You may or may not believe in the existence of God. No doubt you already know that I do. I hope you’re not lazy enough to throw out the ‘but there’s no evidence’ line, because it is demonstrably untrue. You may feel you have better explanations for the evidence, which is for you to determine which way you feel it points, but here are four reasons I find belief in God credible.
The exisence of the universe
The very fact that a universe exists requires some explanation. It is not unreasonable for people to wonder why there is something rather than nothing. It is equally not unreasonable to ask, given that the universe exists, why it should be the only thing that pops into existence uncaused.
The case can be summarised this way:
- Everything that begins to exist has a cause
- The universe began to exist
- Therefore, the universe has a cause
The question remains: what is the best explanation for this cause? We cannot simply keep positing causes because this just leads to turtles all the way down. There must be a first uncaused cause to avoid an infinite regress. This cause must exist by necessity and must be eternal, omnipotent and absolutely self-sufficient. These attributes are uniquely attributable to God.
The fine-tuning of the universe
The physical conditions necessary for human life are extremely finely balanced. It is also true that the physical constants in nature are particularly finely balanced.
Antony Flew, the philosopher who did more to advance the cause of Atheism than any other, converted to Deism late in life in no small part due to the fine-tuning of the universe. He concluded that the fine-tuning of the universe was too precise to be down to chance. He also concluded the universe was too young for life to develop purely by chance.
The case can be summarised this way:
- The fine-tuning of the universe is either due to necessity, chance or design
- The fine-tuning of the universe cannot be due to necessity or chance
- Therefore, the fine-tuning of the universe is due to design
Philospher William Lane Craig suggests, short of simply stating it as a baseless assertion, there is nothing to support the claim that fine-tuning exists by necessity. Respecting chance, note the comments of Flew and compare with the work of Barrow & Tipler on the Anthropic Principle. They note that 16 steps are required in order to generate life, the probability of which they place at 1024,000,000.2. Dr Hugh Ross notes this ‘is roughly equivalent to someone winning the California lottery 3,000,000 consecutive times where that individual purchases just one lottery ticket each time. Realistically, this probability is indistinguishable from someone winning the California lottery 3,000,000 consecutive times where the individual purchases no tickets at all’.
The existence of morals
If there is no God, Atheists rightly aver that there can be no absolute morals. If we are nothing but a chance collection of atoms and molecules then there can be no claim to absolutely morality. There is ultimately no basis upon which we can say I am right and you are wrong, we have nothing to appeal to apart from our own minds. And who is to say my mind is any more right than yours? But absolute morals clearly do exist. There are no peoples or cultures that would argue it is morally acceptable to rape, torture and kill children for fun.
The argument to morality can be summarised this:
- If God does not exist, absolute moral values and duties do not exist
- Absolute moral values and duties do exist
- Therefore, God exists
The resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Bible itself says plainly enough that the truth of its claims rest on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says it with no frills:
[I]f Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
His comments have not been lost on the sceptical and liberal scholars who have sought to attack the resurrection for centuries. It may also surprise you to know that there are five facts universally agreed among scholars in relation to the resurrection.
They are as follows:
- Jesus of Nazareth was a real, historical man
- Jesus of Nazareth really died on a Roman cross
- The tomb where Jesus was laid was empty three days later
- The people claiming post-resurrection appearances genuinely believed they saw the risen Jesus
- The origin of the Christian religion rested solely on the claim of Jesus’ resurrection
The question remains: what is the most convincing explanation of these agreed facts? The explanation must have wide explanatory power, not being an ad hoc explanation of one point alone but explaining all the agreed facts. The argument with the widest explanatory power of all the historical facts is the Biblical claim that Jesus of Nazareth really did rise from the dead. I would encourage you to investigate the evidence for yourself and look at it with an open mind, willing to consider all possible explanations. You may wish to read Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Habermas and Licona’s The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, or William Lane Craig’s The Son Rises. Further articles may be found at Reasonable Faith or Gary Habermas’ Website.
If Jesus Christ really rose from the dead, it provides a powerful case for the existence of God. At the same time, if the previous three arguments even suggest the possibility of God’s existence, we are given good reason to consider the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as an, at least, potentially credible historical event. I would encourage you to examine the evidence with a properly open mind.
But there are four reasons I find belief in God compelling and find it credible to believe the Bible is a true revelation from him.