[Papercut Press] 2001-08-29 - The Existence of God

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

The Question: "What can you say to a teenager who says he does not believe God exists?"

First of all, I treat everyone, even professed atheists, as if they believe in God. The passage in Romans 1:18-23 gives me and everyone else this right. I would not tell them this, but I simply don't buy the arguments of agnostics or atheists, because the Bible tells me that they know God exists. The fact is that by professing not to believe in God, they are only denying what they know to be true. "Professing to be wise, they became fools," Romans 1:22. This is a very powerful tool in dealing with someone on the issue that God does exist. We know we have truth on our side and thus we argue from a position of strength, even though we approach the unbeliever gently and with humility.

There are several intellectual arguments for the existence of God, and I will give a couple below, but intellectual arguments fail in that rationality does not produce faith. Faith is a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8. However, the arguments I will provide below are tools which we can use when we interact with those who deny the existence of God. They are food for thought for those who do not think there is a God.

  1. The Ontological Argument. This was devised by Anselm (1033-1109). Anselm said, "There is Something than which nothing greater can be conceived." Anselm said this Something, which is greater than everything else, is God. He felt that even a fool can understand this concept. There are numerous objections to this argument and in the end, even after it was reworked by Descartes, it still fails to prove God exists. It does succeed in showing that unless a divine being exists, the human mind is delusive, because we can all understand this concept.
  2. The Cosmological Argument. The first to conceive of this was Aristotle (384-322 BC), and more recently Thomas Aquinas (1255--1274) perpetuated this view. This is the argument of first cause. From the fact of motion, Aquinas argued that there must be Someone who was the first mover. The fact that the world exists is the effect of a first cause. This mover and first cause, Aquinas argued, was God. This is probably a better argument than the first, but it still falls short of proving God exists.
  3. The Teleological Argument. This was also used by Aquinas. Quite simply put, there is order and arrangement in the universe. This shows there must be an intelligent designer behind this order. Even the order within the human body shows there must be some intelligent designer behind that order. The Bible uses this argument: "He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?" Psalm 94:9

There are other arguments, but these are considered the major ones. They are not, in themselves, convincing. They do provide food for thought for those who deny God's existence, and sometimes these will convince someone or will be part of the path that leads someone to the conclusion that God exists. I would emphasize that we don't rely on arguments to convince, but rather we rely on the Lord to use the gospel to change hard hearts. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] brutefact@hotmail.com