, this does not explain the empty tomb or the physical nature of the appearances.

3) Finally, the resurrection absolutely changed the lives of Jesus' followers from weak and fearful men to bold followers of Jesus Christ, willing to die for their unshakable belief. Also, the Christian religion grew incredibly shortly after Jesus' death. The resurrection answers the question why.

In conclusion, therefore, we have seen that atheism is really not a defensible position. Agnosticism is much better, allowing oneself to be open to the evidence. From the evidence, we've seen that the universe did begin to exist, and that it must have had something to cause it. This cause is a personal God. Eastern religions deny the Law of Non-contradiction, and therefore can't be true systems. Western religions differ as to whether or not Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and the evidence shows that he did. Therefore, I conclude that Christianity is the faith that makes sense.

Again, I must stress that this barely scratches the surface of the evidence. Christianity is a faith for the intelligent! Some of the most brilliant scientists and philosophers in the world have come to that exact same conclusion. But it also must be stressed that arguments do not determine whether or not God exists. Someday, we will meet Him face to face, and have to give a defense of all that we've done, and stand before His Holy throne. God cannot be in the presence of sin, for He is Holy. Any blemish or mistake that we have committed deserves punishment, for He is a just God with a perfect standard. On this earth, it as if we stand on one side of the Grand Canyon and God stands upon the other. That gap between us is sin, and it cannot be closed by us. Man has always tried to just be "good enough," but in God's eyes, that is not enough, friend! Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: It is the cross. The glorious cross is the only thing that will bridge that gap. Friend, Jesus Christ died on the cross and took the punishment that we so deserve. To enter into heaven one day, you must accept what Christ has done for us, and to make Him the Lord of your life. You have to die to yourself, in order for Him to live within you.

If you've read this, and feel that this is the desire of your heart, then I'd encourage you to talk with someone who is a follower of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to salvation, and we cannot rely on simply being a good enough person. We must experience a new life, being a new creation. Friend, if you desire this, then God is already working in your heart. Accept His free gift to you, and seek the counsel of a Godly follower of the Lord.

Thank you for reading this. God bless you.

Top of Page Toxic Doctrines