We will start with this basic question, What is Christianity all about? Christianity rests upon a foundation made up of three major pillars: God, the Bible, and Jesus. In that order.
Before you believe in Jesus, you first have to believe the Bible is God’s word. Before you believe in the Bible, you first have to believe that God exists. An atheist won’t be convinced by the Bible because he doesn’t believe in God so he definitely won’t believe the Bible is written by God. To convince a person Jesus is the Messiah you have to use the Bible, so a person must first believe the Bible is God’s word for you to show with the Bible that Jesus is the Messiah.
The first pillar is the fact that there is a God. There is a creator of this universe, one who sustains our lives. He will be our future judge someday. The second pillar of Christianity is the fact that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is not something written by man. Man held the pen, but God inspired or moved the men in what they wrote. The third pillar is the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Christians really hold firm to the belief that there is a God, that the Bible is His Word, and that Jesus Christ is His Son. In this lesson I want to look at the first two.
The First Pillar: The Existence Of God
The first pillar on which Christianity rests is proof of the existence of God.
[Romans 1:20-23 NIV] 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Notice these three facts found in this text.
- The world itself is evidence enough for us to know that there is a designer of this universe and that he deserves our praise and thanks.
- The text says that man has foolishly created objects of worship that look like things that were created rather than worshiping the creator.
- It is human nature to seek after something greater than ourselves, something or someone to put our trust in and to worship.
The Bible emphasizes faith. Part of faith is trusting God, but before you can trust in God you have to believe he exists. Heb. 11:6 says faith is believing 1) he exists and 2) he rewards those who seek him,
[Heb 11:6 ESV] 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
The Bible says that from creation itself we can determine that there is a God. Do you think this is true? There are many reasons why a god must exist.
Many Christians might say they know there is God because they “just know” or because they “feel it.” This is not a solid argument. God’s existence is not proven by our subjective feelings. An atheist can make the same argument that there is no God because he feels it. A hindu can say the same thing about their gods. And so on. Arguments for God’s existence should not be subjective or personal. When determining if God exists or if the Bible is inspired by God we should not abandon logic.
Here are five solid arguments that prove God’s existence. I use the mnemonic COMET to remember it:
- C osmological argument–based on cause and effect.
- O ntological argument–based on logic.
- M oral argument–based on morality.
- E mptiness argument–based on desire.
- T eleological argument–based on design.
The Cosmological argument is based on cause and effect. It goes like this:
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
- The Universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the Universe has a cause.
Every effect has a cause. What was the cause for the beginning of the universe? It is against the laws of science to say the universe came into existence without a cause and it is against the findings of scientists today to say that the universe has existed for all time. Scientists have attempted to answer the question of the beginning of the universe with the big bang, but scientists are still at a loss to explain the cause of the big bang.
The cause of the universe (called in philosophy the “prime mover” of “first cause”) had to (1) exist before the universe, (2) be superior to the universe, and (3) be independent from the universe. We could say the first cause has to be eternal, almighty, and self-sustaining. Sounds like God.
[Psa 19:1 ESV] … The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
The Ontological argument is an argument considering the idea of god alone. It asserts that it is logically necessary that if God possibly exists, then he actually exists. It is a difficult argument to understand and it really only appeals to fans of philosophy. It goes like this:
- God is a perfect being;
- A perfect being possesses all possible perfections;
- Existence is a perfection;
- Therefore, God necessarily possesses the quality of existence. Simply, God exists.
The argument works logically but is not extremely persuasive for those that are not fans of philosophy or rhetoric.
The Moral (or Anthropological) argument asks the question, “Where did right and wrong come from?” How would you define “evil” and “good”? Anytime someone criticizes the ethics of a person or action, they are appealing to some sort of moral standard.
If morality is subjective, then it follows that in some situation an act like rape would not be evil and also would be moral (like if an alien race threatened to destroy all mankind unless you raped a person). Is there every a situation where rape is good? Can we agree that rape is always evil, regardless of the motive, the outcome, and the circumstance?
If morality depends on culture, then those who go against the cultural standard would be evil. In that case, Martin Luther King Jr. would be evil because he denied the culture of racism. In that culture segregation and racism were the norm, so it would not have been evil. However, can we agree that racism is evil regardless of the culture? So, there is a standard of morality that exists outside of circumstance or culture. Where did this objective standard come from if not from human beings? If what is evil is always evil and what is right is always right, then who decided this?
The moral argument says:
- If morality is not created by mankind OR if there are moral absolutes, then it had to have been created by God.
- Mankind did not create morality. OR There are moral absolutes independent of mankind.
- There is an outside creator of morality, i.e. God exists.
The Bible tells us that people innately have a “law” written on their heart that guides them. We could call this the conscience. Where did this conscience come from? Who wrote this “law” on people’s hearts? It was God. God placed the moral standard on our hearts.
[Rom 2:14-15 ESV] 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law (God’s word), by nature do what the law requires (live morally), they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts (by God), while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…
The Emptiness argument argues that God exists based on our desires. Every human desire has the possibility to be fulfilled. Hunger is fulfilled with food. Thirst is fulfilled with water. A duck’s desire to swim is fulfilled with water. A mother’s desire to parent is fulfilled with child-bearing. A person’s sexual desire is fulfilled with sex. For every desire there is something in this world that fulfills the desire. No desire is left empty. But, if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world or that there is something outside this world that fulfills that desire and fills that emptiness.
All civilizations since the beginning of history have worshipped gods. Why is it that? Why is there this constant desire in human beings to worship something greater than themselves? If there is a desire for something greater than this world there must be something greater than this world to fulfill it, because all our other desires can be fulfilled by things of this world. Simply put,
- Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire. (Hunger, food)
- But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
- Therefore, there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.
[Psa 42:1 ESV] … As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
The Teleological argument analyzes the intricate design of our universe. It goes like this:
- If the universe exhibits purposeful design, there must have been a designer.
- The universe does exhibit purposeful design.
- Thus, the universe must have had a designer.
God’s creation was done with wisdom. God’s intelligent and orderly design can be clearly seen.
[Pro 3:19-20 ESV] 19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Do cars just happen? Of course not. Their multiple systems are interactive and integrated with each other in order for the automobile to operate. A designer(s) lies behind the creation of a car. Yet, compared to the universe, or compared to the human body, or even compared to the inner workings of one tree leaf, a car is a crude and primitive invention. If the creation of a car demands the existence of the remarkable human mind, what must be required for the creation of the human brain/mind? Obviously, something or Someone far superior to the human mind would be needed for its creation. Logically, that Someone must be the powerful, transcendent Creator, God.
Even scientists have noted how near impossible our world is. The Earth is just the right location with all the right detail for life to exist. Any minor changes to any detail would exclude the possibility of life. We have the right type of planet, in the right type of galaxy, with the right type of sun, with the right type of orbit, with the right type of axis, with the right type of speed of orbit, and so on.
Scientists have discovered that in order for, what they call, atomic weak force to function, which allows fusion (in our sun), which allows for human life, it has to be finely tuned down to one in ten to the hundredth power. That is a one with 100 zeros after it. The odds of our human life scientifically is nearly impossible.
Another statistic, this one about the expansion rate of the universe–the universe is constantly expanding. Scientists have discovered that in order for life to exist that rate has to be at a particular speed, not too slow and not too fast. Scientists say that rate is finely tuned down to one in ten to the one-hundred-twentieth power. That is a one with 120 zeros after it. Again, the odds of our human life scientifically is nearly impossible.
What are the odds that there is a higher being that created the universe like God? Would the odds of God be greater or lesser than 1 over a 10 with 120 zeros? Either way–whether by accident or by God’s design, whichever you believe you are accepting a nearly impossible possibility.
Adding to that, consider the second law of thermodynamics which concerns the direction of natural processes and establishes the concept of entropy. It states that when energy is added to a system the result is chaos, not order. Even by the scientific laws of our universe, complexity is not a result of natural processes. If left to its own the universe produces less order, not more. If there is order in the universe, it is not a result of itself–it is a result of something outside of the universe.
When you see a watch you naturally assume there is a watchmaker. Someone you have not seen or known, but you assume there was someone intelligent who designed that complex watch. However, beliefs like the big bang or evolution are like taking all the parts that watch, putting them in a box, and shaking that box for millions of years. What would be the statistical odds that those pieces would fall into the order of this intricate watch? You could say, it takes more faith to believe in that than it would to believe in a watchmaker you cannot see.
When it comes to God we should not abandon our mind. The definition of faith in the Bible is NOT “believing without evidence.” We must believe in the evidence and have faith in the conclusion it leads us to. Evidence that there is something greater than ourselves is all around us.