This Week's Discussion contains several arguments for God's existence from our everyday experience. This is called "Natural Theology".
We meet Friday's at Noon in LSC 319. Bring your own lunch and feed your mind.
Even though Natural Theology does not "use the Bible" to support its arguments, the Bible does acknowledge the validity of Natural Theology. Here are two of many places in the Bible where Natural Theology is suggested as being a valid way to learn something about God.
“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19)
“His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen” (Romans 1)
Read the full chapters of each of these to get the context.
Come to the meeting to hear more detail on the outlined arguments. For FULL detail go to the Defenders Podcast at Reasonable Faith.
A. What is Natural Theology?
Arguments and evidence for the existence of God that are not taken from Scripture but are taken from the data of human experience.
B. What makes a good deductive argument?
1. Obeys the rules of logic
In particular, the conclusion follows from the premises by the rules of logic.
2. Premises are true, or at least more plausibly true than false.
Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
3. The premises must be knowable to some degree.
We should have some evidence or experience upon which to connect premises to reality.
(How NOT to argue…)
II. Arguments for God’s Existence
Podcasts 1 – 5
1.Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence.
a) Either in the necessity of its nature,
b) Or in an external cause.
2.If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
a) Something extremely powerful, nonphysical, immaterial, non-contingent, eternal, and beyond space and time.
3.The universe is an existing thing.
4.Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is God.
Podcasts 6 – 13
1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2.The universe began to exist.
3.Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Podcasts 14 – 18
1.Facts that demand explanation
a) Constants of nature
b) Initial conditions of the universe
Podcasts 19 – 22
1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3.Therefore, God exists.
Podcasts 23 – 25
a) Possible worlds
b) Maximal greatness
2.Alvin Plantinga’s version of the argument
a) It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
b) If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
c) If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
d) If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
e) If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
f) Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
3.Examining the argument
a) Epistemic vs metaphysical possibility
b) Coherence of a maximally great being
c) Parodies of the argument
(i.e. a maximally great pizza. Yum!)
d) Evidential defense of premise (a)
F. Belief in God is “Properly Basic”
Podcasts 26 – 30
1.Beliefs which are appropriately grounded may be rationally accepted as basic beliefs not grounded on argument.
a) What are properly basic beliefs?
b) Are properly basic beliefs arbitrary?
2.Belief that the biblical God exists is appropriately grounded.
a) The inner witness of the Holy Spirit
b) Is Christian belief “warranted”?
c) What are the “defeaters” of this belief?
3.Therefore, belief that the biblical God exists may be rationally accepted as a basic belief not grounded on argument.
What about the counter arguments?
Podcasts 31 – 35
G.“There’s no evidence that God exists!”
Hopefully, you can counter this argument with today’s arguments. Non-believers typically get away with this mantra because no one in the room is equipped to GIVE REASONS for their belief (contra to 1 Peter 3:15). Good on YOU for being here, today.
H.Pointless suffering argument.
1.The logical / intellectual objection
a) Pointless suffering would not exist if an all-powerful, all-loving God exists.
b) Pointless suffering exists.
c) Therefore, an all-powerful, all-loving God does not exist.
Premises a) fails because it is possible that God would have morally sufficient reasons for creating a world with the potential for this much evil. Not liking that fact, is irrelevant to the logic. But this is difficult to stomach with specific examples of great pain and suffering. That is why it is good to determine if one has a logical objection or an emotional objection.
2. The Emotional objection
a) “I don’t like a God who would permit suffering and evil.”
This is not a defeater for God's existence. It is the cry of child in the doctor's office who cannot see any valid reason for sticking a needle into his or her backside. We have such a limited view from everyday experience, so for this we can agree that pain and suffering DO exist and that it DOES make us grieve and cry. But it should not make us run from God, but rather to God for understanding and strength to deal with our broken condition.
Hope to see you soon,
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. [Eph 3:20-21 ESV]