There are many arguments that have been forwarded for the existence of God. Peter Kreeft, a Professor of Philosophy, lists some 20 of them (1). A few of the more commonly known & discussed arguments would be from Big Bang Cosmology (the Kalam Argument), teleology (the appearance of design in the universe), objective morality (that objective morality demands a transcendent law which can only come from God), the reality of miracles, religious experience & Jesus’ resurrection (the resurrection as the best historical explanation of the facts). Other arguments for God’s also exist (from conscience, aesthetics, desire, truth etc.). Some of these are particularly convincing in my view & I therefore feel rationally justified in my belief – most persuasive is Jesus’ resurrection which is supplemented by religious experience, the reality of miracles & the Kalam Cosmological Argument, to name a few. These arguments are usually represented in a deductive syllogism, for example, the argument form objective morality is formatted as follows (2):
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. But objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
Now, if premise three, the conclusion, logically follows from the previous two premises then God exists. However, the critic has to refute either one of the premises to render the argument invalid. In this case he needs to deny that objective morality exists, or that we can have objective morality without a transcendent standard grounded in God. However, naturalistic theories have failed to ground moral realism without an appeal to a transcendent standard (3) & it is problematic to undermine the objective nature of morality especially since we all intuitively know that some acts (torturing puppies or abusing babies) are always morally evil whereas other acts are really good (helping a person with down syndrome find a job or sticking up for a mentally handicapped individual being bullied by his peers).
What is also worth noting is that many atheists view some of these arguments as serious contenders to their worldview. For example, the atheist Sam Harris affirms the objective nature of morality (4) although his thesis comes well short in grounding this apart from God (3). The New Atheist Christopher Hitchens believed that “you have to spend time thinking about it, working on it. It’s not a trivial [argument]” in reference to the fine-tuning argument. The atheist John Steinrucken asks of his atheists peers: “Just what are the immutable moral laws of secularism? Be prepared to answer, if you are honest, that such laws simply do not exist!” Although Steinrucken is an atheist he still believes that the “Judeo-Christian tradition… offers a template assuring a life of inner peace toward the world at large.” The atheist Llewelyn Powys once wrote that if we reject God’s existence we therefore need to abandon “all trust in an ordained moral order” (6). The implications of God’s existence or non-existence in relation to the question of morality has significant implications – both theists & atheists testify to this. Further, the famous atheist scientist Stephen Hawking writes that “Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention” (7). In other words, the beginning of the physical universe would suggest that a god, a Creator, may exist (hence the Kalam Cosmological Argument). The atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann affirms that Jesus really appeared to his disciples, the persecutor Paul & skeptic James after his death although he tries to explain these away as hallucinations (8). According to these atheists the arguments for God’s existence are important to consider – they are not there to merely be swept under the carpet and ignored (although many atheists would give this impression).
In concluding the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig says that there are “good arguments for God’s existence. That is to say, they are logically valid; their premises are true; and their premises are more plausible in light of the evidence than their negations. Therefore, insofar as we are rational people, we should embrace their conclusions” (9).
1. Kreeft, P. Twenty Arguments For God’s Existence. Available.
2. Craig, W. Transcript: The Moral Argument. Available.
3. Craig, W. Navigating Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape. Available.
4. Harris, H. 2011. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. p. 46.
5. 2012. Christopher Hitchens Makes a Startling Admission. Available.
6. ‘Impassioned Clay’ Cited in John Gray, The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths.
7. Stephen Hawking quoted by John Lennox in God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
8. Ludemann writes that “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’s death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.” (‘What Really Happened? p. 80)
9. Craig, W. 2010. The New Atheism and Five Arguments For The Existence of God. Available.