By Bill Gordon
"Hasn't the existence of God been disproved?"
Christian Response: The person who asks this
question usually believes that the existence of God has been disproved by
philosophy, psychology, or science.
Philosophical Objections to the Existence of God The
Problem: The major philosophical objection to the existence of the God
of the Bible involves the problem of evil. Christianity teaches that God is
both all-powerful (see Ps. 115:3; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26) and all-good (see
Lev. 11:44-45; Pss. 11:4-6; 18:1; 145:7; Isa. 57:15; Hab. 1:13; Jas. 1:13).
Christianity also maintains that God created everything (see Gen. 1:1; Ex.
20:11; Neh 9:6; Pss. 33:6; 102:25; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24). Yet, evil exists
in the world. Therefore, many atheists argue that either God is not all good
and is the author of evil, or God is not all-powerful and cannot do anything
about evil. Either way, the atheist contends that the all-good and all-powerful
God of the Bible cannot exist.
Christian Response: Christians answer the
philosophical arguments against the existence of God by reaffirming the
Christian doctrine of creation. Unlike pantheistic religions, Christianity
teaches that God has created that which is not God. The doctrine of creation
teaches that the universe is not a part of God, nor is it an illusion in the
mind of God. Christianity teaches that God has invested His creation with true
existence. Not only did God create something separate from Himself, but also
made part of His creation in His image (see Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Cor.
11:7; Jas. 3:9). According to the Bible, humanity has been made in the image of
God. One of the implications of being made in God's image is the ability to
make decisions. People are not programmed robots or animals controlled by their
instincts-but possess free will.
When theologians refer to human beings possessing free will they do not mean
that people have unlimited options, but simply that they have the ability to
choose between available options.
When God created humanity with free will He gave the ability to truly love or
reject Him. God gave the ability to freely obey or disobey Him. God does not
force anyone to love or follow Him (see John 3:16-18; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Rev.
3:20; 22:17). Christianity teaches that it is the misuse of free will that
allowed evil to come into the world (see Gen. 3:1-24).
When Christians explain that evil was created by a misuse of free will,
atheists sometimes object by asking the following questions.
Philosophical objection: "Why did God create free
creatures capable of doing evil?"
Christian Response: Christians admit that God theoretically could have
created a world without morally free creatures-capable of choosing between good
or evil. However, they maintain that such a world would have been inferior to
the one in which we now live. It is important to remember that a system where
morally free creatures do not exist is a non-moral system by definition.
Christians believe that a world where ethics exist is better than one where
justice and virtue are impossible. The ability to make principled decisions is
one of the greatest gifts of God. The fact the gift can and has been misused
does not lessen its value.
Philosophical objection: "Why didn't God create
free creatures that would not sin?"
Christian Response: Those who raise this objection
never provide a satisfactory answer as to how God could manipulate a free
choice and at the same time keep the choice free. The Christian doctrine of God
teaches that God is all-powerful. However, there are some things that even an
all-powerful God cannot do. For example, the Bible teaches that God cannot sin
(see Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Heb. 6:18; Jas. 1:13). Christian theologians
also argue that God cannot do anything that is nonsensical or
self-contradictory. When the skeptic asks why God didn't create a free creation
that would not choose evil, he might as well ask why God didn't create square
circles. Both questions are self-contradictory and nonsensical. A square is not
a circle and a fixed will is not free.
Psychological Objections to the Existence of God Psychological
objection: "Hasn't psychology proved that belief in God is
nothing but wish fulfillment?" A popular argument among many atheists is that
people believe in the existence of God for psychological reasons. They argue
that people who believe in God at not strong enough to face reality without the
psychological crutch of believing in the existence of God. Therefore, belief in
God is nothing but psychological wish fulfillment.
Christian Response: When challenged by the psychological
arguments against the existence of God, Christian thinkers point out that what
we wish to be true has no impact upon reality. The fact that many people want
the God of the Bible to exist has no implications for God's actual existence.
It also does not stand to reason that just because we wish something to be true
that it must, therefore, be false. It is not logical to argue that God cannot
be real simply because Christians wish to Him to exist. Sometimes what we wish
for really exists. It needs to be pointed out to the unbeliever that the
psychological argument against the existence of God is a two-edged sword that
cuts in both directions. If the psychological arguments were valid, Christians
could just as easily argue that atheism is a psychological crutch for those
unable to face the reality that the God of the Bible exists. The idea that they
will one day have to give an account for their life before an all-knowing and
all-powerful God is psychologically distressing for the atheist. Therefore, the
atheist represses the existence of God for psychological reasons because he or
she wishes that God did not exist.
As has already been discussed, what we wish has no impact on reality. The
psychological argument against atheism is just as logically invalid as the
psychological argument against theism. However, the discussion above points out
that the psychological argument is just as much of a problem for atheism as it
is for Christianity.
Scientific Objections to the Existence of God Scientific
Objection: "Hasn't science proved that there is no God?"
Atheists who raise this objection often believe that both science and evolution
have proved that God does not exist.
Christian Response: It is true that the theory of evolution
teaches that totally natural processes can explain the universe. However, there
are good reasons for rejecting atheistic evolution and for believing in the
Biblical doctrine of creation.
For example, astronomical observations indicate that the universe has not
always existed but came into being apparently out of nothing. These
observations match the teachings of the Bible that also indicate that God
created the universe out of nothing (see Ps. 33:6; Heb. 11:3; Rev. 4:11). In
addition, the fossil record which many evolutionists site as the strongest
evidence for their theory is, in fact, one of its greatest weaknesses. While
many extinct species can be seen in the fossil record, even evolutionists admit
that there is little evidence of intermediately life forms. The fossil record
has not supported the theory of evolution by providing evidence of gradual
changes from one species to another. On the contrary, new species appear
suddenly and fully formed in the fossil record. Far from disproving the
existence of God, scientific discoveries have made belief in the existence of
God more plausible.
The more science learns about the complexity and sophistication of creation the
harder it is to believe that it all happened by chance. For example, science
has discovered that one strand of DNA can carry the same amount of information
as a volume of an encyclopedia. No one coming upon an encyclopedia volume in a
forest would assume that random forces and elements had produced it by chance.
Such a conclusion would be rejected as totally implausible. Yet, the atheists
offer the same kind of implausible conclusion when they are confronted with the
amount of information contained in one DNA molecule. Belief in the existence of
God requires faith, but recent scientific discoveries have revealed that theism
does not require as much faith as atheism.
The existence of God has not been disproved. Philosophy, psychology, and
science have been unable to prove that there is no God. While it takes faith to
believe in God, this faith is reasonable and logical.