Question: "Is there evidence for the existence of God?"Recommended Resource:
There is evidence for the existence of God. Not everyone finds that evidence compelling or convincing; this does not mean such evidence is nonexistent. Most who deny evidence for God demand forms of proof—or levels of certainty—that are either irrelevant or unreasonable. Looking at logic, experience, and empirical observations, there is much evidence for the existence of God.
Assessing evidence includes properly categorizing it. Some balk at the idea of “evidence” for a God who is invisible and immaterial. However, even hardened skeptics accept the meaningful existence of many such things, such as the laws of logic. Logic is neither material nor visible, yet it’s legitimately considered “real” and can be both perceived and examined. One cannot see logic or mechanically quantify it, but this does not justify any useful claim that logic does not exist. The same is true, to varying degrees, with other concepts such as morality.
This point also establishes that logic and philosophy are relevant when discussing evidence for the existence of God. As demonstrated in the case of the laws of logic, even if empirical proof is unconvincing, that does not mean the subject in question cannot be “real.” The probability that God exists is in no way reduced simply because empirical evidence is subject to interpretation; it is at least possible that something intangible, non-material, and meaningful actually exists.
With that in mind, there are several broad categories of evidence for the existence of God. None are self-sufficient to prove that God exists or that the Bible’s description of Him is accurate. Combined, however, they form a compelling argument that the God described in Scripture is real.
Human beings have a natural “sense” of God. Historians and anthropologists alike recognize belief in some supernatural reality as common to almost all human beings who have ever lived. The number of people who categorically reject every form of higher power or spirit is vanishingly small. This is true even in profoundly “secular” cultures. Even further, secular fields of study such as cognitive science of religion suggest that such beliefs are ingrained in the natural state of the human mind. At the very least, this suggests there is something real to be perceived, just as senses like sight and hearing are targeted at actual phenomena.
Logic points to the existence of God. There are several logic-based arguments indicating that God exists. Some, like the ontological argument, are not considered especially convincing, though they’re hard to refute. Others, such as the kalam cosmological argument, are considered much more robust. Continuing along the same spectrum, concepts such as intelligent design—teleological arguments—make logical inferences from observations to argue for the existence of God.
General observations support the existence of God. Teleological arguments arise because so many aspects of reality appear to be deliberately arranged. That evidence, in and of itself, is often extremely indicative of a Creator. The Big Bang is a classic example. This theory was initially resisted by atheists for being too “religious.” And yet the idea of a non-eternal universe, as demonstrated by secular science, is strongly supportive of the claims made in the early chapters of the Bible.
History, literature, and archaeology support the existence of God. Whether critics like it or not, the Bible is a valid form of evidence for the existence of God. Not merely “because the Bible says so,” but because the Bible has proved to be so reliable. Dismissing it as biased, simply because it says things skeptics do not accept, is not a rational response. That would be as irrational as dismissing every book describing Julius Caesar and then claiming there are no records describing Julius Caesar. The reliability of the Bible and its coordination with secular history and archaeology are reasonable points to raise when it comes to discussing the existence of God.
Personal experiences support the existence of God. Obviously, these are compelling only for those particular persons. Yet many people have come to know and understand God in a deeply personal way. So far as those experiences coordinate with other evidence, they’re reasonable to consider as part of the evidence for the existence of God.
Evidence will never overcome obstinance. Perhaps the weakest response to evidence of God’s existence is ignoring it: claiming “there is no evidence.” Closely related is the suggestion that a skeptic finds the evidence uncompelling. This kind of claim often comes with an ever-shifting threshold for proof. As happened with the Big Bang Theory, even when a position is effectively “proved,” the committed skeptic can always pivot to claim that this proof actually supports his fundamental views. Just as one person’s belief is not hard evidence regarding God’s existence, one person’s disbelief is not hard evidence of the opposite. This is especially true given that God’s existence touches on issues like personal morality and autonomy. Both in Scripture and in daily life, it’s common to see examples of those presented with more than enough evidence, yet who choose to stubbornly ignore it (Romans 1:18–20; Psalm 19:1; John 5:39–40; Luke 16:19–31; James 2:19).
Combining what we know of experience, logic, history, science, and other disciplines, there is more than enough evidence that God exists. Thankfully, we aren’t expected to find all that evidence in order to have a right relationship with Him. Rather, we are obligated to absorb what we can see and understand and follow the process of “ask . . . seek . . . knock” (Matthew 7:7–8).
Is there evidence for the existence of God?
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek
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