Summary: This sermon presents five arguments for the existence of God and briefly examines the implications for us if God exists and is our creator.
In the Beginning
The existence of God has been a subject of debate by philosophers and theologians for thousands of years. Most of the time their arguments and debates take place in rarified air that is far above the thinking of the average person and certainly above my head. It’s like the philosophy student who came home for the holidays and was asked by his father, “How did your philosophy class go?” To which the student replied, “We did not get much accomplished because every day when the teacher tried to call the roll, the students kept arguing about whether or not they existed.”
Most of us who live in the real world, do not concern ourselves with such deep thoughts. If I ask you to prove to me that you have $2.00, you would take $2.00 out of your wallet and show it to me. And if I ask you whether or not a person was honest, you would not reply with a long dissertation on the nature of honesty. You would simply provide me with evidence concerning this person’s honesty.
What I am going to do today is to provide a few pieces of evidence that support my belief that God exists. I will not and cannot PROVE the existence of God. That cannot be done any more than someone else can prove that God does not exist. Both positions are based on belief derived from an interpretation of the evidence. In both cases, faith is a decision to believe or disbelieve in the existence of God. I find it interesting that the Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God but every where in the Bible, the existence of God is taken for granted. Someone has said that “A God capable of proof would be no God at all.”
We need to realize the importance of the issue. This is not just some academic exercise to twist our brains into pretzels. Our belief or disbelief concerning the existence of God will affect all the answers to all our other questions about life.
If God does not exist, then:
1. There is no supreme being to which we must give an account. We then are answerable to no one but ourselves.
2. If God does not exist there is no judgment day and no heaven or hell. We will then live according to the philosophy, “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
3. There is no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil. We become our own gods determining that good is what pleases or benefits us and evil is that which displeases or does not benefit us.
If God does exist, then: 1. There is a Supreme Being who determines what is right and what is wrong and to which someday I must give an account.
There are several “arguments” that support a belief in God. Those who do not believe in God have counter arguments for all these arguments but this morning I am not trying to convince a non believer, I am only seeking to support our faith. I am going to look at five arguments starting with the weakest and ending with the strongest. The first three arguments are philosophical in nature while the last two are more technical.
The first argument is known as the “ontological” argument. It is the weakest of the arguments. It is based on the premise that everything man can know or think is based on some reality. It argues that if man can have the concept of a perfect God, then He must exist. In other words, if we can conceive of God then he must exist. For a person to say, “I do not believe in God,” is self contradictory for if God does not exist then the person would not even be able to conceive of God.
The second argument is called the “general” argument. It is based on the fact that there has been and continues to be a universal belief in God or a supreme being in all societies throughout all history. It argues that since there is in the universe those things that satisfy man’s deepest longing, there must be a reality (God) that meets this universal craving for a supreme being. Every society has worshiped some kind of God or gods. The apostle Paul refers to this religious instinct in his sermon to the Greeks in Acts 17:27 when he says that men “grope” for the God who created them
The third argument is the “anthropological” or “moral” argument. It is based on the reality that all people everywhere have a “sense of ought.” There is an innate understanding that in certain circumstances, there are things that should and should not be done. Even children cry out, “It’s not fair.” Even atheists have a “sense of justice,” and are angered when it is violated (as in the case of rape or murder). The moral nature in man demands a moral being as the originator of that moral nature.