Monday, February 27, 2006

The Existence of God

One of the main topics my religion course has focused on so far has been how one should go about demonstrating the existence of God using reason. Several different arguments were put forward, but all of them pretty much fell back upon the same idea: something cannot come from nothing. In order for a thing to come into being, existence must be granted it by something else. If a thing were to give itself existence, it would have to be there to give itself existence, to exist before it existed, or in other words, it would have to both exist and not exist at the same time. This violates a fundamental principle of reasoning, called the Principle of Noncontradiction, which states that something cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. Therefore, everything which we see around us that has being was brought into being by something else. If we were to trace back to the very beginning of the universe, to the first plants, rocks, particles and atoms of matter, we would still have to draw the same conclusion. So where did all this stuff that makes up the universe come from?

The only logical answer is that it was made by some being that does not owe its existence to anything else; it is itself existence; it is against its nature to not exist. This makes sense, because if we were to say that this being owed its existence to something else, we'd be stuck with the same problem again (well, where did the something else come from?). You see, if ever there were a time when absolutely nothing at all existed, there would still be nothing now, because, as was stated before, something cannot cause its own existence. Therefore, there is a being that is eternal and self-existing and that has granted existence to everything else that is. This being we call God.

Other arguments used to support the existence of God include the teleological argument, the moral argument, and the historical argument. The teleological argument says that the great complexity and yet perfect order of the universe, as well as its breathtaking beauty, point to a design for its existence, and therefore an intelligent Designer. The moral argument says that the presence of a conscience in man that gives him a sense of right and wrong and of a responsibility to live his life accordingly prove that there is a God Who has planted these dictates in our nature and to Whom everyone innately feels that sense of responsibility. The historical argument pretty much says what it looks like: history demonstrates that almost every race of people from the dawn of time, no matter how seemingly depraved they may be, have had some form of religion. This shows that men have an inherent knowledge that they depend on God, that they need Him, and that they must give Him their worship.

Conclusion: God exists, we all depend on Him for our very existence, and it would be well for us to acknowledge these facts and offer Him our praise, thanksgiving, and worship.

5 Comments:

Blogger Giacomo said...

Nice synopsis. Did you hear that Antony Flew became a theist?

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sanchez said...

Actually, I do recall reading that somewhere. I can't remember where, though.

I hope the honey-giving-up is okay so far. Mom fixed a huge pan of chocolate pudding yesterday and it's taking a lot of will-power to resist it...

2:22 PM  
Blogger Gregaria said...

Wow! Its nice to have all the arguments laid out so clearly and concisely. I'm sure I read them as well in high school, but promptly forgot them and then went to TAC. Reading them now sheds tons of light on discussions we had in philosophy class while reading the pre-Christian philosophers. They all varied from each other drastically in everything except this one thing: that something cannot come from nothing. That was the only principle they agreed on and started with. Now, reading your post, I realize where that was eventually going... an argument for the existence of God. Pretty interesting stuff...

10:26 PM  
Blogger the Green Flash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:17 PM  
Blogger the Green Flash said...

I only found your blog today (March 12, 2006) by following the sidebar link on Bloghogger. Brian's pop-up cursor flag (is that a real term?) compared your blog to mine, so I thought I should check it out.

I read the whole thing from beginning to end (bottom to top) and am very impressed. I left several comments on your earlier posts (q.v.). (Maybe you could add a link to my blog on your sidebar?)

If you read my blog, you'll see I also deal with the existence of God (and all things Catholic).

5:23 PM  

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