Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Post #4 Traditional "proofs" for the existence of God

I’m back again with another addition to my 5 part series on the philosophy of the existence of god and this will be my second to last post. Sad, I know because you guys have enjoyed it so much so far (I can tell by all of the comments, which equal 0). So last time I posted, I had discussed one of Wayne Grudem’s sub points in chapter 9 from his book, Systematic Theology, which was believing the evidence in Scripture and nature. That post, I believe was an interesting one and if you want more information, you should definitely check Systematic Theology. Anyways, my post today will be on the, “Traditional “proofs” for the existence of God”, which can be found on page 143, section C in Grudem’s book. Let’s begin. “The traditional “proofs” for the existence of God that have been constructed by Christian (and some non-Christian) philosophers at various points in history are in fact attempts to analyze the evidence, especially the evidence from nature, in extremely careful and logically precise ways, in order to persuade people that it is not rational to reject the idea of God’s existence. If it is true that sin causes people to think irrationally, then these proofs are attempts to cause people to think rationally or correctly about the evidence for God’s existence, in spite of irrational tendencies caused by sin.”(p.143) That is how Grudem decides to open up this section on the traditional proofs of God’s existence. Now there are 4 “arguments” that are the main proofs that he later goes on to discuss, but I want to focus my attention on what we have learned so far. Us humans have this sort of inner sense that there has to be a all-wise creator which in turn points to the possibility that there is one, also, there is clear evidence in scripture that points to God’s existence (for those of whom have faith are reassured of His existence) and evidence found in nature (for anyone who can see, touch, feel and think on.) Now we are being faced with these “proofs” that both Christian and non-Christian philosophers attempt to use to persuade others, “that it is not rational to reject the idea of God’s existence.”(p.143) Now lets look at these points at hand. “Most traditional proofs for the existence of God can be classified in four major types of argument: 1. The cosmological argument considers the fact that every known thing in the universe has a cause. Therefore, it reasons, the universe itself must also have a cause, and the cause of such a great universe can only be God. 2. The teleological argument is really a subcategory of the cosmological argument. It focuses on the evidence of harmony, order, and design in the universe, and argues that its design gives evidence of an intelligent purpose (the Greek word telos means “end” or “goal” or “purpose”). Since the universe appears to be designed with a purpose, there must be an intelligent and purposeful God who created it to function this way.”(p.143) So let’s digest that for a second. It seems that both cosmological and teleological arguments are focusing on the fact that everything found in nature has a distinct purpose and that nothing is useless, which points to the fact that a purposeful God designed the universe and everything in it for a reason and not that a collision of atoms caused an explosion which just so happened to create the universe and everything in it, which just so happened to make those things work in such a particular way that nothing is useless. Now on to the last two arguments, “3. The ontological argument begins with the idea of God, who is defined as a being “greater than which nothing can be imagined.” It then argues that the characteristic of existence must belong to such a being, since it is greater to exist than not to.”(p. 143) I find this point to be a somewhat weaker argument, but that is just my opinion. “4. The moral argument begins from man’s sense of right and wrong, and of the need for justice to be done, and argues that there must be a God who is the source of right and wrong and who will someday mete out justice to all people.”
(p.143) Now the moral argument is one that happens to be a favorite among Christian philosophers and atheist philosophers love to refute it. Grudem ties up this sub-point with, “Because all of these arguments are based on facts about the creation that are indeed true facts, we may say that all of these proofs (when carefully constructed) are, in an objective sense, valid proofs. They are valid in that they correctly evaluate the evidence and correctly reason to a true conclusion - in fact, the universe does have God as its cause, and it does show evidence of purposeful design, and God does exist as a being greater than which nothing can be imagined, and God has given us a sense of right and wrong and a sense that his judgment is coming someday.”(p.144) So I think today’s post might have been my favorite and I truly hope that those of you who took the time to read it (especially Dr.Oliver) enjoyed it as well and also are in some shape or form persuaded by it. Until next time.

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