In the Bible, the existence of God is presupposed rather than proven. Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The whole of the Old and New Testaments affirm the existence of God and of His self-revelation in Jesus Christ. This Biblical presupposition is used by the Apostle Paul to show that every person is accountable to God. Paul argues in Romans 1:18-21,
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
God exists and He has made Himself known. To deny this is to bring self-condemnation and is ultimately a moral decision rather than an intellectual one. In numerous discussions with people about these truths, the following arguments have been used to confirm what the Bible presupposes; God exists and we are accountable to Him:
1. The Limited Knowledge Argument
The limited knowledge argument goes like this: Humankind possesses a fraction of the sum total of all there is to know about everything. Any given individual has even less personal knowledgethan the collective total of human knowledge and the collective total of human knowledge is a small fraction of all total possible knowledge. (This can beillustrated in a pie graph where a small percentage of known data is comparedto the great amount of unknown facts). Given this reality, one must askthemselves, “Is it possible, in the vast amount of information of which I have noknowledge, that God exists? If I say no, then I am claiming to know everything,which I don’t. Therefore, I must acknowledge that God’s existence is at leastpossible” This argument is designed to move people from pseudo-atheism toagnosticism. Agnostics make the claim that they don’t know. Other arguments andthe clear revelation of God in the Bible are used to affirm the existence of God and the good news of how we can know Him personally.
2. Cosmological Argument
The term “cosmological” comes from the Greek word “cosmos” which means “world.” The cosmological argument for God’s existence goes like this: The world could not exist on its own so there must have been a first cause that brought it into being. This first cause is God. Or put another way, the universe could not just exist on its own—someone or something must have made it. The first cause must be sufficient enough and powerful enough to initiate all other causes. This cause of the universe is God.
3. Teleological Argument
The teleological argument is also known as “the argument from design” (The Greek word “telos” means “purpose” or “design.”). The argument goes like this: The universe evidences great complexity or design; thus, it must have been designed by a great Designer or God.
The argument from design can be likened to a watch. A watch is obviously made by a watchmaker. The world, which is much more complex than a watch, must also have been designed by a great Designer or Divine Watchmaker (God).
In sum, the teleological argument asserts that the universe evidences too much complexity to be the product of random chance. We know that the celestial bodies move with perfect accuracy in their orbits. Our bodies, too, are incredibly complex. According to the teleological argument, there’s just no way all this complexity could “just happen.” God must have created it all.
4. Ontological Argument
The third argument for God’s existence is the ontological argument. The Greek word “ontos” is a form of the verb “to be or to exist”. This argument is unlike the cosmological and teleological arguments in that it does not argue from evidence in the natural world. Thus, it is not a “cause and effect” argument.
The ontological argument can be stated in this way: “God is the greatest being imaginable. One of the aspects of perfection or greatness is existence. Thus, God exists.” Or put another way—“The fact that God can be conceived means that he must exist.”
This argument for God’s existence was developed by the twelfth century theologian and philosopher, Anselm. It is based on Anselm’s declaration that God is “that which nothing greater can be conceived.”
5. Moral Law Argument
Another argument for the existence of God is the moral law argument. It goes like this: Morality is the notion of right and wrong. Right and wrong must have an objective standard for evaluation. Absolute right and wrong necessitates an absolute standard. An absolute standard requires an Absolute Lawgiver. Without God morality would be impossible. There must be a Lawgiver (God) who originates and stands by moral law. A universal moral law cannot exist accidentally. There must be a basis behind it—God.
According to this view, every person is born with an inherent understanding of right and wrong. Everyone, for instance, understands that killing an innocent person is wrong. Everyone understands that helping a drowning person is right. Where did this internal understanding of right and wrong come from? According to adherents of the moral law argument, this understanding comes from God. He put it into the hearts of every person. This is the affirmation of the Apostle Paul in Romans 2:14-16
14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.