Monday, July 10, 2023

Twelve Points For Proving Christianity - Point Three: It Is True That The Theistic God Exists


    So far in this series we have considered the following first two points:

1. The truth about reality is knowable.
2. The opposite of what is true is that which is false.

    These points derive from an original outline devised by the late Christian thinker Norman Geisler. Readers may review the prior posts to this one in the supplied links above, where I introduce and explore the first two points. In this third part of our series, we want to explore point number three, "that it is true that the theistic God exists."

It is true that the theistic God exists.

    When we speak of the term "theism", what do we mean? The word "theism" originates from the Greek word for God - "theos". Thus, to say I am an advocate of "theism" means I am a believer in God's existence, or that my understanding of the world (i.e. my "worldview") is rooted in the existence of God. When defining what sort of God is believed to exist in theism, it is the belief that there is one, ultimate, Personal reality, God, separate from and responsible for creating and sustaining this physical reality we know as the universe.

A. What is ultimate reality? Only one view can be right.

    Dr. Geisler has throughout his many books and lectures summarized all of human thought and religion into seven worldviews.

*Materialism says that physics, space, energy and chemistry are all that is real. (ex: Secular Humanism)

*Pantheism states that all reality is god and god is all reality. (pan = all ; theism = god) (ex: Hinduism).

*Panentheism states that all reality is in god. He is changing and adapting to the world. (ex: Liberal theology)

*Atheism says there is no God, only this physical reality. (ex: New Atheism, Secular humanists).

*Polytheism states there are multiple gods. (ex: Mormonism)

*Agnosticism states we cannot know whether there is a god, or what god is like. (ex: Aldus Huxley).

*Theism states there is one all powerful, all knowing, all good God who created everything.

    As we have defined theism already, we understand that the general discussion about theism is subdivided into four very different schools of thought.

-Deism states God made the world, wound it up like a clock, then stepped back.

-Islam has a form of theism, but they believe Allah generally doesn’t intervene nor can be known.

-Judaism believes there is One God, yet deny the Trinity.

-Christianity states One God, who is Father, Son, Holy Spirit; He intervenes in our world by providence and miracle; Jesus raised from the dead.

    As we will explore the twelve points in this series of posts, there is only one type of theism that can ultimately true. What follows is an attempt to show why only one of these can be the correct view of theism. What the reader will note below are what we call "arguments" or "proofs" for the existence of the God of the Bible as revealed in Jesus. For sake of space I won't expound on any of the arguments. The purpose of such arguments is not so much to "prove" Christianity as to demonstrate that Christianity's truth claims are more probable, given the premises and conclusions each argument presents, along with whatever evidence one can cite in support of them. 

B. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe. (This eliminates options #1-#4 above).

Premise #1: Everything that begins to exist, has a cause.

Premise #2: The universe began to exist.

Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.

C. God is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life. (eliminates #1-#4, #6, Deism).

Premise #1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to chance, necessity or design.

Premise #2: The fine-tuning of the universe is not due to chance or necessity.

Therefore, The fine-tuning of the universe is due to design.

D. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties. (Eliminates polytheism, Islam).

Premise #1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

Premise #2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.

Therefore, God exists.

E. God is the best explanation for the facts of Jesus empty tomb

Premise#1: There are four main facts: Jesus’ crucifixion, honorable burial, tomb found empty by women followers, disciples claim post-mortem, physical appearances.

Premise #2: These facts are either explained by natural causes or resurrection.

Premise #3: The best explanation of these facts is resurrection. (i.e. “God raised Jesus from the dead”).

Premise #4: The entailment of resurrection includes the existence of the Biblical God of Christianity.

Therefore, the God of Christianity exists.

Closing thoughts:

    We have considered today why the theistic God exists. In the first two points of our "twelve points" case for Christianity, we saw that we can have a true knowledge of the world around us and that the opposite of what is true is false. In establishing those first two points, it begs the question as to what explains our ability to know anything about our world, or for there to be laws of logic such as the law of non-contradiction? Whenever we attempt to answer these questions from the other worldviews listed at the beginning of this post, we find none of them are adequate. Unless truth and logic are grounded in the nature of God Himself, that is, the God who can interract with our world in providence (which Christian theism affirms), then we have no truth or logic. The same goes for the sample arguments I gave. If we were to trace those arguments out in detail, we would find that the Theistic God alone can explain why we have a universe, why our universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why there are objective moral values and duties, and why the facts of the empty tomb are best explained by His existence. 

    As we continue in this series, we will take these first three points (the truth of our world is knowable, whatever is true is opposite of whatever is false, it is true that that theistic God exists) as our foundation. If we take these first three points to be the case, then the remaining points will follow as we proceed through the steps. In our next post, we will pursue point number four, "If God exists, then miracles are possible".

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