Summary: In this five part apologetics series, based heavily on the work of William Lane Craig and Reasonable Faith, five arguments are presented in favor of the existence of God: the evidence of Cosmology, Creation, Conscience, Christ, and Conversion.
The Case for a Creator (3)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 4/21/2013
A lecturer in Hyde Park, London was speaking out against religion one day and said, “My hatred of religion is inherited; my grandfather was an atheist; my father was an atheist; and, thank God, I’m an atheist, too.”
Unfortunately, that little tirade is representative of a growing number of people in America and around the world—and so is the logic. According to a new worldwide poll, called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism,” the number of Americans who say they are “religious” dropped from 73% in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60% in 2013. At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent, with the reminder identifying themselves as non-religious or agnostic. The seven years between the polls is notable because 2005 saw the publication of “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, the first in a wave of best-selling books on atheism by authors like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett—sometimes called the Four Horsemen of the New Atheism. Sadly, many of these “new atheists” either don’t understand or have never considered the incoherence of atheism.
That’s why it is more important than ever that Christians, like you and me, be able to articulate good reasons why our faith makes sense. And, as our anchor verse for this series makes clear, God expects nothing less of us: “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16 HCSB).
In keeping with this command, I want to equip you five good reasons to believe in God so that you can gently and respectfully defend your faith. I want you to think of these as a series of lights. And if you are skeptical about God’s existence yourself or maybe you’ve just been struggling with doubts—then these five lights should illuminate the path to personal faith in God. They are:
1. The Light of Cosmology
2. The Light of Creation
3. The Light of Conscience
4. The Light of Christ
5. The Light of Conversion
Last week and the week before, we focused primarily on the scientific evidence for God’s existence—namely, the lights of Cosmology and Creation. Cosmology reveals that the best explanation for the existence of the universe (why there is something rather than nothing) is a transcendent, timeless, spaceless, unimaginably powerful, personal Cause. The light of Creation then reveals that the best explanation for design in nature—namely, the fine-tuning of the universe’s physical constants and quantities for the existence of life—is a Divine Designer. That brings us to the third light, which is the evidence of Conscience.
I like how Jiminy Cricket responded in the 1940 classic, when Pinocchio asked, “What’s a conscience?” Jiminy Cricket said, “What’s a conscience!? I'll tell ya! A conscience is that still small voice that people won’t listen to. That's just the trouble with the world today...” To paraphrase the Blue Fairy’s follow-up, your conscience is what allows you to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral.
The Bible has something to say about that, too: “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” (Romans 2:14-15 NLT).
By letting our conscience be our guide, we discover a powerful argument for the existence of God. I have it laid out for you, again, in the form of a logical argument:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
What makes this argument so powerful is that almost everyone agrees that the first two premises are true! However, they may not have made the connection that if the first two premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true.
In a moment, we’ll take a closer look at each premise, but first let me define exactly what we mean by objective moral values.
I’m reminded of this little boy who had been attending Sunday school and had the same teacher for many years. She would finish every lesson by saying “And the moral of the story is…” But, after graduating from elementary school, the little boy moved up into the senior Sunday school class. His mom asked him how he liked the new Sunday school teacher, and he said, “She’s alright, but she’s got no morals at all.”
Those aren’t the kind of morals we’re talking about! By objective moral values, we mean moral values that are valid and binding independent of human opinion.