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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.

Are scientists decided on ‘What made what went bang’?

The Big Bang brought scientific thought into agreement with Christianity that the universe started at a point in time and developed in complexity. 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. Some have suggested it is expanding and collapsing again and again into infinity, but this idea has been largely disregarded. Stephen Hawkings, in his more recent book, Grand Design, talks about the beginning of time being like the South pole with no starting point, nothing further ‘South’. Whether he can really prove that time is like this, is another matter, but it almost seems like he, himself, does not think so, as later in the book, he talks about 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’. Why are they there and where does this energy 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 we say made the first thing appear, then makes us ask what made that appear – unless it is an entity or being with some kind of eternal quality. This certainly seems to point to God’s existence. This is how the Bible has 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 logical and plausible, compared to some other creation myths of creatures vomiting up the world, for example.

William Lane Craig is one philosopher who puts forward this argument for God. 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 rather than this action having already eternally happened, if this eternal ‘thing’ were some kind of impersonal mechanism.

He also argues that the chances of the conditions being right for the universe as it is 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 (given other evidence for God especially). 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 more convincing is that these suggest something like God exists, and this is a God who there is evidence of throughout human experience as well – 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.

I think, 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 something you have previously seen to be trustworthy – i.e. it relies on evidence).

So the idea that God could communicate with us in becoming a person, live a perfect life and rise from the dead to prove it sounds unlikely to our minds. But if you suspend your pre-judgements and ask the question without any pre-assumptions and bias, on a purely logical level, 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.

Let’s imagine we ask the question, without any bias, purely looking at the evidence: ‘Could there be a supernatural dimension, or God?’, or ‘Is the world purely physical?’ and then ask ‘Is there any evidence of a supernatural reality?’. We would first need to ask people with personal experience who claim that there is, who we personally trust, or research famous examples, and decide whether their claims seem convincing. This is another discussion there is not room for here. Secondly you need to look at the best evidence Theists claim in history.

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. We can look into the reliability of the Bible documents and the realism of the accounts etc.

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 it’s 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 surely you’d expect fake versions of the real thing, if it were real.

So the animation reflects some of these arguments – there are a lot more we could talk about.

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Away in a What?

A simple stick figure guide to Christmas …

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If the video inspired you, find out more by popping into a church near you this Christmas – we recommend finding a good church or exploratory course here.

And the paper version …

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