Glorifying His name through wood products

The Galilean

In the beginning…

The Evidence

I’ve been preparing for this for quite a while now. This little journey into the evidence of God’s existence will be challenging, discerning, and hopefully rewarding. I am constantly surprised at how unaware, or perhaps misled, some folks can be about the evidence for God’s existence, and the litany of rationally strong arguments for His existence. When people ask me about my faith I get very excited to share that it’s not blind faith, it’s not an absence of evidence, it’s full of evidence. And what do I mean by faith here? Simply trusting in that which you have good reason to believe is true. That is the sort of faith on how I understand the actions of the disciples of Jesus after they claimed He had risen from the dead. They walked with the Lord, saw Him crucified, and then saw Him risen. Why else would they openly and courageously proclaim Him alive, sometimes to the very people who crucified Him? It just doesn’t add up.

Before we dive in to these topics I want you to ask yourself a question. If God exists, what does that mean in my life? My hope is that you have at least considered this question even if you don’t believe God exists. Here are some of my other favorites:

Why is there something rather than nothing? That is, why is there anything at all?

Who am I and why am I here?

What is my purpose?

What is the meaning of my existence?

How can consciousness come from an accidental byproduct of a prebiotic soup?

Are right and wrong truly objective or is all of this morality stuff just a matter of opinion?

If these questions aren’t provocative at all to you then I’m not sure anything else in this website will be helpful, but if they are even remotely, then I encourage you to keep going.

For now we are just going to tackle five reasons for evidence of God’s existence. There are many more (I commend the reader to Plantinga’s “Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for the Existence of God”) but five is a good number to kick us off with. Before we go too far afield we need to do a little refresher on what it means to create a sound deductive argument, as four of the five arguments in this section are deductive arguments.

If you recall from your basic college philosophy class there are four conditions for a solid deductive argument:

  1. A good argument must be formally valid:

All men are mortal.

John is a man.

Therefore John is mortal.

This above example is logically coherent.  Some philosophers would call it airtight. The conclusion follows from the premises in accord with the rules of logic. A bad example of this might be:

All men are mortal.

John is a man.

Because all men are mortal and John is a man, therefore God does not exist.

This conclusion does not logically follow and hopefully we can all see why.

2. A good argument must be informally valid as well as formally valid. 

These examples are rife in our world where people are weak in philosophy and reason in a circle, basically restating the thing they are assuming in the premises. Such as

If Spam tastes good, then it is good to eat.

Spam tastes good.

Therefore Spam is good to eat.

The syllogism is logically valid but what have we proven? It already assumes what it sets out to prove (circularl reasoning) and proves nothing new. A good argument will avoid these informal fallacies.

3. The premises in the argument must be true.

A giraffe has two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth.

John has two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth.

Therefore John is a giraffe.

Now while this example might be logically coherent and valid, it is plausibly false as we know in the world around us and our experience in it. That is, we have solid defeaters for the premises from our anecdotal experiences that giraffes are different than humans, rendering them fallacious. Unless of course your giraffe is named John!

4. The conclusions must have premises which are collectively more plausibly true than their contradictories. Please note that we aren’t going for absolute truth or certainty in this argument, but collective plausibility or reasonableness of its truth.

For example:

All men are mortal.

John is a man.

Therefore John is mortal.

Now we’ve already said this is logically coherent and based on our experience it is plausibly true. We are not 100% certain of it though are we? After all, have we seen every human being in the world who has been born pass away? We haven’t, but we take it on good evidence that every person who has ever been born has either died or will die in the future. There is nobody currently running around waving their hands in the air saying ‘I have been living forever, I am immortal.’ If there is there is probably a medication to help them out. So while we cannot ascertain 100% that this is true, we have very good confidence that it is plausibly true. 

Let’s look at it a different way. Look at the burden of proof in our criminal justice system. Most criminal courts recognize a burden of proof that is beyond a reasonable doubt. Our civil courts have an even lesser burden, known as the preponderance of the evidence. So even in our justice system we don’t burden the prosecution with 100% certainty. We would rarely get a conviction. How about in our own lives?

Think about the decisions you make on a daily basis where you are 100% certain of the outcome? When you get in your car and drive to the big city for groceries, church, etc, are you 100% certain you will not have some sort of a traffic accident, violation, or vehicle trouble? Of course not. You make your decisions based on the evidence around you, past experience, probabilities, and proceed. If you needed 100% proof for all your courses of action you may never even leave your house!

So, it is with hopeful clarity on that introduction I present the following arguments and wish to expressly thank contemporary Christian philosophers William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga, two gentleman who have greatly influenced my thought and journey profoundly. Also to be thanked is the late C.S. Lewis, a pioneer in Christian thought and apologetics. My family has always been supportive and I thank them for that. Finally, all glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for allowing me to personally know Him and giving me the freedom to freely love Him.

Here we go…

  1. God is the best evidence of why there is something rather than nothing. (Contingency Argument)
  2. God is the best evidence for the origin of the universe. (Cosmological Argument)
  3. God is the best evidence for the fine-tuning of the universe. (Teleological Argument)
  4. God is the best evidence for the objective moral values and duties. (Moral Argument)
  5. God is the best evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.