Something Must Have Started It

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 26, 2015 6 comments

by Steve Risner

“The empty-headed fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'” BAM! I said it. Actually, God said that and I'm just repeating it. That's the opening verse of Psalm 14. Now, to be honest, I don't like bringing that sort of language up in debates or discussions because I think it's offensive and can easily result in a wall going up that will never come down. My point in debating or discussing these matters with unbelievers is to help them and to learn for myself as well. Intentionally putting up a wall is never my goal.

But I start with this verse to make a point: the Bible makes no argument whatsoever for the existence of God. That's because, apparently anyway, the Bible assumes if you are intelligent enough to hear and interpret its words or to read them, you're intelligent enough to know there must be a God that exists. Paul tells us in Romans that there is no excuse for unbelief—that nature cries out to us about its Creator. This truth is so critical and so obvious that it astounds me that some claim there is no evidence for the existence of God. I have heard this repeatedly in discussions and it's amazing. What the person often means is that there is no scientific (and they mean naturalistic) evidence for God. In other words, there is no physical evidence of a non-physical Being. That's what we call a “duh” statement. There can't be physical evidence of a non-physical Being. He would be a physical being if that were the case.

Since this argument seems popular—that there is no evidence for God—I'd like to explore just a couple of the arguments for the existence of God. These arguments will all be extra-biblical, which I feel is important. We can point to all sorts of stuff in the Bible that supports our position—whatever that position is—but if the person we're talking to has no respect for the Bible, we're wasting our time. Honestly, I believe the Bible is the single most important weapon we have as believers and that's Scriptural. But in some cases, at least starting with something else is helpful. I think that once someone is forced to admit there could be a God, when we open the Bible up to them and make the case that the God they've accepted as existing must be the God of the Bible, we can make a lot of headway with them. Let's look at just a few of the arguments over the next few weeks for the existence of God. There are, truthfully, many more. But we'll look at the three most common ones that I can find.

The Argument of Causation or Creation: This argument simply states that anything that has a beginning has a cause. Aristotle called this the Prime Mover or the Uncaused Cause. Science is pretty clear that the universe had a beginning. In other words, according to Edwin Hubble, the universe is expanding. If you move backward in time long enough, everything in the universe would be a single point. This means at some time in the past, there was no universe, and then there was. Hence, the universe had a beginning. What could have caused such a huge and indescribable thing other than an almighty God? Science agrees the universe had a start. The Christian simply points to Genesis 1:1 and there you have it. Understanding this, that the universe had a beginning, means science (not philosophy, which is often confused with science today) screams to us that there is a Creator. You cannot create or destroy energy or matter. So either energy and matter have always existed (so they are God), or they were created. Anything created requires a creator. Much of what Hubble did for the development of the Big Bang theory was, as he admitted, because the alternative (God) was unthinkable and unacceptable. You see how he quickly went from a scientist to a philosopher there? But Hubble’s findings changed everything. The universe had a beginning, and you don’t even have to believe in the Bible to arrive at that conclusion.

Now, let's understand this argument. It does not say that everything has a cause. That is invariably the first thing that the atheist or skeptic will bring up. “Well, what caused God?” First of all, that doesn't matter anyway. We're not talking about that. We're simply talking about the fact that the universe (and everything in it) was created by something. But this question, “What caused God?” is a misunderstanding of the argument and of God Himself. The universe, which functions in time as does everything else physical that we know of, had a beginning. Something greater than the universe must have caused it. God had no beginning and, therefore, no cause. He simply is and always has been and always will be. When time expires, He will not. He is eternal, which means, by necessity, that He had no cause. That's a lot for the human mind to wrap itself around. In fact, I think it's impossible for us to understand that fully since we know nothing other than our experience in time.

It seems logical that a personal God who chose to create would be necessary, as would an all-powerful God, since the matter and energy in the universe are beyond description. It also seems He would not be bound by any of the natural laws He put in place nor would He be bound by time. Otherwise, He would not be God. The God of the Bible fits this bill pretty readily.

There are other ideas about the nature of the universe and whether or not it had a beginning. Some have tried for decades to show the universe is eternal. But the case is fairly solid that the universe has a beginning—at least in terms of astronomy. My purpose here is not to exhaust all thoughts contrary to the Bible on the existence of the universe, but to simply engage in a discussion on the most common arguments. The Big Bang (which is full of all sorts of holes) claims the universe had a beginning. This is currently the most commonly held belief by secular scientists. This argument of a cause seems pretty straightforward and simple to grasp. It's actually something a child could understand because it just makes sense and is solidified by our experience. I look forward to the discussion that takes place with this topic.

Next week we will take a look at the Design Argument. That one is pretty cool and I've written many blog posts with this argument in mind. Not seeing it, like most of these arguments, means you're not willing to admit what is so logical and clear. Those who scoff at these arguments are willing, in my opinion, to suspend rational thinking so they can claim there is no God.


Bob Sorensen said...

Although I do not think you are doing this, I want to say that I'm opposed to "evidence only" approaches. When an atheist says, "Prove to me God exists", and we take that bait, we're actually denying the Word of God. They know God exists, but suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Also, the unbeliever's heart is deceitful and "desperately wicked", his eyes are blinded to the truth.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for presenting evidence, and do it all the time. But I don't leave God's Word out of it like many demand, because of the reasons above, and also, "neutral ground" actually means to deny the Bible and use their terms, that is, naturalistic presuppositions; for every evidence, there is an equal and opposite rescuing device (excuse to continue clinging to unbelief). Recently on Matt Slick Live, an atheist called in to argue about the resurrection of Jesus. Every time the guest host presented evidence, the atheist used excuses, prejudicial conjecture, terrible logic, and more.

A good presentation of evidence and rational arguments can satisfy the mind, but we cannot save anyone; their salvation does not depend on our genius and eloquence. It's ultimately a spiritual problem.

"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." (1Cor 2:1-5)

Now watch, I got ahead of you and you were probably going to cover all this in your series.

Steve said...

I understand your concerns, Bob, and appreciate you saying so. I feel it is important to address things from a variety of angles. Yes, above all, the Word of God is truth. But if you just have that Word and present it to the atheist who doesn't give a darn about it, you'll get nowhere. We need to couple it, sometimes, with other things, if for no other reason than to get the conversation started. We are told in Scripture to be prepared, to have an answer.
I certainly believe it's a waste of time to argue. That's worthless. But, as I think I stated in this blog, a primary reason for this series is to encourage believers. To know that our faith isn't blind (which many believe unfortunately) and it's not in spite of the evidence should thrill the believer.
Anyway, without wasting too much of your time...I think the Word of God is the ultimate truth and needs to be the focus. But I also think having other tools in your tool box to get the ball rolling is essential. Paul was in it--he was right there with those folks. Presenting Christ in a practical way is much easier when you interact with folks physically. But when we interact quite a bit virtually, it's a little tougher. Hmm....I just made myself thing a bit...:)

Steve said...

...I guess I did forget to say that our goal isn't to "win" anyone to Christ. We are simply a mouth piece. The "winning" is up to the Holy Spirit.
God bless, Bob.

Bob Sorensen said...

You certainly don't waste my time.

Although I take a presuppositional approach, I use a term that I learned from Jason Lisle, I present evidence in a "presuppositional framework", where evidence is not divorced from Scripture. There are some Presups that would not be pleased with me, I'm sure, because I've encountered the approach of, "Repent and believe, then you'll understand", when simply answering a question may have removed a stumbling block.

Just sent your next part to my ebook reader, looking forward to it.

Steve said...

Thank you, Bob. I'm glad you keep up on reading these. I would love to be better with presuppositional apologetics, but I haven't been able to spend the time I need to in order to get a good grasp on it. I've got the gist down, I feel, but need to explore it a bit more.
Thanks again.
I notice the hecklers aren't in on these :)

Bob Sorensen said...

There are several things I can recommend about presuppositional apologetics. Some, I just don't understand. I get some good info from a video series by Greg Bahnsen, and his book "Always Ready". However, what impacted me the most was the book and video by Dr. Jason Lisle, "The Ultimate Proof of Creation". There are YouTube videos of this, and also "Nuclear Strength Apologetics". I can't find a playlist, you'd need to start here and search for the rest of the series.