7-Minute Parish Theology Lessons – Lesson 3 (God’s Existence)

Many have left Christianity because they fell prey to atheist arguments that God does not exist.  This especially happens in high school and college but can also happen to some later in life. 

Consequently, we should be prepared to give a defense for the hope that we have.

St. Peter says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?  But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.  Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:14-15).

Although philosophers and theologians have advanced numerous arguments for God’s existence over the centuries, we will focus on two.

Arguments for God’s existence reveal that belief in God is not simply a matter of faith and that belief in God is reasonable.

St. Paul’s Argument

This first argument comes from St. Paul’s letter to the Roman church 1:19-20.  St. Paul wrote, “For what can be known about God is plain to them [the wicked], because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.”

I call this the take Him or leave Him argument because St. Paul is essentially saying, Look around.  Who do you think did all this?

C.S. Lewis’ Argument

The next argument comes from CS Lewis (Author: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, etc.) and it’s called the Argument From Reason.

In this argument, CS Lewis speaks of naturalism.  Naturalism is simply the belief that nothing exists outside of nature.  Ultimately, all atheists are naturalists regardless of how they classify themselves.  Therefore, when Lewis uses the word “naturalism,” you can substitute it with “atheism.”

CS Lewis argued, “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the naturalistic/atheistic worldview]…. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts [and laws]. Unless inference [meaning, the power to infer] is [true], the whole picture disappears…. [U]nless reason is an absolute–all is in ruins. [Note: As creatures who constantly observe and understand the world around us, we need facts and laws to undergird this understanding.] 

Yet those who ask me to believe this [naturalistic] world picture, also ask me to believe that reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction: They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion [namely, that their reasoning is sound] and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based [namely, that their reason is based on mindless, aimless matter].”

In a sentence, according to naturalism, inferences are true, but everything those inferences are built upon are simply the unintended by-product of mindless, aimless matter.

The contradiction: The material world is random and without reason.  Yet, it produces creatures that reason, understand, build, see consequences, and make sense of something that, in the naturalist worldview, is utterly pointless, endless, aimless, and has no Designer. 

Also, the naturalist will tell a believer that God does not exist as if this naturalist has a purpose, namely, to dissuade the believer from believing in God, and at the same time says nothing has purpose.

Ultimately, we must decide.  Do we believe in God or not?  If we believe in God, we must understand what God wants for us, what is proper for our human nature, how we treat others, how we live as beings made in the image and likeness of God?

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