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Religious Philosophy and Ultimate Questions: The Existence of God
The Problems of Evil and Suffering
Science and Religion
Religion and Life Issues: Religion and Animal Rights
Religion and Early Life
Religion, War and Peace
The Existence of God
The First Cause Argument: St. Thomas Aguinas'
Theists would use the existence of the universe to prove the existence of God. They
would argue that:
- Everything that exists was caused to exist.
- The universe exists, so it must have a cause.
- There had to be something eternal (without beginning or end) that was not caused by
- The eternal first cause is God.
- Therefore God exists.
This is the first cause argument (also known as the cosmological argument as it's arguing
God is the first cause). Many christians believe this argument is supported by Genesis 1
which states that before the universe was created only God existed and at God's
command the process of creation began.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and
the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters"
"And God said, `Let there be light,' and there was light'
However, Atheists and Agnostics challenge the argument by saying it contradicts itself. If
the argument is that things exist because they are caused to exist, then what caused God?
If God is eternal, why cannot the universe be so?
Theists reply that the argument only applies to God as only God is outside time and space.
Why couldn't God have been the `first cause' to the big bang?
The Design Argument: William Payley (also known as telelogical argument)
This argument states that the universe is too ordered and complicated to have come about
by random chance; therefore it must have been designed. A design needs a designer.
Most christians believe the Genesis account supports this as it shows that God planned
the development of the world.
Issac Newton used the fact that we have opposable thumbs as evidence of design. He
said `in the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me God's
The Anthropic Principle uses the gravitational force of the planet to prove it. If the force
had been smaller, the stars would be too cool and was it greater too hot. Once the earth
formed, it had all the conditions for intelligent life to develop. Theists believe that this fine
tuning cannot be by chance the deliberate action of God.
However, atheists point to the existence of the cruelty and suffering found within nature as
evidence that the world is not designed - a designer would not have included such flaws.
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Theists reply that God is beyond human understanding and there will be an explanation
for this nautral evil which humans do not yet understand.
Argument of Miracles
Theists use the term `miracle' to refer to an event performed by God that appears to break
the laws of nature. This may be the cure of a terminal illness or disability that doctors
cannot explain or a survival from certain death by a freak event.
Two types of miracles:
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William Kent - Put in a wheelchair after serious accident. He felt compelled to
visit a particular church within a particular town and once there he walked.
His diabetes was also cured.
This refers to when people claim to have experienced God. It can take many forms
including: Communicating with God through prayer/meditation.
Feelings God's presence in worship.
Experiencing a conversion.
Involvement in a miraculous event.
Feeling God's presence in nature (awe and wonder).…read more