Does God Exist?
This question is one of the big, foundational questions in Christianity, and therefore is a necessary question to answer in laying a foundation for doing effective apologetics. Since it is such a large question, and there are many different ways of going about answering it, I’m splitting it up into parts so that this doesn’t become an extremely long post!
It’s important to realize that what I’m doing is giving you various tools to add to your apologetics toolbox so that you can mix and match each scenario you encounter, and not giving you a step by step manual for all discussions. Each person has a different worldview (even if they go by the same name) and is a unique, unrepeatable soul. Therefore, it’s important to get to know where the person you’re talking to is coming from so that you can better answer their questions. Some people will “click” with different things, and you show that you care about them by finding out what they are like and are interested in.
One way of going about showing that God exists is by pointing out various categories of evidence that could best be explained by the existence of God. This is often called the inference to the best explanation. We make these sorts of inferences all the time, even though we rarely call it that. For example, if I notice that a light has suddenly come on, it could possibly be true that all 8 people in the room flipped the switch together, but it is much more likely that one person flipped it. That would be making an inference to the best explanation.
By using many different categories of evidence (some people will respond better to different things), it points to the explanatory power and scope of the idea that God exists. One bit of evidence comes to us in the form of an argument known as the Cosmological Argument. It sounds somewhat complicated, but it’s really quite simple and intuitive. It goes like this:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. The universe has a cause.
Does that sound familiar? “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” — Gen. 1:1
While we’re out at the level of the universe as a whole, another argument you could use that goes well with that one is called the Fine Tuning (or Teleological) argument. This argument looks at the “stuff” that holds the universe together, the mathematical formulas for what are known as the fundamental constants. These are the physical forces which must be in place to have a universe that is like ours in existence. While we don’t yet know exactly how many of these there are, the current count is approaching 30 (26, last I looked*). If any of these constants were anything other than what they are, then any sort of life would not be possible in the universe. This argument looks at probabilities, and then makes an inference to the best explanation.
As you can see, the probabilities of our universe having conditions such that life could have arisen are unbelievably low. A popular alternative explanation is that of the multiverse, and I discuss that in some detail here. The best explanation would seem to be that our universe was designed to be such that it is. After all, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalm 1:1
These are just a couple examples of evidence and arguments you can use to show that have good reasons to believe that God exists. However, not everyone would feel very engaged by these sorts of reasons, and so we will continue to look at categories of evidence in the coming weeks. Also, an important thing to remember in apologetics is that the results don’t depend on us. It is God who saves.
*These are the most common ones. Some people have argued here that technically there are nearly 100 constants.