Evidence for the Almighty

Interact with people long enough online when discussing God, and the inevitable demand for “evidence for your sky daddy” (or other pejorative) will arise. So, let’s talk evidence.

Evidence

That’s a decent definition for evidence. As another prerequisite, how do we define God. God as revealed through his creation, through his Word, and through Jesus can be defined as The All powerful, All Knowing, and All Loving Eternal Creator.

We need to talk about three more things before we talk about evidence:

  1. All evidence is interpreted by your worldview. Evidence does not speak for itself. Let me give you an example of how people interpret evidence according to their worldview. The evidence is a fossilized dinosaur bone.
    • A Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because the dinosaur was rapidly buried by water-born sediment. Since the animal now exists as a fossil, it avoided decomposition from scavengers/bacteria, so it had to be buried quickly by a massive flood like the one revealed as historical evidence in Genesis 7-9. We know from calculations on ages and historical markers that the flood took place about 4500 years ago, so the bone has been buried for about 4500 years.
    • A non-Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and so the rock layer in which the dinosaur is buried is also that old. Because the rock layer has this fossil in it, we know that the fossil was buried about 65 million years ago.
    • Same evidence.Wildly different conclusions. There is no special atheistic evidence, and there is no special christian evidence. There’s just evidence that people interpret within their worldview framework. Can evidence ultimately convince someone of God’s existence? So, we have to ask how valid is it to put out evidence to convince someone that God exists.
  2. What things count as evidence?
    • Laboratory evidence or repeatable evidence. There are all kinds of examples for this, but let go easy: Water at sea level boils at 100 degrees Celsius. This is repeatable and consistent. Most of the time, when I have interactions with people online, they want this kind of laboratory evidence to prove that God exists. We’ll talk more later about why a demand for evidence on this level of the Almighty is absurd.
    • Historical or Forensic evidence. Clearly, one cannot go into the laboratory and prove with repeatability the existence of Ghengis Khan or Thomas Jefferson, but one can, with a high degree of certainty, rely on historical records. Biases play a major role in the documentation of historical records, so it’s helpful to recognize bias and read multiple accounts of a historical event to get the truest picture of the past.
  3. This is not specifically about evidence, but the demand that people make of God. “God you show me the evidence or you’re not real!” To demand this of the Eternal Almighty is audacious, prideful, and dangerous. On a much smaller scale, it would be similar to saying, “The President of the USA better show up to my birthday party and light my candles, or he’s not really the president.” This demand is completely unreasonable for his authority/position, and it ultimately has no bearing on the president’s authority/position.

 

What is the evidence for God?

  1. Since God is the Creator, all evidence is evidence for God. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” A key question would be: What evidence would convince you that God exists, even though he says you already have enough evidence?
  2. Without God, you couldn’t prove anything at all. As the Ultimate Truth, He can fulfill the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or have revelation from Someone who does know everything. We all know things, therefore God exists.
  3. There are immaterial, invariant, universal entities. Those who believe in a naturalistic worldview cannot account for these entities, because the naturalist is bound by constantly-changing matter. Since God is immaterial, invariant, and universal, He can substantiate both the material and immaterial entities. Because there are things like good, beauty, truth, mathematics, and information we know that God must exist to be the source for these things.
  4. The Bible. Scripture claims to be divinely inspired. These claims are internally consistent and continually verified by forensic science. As verification of their divine nature, fulfilled prophecies have been recorded throughout scripture and later come true. Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the pivotal point in history. Multiple lines of evidence are compelling for this miracle.
  5. Specified Complexity – DNA is a biological code that exhibits specified complexity. It is both highly ordered and elaborate. Scientifically, only intelligence is known to create specified complex code like computer programs. DNA is not just a code, but exhibits informational capacity in multiple dimensions. Complexity of this magnitude requires a magnificent Power.
  6. Irreducible Complexity – “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, & where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced gradually by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, since any precursor to an irreducibly complex system is by definition nonfunctional.” God shows Himself to be a master designer by creating mechanisms that cannot function with any missing parts. Examples of IC are most of the  biological systems: respiratory, circulatory, immune, etc…
  7. Fine Tuning – There are properties of the universe that could have any number of values. If any of these values were different in even the slightest degree, life would not be possible. The universe appears to be not just perfectly fine tuned for life but perfectly designed for the flourishing of life and scientific discovery.
    1. A sub-category of the fine-tuning evidence is the specific evidence for earth being designed for human life:
      1. Perfect distance from the sun provides for liquid water and optimum temperatures for humanity
      2. Unique near-circular orbit prevents massive climate swings
      3. Protective atmosphere – Van Allen belts protect humanity from dangerous radiation. As a secondary benefit of the belts, the beauty of the northern lights can be enjoyed by humanity.
      4. The earth is the perfect size for generating a magnetic field of the right strength, which protects the Earth from all kinds of dangers.
      5. Transparent atmosphere allows us to use the visible light spectrum for vision. Because of this, humanity can observe evidence both inside and outside our atmosphere.
      6. The atmosphere is also the perfect ratio of elements for respiration, combustion, flight, photosynthesis, condensation, evaporation, and UV protection. The atmosphere is also a great medium for passing smell and sound.
      7. The proximity to the moon and sun provide perfect amount of force to control tides and keep the oceans from becoming stagnant.
      8. We can view a perfect solar eclipse because the moon appears to be 400X smaller than the relative distance of the sun, which is 400X further away. Coincidence or design?
      9. The placement of the earth within the solar system protects the earth from most meteor strikes. The large gas planets “vacuum” up most of the dangerous ones.
      10. The placement of the earth within the Milky Way appears to be perfectly designed because it is in a relatively safe part of the bands of stars that allows for the greatest level of discovery.
  8. Symbiosis – Symbiosis is defined as “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” Unrelated biological systems that cannot exist independently are best explained by a master Designer, who planned their advantageous interactions.
  9. The Moral Argument – While not a specific piece of evidence, the argument that there are ultimate moral laws necessitates a moral law giver. Again, naturalistic worldviews cannot account for universal, immaterial, and invariant moral laws.

This list is not comprehensive, but it is a good start when studiously researching the evidence for the existence of God.

I mentioned earlier that most atheists demand a level of evidence for God on par with 2+2=4 or the repeatable boiling point of water. This demand is absurd, because it does it is a category error.

God is by definition beyond nature, so demanding a natural evidence for a supernatural event/entity does not make sense. As an example of this, a miracle was recorded in the Bible where Jesus changed water into wine. Jesus did not use a law of nature or mathematical formula to perform this miracle. It is by definition supernatural and does not produce evidence that can be repeated or the process described step-by-step. It’s very much like the character in a video game who demands that the video game designer bring himself into the video game to prove his existence.

So, if your limited worldview has barriers that ignore/suppress/disallow the supernatural, no evidence will ever be good enough.

To know the Creator, you must admit and repent of your rebellion against Him. He is faithful to forgive and only faith in his Son can bring the mercy and peace that we all need.

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Subjectively Objective

So again I was inspired to write a blog post based on Justin Brierley’s weekly podcast. This past week, he hosted a debate between Frank Turek and Alex O’Connor. The topic of the show was actually whether evil disproves atheism because atheists need absolute morals to make judgments against anything (in order to call it evil.)

I do try to keep my blog posts short, so as not to lose people’s attention, so I won’t go into my discourse about how the atheist, Alex, empowered evolution with creative abilities. If that does interest you, I’ve written extensively about how and why Christians should not embrace evolution.

The important thing that I want to point out about this debate is when they talked about the objective nature of the Laws of Logic. I’ll have to paraphrase since I cannot find the transcripts anywhere, but essentially, the Christian tried to push the atheist into saying that the laws of logic were objective, but Alex said (paraphrase), “They can’t be objective, because we are both using the laws of logic and we disagree.”

Alex is incorrect here, and this is the power of presuppositional apologetics. The atheist and the Christian have different presuppositions/axioms/assumptions regarding reality, so when both use the laws of logic, they come to different conclusions. It does not mean that the laws of logic are not objective, it means there are different starting points. Different starting points mean different conclusions.

The Christian can say, “since the Eternal Creator is immaterial, universal, and unchanging, we can account for things in reality that express these properties because of what he has revealed to everyone.”

The atheist cannot justify the origin of immaterial, universal, and constant entities in a cosmos that they say is defined by a material and constantly changing universe. They are left with the absurd solution of calling laws of logic either subjective or a human construct, which are both self-defeating.

Since we can trust God’s revelation about history, we can trust Him with the future! Praise the Creator!!!

Does Evidence Convince the Non-Believer

I haven’t even finished reading this article yet, but it’s so good that I want to share it on my blog before I forget or something comes up. The writer outlines clearly the point that people interpret evidence according to their worldview, so evidence cannot properly push someone into the Kingdom of God.

People must repent of their sins so that they can see the emptiness of their atheistic worldview. As Romans 1 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

There is not enough evidence to convince an atheist that God exists, because they are suppressing this evidence.

There are some big words and complex ideas, but here are a few excerpts that I thought were very good. Still, the whole article is worth the read:

Defending the Christian faith (apologetics) is an injunction that wields a fruitful endeavor. Presuppositional apologetics is a Reformed modus operandi that commences and concludes with God, presupposes the veracity of Scripture, disproves the futility of human contrivance that obstructs truth, and argues that it is inextricable to deny the sensus deitatis (sense of deity) because it is intrinsically recessed internally which leaves everyone without reprieve.

Here’s the quandary: both are given evidence (Scripture), but there are two diametrically opposed conclusions. The affirmations brought into the evidence are their presuppositions. This is the contradistinction between a presuppositional apologist and an atheist: a presuppositional apologist (does not demand evidence for God’s existence) can corroborate their knowledge claims because of revelation from God, while the atheists cannot (demands evidence for God). The former justifies the very concept of evidence, while the latter does not.

This article is not denying evidence as edifying to a Christian. The creation account, the worldwide flood, parting of the Red Sea, and the miracles of Christ: casting out demons, cleansing the lepers, healing a man born blind, healing Peter’s mother in-law, raising the dead, restoring an ear, walking on water, stilling the storm, turning water into wine, feeding thousands and resurrecting gloriously and miraculously are all captivating proofs. Do all of the aforementioned miracles need to be given to a person who demands proof for God’s existence? Absolutely not! According to Thomas Aquinas: “To one who has faith no explanation is necessary. To one without faith no explanation is possible.”

What are the dissimilarities between an atheist and a theist? The atheist cannot account for anything as they appeal to their autonomous reasoning, and seek to justify doing so with their autonomous reasoning. How do they know their reasoning is valid? Apart from revelation, they cannot. A theist (Christian) can account for the laws of logic because of a super naturalistic worldview that is consistent with universal, abstract invariant entities, and is justified by revelation. This is why an atheist has to borrow from the Christian worldview because they are impotent of justifying anything apart from God.

An atheistic worldview cannot account for moral absolutes because they have no justification for absolutes of any kind. Most atheists will say that they are absolutely certain that there is no such thing as absolutes, which is self-refuting babble. Why can’t an atheistic worldview justify moral absolutes? If an atheist denies the existence of God, they lose their appeal to absolute knowledge and nothing could be absolutely morally wrong.

Because we can trust God’s revelation through scripture about the past (and this is corroborated by the evidence we see around us), we can trust God’s revelation about our future. Romans 8

[Rom 8:18-25 ESV] 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Does God exist?

This question is one of the most important questions of this generation. The answer has profound implications for how someone hopes, lives, behaves, and is remembered. So what is the answer?

 

The modern paradigm has presented a case that science and evolution have replaced God. Let’s compare the atheistic worldview to that of the Christian to see which can stand up to scrutiny.

Jason Lisle has submitted a powerful argument for the existence of God: namely that without God, we could not know anything. Since we know things, then there is a God. Check out his article here to follow the progression of the reasoning.

Here’s my understanding of how the logic of objectively proving that God exists is formulated.

Since everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview, then no evidence is conclusive in exposing either the shortcomings of the Christian’s worldview or the atheist’s worldview. An example of this would be the existence of fossils. An atheist would interpret the evidence and say that fossilized dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. A Christian would interpret the existence of fossils as exactly what is expected if the historical flood buried everything under tons of sedimentary layers. Same evidence. Different conclusions depending on one’s worldview. So the answer has to go one level deeper to analyze one’s worldview. Which worldview has contradictions?

The atheist’s worldview assumes that there are only material objects in an ever changing universe.

The Christian worldview assumes that God is the Creator and that He has revealed himself to humanity in his written Word, the Bible.

Which worldview would best account for the existence of the laws of logic, objective morality, objective truth, beauty, and intelligence?

All of these things are immaterial concepts. So, if there are immaterial laws of logic that do not change, how can the atheist account for the existence of immaterial laws in a constantly changing universe? Laws of logic make perfect sense in a Christian worldview as they are the way that God thinks, and he has imparted this ability to humanity. Colossians 2:3

Another inconsistency for atheists would be the behavioral contradiction. Jason Lisle describes it this way:

For example, consider the atheist university professor who teaches that human beings are simply chemical accidents—the end result of a long and purposeless chain of biological evolution. But then he goes home and kisses his wife and hugs his children, as if they were not simply chemical accidents, but valuable, irreplaceable persons deserving of respect and worthy of love.

The Christian does believe that people are valuable, deserving of respect, and worthy of love, but it is because we are created in the image of God. He gives humans value. In the atheist worldview, people do not have intrinsic value since they are simply the culmination of purposeless chemical accidents.

I’m quite sure that the atheist would claim that there are some objective morals if you tried to steal from him, assault someone in his family, or caustically burn his house to the ground. But he would not be able to account for the existence of these morals since they are immaterial, universal, and unchanging. Objective morals exist, but they do not fit in the atheistic worldview. Don’t misinterpret, atheists can act morally (and most do most of the time), but they simply cannot account for the existence of objective morals.

Objective Truth has its roots only in either knowing everything or having someone who knows everything reveal it. Christians do not know everything, but the omniscient Creator God has revealed some of his knowledge to us so that we can know things for certain. The atheist cannot know things for certain because he must leave open the possibility that some future knowledge might overturn something he currently thinks is reliable.  If he cannot know anything for certain, then it logically follows that he knows nothing.

This brings us to another contradiction because atheists do know things. They know things and make truth claims all of the time, but since they have no foundation or preconditions for intelligibility, then they are contradicting themselves. Romans 1:18-20 tells us that atheists do not exist. Everyone knows that there is a God, but those who claim that there is no God is suppressing the truth.

For further research on this topic, see ProofThatGodExists.org

This video goes through the process of helping someone understand the preconditions of intelligibility, and I found it to be helpful in explaining this very deep question.