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Is God Way Up There?

About the Arguments in the animation

It’s difficult to put the arguments for God into two minutes, partly because there are many, and they become more convincing the more arguments there are that seem to point to God’s existence. But here is a more full explanation of the arguments the animation reflects.

What made, what went bang?

You may be surprised to find that The Big Bang theory brought scientific thought into agreement with Christianity that the universe started at a point in time and developed in complexity. Before this, scientists believed that the universe had always existed.

Various scientists and mathematicians have tried to work out models of how the time-space universe could have started itself, or how the world itself could have been eternal. Stephen Hawkings, in his more recent book, Grand Design, talked about the beginning of time being like the South pole with no starting point, nothing further ‘South’. Later in the book, however, he describes the law of gravity and a fluctuation of energy in a vacuum being what enables the universe to start from nothing. But surely energy and the physical laws he talks about are not ‘nothing’. This is far from a beginning from nothing. Why are these forces and energy there, and where do they come from?

However we attempt to explain it, we are faced with the question of why and how there was nothing there at all, and then something appeared. Whatever the cause, if it is something in time and space, requires another cause – unless it is an entity or being with some kind of eternal quality. This certainly seems to point to something like God existing. But God was not made up to fill this gap in scientific understanding. This is how the Bible has always described God for thousands of years – as The Beginning and End, a being outside of (the creator of) the laws of nature and our universe. This seems a surprisingly logical and plausible depiction of God, especially when compared to other ancient thought which suggests less ‘scientific’-sounding myths where creatures vomit up the world, for example.

William Lane Craig is one philosopher who puts forward a similar argument, that a universe trapped in time, and therefore with a cause, can only have an eternal entity as its cause. He goes on to argue that this eternal ‘thing’ must have the quality of mind and person, because how else would an eternal cause of the universe go ahead and act to create the universe. If this eternal ‘thing’ were some kind of impersonal mechanism then this action would already have eternally happened as part of its programming.

He also argues that the chances of the conditions being right for the universe as we know it to form have been calculated to be so unimaginably small it is almost not worth considering that chance caused it, or at least it is far harder to believe than that God created it (especially as there is also other additional evidence for God, that could be put forward). Additionally, as Oxford Mathematics Professor John Lennox suggests, there has not been enough time for the universe to evolve in such complexity through chance processes alone, it seems to have been directed in a certain direction.

If these things were the only evidence for God they might be convincing. But it is even more convincing if we find evidence throughout human experience, of this God that the qualities of the universe seem to point to – the Bible puts forward Jesus as one of the most central pieces of that evidence.

A man can’t be God or rise from the dead.

For many, certainly in the West, we are inclined to start with the assumption that anything supernatural is illogical or unscientific and that belief in miracles is naive. This is not helped by the popular idea that the definition of the word ‘faith’ is ‘without evidence’ (although in the examples in the Bible, faith is always trusting in God because you have previously seen him to be trustworthy – i.e. you have evidence to base your faith on).

So the idea that God could communicate with us in becoming a person, then live a perfect life, and rise from the dead to prove it, sounds unlikely to our minds. But if you put aside any pre-assumptions and bias, and just analyse the person of Jesus on the level of pure logic, it is hard to explain the person of Jesus any other way. He made claims that only a madman or evil con artist would make (unless they were true). But he certainly didn’t act like he was delusional or irrational. He showed wisdom in being able to silence his opponents in debate, and he taught and modelled ethics ahead of his time in accepting the outcasts of society and modelling humble leadership, etc.

If we think about what kind of evidence God would have to give to be considered good enough evidence of his existence, it would have to be something supernatural, something humanly impossible, that does not normally happen, something that shows control over the laws of nature (to show the existence of someone with the power to create them). If God is morally perfect, it might be something that shows a prototype of how human life should be. The kind of proof would have to be something like Jesus’ life, resurrection or his miracles.

One final proof is the effectiveness of belief in God or Jesus (Christianity). You can look at the accounts of many Christians throughout history whose lives have been radically transformed, or reformed against all the odds, by nothing except God and the teaching of the Bible. If its claims were a delusion it should not be so effective in producing happy, healthy people, irradiating social problems, etc. Again, this is another discussion there is no room for here. There are many bad examples of those who claimed to be Christians as well. But it should not be a surprise or prove anything to find fake versions of the real thing. So finally, Christians themselves, are one other piece of evidence. They may not be perfect but we’d expect to find something different, something more than normal, at work in their lives. And we can see this in history or judge for ourselves by going along to church events or talking to Christians we know.

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