Christ reigns above all. Many just don't know it yet.
You are here
On the Existence of God
Submitted by ericfoy on Wed, 02/28/2018 - 07:43
There is no Proof
The existence of God cannot be proven; it can only be “known,” apart from scientific proof. Neither can God's non-existence be proven. There exists no scientific proof either way. This is not whimsical opinion. This is a fact with which we must all simply agree. There is no argument here.
In the Bible we find it written that belief in God comes to us through faith, which is for some a difficult or troublesome concept. For where there is faith, there is the opportunity for doubt. So which one wins? How can a rational, objective person ever come to a conclusion on the matter? For there seems to exist evidence in favor of both arguments.
The staunch atheist will say, "I believe what I see, and what can be proven. Until someone offers proof of God's existence, I will not believe he exists." Fair enough, I say, but my rhetorical response is, “I believe in God. Until someone offers proof of God's non-existence, I will not believe He does not exist.”
The atheist usually then replies (in well-rehearsed lock-step prose), “You are making a positive assertion. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you, not me.” Well, a few minutes' contemplation is all it takes to to see that this statement of his is actually nonsense. Since there is no proof either way, there is no “burden of proof.” (If we both agree that no proof exists, then neither may impose the burden on the other to produce that which does not exist). Alternatively, if both parties require proof of the other's assertion, then the burden of proof is clearly unilateral, and the atheist is being intellectually dishonest, or childish. Furthermore, upon closer scrutiny, it is clear that both parties are making the same type of assertion. They are both positive assertions, one of God's existence, the other of God's non-existence. In other words, the atheist is asserting that he is positive that there is no god. The reason he sees the believer's assertion as being different in character from his own derives from his own presuppositions, not from a known structural framework which exists a priori.
Our Belief Derives from Our Chosen Presuppositions
Now we are able to see that whereas the atheist objects to what he perceives to be the believer's unsubstantiated presuppositions, he is nonetheless blind to the existence of his own presuppositions which are no more concrete or substantive than are those of the believer.
This becomes obvious when we read modern “scientific” literature. The theory of evolution (or more specifically, Darwin's theory of the evolution of the species) has become, simply, “evolution,” as if it were a principle or law. It is no longer mentioned as theory, but taken as fact. It is blithely referred to, and leaned upon as a foundational underpinning of myriad conclusions. Hypotheses based on scientific observations are daily being verified by “evolution.” This is the tail wagging the dog.
The Big Bang theory has become the basis for explaining everything we observe in our changing universe. It is an unproven theory which has become the underpinning of our understanding of how stuff behaves, and why. But of course, whereas the Big Bang proffers no derogatory comment as to the existence of God (It does not attempt to explain where all the stuff came from to begin with), evolution, on the other hand, is a very useful tool for drawing people's attention away from their creator—if indeed He exists.
I only mention both in order to illustrate the degraded state of modern science, wherein foundation has been supplanted by presupposition. And I remain amazed—almost incredulous—that this phenomenon has escaped the notice of so many. Modern science now lies in ruins, as rigorous inquiry and examination have been replaced with agenda-driven social campaigning. What was classically a group of mutually respectful thinkers arguing for their ideas, is now a clique of domineering prom queens obtaining their desired outcome through intimidation and force. Scientific arguments don't need to make scientific sense anymore. They only need adequate political clout in order to be recognized as truth. But I digress, I guess...
The point is simply this: The atheist stands his ground on presupposition as much as does the believer. The debate over God's existence, therefore, should not be one of presenting proofs. Rather, it should involve unpacking the presuppositions, and presenting them, along with evidences, and then asking the question: “Which of these possible presuppositions best anticipate and describe our observations of the world around us?”
My personal experience has been that in this process I see a preponderance of evidence in favor of the existence of God, along with some evidence which might point otherwise. However, the latter quickly looses its veracity in light of the presuppositions required to uphold it as evidence. In fact, the counter-theory (God exists) usually supports said evidence (observations) equally well, if not better.
Objectivity can be Our Enemy
In the opening paragraph, I posed the question, “How can a rational, objective person ever come to a conclusion on the matter? For there seems to exist evidence in favor of both arguments.” I believe the answer comes more easily to the one who realizes that at his core, he is not a “rational, objective person.” We are more than that.
A machine or a computer can be rational and objective. In fact, that's all they can be. But they are less than a person. Think about the fact that it requires effort to be rational and objective. Objectivity requires discipline, for we must expend effort in order to set aside our subjective thinking—our feelings and emotions; the very things that add joy and fulfillment to life. It could be argued that the “whole and mature individual” is the one who has learned to be rational and subjective, while still maintaining his objectivity. Under what other condition could we be qualified, for instance, to critique poetry? Computers can't critique poetry, and they never will.
I believe this is the atheist's curse: objectivity, for he has made it his god. His world view is deterministic, a vast open sea of cause and effect, all of which must necessarily be observable, else he cannot bring himself to believe it. (“Until someone offers proof of God's existence, I will not believe he exists.”) Thus he explains away the intangible things like love, as being mere products of chemical reactions in the brain. Nonetheless, he cannot explain why choosing alcohol or drugs (chemical reagents) over the affection of a loved one is evil.
I therefore offer for consideration my short list of evidences of the existence of God:
I'm writing this which you are reading.
Favorites and Preferences
You're reading this which I have written.
1. I'm writing this which you are reading. Some people believe in God, some do not. Which of the animals believes in God? In all of the ecosphere, among all the varied species of living things, where are the debates about the existence of God?
Have you ever seen two dogs fighting? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder what they're fighting over… Maybe they're fighting over whether or not God exists.”
But of course, we know better, don't we? And we understand the same thing about frogs, insects, deer, goats, sheep, etc. They fight over food and females. They don't argue about the existence of God.
Interestingly, the Bible states that God created all the species, but of them all, man was created in God's own image. This should easily explain why the animals don't seem to care whether God exists, whereas many people do. But of course, to the atheist, this is just a convenience: “Since the Bible is simply a creation of man, it's no wonder that the authors chose to ascribe this attribute to mankind, and not to the lower species.” Although this is a valid objection, it certainly does not constitute a proof of God's non-existence. But of course, I offer no proof of God's existence; only evidence.
As further evidence, let me note that, though there are numerous examples of religious systems whose god or gods are of the form of an animal, or an animal hybrid of some sort, still we don't observe these selfsame animals engaged in the debate of said gods' existence—only humans care one way or the other.
So what is so special about humans? Why are we the only ones who care whether God does or does not exist? Here, the evolutionist must provide evidence. What happened? What evolutionary event introduced this quest for god?
I'm writing this, which constitutes evidence pointing to the existence of God. It is not proof, it is evidence, of which there is a preponderance. And where is the evolutionary evidence pointing to an alternate conclusion? I find none.
2. Favorites and Preferences My favorite food is either lasagna or prime rib… I can't decide which. My favorite color is red, or maybe yellow… because… I don't know. I just gravitate toward those colors.
These preferences might be attributed to physiological phenomena stemming ultimately from my genetic makeup. Certain foods might best nourish my body, resulting in a preference in the interest of my own survival. This could be a result of evolutionary forces remaining as a result of the survival of my species. Likewise, a preference for certain colors might aid my species in some way for my survival.
But I have other favorites. I have a favorite song, and a favorite poem. I have a favorite piece of instrumental jazz music. I have a favorite sound and a favorite smell. I have a favorite magazine and a favorite story.
One of my favorite sounds is the sound of a rainbird sprinkler on a hot summer day. And my favorite smell is that of freshly cut grass. And my favorite activity is simply lying on my back on that freshly cut turf, listening to the quadraphonic sounds of those rainbirds—first the slow primary rhythm as they scan across the turf, then comes the high-speed back-travel of the corner sprinklers as they reverse their course to resume their ninety-degree travel. I find it interesting that whereas the rainbirds are man-made, and the mower that cut the grass is man-made, the smell of the grass comes from the grass, not man, and the sound of the sprinkler is simply a natural consequence of how the thing interacts with its environment. And then I roll over to enjoy the sound produced by a blade of this grass fashioned into a reed flute as I squeeze it between my thumbs and blow.
Even as a child it was not difficult for me to wonder… “I know that someone designed these rainbirds, and someone designed the mower… and did no one design the grass, for which these other things have been designed?”
A dog may have a favorite food, or even a favorite activity. But does he have a favorite song? A favorite story line? A dog may have a favorite person, but does he have a favorite type of person? Will he say, “I don't care to spend time with passive-aggressive people.”? For his preferences derive very simply from satisfaction or satiation of his immediate needs, whereas our favorites derive from somewhere deep within the soul—from some kind of longing. What are we all longing for? Ultimately, I believe the human soul longs for connection with his creator—the ultimate longing, shared by the poets and the plumbers alike.
3. Sentiments My favorites are but byproducts of my sentiments. Even the least sentimental of us has them.
Why would I starve before trading my mother's wedding ring for a meal? Is it not because it's sentimental value transcends its commercial value? And why is that? Why does pragmatism (you can’t eat a ring, and food is what I need)—though it might feed me for a day or a month—fail to provide the satisfaction in life that I seek?
Whence come these sentimental values that stifle my ability to accomplish the things which a simple worldly existence would promote and reward? And we all have this stumbling block, at some point. We all make irrational choices in the face of a cold, objective reality, failing to take advantage of opportunities as we consider the cost to be “just not worth it.”—though we cannot explain why.
It is because we know that there is something out there of far greater value, which cannot be bought with the world's currency. And when we sense that we have a piece of it in our hands, we are loath to exchange it for this cheap cash offered by the pawn broker. And when tempted to do so, we hear a small voice telling us we'll be sorry one day if we do. And then, after we go through with it, we never feel satisfied, for the exchange never quite seems worth the meager reward. We feel a loss. Often years later we find ourselves thinking, “I would give six month's food bill to have my mother's wedding ring back.”
Is this not a reflection of the mind of God, who exchanged the life of His Son to redeem our very souls from destruction? For to be sure, the exchange that took place at the cross of Calvary was a one-sided deal, ourselves being the beneficiaries of something other than an equitable exchange! For the value of any human soul is something far from intrinsic, and it therefore must have been imputed by nothing less than God's own sentiment.
4. Art Where did art come from? What makes art, art? Poetry, prose, music, sculpture, painting, photography, engineering excellence… the list is endless. Some things are just beautiful to look at. Why is that?
Furthermore, what purpose does art serve in the furtherance of our evolutionary survival? What evidence supports the appreciation of art as critical to the survival of any species? Why are the animals (with some remarkable exceptions) so entirely oblivious, so unappreciative of art?
Tracing back through our supposed evolutionary heritage, we humans find that very early on, the key characteristic markers of survival are physical strength and, more importantly for us, intelligence. Since many animals have greater physical strength than us, I conclude that intelligence is what has enabled our survival. If we have evolved, we have survived predation of the beasts by out smarting them.
So why, then, is art so important to us? Is art, like our appendix, just an evolutionary artifact—something left over, of which we no longer have use? If so, then where are our more artistic ancestors? Where is original art found in the fossil record? And why are there five or ten artists today for every scientist? Where did all these artists come from? Whence did they evolve?
Could it be that God Himself is an artist? I find it reasonable to believe that God created man in His own image, and that the existence of art, and our propensity to gravitate toward it, stand as strong evidence of His existence.
5. Virtue Where does virtue come from? Who made that up? Who came up with the concepts of repudiation and commendation?
If these are products of evolution, then where are the markers of their eventual emergence? We understand that a fish evolved into a land animal through the necessary process of developing lungs so that it could breathe air; or legs, so that it could walk. But what factor, in terms of an evolutionary driving force, has necessitated virtue? And how has virtue helped us evolve?
One might say that a more highly evolved society is a more virtuous society… Okay, but that's not the kind of evolution we're talking about. Darwin's theory does not address societal or cultural evolution (which, by the way, unlike evolution of the species, is easily observed). Darwin himself insisted that social policy should not simply be guided by concepts of struggle and selection in nature. [Bannister, Robert C. (1989). Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought.]
It becomes clear, upon inspection, that evolution alone cannot support or drive an upward movement or improvement in life for any society. Something else must be injected from outside the process. Something like virtue. Where did virtue come from?
6. Moral values Is it wrong to capriciously kill another of one's own species? The evolutionist might say that the process of evolution supports the idea that murder is wrong, since killing of one's own clan or type would serve only to reduce one's own chance of survival. The problem with this is: Where, then, does the concept of “survival of the fittest” fit into the process?
The answer is that it fits in most egregiously. Some of the most ardent evolutionists are among the proponents of eugenics, which is basically society's way of helping evolution along in order to augment or enhance its effects. Eugenics rejects the idea that all human beings are born equal and redefines moral worth purely in terms of genetic fitness. [Black, Edwin (2003). War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race.] And eugenics has led to murder on a huge scale, from the ovens of Auschwitz to the abortion clinics of modern America.
So if murder is wrong on a moral basis, this moral value certainly was not produced by evolutionary forces. But my question is not about the morality of murder; it is about the origin of morality.
The fact that murder is broadly considered immoral is itself evidence of God's existence, the stronger evidence is simply that moral values exist at all.
7. You're reading this which I have written. Why is anyone, after wading through the foregoing, still reading this? Why would anyone care what I think? You, dear reader, might well be alone, or part of a very small minority. Many surely will never read this far, for who really cares what my opinions are on this subject? And why would they care?
See, I don't claim to be a conduit through which God communicates to people. Notice, however, that I don't need to make such a claim in order for it to be true. Yet we can be certain that it is not true if there is no God. But if there is, in fact, no God, then why are you still reading? Could it be that you have doubts about the non-existence of God? Has your faith in God's non-existence been challenged by what I have written?
If that is the case—even in the smallest of ways—then who shall we suppose has given you that challenge? Who has placed that doubt in your mind? Me? I shall not presume to have such an influence on you! I would, however, presume simply to offer as evidence of God's existence the fact that you are still reading this which I have written.