Most of us are aware that it’s impossible to prove to anyone that God does or does not exist. There is no smoking gun. For those that believe either way, it’s not because of incontrovertible scientific evidence. They are convinced it’s true because of what they’ve seen and felt and experienced. The best one can hope to do is present an impassioned or well-reasoned argument one way or the other.
So in that spirit, I present an argument for each side. Regardless of where you stand, I hope that you can see at least some merit in both points of view. This article is not intended to convince you of either argument, but to give you some insight into different points of view. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
God must exist: The Christian view
Ex nihilio nihil fit: from nothing, nothing comes.
The Law of Cause and Effect states that every effect must have a cause. If you see a baseball flying through the air, you naturally assume there is a reason. The ball was either thrown or hit by a bat. Something or someone caused it to fly through the air. A baby is born because sexual union between a man and a woman caused the woman to conceive. The universe exists because God caused it to exist through the act of creation. The Big Bang theory can explain how the universe was formed, but it does not eliminate the need for a first cause. Something must have caused the Big Bang.
The Law of Conservation of Energy (First Law of Thermodynamics) states that energy can transfer from one state to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. Since the universe consists of energy in its various forms, either the universe always existed or something outside the universe—that is, something that operates outside the physical laws of the universe—must have brought the universe into existence.
Logically, if the laws that govern the universe are understood to be true, the universe must have had a Creator. But one shouldn’t need logic to point them to the existence of God. David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 KJV). Indeed, if one stares up at the heavens it is difficult to fathom how such grandeur and beauty could have come from other than the mind of an omnipotent creator. Paul wrote, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,” (Romans 1:20a KJV).
The evidence of God is all around us and within us, obvious and undeniable. From the vast magnificence of space to the tiniest electron, from the simplest amoeba to that most complex and confusing of creatures, the human being, in everything can be seen the fingerprints of God. Novelist Henry Miller wrote, “The moment one gives a close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world unto itself.”
Surely such detail and diversity did not happen by mere chance.
God does not exist: The atheist view
In the beginning, God…but then came science.
Throughout history, man’s understanding of the universe he inhabits has slowly evolved. We once thought the world was flat and small because we couldn’t conceive of anything else. We once worshipped the sun because it was the greatest thing we could imagine. As our knowledge and understanding increased, we learned that the world is big and round and there are greater things in the universe than the sun. We are also learning that it is indeed possible for the universe to exist without having been created by God.
The Law of Cause and Effect is not a valid argument to support the existence of God. The fact that we do not know what the first cause is does not mean that the first cause is God.
The Law of Conservation of Energy is also an invalid argument. Modern science has given us quantum mechanics and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. According to general relativity, gravity is negative energy and matter is positive energy. The two appear to be equal in absolute total value, making the universe balanced to the sum of zero. Quantum mechanics tells us that objects can appear out of nothing and disappear back into nothing. Perhaps energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can appear out of nothing and disappear into nothing. Thus the universe could have come into existence without being created.
Humans invented God to explain what could not otherwise be explained, but science is bringing us ever closer to a valid explanation. To suggest that grandeur, detail and diversity are evidence of God is frankly ridiculous, since they are human concepts invented to explain the universe.
The greatest evidence we have that God does not exist is the lack of evidence that he does.
Thanks for reading. If you have any insight to add, please leave a comment!