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Proclamation Index

Evidence for the Existence of God, Part 2

Again this month we are responding to what is perhaps the most basic and important question that any individual could ever ask: "How do I know that God exists?" In this part of our two-part series we present two more of the four classic arguments for the existence of God-that is, whether, not who or what, God is-along with a few other relevant addendums. The ontological argument. Of the four traditional arguments for the existence of God, the ontological argument (from being) is probably the most difficult to grasp. In short, it goes like this-since humans can conceive of God, and since God by definition is perfect, and since to exist is to be more perfect than to not exist, a real God must exist. When anyone, including an atheist, talks about God, they are by definition referring to a perfect Being. Of course, the atheist would say that he is only referring to the concept of God. But here's the problem-the mere concept of God wouldn't be as perfect as the reality of God. So the mere concept of God is an oxymoron; to think of a God who doesn't exist wouldn't really be to think of God at all, in the technical sense of the word. Let's try it one more way. To try to imagine a God who does not exist is impossible because you would not actually be thinking of God. You would be thinking of a Being without existence whom you propose to be greater than an existing Being (of whom, by definition, no greater being could exist) - total absurdity. The moral argument. More recent than any of the other arguments for the existence of God, this line of reasoning begins with the observation of a universal moral law. Human beings everywhere, even in the most remote jungle tribes, demonstrate an inherent sense of right and wrong. For instance - murder, rape, lying, and theft are all recognized as being wrong, in all places and at all times. But where does this sense of morality come from if not from a Great Moral Lawgiver - God? In the opening chapters of his classic work, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis refers to this moral law as The Rule of Right and Wrong, a "thing that is  really there, not made up by ourselves." For many years, Lewis says that he argued against God because the universe seemed cruel and unjust. But then he began to wonder where he got the idea  of just and unjust. He said, "A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line." In the end, Lewis says, it was in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist that he was forced to acknowledge atheism as being too simple. "If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." Concluding observations. Those who try to deny God's existence often seem to have a hard time being consistent. One atheist was once heard asking another atheist: "Do you suppose that God knows that we know that He doesn't exist?" Another atheist who participated in a formal debate with a minister clearly out-debated the clergyman. But the minister was declared the winner. Why? Because at the end of the debate, in a flush of victory, the atheist shouted: "Thank God I'm an atheist!" Can God's existence be proven absolutely? No. The Bible (Hebrews 11:6) says that "...he who comes to God must believe that He is..." We affirm God's existence on the basis of faith-but reasonable faith, not blind faith. Faith that is based on the best of evidence. It's a conclusion that can be reached by thinking people. "Of course, it takes faith to believe that God is. But it also takes faith to believe that God is not!" "Contrary to popular opinion, faith is not blind. To have faith is to put confidence in something. And to put confidence in something is to have first hand evidence. We believe in the chair in which we sit because we have first hand evidence that chairs, in general, are reliable to sit in." "Years ago my father wrote of the evidence for the existence of God: 'It takes great faith to be an atheist! Believing in No-god is holding a faith against overwhelming evidence. Evidence within man - his conscience. Evidence within nature - the creation (for every effect there must be a cause). Evidence within (society)-hundreds of thousands of volumes...written by thousands of authors over thousands of years... all of which witness to a personal God who has made Himself known.'"  -Chris Halverson, writing in the November 3, 1997, edition of Perspective.

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