Manual The Existence of God

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No statements of, "You just have to believe. But first consider this. When it comes to the possibility of God's existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God. Here then, are some reasons to consider The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface.

If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze.

Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67, mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day. And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.

Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water about two-thirds of the human body is water. You'll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:. It has wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.

Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body. Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

  1. ogozoqosolym.tk: The Existence of God (): Richard Swinburne: Books.
  2. Composting For Dummies!
  3. I Love It Loud.
  4. Moral Arguments for the Existence of God (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy);
  5. Los inmortales (Spanish Edition).
  6. Laws of math.

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard.

Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands. The human brain processes more than a million messages a second. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world.

The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain -- the start of living organisms from nonliving matter. Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.

Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade The universe has not always existed. It had a start Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter. Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change?

Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable? There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence. Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.

All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do.

The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!! Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way.

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It is a full instruction manual. Why is this so amazing? One has to ask These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person's body should develop. Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.

I was an atheist at one time.

Can science prove the existence of God?

And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don't believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God.

If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life. I didn't realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. The second part of the task may require not only demonstrating the strengths of a theistic explanation, but pointing out weaknesses in rival secular explanations as well. Both parts of the task are essential, but it is worth noting that the two components cannot be accomplished simultaneously.

The theist must defend the reality of morality against subjectivist and nihilistic critics. Assuming that this task has been carried out, the theist must then try to show that morality thus understood requires a theistic explanation. It is interesting to observe, however, that with respect to both parts of the task, the theist may enlist non-theists as allies.

One easily understandable version of a theistic moral argument relies on an analogy between human laws promulgated by nation-states and moral laws. Sovereign states enact laws that make certain acts forbidden or required. I am also forbidden, because of the laws that hold in the United States, to discriminate in hiring on the basis of age or race. Many people believe that there are moral laws that bind individuals in the same way that political laws do.

I am obligated by a moral principle not to lie to others, and I am similarly obligated to keep promises that I have made. Both legal and moral laws may be understood as holding prima facie, so that in some situations a person must violate one law in order to obey a more important one. We know how human laws come into existence. They are enacted by legislatures or absolute monarchs in some countries who have the authority to pass such laws. How then should the existence of moral laws be explained?

It seems plausible to many to hold that they must be similarly grounded in some appropriate moral authority, and the only plausible candidate to fulfill this role is God. The fact that one can understand the argument without much in the way of philosophical skill is not necessarily a defect, however. If one supposes that there is a God, and that God wants humans to know him and relate to him, one would expect God to make his reality known to humans in very obvious ways See Evans After all, critics of theistic belief, such as J.

How can such an awareness be converted into full-fledged belief in God? One way of doing this would be to help the person gain the skills needed to recognize moral laws as what they are, as divine commands or divine laws. If moral laws are experienced, then moral experience could be viewed as a kind of religious experience or at least a proto-religious experience.

Perhaps someone who has experience of God in this way does not need a moral argument or any kind of argument to have a reasonable belief in God. Even if that is the case, however, a moral argument could still play a valuable role. Such an argument might be one way of helping an individual understand that moral obligations are in fact divine commands or laws.

Even if it were true that some ordinary people might know that God exists without argument, an argument could be helpful in defending the claim that this is the case. A person might conceivably need an argument for the second level claim that the person knows God without argument. In any case a divine command metaethical theory provides the material for such an argument. There are of course many types of obligations: Clearly these obligations are distinct from moral obligations, since in some cases moral obligations can conflict with these other kinds.

What is distinctive about obligations in general? They are not reducible simply to normative claims about what a person has a good reason to do. Mill , — argued that we can explain normative principles without making any reference to God. However, even if Mill is correct about normativity in general, it does not follow that his view is correct for obligations, which have a special character. An obligation has a special kind of force; we should care about complying with it, and violations of obligations appropriately incur blame Adams , If I make a logical mistake, I may feel silly or stupid or embarrassed, but I have no reason to feel guilty, unless the mistake reflects some carelessness on my part that itself constitutes a violation of a moral obligation.

All obligations are then constituted by social requirements, according to Adams. However, not all obligations constituted by social requirements are moral obligations.

Topic 1: The Existence of God - Opus Dei

What social relation could be the basis of moral obligations? Adams argues that not just any human social relation will possess the requisite authority: Some such demands have no moral force, and some social systems are downright evil. Since a proper relation to God is arguably more important than any other social relation, we can also understand why moral obligations trump other kinds of obligations.

Notice that the DCT Adams defends is ontological rather than semantic: That role includes such facts as these: Moral obligations must be motivating and objective. They also must provide a basis for critical evaluation of other types of obligations, and they must be such that someone who violates a moral obligation is appropriately subject to blame.

Adams argues that it is divine commands that best satisfy these desiderata. Obviously, those who do not find a DCT convincing will not think this argument from moral obligation has force. However, Adams anticipates and gives a forceful answer to one common criticism of a DCT. The dilemma for a DCT can be derived from the following question: Assuming that God commands what is right, does he command what is right because it is right?

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These objections can be found in the writings of Wes Morriston , Erik Wielenberg , , especially chapter 2 , and Nicholas Wolterstorff , among others. This is essentially the view that moral truths are basic or fundamental in character, not derived from natural facts or any more fundamental metaphysical facts.

This view certainly provides a significant alternative to divine command metaethics. Specifically, philosophers such as J. Responses to the objections of Wielenberg, Morriston, and others have also been given see Evans , Baggett and Walls, , Although it is worth noting that no single metaethical theory seems to enjoy widespread support among philosophers, so a DCT is not alone in being a minority view.

A variety of arguments have been developed that God is necessary to explain human awareness of moral truth or moral knowledge, if one believes that this moral awareness amounts to knowledge. Swinburne does not think that an argument from moral facts as such is powerful. However, the fact that we humans are aware of moral facts is itself surprising and calls for an explanation.

It may be true that creatures who belong to groups that behave altruistically will have some survival advantage over groups that lack such a trait. It is one of several phenomena which seem more probable in a theistic universe than in a godless universe. Street presents the moral realist with a dilemma posed by the question as to how our human evaluative beliefs are related to human evolution. It is clear, she believes, that evolution has strongly shaped our evaluative attitudes.

The question concerns how those attitudes are related to the objective evaluative truths accepted by the realist.

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However, this view, Street claims, is scientifically implausible. Street argues therefore that an evolutionary story about how we came to make the moral judgments we make undermines confidence in the objective truth of those judgments. However, her argument, and similar arguments, have been acknowledged by some moral realists, such as David Enoch and Erik Wielenberg to pose a significant problem for their view. Wielenberg, to avoid the criticism that in a non-theistic universe it would be extremely lucky if evolution selected for belief in objectively true moral values, proposes that the natural laws that produce this result may be metaphysically necessary, and thus there is no element of luck.

However, many philosophers will see this view of natural laws as paying a heavy price to avoid theism. It might appear that Street is arguing straightforwardly that evolutionary theory makes it improbable that humans would have objective moral knowledge. However, it is not evolution by itself that predicts the improbability of objective moral knowledge, but the conjunction of evolution and metaphysical naturalism. Since, it is not evolution by itself that poses a challenge to moral realism but the conjunction of evolution and metaphysical naturalism, then rejecting naturalism provides one way for the moral realist to solve the problem.

It does appear that in a naturalistic universe we would expect a process of Darwinian evolution to select for a propensity for moral judgments that track survival and not objective moral truths. Mark Linville , — has developed a detailed argument for the claim that it is difficult for metaphysical naturalists to develop a plausible evolutionary story as to how our moral judgments could have epistemological warrant. However, if we suppose that the evolutionary process has been guided by God, who has as one of his goals the creation of morally significant human creatures capable of enjoying a relation with God, then it would not seem at all accidental or even unlikely that God would ensure that humans have value beliefs that are largely correct.

Some philosophers believe that the randomness of Darwinian natural selection rules out the possibility of any kind of divine guidance being exercised through such a process. What can be explained scientifically needs no religious explanation. However, this is far from obviously true; in fact, if theism is true it is clearly false. From a theistic perspective to think that God and science provide competing explanations fails to grasp the relationship between God and the natural world by conceiving of God as one more cause within that natural world.

If God exists at all, God is not an entity within the natural world, but the creator of that natural world, with all of its causal processes. If God exists, God is the reason why there is a natural world and the reason for the existence of the causal processes of the natural world. In principle, therefore, a natural explanation can never preclude a theistic explanation.

But what about the randomness that is a crucial part of the Darwinian story? The atheist might claim that because evolutionary theory posits that the process by which plants and animals have evolved in one that involves random genetic mutations, it cannot be guided, and thus God cannot have used evolutionary means to achieve his ends. However, this argument fails. When scientists claim that genetic mutations are random, they do not mean that they are uncaused, or even that they are unpredictable from the point of view of biochemistry, but only that the mutations do not happen in response to the adaptational needs of the organism.

It is entirely possible for a natural process to include randomness in that sense, even if the whole natural order is itself created and sustained by God. A God who is responsible for the laws of nature and the initial conditions that shape the evolutionary process could certainly ensure that the process achieved certain ends. The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments Ritchie presses a kind of dilemma on non-theistic accounts of morality.

Subjectivist theories such as expressivism can certainly make sense of the fact that we make the ethical judgments we do, but they empty morality of its objective authority. Objectivist theories that take morality seriously, however, have difficulty explaining our capacity to make true moral judgments, unless the process by which humans came to hold these capacities is one that is controlled by a being such as God.

The moral argument from knowledge will not be convincing to anyone who is committed to any form of expressivism or other non-objective metaethical theory, and clearly many philosophers find such views attractive. And there will surely be many philosophers who will judge that if moral objectivism implies theism or requires theism to be plausible, this is a reductio of objectivist views. Furthermore, non-theistic moral philosophers, whether naturalists or non-naturalists, have stories to tell about how moral knowledge might be possible.

Nevertheless, there are real questions about the plausibility of these stories, and thus, some of those convinced that moral realism is true may judge that moral knowledge provides some support for theistic belief. Like subjectivists, constructivists want to see morality as a human creation. However, like moral realists constructivists want to see moral questions as having objective answers.

Constructivism is an attempt to develop an objective morality that is free of the metaphysical commitments of moral realism. It is, however, controversial whether Kant himself was a constructivist in this sense.

One reason to question whether this is the right way to read Kant follows from the fact that Kant himself did not see morality as free from metaphysical commitments. For example, Kant thought that it would be impossible for someone who believed that mechanistic determinism was the literal truth about himself to believe that he was a moral agent, since morality requires an autonomy that is incompatible with determinism. When we do science we see ourselves as determined, but science tells us only how the world appears, not how it really is.

Humans can only have this kind of value if they are a particular kind of creature. Whether Kant himself was a moral realist or not, there are certainly elements in his philosophy that push in a realist direction. If the claim that human persons have a kind of intrinsic dignity or worth is a true objective principle and if it provides a key foundational principle of morality, it is well worth asking what kinds of metaphysical implications the claim might have.

This is the question that Mark Linville , — pursues in the second moral argument he develops. Clearly, some metaphysical positions do include a denial of the existence of human persons, such as forms of Absolute Monism which hold that only one Absolute Reality exists. Daniel Dennett, for example, holds that persons will not be part of the ultimately true scientific account of things. A naturalist may want to challenge premise 2 by finding some other strategy to explain human dignity.

Michael Martin , for example, has tried to suggest that moral judgments can be analyzed as the feelings of approval or disapproval of a perfectly impartial and informed observer. Linville objects that it is not clear how the feelings of such an observer could constitute the intrinsic worth of a person, since one would think that intrinsic properties would be non-relational and mind-independent.

Another strategy that is pursued by constructivists such as Korsgaard is to link the value ascribed to humans to the capacity for rational reflection. The idea is that insofar as I am committed to rational reflection, I must value myself as having this capacity, and consistently value others who have it as well. It is far from clear that human rationality provides an adequate ground for moral rights, however. Many people believe that young infants and people suffering from dementia still have this intrinsic dignity, but in both cases there is no capacity for rational reflection.

Wolterstorff in this work defends the claim that there are natural human rights, and that violating such rights is one way of acting unjustly towards a person. Why do humans have such rights? Wolterstorff says these rights are grounded in the basic worth or dignity that humans possess. When I seek to torture or kill an innocent human I am failing to respect this worth. If one asks why we should think humans possess such worth, Wolterstorff argues that the belief that humans have this quality was not only historically produced by Jewish and Christian conceptions of the human person, but even now cannot be defended apart from such a conception.

In particular, he argues that attempts to argue that our worth stems from some excellence we possess such as reason will not explain the worth of infants or those with severe brain injuries or dementia. Does a theistic worldview fare better in explaining the special value of human dignity? In a theistic universe God is himself seen as the supreme good.

Indeed, theistic Platonists usually identify God with the Good. If God is himself a person, then this seems to be a commitment to the idea that personhood itself is something that must be intrinsically good. This argument will of course be found unconvincing to many. Some will deny premise 1 , either because they reject moral realism as a metaethical stance, or because they reject the normative claim that humans have any kind of special value or dignity.

Others will find premise 2 suspect.

Is There a God?

They may be inclined to agree that human persons have a special dignity, but hold that the source of that dignity can be found in such human qualities as rationality. With respect to the status of infants and those suffering from dementia, the critic might bite the bullet and just accept the fact that human dignity does not extend to them, or else argue that the fact that infants and those suffering mental breakdown are part of a species whose members typically possess rationality merits them a special respect, even if they lack this quality as individuals.

Others will find premise 2 doubtful because they find the theistic explanation of dignity unclear. Another alternative is to seek a Constructivist account of dignity, perhaps regarding the special status of humans as something we humans decide to extend to each other.

Perhaps the strongest non-theistic alternative would be some form of ethical non-naturalism, in which one simply affirms that the claim that persons have a special dignity is an a priori truth requiring no explanation. In effect this is a decision for a non-theistic form of Platonism. The proponent of the argument may well agree that claims about the special status of humans are true a priori, and thus also opt for some form of Platonism. However, the proponent of the argument will point out that some necessary truths can be explained by other necessary truths. The theist believes that these truths about the special status of humans tell us something about the kind of universe humans find themselves in.

To say that humans are created by God is to say that personhood is not an ephemeral or accidental feature of the universe, because at bottom reality itself is personal Mavrodes As already noted, the most famous and perhaps most influential version of a moral argument for belief in God is found in Immanuel Kant Kant himself insisted that his argument was not a theoretical argument, but an argument grounded in practical reason.

Morality is grounded in pure practical reason, and the moral agent must act on the basis of maxims that can be rationally endorsed as universal principles. Moral actions are thus not determined by results or consequences but by the maxims on which they are based. However, all actions, including moral actions, necessarily aim at ends. However, I must seek the highest good only by acting in accordance with morality; no shortcuts to happiness are permissible. This seems to require that I believe that acting in accordance with morality will be causally efficacious in achieving the highest good.

However, it is reasonable to believe that moral actions will be causally efficacious in this way only if the laws of causality are set up in such a way that these laws are conducive to the efficacy of moral action. Certainly both parts of the highest good seem difficult to achieve. We humans have weaknesses in our character that appear difficult if not impossible to overcome by our own efforts.

Furthermore, as creatures we have subjective needs that must be satisfied if we are happy, but we have little empirical reason to think that these needs will be satisfied by moral actions even if we succeeded in becoming virtuous. If a person believes that the natural world is simply a non-moral machine with no moral purposiveness then that person would have no reason to believe that moral action could succeed because there is no a priori reason to think moral action will achieve the highest good and little empirical reason to believe this either.

Even if the Kantian highest good seems reasonable as an ideal, some will object that we have no obligation to achieve such a state, but merely to work towards realizing the closest approximation to such a state that is possible See Adams , Without divine assistance, perhaps perfect virtue is unachievable, but in that case we cannot be obliged to realize such a state if there is no God. Perhaps we cannot hope that happiness will be properly proportioned to virtue in the actual world if God does not exist, but then our obligation can only be to realize as much happiness as can be attained through moral means.

Kant would doubtless reject this criticism, since on his view the ends of morality are given directly to pure practical reason a priori, and we are not at liberty to adjust those ends on the basis of empirical beliefs. Morality requires me to sacrifice my personal happiness if that is necessary to do what is right.

Yet it is a psychological fact that humans necessarily desire their own happiness. Reason both requires humans to seek their own happiness and to sacrifice it. Sidgwick himself noted that only if there is a God can we hope that this dualism will be resolved, so that those who seek to act morally will in the long run also be acting so as to advance their own happiness and well-being. Interestingly, Sidgwick himself does not endorse this argument, but he clearly sees this problem as part of the appeal of theism. A contemporary argument similar to this one has been developed by C.

The critic of this form of the Kantian argument may reply that Kantian morality sees duty as something that must be done regardless of the consequences, and thus a truly moral person cannot make his or her commitment to morality contingent on the achievement of happiness.