Cosmological and Anthropological Arguments For The Existence of God

Introduction
The Bible begins in the book of Genesis with these words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible does not begin by arguing for the reality of God, but assumes His existence. The people of Israel accepted the truth of an eternal God, so the biblical authors rarely spent time dealing with an argument for His existence. However, today in our humanistic society it is often necessary to begin explaining the gospel by establishing a foundation with an argument for God’s existence. 1 Peter 3:15 instructs believers to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” For the believer it is good to have an understanding of the arguments for God’s existence. It is important to note that we cannot prove God’s existence, but we can make a good argument that is supported by both scripture and reason. For this paper we will look at the Cosmological and the Anthropological arguments for God’s existence, and how they explain the necessity of a greater being.

Part One
The Cosmological Argument
The cosmological argument for God’s existence is an ancient philosophy that has been contemplated for centuries. The argument attempts to prove God’s existence by observation of the world around us. It begins with the acknowledgement that in order for things to exist they must have a beginning and all things with a beginning must have a cause. Today it is accepted by many within the scientific community that the universe must have had a beginning. When we peer into the reaches of space it is evident that the universe is expanding and this means everything is moving away from a single point in time and space, that point was the beginning. If the universe had a beginning, it had a cause. It is rational to determine that if the universe had a cause that cause must either be a something or someone. However, further scrutiny will reveal that the cause cannot be a something or you are simply adding to the chain of events and that something would require a cause. This is best illustrated in the example of a tree. A tree is a plant that comes from a seed, and that seed is produced by a tree. To get a tree you must have a seed and to get a seed you must have a tree. However, we know this sequence must be finite. At some point trees came into existence and the series started, a series by definition has a beginning and end. So the universe had a first cause, and that first cause must be an infinite, eternal, and powerful someone who exists outside of our space and time otherwise that someone would just be another cause demanding a cause.

A second aspect of the cosmological argument is a bit more complicated and becomes very philosophical, but it is very powerful because it not only explains that God created the universe but that He must also be causing it to continue to exist. Going back to the concept that things exist, we must further analyze what it means for something to exist. If I described a creature to you that had the body of a woman but instead of legs the creature had a tail like a fish, you would likely guess that I was describing a mermaid, however mermaids do not exist. The fact they are definable does not grant mermaids existence.

Let’s try another example but with something that can exist. If I were to describe a two-dimensional shape, constructed of line segments connecting three points, that are not in a straight line; I have rightly described a triangle. But that description does not require the triangle to exist. Triangles by nature do not require existence; triangles are actually caused to exist by something else that already exists. And that thing would require something to make it exist, and so on and so on. Just as the cosmological argument concludes there must be a beginning and therefore a cause, so it demands a source that continues to cause things to exist. And in order to end the loop, that cause must be without cause. Meaning its existence cannot be determined by the existence of something else. It must exist to give existence to everything else. So not only did the universe require a cause to begin, but it requires a cause to continue being. That thing would be existence itself, it would always exist, it would have no beginnings and no cause, and to be that it must be outside of the world as we know it. The next question is, does the God of the Bible fit that description?

Biblical Foundation
The purpose of world religions is to provide man a purpose in life. Christianity is different from all the world religions because it goes beyond our necessity for purpose and explains the cause of our existence as well as our purpose. No other religion, other than Judaism (which God used to provide the messiah of Christianity) and Christianity, bothers to provide a detailed account of the history of the universe and mankind. The Old Testament account of Genesis begins with God’s creation of the universe. He created time and space, and filled them with the earth, the sun, moon, and the stars. The God of Christianity is no small God who was unhappy with the world around Him and reshaped it to his liking. No, the God of Christianity spoke and created the entire universe from nothing.

One of the Hebrew poems attributed to Israel’s King David says in Psalm 19:1-4, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” The God of the Bible claims to have displayed his glory in the mysteries of the universe. Another of the psalms reads, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).” There is no mistake, the Bible claims God to have existed eternally and in order for that to be He must be without cause.

In fact, one of the writers of the New Testament, Paul, wrote in his letter to the Romans that, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).” Paul was saying that what we cannot see in this life is revealed to us in what we can see. That for the universe to come into being and to continue, it must have been caused by a great and mighty God. The Bible ends with the book of John’s revelation of Jesus Christ. In this letter to the church, John (one of Jesus’ disciples and closest friends) describes a scene in heaven where a multitude can be seen worshiping God and declaring, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being (Revelation 4:11).” No other religion declares their deity to be so powerful to be the very existence of the universe. Such a claim would demand the most amazing feats such as changing the very molecular composition of water into wine, defying the physical laws of gravity to walk on water, and raising the dead to life. No other “god” has claimed to be so powerful and proven themselves to be true. Only the God of Christianity can be our Cause.

Practical Application
What does the existence of a Creator who simply spoke the universe into existence and who alone causes all things to exist mean for mankind? If the universe had a beginning, than the universe had a cause, and that cause must exist outside of our space and time. Our response to this truth is to acknowledge that we are not alone. There is something greater than mankind, and it doesn’t come from the stars, but beyond them. Once we have come to belief in a creator, scrutiny of the Christian bible will further reveal the cause as not only our creator, but our God. We are the workmanship of a God who has chosen to pursue us, and if He has chosen to reach out to us our response should be to pursue Him. Our response should be complete devotion and worship.

Part Two

Anthropological Argument
The second argument for the existence of God that we are going to explore is the Anthropological argument. Anthropology is the study of mankind, and the subject of this argument are the qualities that separates us from other forms of life. We must ask ourselves why we are different from the rest of our planets inhabitants. Are we, as evolutionists propose, simply the highest evolved animal on our planet? Or is it possible that we are the dominant species because we are in fact different from the animals? This question deals with who we are and how we relate to God. Humanity differs from earth’s other occupants because we are self-aware, we think rationally, and we are imaginative. No other species on earth displays our level of intelligence, creativity, and emotion. So this raises the question, are we the dominant form of life because we possess these qualities? Or do we possess them because we were created to be dominant? How could mankind have evolved into a rational, creative, and emotional being from the chaotic process of microbe to man evolution?

One aspect of the anthropological argument reveals that mankind is so widely different from our world because our creation was different from that of the rest of the universe. We were created in the image of God, and because of this we have been given certain attributes that separates us from all other forms of life. We were not made in God’s likeness in appearance, for scripture tells us that God is spirit and we should not infer that God’s physical appearance is that of a man’s. It is our non-physical attributes that were granted to us by being made in the image of our Creator. Our intelligence, imagination, emotion, creativity, and morality are many of the attributes of God that He has blessed us with.

A second aspect of the Anthropological argument demonstrates that it is impossible for mankind to be a personal beings made from an impersonal universe. We are beings that desire to be free, we long for intimacy, we acknowledge morality, and we seek significance. This is what it means to be human. But this world does not feed our desires, and they cannot come from the universe. Allow me to explain, we hunger for food and thirst for drink. The universe in which we live includes an environment that supplies the necessities to satisfy these desires. But our environment is not personal; it is not rational, loving, moral, or purposeful. Our environment does not meet these needs. They are only met by a personal, rational, loving, moral, and significant Creator. It is these desires that lead us to the truth that satisfaction can only be found in God. And again we must ask ourselves, does the God of the Bible satisfy this argument.

Biblical Foundation
To find why mankind differs so greatly from the animals that we co-populate the earth with, we must look no further than the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Genesis 1:27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” It is this belief that mankind was created by his creator to be different that best explains why we are the dominant species and why there is no competition from other animals. In the account of creation we see that God gave man many of his attributes and placed him in a position of dominance over the animals. Also in the Genesis account we see how God satisfies man’s desires. In Genesis 2:18 we read, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” This is indication that in God’s perfect creation (before man’s rebellion and his fall from paradise) man’s environment and God himself were able to meet all of man’s desires. Man is a foreign creature that differs greatly from all other life in his environment. Those attributes that separate us also lead us to question if we have a creator. It is these qualities and their existence in man alone that argue for a creator who modeled man after himself.

Practical Application
The anthropological argument is convincing in that humanity has always searched for other intelligent, emotional, and hopefully moral beings. The thought that we could be one of a kind seems foreign to us. Man’s desire for such a relationship is further proof of the existence of a creator who is seeking to have a relationship with his creation. Who we are, how we think, how we love, and how we create are all reflections of a personal God who is looking to have a personal relationship with us. If this creator has reached out to us our response must be to run to Him. It is clear that this is what we were created for.

Conclusion
It is true that we cannot prove the existence of God, but the cosmological argument provides us with very convincing evidence that He exists. God has chosen to reveal himself in a way that requires faith but He has provided many “proofs” of his existence; such as the expanding of the universe, the need for the universe to have a cause, the miracle of life itself, His involvement in the lives of the Israelites, in the life of Jesus our Messiah, and the creation and divine protection of His Church. Often times people ask for proof in God outside of the text of the Bible, and both the cosmological and an anthropological arguments provide a great deal of reason to the discussion.

Secular Humanism and Christianity

What is Secular Humanism?

There is something universal about humanity. All across the globe no matter how isolated, we want to believe there is something greater than ourselves. This desire within us represents the natural belief in God, although many choose to deny his existence and instead choose to put their faith in something other than a creator. Secular humanists are not different. Secular humanism is the belief that all life developed by a series of cosmic accidents. Secular humanism is the belief that all matter has existed infinitely and that life was allowed to form over time as combinations of building blocks formed more complex systems (Weider p.55). Secular humanists believe this same evolutionary process eventually led to mankind’s evolution.

In secular humanism our character and consciousness is the product of chemical and biological exchanges and there is no other driving force creating individuality than these combinations and life experience (Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students p.2). Secular humanist believe mankind to be a more highly evolved animal that holds no greater value than the rest of earth’s inhabitants (Weider  p.57). And so a humanist’s faith must be placed in mankind and their hope is that by becoming more enlightened we can create paradise in this life.

Secular humanists believe that mankind’s existence holds no purpose and that it is left up to the individual to create value in their own life (Weider p.59). From a secular humanist point-of-view it is only by our desire to leave a legacy and lasting impact that our lives are given meaning. They believe we exist simply due to evolutionary chance and other than the desire to survive and leave a legacy we have no purpose.

Secular humanism rejects the idea of God and of an absolute moral standard. To the secular humanist morality is relative to the individual or society and can change based on many factors (Weider p.61). Secular humanists believe mankind is morally good, and would pursue goodness if it is properly taught (Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students p.3). However by this belief is it difficult to determine how a person should live. Some believe morality is up to the person, and some might argue it is up to the society. Secular humanism’s rejection of absolute morality makes it very difficult to determine right from wrong.

For secular humanist the answers to questions about life after death are simple, when you die life is over. They believe there is no life after death. The humanist belief is that the only thing that comes after death is your legacy (Weider p.63). Secular humanists believe the only judge of a person will be those left behind and how they will remember them. For this very reason many secular humanists put much effort in meaningful activities they can be remembered for.

What does Christianity Teach About Mankind?

Christians believe God existed before anything else. He created our world from nothing (Genesis 1:1). The matter that makes up all physical things did not exist before God began creation (Weider p.56). Life did not evolve over millions of years, but was spoken into existence in the span of six days (Genesis 1:31). Man was created by God on the sixth day after He had created the land animals. The Christian Bible says mankind was made in God’s image, he was formed from the ground, and God breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7).

Christians believe God created mankind different from the animals (Weider p.58). The first man, Adam, was not spoken into existence like the rest of the living creatures. He was shaped after his creator and given life from the Creator’s own breath. Christianity teaches that the earth and all life were created for mankind to enjoy. God instructed Adam to work the ground and gave him responsibility over the animals (Genesis 1:28). Christian’s believe human attributes, that make us different from the animals, are attributed to our Creator making us like Himself. Christians believe we have a God-given responsibility to take care of His creation (Weider p.58).

Christians believe we were created for the sole purpose of relationship; specifically, a relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5:15). Christians reject the notion of life being an accident and instead embrace that God created us for this purpose (Jeremiah 29:11). Christians believe life to be something special created by God and nurtured so that we would pursue our maker and that is why we exist (Weider p.60).

To the Christian God has chosen right from wrong, and the distinction is absolute (Weider p.62). Christians believe man is inherently evil, due to the fall of mankind, and corrupted by a sin nature that separates us from God. Christians believe God has taught the difference between right and wrong by both natural (Romans 2:14-15) and special revelation (Exodus 20:1-17), but we choose to rebel against Him because of our sin nature (Matthew 15:18-19). Christians believe it is impossible for mankind to overcome our sinfulness, and it is only by the redeeming work of Christ Jesus that we are able to be restored to God. After this restoration, our desires begin to change and we want to live more like Jesus. Only after a new birth, we begin to seek living a life that is pleasing to God (Galatians 5:22-25).

Christians believe God has promised an existence after this life. Jesus taught that he would leave his followers to return to God and that he would prepare a place for them to live for eternity (John 14:2-3). Christians believe those who put their trust in the redeeming work of Jesus, will spend eternity living in the presence of God in his heavenly home. However, for those who reject the work of Jesus there will be eternal punishment separated from God. Those who reject God will be sentenced with the fallen angels in the eternal prison known as Hell (Hebrews 9:27-28). Christians believe they will be held to answer for their lives at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is there that all believers will give account of their lives and be rewarded for their faithfulness to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27). However, Christians believe the unbeliever will face condemnation at the Great White Thrown Judgment for their unbelief. The point here is that a Christian believes they have been given a desire by God to live a righteous life and there are rewards for doing so. The desire to please God only comes from salvation (Weider p.64).

References:

Weider, L. and Gutierrez, B. (2011). Consider. Bel Air, MD: Acedemx.

Halverson, D. (2005). Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students. Colorado Springs, CO: International Students, Inc.

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