Apologetics - Lecture 2 - Arguments for the Existence of God

Apologetics Study

Session Notes

The Existence of God

Apologetics – Session 2

 

**As with other Lectures, this material is heavily influenced by Lectures by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones and Dr. Kyle Claunch at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary**

 

Philosophical Arguments

  • Ontological Argument
    • Logic-based Argument rather than Observation-based argument.
    • Anselm of Canterbury 7th Century AD
    • Anselm’s argument (Ontological Argument)
      • God is “a being than which no greater can be conceived.”
      • Existing is greater than not existing, therefore the greatest possible being would have existence as a necessary attribute otherwise a greater being who actually exists is possible.
      • This greatest possible being is God and for Him to truly be God (aka the greatest) He must exist.
      • This supreme “greatest” being must also be good because to be good is better than to be bad. Thus, the greatest being must also be the most good being possible.
    • Cosmological Argument
      • Observation-based argument, typically more effective.
      • Cosmos = world.
        • Observation of the world and the way the universe works.
      • Uses the concept of “causality” to establish God’s existence.
        • Everything in the cosmos depends on a being that must exist necessarily (cannot not exist) because of causality.
        • Unmovable mover theory (Aristotle)
          • How might we move to sharing the gospel if we are using this method with someone?
        • Teleological Argument
          • Observation-based argument
          • The argument is that the appearance of design and purpose in the universe implies a designer.
        • What are some evidences of design in the universe? (4 categories)
        • Fine tuning of the universe
          • Everything must be “just perfect” for there to be life. The slightest variation of a universal constant would mean extinction.
          • Examples
            • If gravity had been stronger or weaker by one part in 10^40, then life sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would make life impossible (Robin Collins).
            • As the Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun, it departs from a straight line by only one-ninth of an inch every eighteen miles. If it departed by one-eighth of an inch, we would come so close to the Sun that we would be incinerated; if it departed by one-tenth of an inch, we would find ourselves so far from the Sun that we would all freeze to death (see Science Digest, 1981)
            • If the Moon were moved closer to the Earth by just a fifth, the tides would be so enormous that twice a day they would reach 35-50 feet high over most of the surface of the Earth.
          • “The probabilities involved with the fine-tuning of the universe aren’t comparable to winning the lottery or being struck by lightning. Lottery odds are represented using eight or nine digits, e.g., 1:109. Randomly dealing a deck of 52 playing cards in perfect order presents odds of 1:1068. Physicists express the odds of “randomly” arranging universal physical constants in the present arrangement using numbers more like 1:10120.” https://www.gotquestions.org/fine-tuning-argument.html
          • It is far more probable that there is a designer, and this designer is God.
        • Intelligent Design Theory
          1. Creation is ridiculously complex and intricate.
          2. An intelligent cause is necessary to explain the complex structures of biology.
            1. Ex) Human eye
          3. It is impossible for such complexity to occur due to random processes
            1. For example, a room filled with 100 monkeys and 100 computers may eventually produce a few words, or maybe even a sentence, but it would never produce a Shakespearean play. And how much more complex is biological life than a Shakespearean play? https://www.gotquestions.org/intelligent-design.html
            2. This improbability of random chance suggests that it is more logical that there is a God who designed than it is to believe that what we see in all its complexity came about by chance. The odds are simply too great.
  • Irreducible Complexity
    1. There are systems that are so complex that to reduce one of the system’s parts would negate the function of the entire system.
    2. There is codependence between the various parts of a system and to remove one is to render the system unable to serve the function it was created for.
      1. Ex) Mousetrap
      2. Ex) E Coli flagellum system
    3. The reality that there are so many irreducibly complex systems necessitates the existence of a designer because such systems could not evolve (we can talk more on this when we get to Evolution Topic)




  • Argument from Beauty
    1. In a utilitarian or Darwinian Evolutionary view of the world, beauty is unnecessary.
    2. Beauty is not needed in an evolutionary worldview (naturalistic worldview). Such a worldview only necessitates reproduction, aka. the survival of the species.
    3. Beauty is an element of design that strongly suggests a designer. That designer is God. There are reasons we find a sunrise or sunset beautiful. As we will discuss in just a moment “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19:1)

 

Can you actually convince someone that there is a God? Is reason enough?

  • This is a good question. Philosophical arguments for God’s Existence are logical and convincing.
  • I believe that these Philosophical arguments work together with General Revelation and can convince someone of theism, but cannot help them understand who God is and how someone can be made right with Him sufficiently to be saved. That requires Special Revelation.