By the Nightwatch Priest
The question above is repugnant to all those who believe in God as a Supreme Being. In any case that does not prevent magnanimous minds from examining all sides of the issue.
It is not possible to prove that there is a God by reason or logical argument. This should be made quite clear at the outset. It is possible, for example, to prove that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles; but that is only because we are allowed to assume certain truths before starting the theorem. These “axioms” upon which all scientific knowledge rests are acts of faith; that is, self-evident assumptions which cannot be proved.
Scientific knowledge, therefore, like religious knowledge, rests upon a foundation of faith. But obviously, in the case of God we cannot be “given” anything more ultimate than God on which to base the logical proof of his existence. The existence of God himself is the ultimate, the axiom, the ground of all thought, and we have to begin reasoning with this self-evident assumption, this act of faith. This fact, that all thinking and reason pre-supposes the existence of God, is known as the ontological argument and was first expounded by Anselm of Canterbury in the Middle Ages.
That is why thinkers or philosophers, who begin by denying the existence of God, are compelled to reintroduce him into their systems under some other name. The living, personal God of the Bible is showing out at the front door, only to be readmitted as the “Absolute” or the Ground of Existence” or Unconscious Will” or the “Life Force” or the Principle of Integration” and so on. Man cannot think, much less live, without God. It should also be noted that if the existence of God could be proved rationally it would be the end of all faith. In that case we should be compelled to believe. But God does not will us to believe by compulsion, but by the insight of faith. That is why his existence can never be as tangible and obvious as, say, a bus or the fact that one can make two. The God of Scripture not only reveals himself but also hides himself both in order that he may be sought and also that man might “walk by faith and not by sight”.
But although the existence of God cannot be proved that does not mean that there is no evidence for our belief in God. Faith is not credulity, it is not “a leap on the dark” – it is based upon facts. What, then, are the facts in human life and experience which may be taken as evidence for the existence of God? Five may be selected because of their outstanding importance.
(a) Nature The vast and mysterious universe around us is convincing evidence for the existence of God – so convincing that, as Paul points out, even the most corrupted pagan has read of the existence of God in the open book of nature”. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity” (Rom. 1:20 – And Paul’s statement is true to fact; practically all pagans do believe in the existence of a Creator and Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.
It is self-evident to the average mind that the world cannot have issued out of nothing and “that what is seen has not been made out of things which do appear” (Heb 11:3) There must be an ultimate ground of all existence, an uncaused cause, an “unmoved mover” from whose creative activity all existence has issued, and is still held in being. Several of our famous contemporary astronomers on the ground of scientific knowledge, have had a definite beginning in time; it is not eternal. If, then it came into being at a definite time (the second law of thermo-dynamics, which teaches that cyclic universes are impossible, in the same way as perpetual motion machines are impossible, along requires this), it must have issued from some ultimate ground and cause since something cannot come from nothing. It was, in fact, created by the Creator.
This cosmological argument is powerfully reinforced by the teleological argument, the argument from design and purpose. There are unmistakable signs of design throughout the universe, and they are most evident in the kingdom of life. How perfectly everything fits into its environment; how exquisitely perfect is the functioning of all the organs of the body! If there is no Designer what is the alternative?
That the spider’s web, the human eye, the star-spangled heavens, the mind of man are all due to “a fortuitous concourse of atoms!
TO BE CONTINUED