Study of God – Part 2
By: John Ankerberg Show
- Value of the Cosmological Argument
- It argues for the existence of an eternal, necessary Being.
- It argues for the intelligence and power of this Being.
- It argues that this being is separate from the creation and is the source (Cause) of all life.
B. The Teleological Argument (From telos: “end, purpose”)
The Purpose and Adaptation in the Universe. This is the argument from Design back to the Designer; Psalm 94:9. Everything in the universe has a systematic pattern in form and function.
- Planets are mathematically precise in operation.
- Snow crystals are perfect geometric forms.
- Chemical balance is so delicate that every atom which is displaced demands a corresponding change elsewhere, or there would be a chain reaction resulting in chaos. Sodium and chloride, two poisons, are combined in exact proportion to make common salt!
- Stars are so precise in movement that we govern our watches by them. Since a mere watch demands an intelligent being as its maker, how much more do the stars by which the watch is governed!
- Instincts of animals cannot be relegated to experience. No one taught the bee to construct a honeycomb so precisely.
- Value of the Telelogical Argument. It takes the Cosmological Argument one step farther and shows that the First Cause not only exists, but is a personal being with intelligence and will.
C. The Anthropological Argument (From anthropos, “man”) The natural and moral constitution of man argues for an intelligent and moral Author of these attributes; Ps. 94:10.
- Man has Intellect, therefore he knows he is a personal being. He knows his personality is in his soul, not his body. Where did the soul originate? If it is not from the evolution of the body, then there must be an intelligent Being behind the soul, because intelligence cannot be the product of unintelligence
- Man has sensibility; he desires art, music, beauty, and he aspires to worship. Blind force cannot produce these things, thus, there must be God Who placed these sensibilities in man. Very early, in Gen. 4:20-22 there are crafts in bronze and iron; musical instruments.
- Man has a will; he can make decisions, fulfill purposes here on earth. “Will” did not evolve from the body by blind force, since material cannot beget immaterial of itself. Thus, there must have been a Being with a sovereign will, to instill this quality in man.
- Man has a conscience; he perceives right from wrong. Our moral judgment (conscience) has an inescapable authority over us, and a responsibility to which we must answer. This responsibility is higher than self or society; it is to a Person (God) and all men fear the judgment; Rom. 1:28-32; Heb. 9:27.
- Value of the Anthropological Argument: The First Cause, the Creator, must possess similar aspects of personality (intellect, sensibility, will) to an infinite and perfect degree, so that He can render perfect judgment according to holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
D. The Ontological Argument (from ontos, “being, existence”) God exists because man has an idea in his mind that God exists.
- I have an idea of a perfect Being; perfection must include real existence, (Heb. 11:6) or He would not be perfect.
- If God exists only in our intellect, then this would not be the greatest concept, because we could add reality to it.
- Though imperfect beings can be imagined without actual existence, the concept of perfection demands existence as part of it.
- Value of the Ontological Argument: Though it does not prove the existence of God directly, this argument does show what God must be like if He exists. However, taken together with the three previous arguments, it proves His existence as infinite, perfect and necessary, since our intellect will not allow us to think less of the First Cause
E. The Argument from Congruity: All things flowing together.
- Whenever one finds the best possible solution for a problem, it must be accepted as the true solution until it is disproved. So we take all the arguments and say that the belief in the existence of God best explains the related facts of our mental, moral and religious natures, as well as the facts of the material universe. Therefore, God exists!
- Value of the Argument from Congruity: It provides the best possible answer for the creation and substantiation of the universe, in that the Creator must be a self-existent, all-powerful, all-wise, personal God.
A. Atheism is from atheos, “no God;” Eph. 2:12 “without God.”
- Classical atheism: When one nation denies the existence of the god of another nation. Thus, Christians were called atheists by the heathen, who considered it no great crime to demand the death penalty for Christians. Also, Socrates was charged with atheism because he doubted the existence of Greek gods.
- Dogmatic atheism: Absolute denial of the existence of any god. There is no cause for anything, even our existence, and no hope for the future. Herbert Spencer reduced all knowledge to two facts: Force is, and Force is persistent; no conscience, no intelligence, no will; only force.
- Philosophic atheism: An attempt to substitute ideas for a personal God: nature is God; the social consciousness of mankind is God; everything is God. While not absolutely denying the concept of God, they virtually deny God as a real being.
- Practical atheism: A willing rejection in practice of something you may believe. Hypocritical indifference to the idea of God. “If there is a God, why doesn’t He stop all wars?” Yet, this man has never given much thought to the matter; Ps. 14:1
- Weaknesses of Atheism
- A man must force himself to deny his own reasoning power to be an atheist.
- A consistent atheist must deny conscience, morality and will.
- A man must assert infinite knowledge to be able to say “There is no God.”
B. Agnosticism: From aginosko, “no knowledge”
- Definition: An unwillingness to accept reason as competent to judge ultimate reality. All knowledge is therefore limited and relative. The phemomena “things which appear” can be known. We see them, we study them. But the noumena “things we understand” are not known. We may know they exist, but we cannot perceive what they are. Thus, we cannot know God, the ultimate reality (cf. Heb. 11:3 for both words). Leading agnostics were Thomas Huxley (1825) and Herbert Spencer (1820).
- Weaknesses of Agnosticism
- It is a negative discredit to human knowledge because it discards reasonable proof.
- It is contradictory because it accepts as fact that which it denies. That is, agnosticism says, “I cannot be certain about realities, and I am sure I cannot be certain!”
- Even science believes in intangibles and relativity. Things “seen” must be related to things “unseen” (time and space), which must be real.
C. Pantheism: From pan-theos “All is God.”
- Materialism: Matter is the cause of life, or what is called “mother nature.” This is closely related to the spontaneous generation theory of evolution.
- Hylozoism: From hule “matter” and zo-e “life.” Matter has its own soul and is independent of a need for a personal Creator. Thus, there is no responsibility, no sin, no conscious existence after death. This theory was held by early Greek philosophers.
- Monism: From mono, “one” affirming that there is only one principle of life which includes mind and matter, the totality of which is God.
- Eastern Religions such as Buddhism and Brahmanism have the idea of the whole universe as the creator, and it eventually returns to itself as appear as another part of the universe.
- Weaknesses of Pantheism
- Pantheism fails to account for the moral order of the universe, and especially the moral nature of man. If all is God, then sin is God, and sin becomes necessary and right.
- Pantheism fails to account for the existence of personal intelligence. If everything is composed of material and is under the law of necessity, there cannot be a First Cause behind the universe. Yet, we are intelligent and personal! We could not have been produced by impersonal necessity.
D. Polytheism: From poly “many” and theos “God”
- Polytheism originated when man left the knowledge of the one true God, and worshiped the creature; Rom. 1:18-32. Fear is the reason and idolatry is the outcome of polytheism. (In India, Egypt, Greece and Rome.)
- Weaknesses of Polytheism
- The notion of two or more gods is self-contradictory, since each one limits the other and destroys his god-hood.
- Infinity and absolute perfection are possible only to one God so that a Supreme Being is incapable of being multiplied. This does not destroy our concept of the Trinity, for we believe in one God, with one Essence, manifested in Three Persons.