Theology Proper: The Existence of God

Knowing God

Bruce Ware said it clearly, “God has made us so that we become naturally, instinctively and relentlessly like what we esteem most highly.” God has designed the universe so that people will know him and esteem him most highly.

Before exaltation of God begins, knowledge of God’s existence must be attained. We arrive at the knowledge God’s existence through many means, but I will list three of them in this post.

Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument for the existence of God is based around the idea of cause and effect, or Aquinas’ description of the unmoved mover. The idea is that everything that is moving in the universe had to begin its movement somewhere. Who started everything moving. Aquinas’ argument is that at some point there was an unmoved mover. The Scriptures tell us that the cosmos itself is declaring the greatness and supremacy of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6 ESV)

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20 ESV)

The Teleological Argument

The teleological argument for the existence of God looks at the direction to which everything is headed and infers that everything in the universe couldn’t be heading toward something that they had no part in deciding unless there was something (or someone) causing them to move in that direction. Aquinas would call this the unmoved mover. The familiar illustration of the watch on the beach applies here. Imagine you have never seen a watch before and suddenly you come upon a watch. You open the casing and see all the movements and the parts working together and you conclude: what an amazing accident! No, you conclude that there had to be someone who put all this together.

Moral Argument

C.S. Lewis the most notable proponent of this argument. The idea is that the existence of a moral law has to come from somewhere. Most everyone, evangelical or not, will agree that there is evil in the world. If there is such a thing as evil there must be such a thing as good, or evil’s opposite. If there is good and evil, there must be a means to differentiate between the who, or a moral law. If there is a moral law, there must be a moral law giver. Hence, if I steal your coat, you tell me I can’t do that because that would be stealing and stealing is wrong. Where did you get the idea of stealing and where did you get the idea that it is wrong? You might respond by saying society gave you that idea. Well, where did society get the idea? If you trace back the argument, you can see the point. The moral law came from a moral law giver.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…(Romans 2:14-15 ESV)

If God exists as we have seen today, then it is necessary that we understand him. Thankfully, he has given us the Scriptures that we might understand and be rightly related to him.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)

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