I understand that there is an element call faith to believe a system of belief. But my question is, are there valid arguments to prove God to someone who does not believe? Or at least to present God as logical?
No Overwhelming Proof
There may be cause to distinguish between, "Is there a way to prove the existence of the God of the Bible to all people in all times?" from the question of "Has there ever been a way to prove the existence of the God of the Bible?"
The answer to latter question is affirmative, although the accounts of this are recorded in the Bible itself. Nonetheless, the people of Israel were given overwhelming proof that the God of the Bible was real many times over for specific people in time. To mention a few...
So, God certainly did provide very convincing proof of His existence in times past--not to everyone who ever lived since the beginning of the world. Yet, as Jesus told Thomas, "blessed are they who have not seen, yet believe."
So, for whatever reason, it does not appear to be God's desire to show overwhelming evidence to every person who has ever lived in all times. It does appear that He offers "sufficient" evidence, but not "overwhelming" evidence to every person, including general revelation in creation.
However, just because there isn't overwhelming evidence or proof for something certainly does not mean it isn't true.
The classical arguments are certainly good places to start. The book, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist has some really good lines of reasoning in it as well.
At its root, the universe itself either came from nothing or it came from something or someone. All of our experimentation and reason indicates that "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could..." (to reference The Sound of Music). We know from logic and reason that nothing can create itself. Something has to exist before it can create anything.
Science now tells us convincingly that the universe is not eternal. The implication is that it began to exist, so it must have a cause that is greater than itself. The physical universe of time, space, and matter must have been created by a being that is outside of time, space, and matter. That Creator does correlate to the God of the Bible, who is outside of time, outside of space, and outside of matter.
A complete logical argument would need to entail evidence of prophecies fulfilled and the resurrection of Jesus, which is the crux of Christianity (pun intended).
The classic arguments I know are the following :
These arguments work together to form one argument. So please don't work with these as 5 single, independent arguments.
|show 1 more comment|
In other words, we would not have even a concept of justice, if absolute justice did not exist, just like a fish has no concept of either dry or wet.
CS Lewis also had his famous trilemma, demonstrating that if you accept the existence of Jesus and what He said, He must have been God. Nicky Gumbel (I think) summarised it as Jesus can only have been Mad, Bad or God."
Here's the trilemma in full:
|show 1 more comment|
First, it depends what you mean by proof.
The first of these is the strongest: you can build absolute proofs that cannot be refuted by anyone who accepts the principles of Mathematics. However, such proofs are limited to the perfect abstractions described by mathematicians, and don't necessarily work that well in the real world. For example, you can prove that 1 + 1 = 2, but you can't easily prove that 1 haystack + 1 haystack = 2 haystacks because haystack counting doesn't follow the normal rules (1 haystack + 1 haystack = 1 big haystack). As a result, you can't apply that kind of proof to God.
The second is weaker, but is still strong: scientific proof is the result of trying to find evidence against a theory, and accepting it as proven only if no evidence has yet been found that undermines that theory. If such evidence is found, and if the theory can't be adjusted to accommodate it, then the theory must be rejected. Nevertheless, if such evidence can't be found by the scientific community then there is good reason to accept a theory as proven. Some people feel that this kind of proof does apply to God, but there isn't sufficient consensus to accept that God's existence has been proven in this way.
Finally, the evidence required to convict someone in a court of law is somewhat weaker. The community of investigators is far smaller than that required for scientific proof, and the process of proof is far less rigorous than scientific proof would be. Whereas scientific proof relies on repeatability, this is generally impossible when someone is on trial. Now, despite the relative weakness of courtroom proof, it is often the best we've got, and we have to make real-world (even life-and-death) decisions based on this kind of proof. Many of us have looked the evidence for and against the Christian God's existence and concluded that, to the best of our ability, we have found sufficient 'proof' that He is real. We believers are willing to make real-world decisions on the basis of this proof, but recognize that it is at best a court-room proof rather than a mathematical or even a scientific proof.
For the most part, we believers assume that God's existence is logical. Some of us are able to articulate our understanding of that logic, whilst others are willing to accept that such a logic may exist but that we either don't or even can't know what it is.
As to what evidence people use as the basis of their proof, there are numerous sources, and different believers find different kinds of evidence persuasive. Some popular sources of evidence include:
The bottom line is this: we each of us have the option to look at the evidence available for God's existence and makes up their own mind. There is no absolute certainty - but for us Christians, there is enough.
No, there are no scientific experiments that you could run to show the existence of God.
When Christians talk about proving God, they mean something along the lines of Malachi 3:10 (NRSV)
Another oft quoted verse is James 1:5-8 (NRSV)
In other words, to prove (test) God.
Jesus claimed to be the God of the the Bible a few times, and he even used the scriptures to support his case (here is only a few verses to make this case):
Jesus claimed to be God:
Jesus invoked the name of God that was revealed to Moses in Exd 3:14:
Jesus claimed to fulfil a reading from Isaiah (61:1-2a):
Jesus used the scriptures to explaine his death and resurrection:
Paul also held that Jesus' death and resurrection was from the scriptures:
And Paul stated that if Jesus did not rise from the dead (according to the scriptures) then the Christian faith is futile and Christians are misrepresenting God:
Jesus and Paul seemed to think that the resurrection of Jesus proved that Jesus was the God of the Bible. If you can prove the resurrection then you have a good case that Jesus is who he said he was. There is no way to prove this scientifically, but historically there is some evidence that may imply it happened. This also depends on how strongly you take the historical sources, but most historians can agree that:
Some other resurrection theories (swoon, stolen body, hallucination, mistaken identity, wrong tomb etc...) try and account for either (1) the empty tomb, (2) the resurrection appearances and (3) the transformed lives of his followers, but no theory, besides Jesus' resurrection adequately explains all three.
Resurrect? An Atheist and Theist Dialogue, Gary R. Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew, edited by John F. Ankerberg
No, but all other existing theories have holes in them. Huge holes.
The current scientific model says it all started with the Big Bang and before that there was nothing. Yet, if an "explosion" creates a New York City, let alone occurs at all, then it is no longer nothing, but something, and no longer a valid answer to explain why we exist.
We can not say the Universe, the laws of physics, reason itself came from nothing. That is no answer.
You also can not say we came from an infinite series of Big Bangs. Think about it like this. Imagine I hand you a letter. You read it, then ask, "who wrote this?" Who created the letter, who wrote it?
I say, I got it from the postman (by our definition postmen do not write letters). You say, "No, who wrote it?" I say it came from an infinite series of postmen. That does not answer your question. We can not say we came from an infinite series of zero explanations.
There are other answers like, from the Great Eagle, things like that. But who made all the eagles?
|show 2 more comments|