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The Existence of God. What if God does not exist? What do Australians believe about the existence of God? Arguments for God’s existence Arguments against God’s existence What does the Bible say? What if God does exist?. What if God does not exist?. Reasons people may want God not to exist:

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the existence of god
The Existence of God
  • What if God does not exist?
  • What do Australians believe about the existence of God?
  • Arguments for God’s existence
  • Arguments against God’s existence
  • What does the Bible say?
  • What if God does exist?
what if god does not exist
What if God does not exist?
  • Reasons people may want God not to exist:
    • Desire to control our own destiny
    • Construct our own ethics
    • Not be accountable to a higher authority
    • Sexual freedom
    • Live to please ourselves
    • Apathy
what if god does not exist1
What if God does not exist?
  • For Everyone:
    • When we die everything comes to nothing
    • Ultimately no meaning, no goals, no values
  • For the Christian:
    • Wasting our time here
    • Prayer is speaking to ourselves
    • At best a harmless delusion
    • We of all people are most to be pitied
  • Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die
what do australians believe1
What do Australians believe?
  • Belief in a “God” is surprisingly high
  • Atheism is quite rare
  • Could be a “God” of any sort
  • Other statistics:
    • About 50% identify themselves as religious
    • 10% to 20% attend church regularly
  • Only a minority are specifically Christian
arguments for the existence of god natural theology
Arguments for the existence of God(Natural Theology)
  • Cosmological argument
  • Teleological argument
  • Moral argument
  • Ontological argument
cosmological argument
Cosmological Argument
  • Cosmos means the universe or the world
  • Who made the universe?
  • Also called the “first cause” argument
  • Many forms
kalam cosmological a rgument
Kalam Cosmological Argument

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist

Therefore the universe has a cause

kalam cosmological argument
Kalam Cosmological Argument
  • “Kalam” is Arabic for “speech”
  • Muslim thinkers : Al-Ghazali (1058-1111)
  • Premise 1 considered intuitively obvious (Everything that begins to exist has a cause)
  • Most effort went into justifying premise 2 (The universe began to exist)
  • Historically atheists have claimed that the universe is eternal and uncaused
  • Al-Ghazali argued that actual infinites cannot exist – universe must have a beginning
cosmological argument1
Cosmological Argument
  • Today, premise 2 is generally accepted for scientific reasons:
    • Second law of thermodynamics
    • Big Bang theory
  • Premise 1 (Everything that begins to exist has a cause) is challenged today
  • Some atheists claim the universe popped into existence uncaused out of nothing
common objection
Common Objection
  • If God made the universe, then who made God?
  • Answer:
    • No one. God is eternal and has no beginning. God was not made or created and is uncaused.
  • The argument can be stated crudely in another way:
    • There must be something that is eternal and uncaused
    • That something must be either the universe or God
    • It is not the universe
    • Therefore it must be God
teleological argument
Teleological Argument
  • Telos means purpose or goal
  • Also called the argument from design
teleological argument1
Teleological Argument
  • In 1802 William Paley published “Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity”
  • Watchmaker analogy:
    • Imagine you found a watch in a field. Would you conclude that the watch was due to chance or design?
    • Paley provided many examples of design in nature, such as the human eye.
teleological argument2
Teleological Argument
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859
  • Many believed that this provided an explanation of how the appearance of design was due to chance
fine tuning
Fine Tuning
  • “Goldilocks Effect” - The universe is just right to permit life.
  • About 12 physical constants and 12 initial conditions are finely tuned to enable the universe to be life permitting
  • Probability that a random set of physical laws could be life permitting is vanishingly small
  • 1 in N where N is 1 followed by 10123 zeroes
  • Compare approximately 1080 atoms in universe
fine tuning argument
Fine Tuning Argument
  • The fine tuning of the constants in the laws of physics and the Big Bang initial conditions are due to Law, Chance or Design.
  • The fine tuning is not due to Law or Chance.
  • Therefore it is due to design.
fine tuning argument1
Fine Tuning Argument
  • Current state of play:
    • The universe was designed by a Designer, or
    • There are an infinite number of universes with random physical laws and we happen to live in a lucky one
  • Multiple universes cannot be observed or tested
  • Multi-verse must be finely tuned
  • We can only observe and test 1 universe
  • Which option is more plausible?
moral argument
Moral Argument
  • The cosmological and teleological arguments claim that there is a Creator and Designer of the universe
  • Is He interested in us?
    • Deism: God is not interested in us
    • Theism: God is interested in us
  • Moral argument does not claim that atheists are immoral
  • We are all moral, but why?
moral argument1
Moral Argument
  • Moral argument:
    • If God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist
    • Objective moral values do exist
    • Therefore God exists
  • Objective moral values: moral values are valid and binding whether people believe them or not
  • Relative moral values: matter of personal taste
  • Atheism implies that there is no basis for objective moral values.
moral argument2
Moral Argument
  • People only maintain that moral values are relative until faced with examples
    • Was the holocaust evil regardless of who won the war?
    • Is paedophilia Ok? Paedophiles think it is Ok.
    • Is raping babies Ok?
  • Most people will recoil in horror.
  • As soon as we admit that raping babies is objectively bad then we affirm that objective moral values do exist
  • Moral argument also affirms that God is interested in our values and what we do
  • We now affirm belief in a God who is interested in us
ontological argument
Ontological Argument
  • A completely logic argument with no reference to the external world
  • If it is possible that God exists, then God must exist.
  • Many believe it is valid, but not convincing
  • Craig uses this argument in debates but not covered in On Guard
  • Two forms:
    • Anselm (1033 – 1099)
    • Alvin Plantinga (1932 - )
anselm s version
Anselm’s Version
  • God is the greatest conceivable being
  • To exist is greater than to not exist.
  • If God does not exist then it is possible to conceive a greater being
  • Therefore God exists
plantinga s version simplified
Plantinga’s Version (simplified)
  • Argument:
    • It is possible that a Maximally Great Perfect Being (MGPB) exists.
    • If it is possible that a MGPB exists then he must exist in some possible world.
    • If he exists in some possible world then he must exist in all possible worlds
    • Therefore a MGPB exists
  • Only premise 1 is controversial
other arguments
Other Arguments
  • Cosmological, teleological and moral arguments affirm that there exists a God who is:
    • Creator
    • Designer
    • Basis for objective moral values
  • Applicable to all of the monotheistic religions:
    • Judaism,
    • Christianity
    • Islam
  • Two additional Christian arguments:
    • Historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection
    • Witness of the Spirit (Christian experience)
arguments against god s existence
Arguments against God’s Existence
  • Arguments against God’s Existence
    • The Problem of Evil
    • The Hiddenness of God
problem of evil
Problem of Evil
  • The problem of evil can be stated :
    • If God exists then He would not allow pointless evil
    • There is pointless evil in the world
    • Therefore God does not exist
  • Impossible to prove that God does not have a purpose in allowing evil
  • Argument can be rearranged as follows:
    • If God exists then He would not allow pointless evil
    • God exists (see previous arguments)
    • Therefore there is no evil in the world that is pointless
  • Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD works out everything for his own purposes; even the wicked for a day of disaster.”
hiddenness of god
Hiddenness of God
  • If God exists, why doesn’t He show himself?
  • Maybe God doesn’t show Himself because He doesn’t exist
  • Answer: He has shown Himself:
    • In nature (eg Psalm 19)
    • Through Israel in His word
    • In Jesus of Nazareth
    • In our Christian experience
biblical perspective
Biblical Perspective
  • Psalm 19 – The heavens declare the glory of God
  • Romans 1:
    • God’s qualities revealed in what He has made
    • We are without excuse
    • We suppress the knowledge of God
  • The Biblical perspective is consistent with the Cosmological and Design arguments
two views
Two views

Two men looked out of prison bars;

one saw mud and the other saw stars.

view 1 steven weinberg
View 1: Steven Weinberg

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

view 2 paul davies
View 2: Paul Davies

“Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels. Atheists claim that the laws of nature exist reasonlessly and the universe is ultimately absurd. As a scientist, I find this hard to accept. There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted.”

what if god does exist
What if God does Exist?
  • What are the implications if God does exist?
    • The world is not meaningless
    • Everything has a purpose
    • God has revealed His will through His word.
  • What if God has indeed spoken to us through His Son?
    • There is a purpose in our existence
    • God hears our prayers
    • God indwells His people
    • By faith we receive eternal life
  • John 11:25-26: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”