Does God Exist?: Arguments for the Existence of God – Program 2
- Genres:John Ankerberg, Preaching & Teaching
5 good reasons why God exists.
I ask Dr. Craig to present 5 good reasons why God exists. He presents the same arguments he uses in debates with top atheists and agnostics.
Today on the johnny kinberg show, does God exist. A recent pew survey revealed that more than one in five americans now consider themselves atheist agnostic or nothing in particular. And today I’ve asked philosopher dr William Lane Craig to respond By presenting five good reasons why God does exist. Dr craig is considered by many to be the top christian philosopher of our generation and has debated many of the new atheists in some of the leading universities around the world. Dr craig holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Birmingham in England and also a doctor of theology degree from the University of Munich, join us for this special edition of the john Ekberg show, Welcome to our program. I’m john Achterberg, thanks for joining us today, I’m glad that you’re here and you won’t want to miss this information. My guest is Dr William Lane Craig, who’s one of the finest philosophers of our time. He’s engaged in debates and dialogues with many of the most well known skeptics in our world, at some of the most prestigious universities around the world and Bill, I’m glad that you’re here today and many of your debates with leading atheists have entered on such topics as atheism versus Christianity or does God exist or what good evidence is there to think that God exists and today I’d like you to share with our audience, five good reasons why you believe God exists. Very good. I’m convinced john that the hypothesis that God exists, explains a wide range of the data of human experience, for example, God is the best explanation of the origin of the universe. Second God is the best explanation of the fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. Thirdly God is the best explanation of the existence of objective moral values and duties in the world. Number four God is the best explanation for the historical facts concerning jesus of Nazareth. And finally, number five God can be personally known and experienced together. I think these provide a powerful Cumulative case for believing that God exists. Alright, start with number one, the origin of the universe. one of the most remarkable facts about modern physics is that in contrast to scientists of bygone days, modern science believes that the universe is not eternal in the past, but had a beginning a finite time ago. The controlling paradigm of modern astrophysics, which is the study of the universe as a whole, is that the universe began in an event called the Big Bang About 14 billion years ago, and I think that most laypeople don’t understand that according to this theory, not simply all matter and energy, but physical space and time themselves came into being at the moment of the Big Bang, so that the Big Bang represents literally the origin of the universe out of nothing. Now, the difficulty is of course that out of nothing, nothing comes to say that the universe just popped into being an caused out of nothing would be worse than magic when a magician pulls a rabbit out of the hat, at least you’ve got the magician, not to mention the hat. But on Atheism, you have to say that the universe just popped into being uncalled out of absolutely nothing, which is surely absurd. So that it seems to me far more rational to say that there is a transcendent cause of the universe which brought it into existence. You’ve got a great illustration of what you’re talking about using a balloon. It’s very important to understand that on the Big Bang model. The theory is not that the material universe is expanding into a pre existing empty space. Rather, according to this model, space and time themselves come into being at the Big Bang and a very good way to visualize this is by imagining a balloon with buttons pasted onto the surface of the blue. Now the buttons are glued in place so they don’t move relative to the surface of the balloon. But as you blow up the balloon, the buttons will get further and further and further apart because the surface of the balloon is expanding. Now the surface of the balloon is just like our three dimensional space. As space expands, the Galaxies get further and further and further apart. Now this has the radical implication that as you trace the expansion back in time, they get closer and closer and closer together until at some point in the finite past, the entire universe is contracted down to a single point before which it literally did not exist. So that the controlling paradigm of contemporary cosmology is that the universe began to exist Out of nothing about 14 billion years ago. Yeah. And I think that lay people pick up on the web and they pick up when they’re reading some of the scientific journals and even pop literature is that philosophers of science are saying stay tuned because really, instead of nothing, this nothing is really something. And that’s not what the theory is really saying, explain that there has been a great deal of misinformation in popular press and television shows about quantum mechanics with regard to the origin of the universe. It’s said that on in quantum mechanics you can get particles that fluctuate into existence out of the quantum vacuum. And that therefore it is true that something can come into being from nothing. And so you can get the universe coming into existence without a cause from nothing. What these persons failed to explain is that the quantum vacuum in physics is not nothing. It is not what the layman thinks of as a vacuum. The quantum vacuum is a sea of energy, a sea of violent activity governed by physical laws. It is most emphatically not nothing. So that even if the early stages of the universe during the first split second of its existence is characterized or described by a quantum mechanical vacuum that is not the origin of the universe out of nothing. And the point is that that quantum vacuum state cannot have persisted to infinity past it had a beginning and therefore were thrust into the question of why did the origin of the universe occur? What brought the universe into being? Why is this a good reason that God exists? Well? What it points to is a transcendent cause of the physical universe. And when you reflect on what properties such a cause would have to have another number of very theologically significant attributes fallout for example, this would have to be an uncaught caused being. It would have to be non physical and immaterial because it created all the matter in the universe, it would have to be non temporal that is to say timeless because it created time as well as space. It would therefore have to be changeless. It would have to be enormously powerful in order to bring the universe into existence. And moreover, I would argue this being is also plausibly personal as well now. Why is that? Well, it’s the only way you can explain how to get a temporal effect with the beginning from a permanent timeless cause that has existed eternally. If the cause were just an impersonal set of mechanically operating conditions, then once the sufficient conditions are given The effect has to be given as well. If the conditions are there permanently from eternity, the effect would have to be there permanently. Yeah, you’ve got a great illustration using water freezing, yes, take water for example, the cause of water’s freezing is the temperature being below 0Â°C. If the temperature were below 0Â° from eternity past, the water would be frozen from eternity past. It would be impossible for the water to just begin to freeze a finite time ago. So how can you get a temporary effect with the beginning from a permanent eternal cause? I can think of only one answer to that and that is if the cause is a personal agent endowed with freedom of the will, who can therefore create a new effect without any prior determining conditions. For example, a man sitting from eternity could freely will to stand up. And so you would have a new effect arise from an eternal cause. And so were brought not simply to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its personal creator. This is such great stuff. Bill. I want to get to the second reason for the existence of God. As you say, the complex order in the universe points to an intelligent designer, explain scientists once thought that whatever the initial conditions of the universe might have been given enough time and a little luck. Eventually intelligent life forms like ourselves would evolve. But instead, during the last 50 years or so, scientists have discovered to their surprise that the existence of intelligent life in this universe depends upon a complex and delicate balance of initial conditions given in the Big Bang itself. In fact, it appears that the universe has been incredibly fine tuned for the existence of intelligent life from the very moment of its inception. And this fine tuning is beyond comprehension in its delicacy. To give you an idea of the delicacy of the fine tuning, let me just give a couple of numbers to give you a feel for the odds. The number of seconds in the entire history of the universe. All the way back to the Big Bang is about 10 to the 18th Power. 10 to the 18th power. Seconds in the entire history of the universe. 10 followed by 18 zeros. A huge number. The number of sub atomic particles In the entire known Universe is said to be around 10 to the 80th power. Now, with those numbers in mind, consider the following. In order for the universe to be life permitting the force of gravity And the weak force in the Atom have to be fine tuned to the precision of one part out of 10 to the 100th power. The cosmological constant that governs the accelerating expansion of the universe is fine tuned to one part out of 10 to the 120th power Here’s a real eye popper Roger. Penrose of Oxford University Has estimated that the odds of the initial low entropy state of the early universe obtaining by chance alone is one chance out of 10 To the power of 10 to the power of 123. A number which is so incomprehensible, that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement. And the examples of fine tuning are so diverse and so numerous that they are unlikely to disappear with any future advance of physics. The fine tuning is here to stay and require some sort of explanation of its existence. And in the literature on this subject, there are basically three possible explanations that are put forward. One would be physical necessity, that it’s it’s due to the laws of nature, they have to have the values they do. Second would be it’s just pure chance alone. The third one would be, it’s the product of intelligent design. Someone has designed the universe to be life permitting. The problem is that those first two alternative explanations, physical necessity and chance are just not very plausible. There’s nothing about the laws of nature that require these constants and quantities to have the values they do, and the chances are so remote that they cannot be reasonably faced, so that I think the most rational explanation is intelligent design and a number of scientists have said this as well. For example, paul Davies, prominent physicist, has said through my scientific work, I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity. So astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact and robert Jastrow, who was the head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has said that this is the most powerful evidence for the existence of God ever to come out of science. So we can summarize this first argument as follows. One. If the universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause of its beginning to the universe began to exist. Three. Therefore the universe has a cause of its beginning. We can summarize this second argument as follows. One. The fine tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design two. It is not due to physical necessity or chance. Three, therefore it is due to design. All right, You say that your third reason for believing in the existence of God is objective moral values are in the world explained If God does not exist, john then it’s very difficult to find any objective standard of right and wrong, good and evil on Atheism. Moral values are just byproducts of biological evolution and social conditioning. Michael Reuss, who is an atheistic philosopher of science from Canada has said that morality is a biological adaptation. Ethics is illusory morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction and any deeper meaning is illusory on a naturalistic atheistic view, then there really are no objective moral values and duties in the world. But the difficulty is that in moral experience, we find a realm of objective moral values and duties that forced themselves upon us as objectively binding and true. Even Reus himself in another place, admits the man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little Children is just as mistaken as the man who says two plus two equals five. So the question is, what then, is the best foundation for these objective moral values and duties? And I think the answer is in God, if God exists, then we have a transcendent objective foundation for right and wrong, for good and evil that atheism cannot supply. We can summarize this third argument as follows. one. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist to, but objective moral values and duties do exist from which it follows logically and necessarily that three, therefore, God exists. And I find this is one of the most powerful arguments for God’s existence because students recognize the truth of those premises. They’ve been taught relativism in their university classes, they’ve been taught that if there is no God, then everything is relative objective, moral values do not exist, but at the same time john they’re deeply committed to premise to that objective values do do exist. They do not want to be thought of as judgmental. They prize the values of tolerance and open mindedness and love. They’re scared to death to condemn uh someone who disagrees with them, they hold to that as an objective value. So in fact, they’re committed to the truth of both of these premises, but they’ve just never put two and two together and drawn the logical conclusion. Right, Bill, you say that the fourth good reason for the existence of God is the historical facts concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus explained Well, Jesus of Nazareth was a remarkable individual. By all accounts, john new testament, historians have reached something of a consensus that the historical jesus came on the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in God’s place. He claimed that in himself, the Kingdom of God had broken into human history and his visible demonstrations of this fact, he carried out a ministry of miracle working and exorcisms. But the most radical confirmation of his personal claims was his resurrection from the dead. If jesus really did rise from the dead, that means that he must have been who he claimed to be and that God has publicly vindicated those claims. Now, I realized that most people think the resurrection of jesus is something you just believe in by faith. But in my doctoral studies at the University of Munich on this subject, I was surprised to find that there are actually four established facts which are agreed to by the wide majority of new testament scholars today, which I think are best explained by the fact of jesus resurrection number one is that following his crucifixion, Jesus of Nazareth was laid in a tomb by a member of the jewish high court named joseph of Arimathea, Secondly that tomb was then discovered empty by a group of jesus women followers on the sunday morning following his crucifixion. Thirdly thereafter different individuals and groups of people under a variety of circumstances and at different locales saw appearances of jesus alive from the dead and number four that despite every predisposition to the contrary the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe that God had raised jesus from the dead. Now those facts are widely acknowledged by the majority of new testament historians today, the only question is how do you best explain them? And I’m convinced that the best explanation of those four facts is the one that the original eyewitnesses gave. Namely God raised jesus from the dead luke johnson, who is a prominent new testament scholar at Emory University has written some sort of powerful transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was and N. T. Wright, who is a prominent british scholar has concluded that is why as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless jesus rose again leaving an empty tomb behind him. So we can summarize this argument as follows. Number one, there are four established facts concerning jesus of Nazareth, his honorable burial, his empty tomb, his postmortem appearances and the origin of the disciples belief in jesus resurrection. Number two. The best explanation of these facts is the hypothesis God raised Jesus from the dead. Number three. The hypothesis God raised jesus from the dead entails that God exists for therefore God exists. But you say the fifth reason for people believing in the existence of God is the personal experience of God. What do you mean? This fifth reason isn’t really an argument for God’s existence. Rather, it’s the claim that you can know that God exists wholly apart from arguments simply by personally experiencing him. This was the way that people in the bible knew God as Professor john Hick has said for them, God was not an idea adopted by the mind, but an experienced reality which gave significance to their lives. Now, if that is the case, then there’s a real danger that arguments for God’s existence could actually distract us from God himself. We mustn’t be so focused on the arguments that we fail to hear the inner voice of God speaking to us in our own hearts. For those who listen, God becomes a personal reality in their lives. The bible promises draw near to God and he will draw near to you. And so we mustn’t just focus on the arguments. We also need to draw near to God and to seek his face for those that have never even considered that before, and are considering it. Now, what would you advise them to do? I’d encourage them to do what I did as a non christian. When I first heard this message first, I would begin to pray, I would encourage them to kneel by their bedside at night alone and talk to God and say God, if you’re there, show yourself to me, I want to know you if you are there and to consistently be involved in prayer of that sort. Secondly, I’d encourage them to get a copy of the new testament and begin to read the life of jesus in the gospels, and as you read these gospel stories of jesus, ask yourself who was this man? Could he really have been, who he claimed to be? Could he really have been God incarnate? Who came to die for my sins, so that I could come into a personal relationship with God, and I believe that if people will pursue that path, that it will lead them to God and they will find God in the same way that I did now for those who have come to the point where they are convinced that God exists and has revealed himself in jesus and has raised jesus from the dead to show who he was, then I’d encourage them to make a commitment of their lives to christ as their savior and Lord, they can go to God in prayer and say something like this. God, I believe that you’re that you exist and that you’ve revealed yourself in jesus and raised him from the dead and right now in the best way I know how I want to invite you to come into my life, forgive my sins, change my life and make me into the kind of person that you want me to be. I want to be a disciple of jesus and to follow him change my life and I’m, I’m trusting you to do that right now, Amen. And if they’ll pray a prayer like that, god will hear that prayer come into their life and begin to transform them from the inside out to make them into the sort of person that God wants them to be folks. Isn’t that what you want to do right now? Deep down in your heart, I hope that you will consider that and don’t let something get in the way if God is speaking to you, if you feel that God is close to you kneel and pray that prayer and see what God does in your life. Now, next week we’re going to continue on the evidence for the existence of God and we’re going to have Bill talk about the existence of the universe is strong evidence for the existence of God. You won’t want to miss this. I hope you’ll join us then stay tuned for scenes from next week’s program. Well, thank you for joining us today here on the john Engelberg show. If you’re interested in becoming a christian, please go to our website at J a show dot org and click on, become a christian, which you’ll find at the top of our homepage, you’ll also be able to read information on how you may start a personal relationship with jesus christ as your savior. For more information concerning today’s program. Or if you’d like to watch some of our other programs and topics, go to our website at J a show dot org and click on watch. If you’d like to watch our television programs on your smartphone, go to your app store and download our free johnny Karberg show app. It will open to over 60 of our television programs that you can watch anytime, anywhere for free. You’ll also see many other categories of information that are available to you join us next week for another episode of the john Achterberg show, I want to say, thank you for watching May God richly bless you Bill. There are two philosophical arguments and to scientific arguments in defense of premise two namely that the universe began to exist. Give me a couple of the philosophical arguments. The first philosophical argument is based upon the impossibility of the existence of an actually infinite number of things. Now, what do we mean by actually infinite? Well, here mathematicians distinguish between a potential infinite and an actual infinite potential infinite is a collection that is growing toward infinity, but it never gets there by contrast and actual infinite is a completed Infinite. It’s it is actually infinite. Already complete. Now, if the past never had a beginning, then there has been an actually infinite number of events prior to today. But mathematicians recognized that the idea of an actually infinite number of things leads to various absurdities. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically you get self contradictory answers. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality. Therefore, since past events are not just ideas in your mind but are real, the number of past events must be finite and therefore the universe began to exist. The second philosophical argument is based upon the impossibility of forming an actually infinite collection by adding one member after another. This is sometimes called the impossibility of counting to infinity. You can never count to infinity because you can always add one more before you get there. But if you can’t count to infinity, how can you count down from infinity? This is equally absurd. To illustrate. Imagine two planets that have been orbiting the sun and that one goes twice as fast as the other. The longer they orbit the greater the disparity between the number of orbits Goes 2- 1, 4- two.