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Apologetics 1 Lesson 7 Classic Theist Arguments
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Apologetics 1 Lesson 7 Classic Theist Arguments


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Lesson 7 of a multipart series. The Cosmological, Ontological, Teleological and other arguments don't prove the God of the Bible, however, they do support a Theistic world view.

Lesson 7 of a multipart series. The Cosmological, Ontological, Teleological and other arguments don't prove the God of the Bible, however, they do support a Theistic world view.

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  • In Proslogion by Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109)
  • Transcript

    • 1. Third Column Ministries | Twitter: @LApologetics This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License..
    • 2. Classic Theist Arguments • The Cosmological, Ontological, and Teleological arguments don't prove the God of the Bible. • They do support a Theistic world view.
    • 3. Objections • Jesus/Paul did not use theistic arguments. – They were addressing people with a theistic worldview. • The arguments are highly abstract. – Not for everyone for sure. • They won’t convince atheists there is a God. – Not true, Anthony Flew went from Atheist to Theist based on one of these arguments
    • 4. “Abstract arguments have a value in assuring thoughtful Christians that their faith has some rational justification… Christians should begin to understand some of these arguments, if not for their immediate witness to nonbelievers, then for their own confidence that when such arguments are helpful, as with those who are philosophically minded, they are there to be used.” - James Sire
    • 5. Ontological Argument 1. Our understanding of God is a being than which no greater can be conceived. 2. The idea of God exists in the mind. 3. A being which exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only in the mind. 4. If God only exists in the mind, then we can conceive of a greater being—that which exists in reality. 5. We cannot be imagining something that is greater than God. 6. Therefore, God exists. In Proslogion by Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109)
    • 6. Ontological Argument • A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and • A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world. • It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. • Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists. • Therefore, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists. • Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists. Alvin Plantinga’s version
    • 7. Teleological Argument (Fine-tuning) • Telos, Greek for purpose or ultimate end. • The fine-tuning of the Universe is due to one of three possibilities physical necessity, chance, or design. • It is not due to physical necessity or chance. • Therefore it is due to design.
    • 8. Design Argument • William Paley, 1802, Natural Theology. • The Watchmaker example. • Intelligent Design proponents: – Philip Johnson – Hugh Ross – William Dembski – Michael Behe
    • 9. Fine Tuning • Strong nuclear force • Weak nuclear force • Gravitational force • Electromagnetic force • Ratio of electron to proton mass • Ratio of protons to electrons • Expansion rate of the Universe • Entropy levels • Mass density • Velocity of light • Age of the Universe • Initial uniformity of radiation • Fine structure constant • Average distance between stars Hugh Ross in his book The Creator and the Cosmos, lists 35 parameters.
    • 10. Against Fine-tuning • The objection that may be raised against the fine-tuning argument is called the multi-verse. • “Multiple universes arise naturally from physical laws.” Stephen Hawking • There are so many Universes that it is likely that one would be tuned for life. • The multi-verse is pure speculation with no scientific data to support it.
    • 11. Cosmological Argument • ‘Cosmos’ Greek for everything that exists. – The Universe, more than just Space-Time • How did the cosmos come into existence? • The Universe cannot create itself. (Cause and effect) • Three version of this argument. – Kalam – Thomist – Leibnizian
    • 12. Kalam Cosmological Argument • ‘Kalam’ Arabic for talk or speech. • Starts with the premise that there are no infinities in the Universe. • Therefore the Universe is not infinitely old. • If the Universe is not infinite than it had a beginning. • For every cause there is an effect. • The Universe began to exist therefore it has a cause.
    • 13. Kalam Cosmological Argument • The beginning of the Universe had to be caused by an uncaused cause. • The uncaused cause: – Relies on nothing for existence. – Has the power to create something from nothing. – Has a will to create or not. – Exists outside of creation.
    • 14. Thomist Cosmological Argument • Whatever is moved is moved by another. – Think of dominos. • Everything that comes into existence owes its existence to something else. • Nothing in the Universe is necessary. (It could or could not exist.) • But there exists something that is necessary. • What makes the possible, possible?
    • 15. Leibnizian Cosmological Argument • Instead of causality GWF Von Leibniz argued there must be a sufficient reason. • Everything exists for a reason. • The only sufficient reason for the Universe must be found outside of the Universe. • In a being whose existence is “self- explanatory” and “logically necessary.”
    • 16. Cosmological Argument • Acts 17:25; Romans 1:19-20; Heb 3:4 • Review: – Everything has a cause. – We don’t know of anything that does not have a cause. – Logically there must be a cause to the universe. • “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.” – David Hume
    • 17. “In summary, it is most reasonable to believe that the universe had a beginning which was caused by a timeless, immutable agent. This is not a proof that such a being is the God of the Bible, but it is a strong statement that the world had its beginning by the act of a person. And this is at the very least a good reason to believe in some form of theism.” - J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City
    • 18. Uncaused First Cause • Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design. • Agrees the Universe looks tuned for life. • His philosophic presupposition (bias) is for materialism (scientific determinism), page 34. • “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.” p. 180
    • 19. Stephen Hawking • “In spite of what the atheist press is telling you, it’s looking bad for atheism today. And it is extraordinary the lengths an atheist like Hawking will go to avoid the obvious: God exists.” — Frank Turek • Ex nihilo nihil fit – From nothing, nothing comes. Frank Turek, Answering the Atheists, Stephen Hawking Part 1
    • 20. Moral Argument • P1: Some aspect of Morality (e.g., its objective force) is observed. (Moral realism) • P2: Existence of God provides a better explanation of this feature than various alternatives. • Conclusion: Therefore, to the extent that (1) is accepted, belief in God is preferable to these alternatives.
    • 21. Moral Argument • “A moral law needs a moral lawgiver. This is not a leap; it is a step of intelligent reflection.” – Greg Koukl • “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. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” – Romans 2: 14-15 (NIV)
    • 22. Transcendental Argument (TAG) • P1: Logical absolutes exist. • P2: Logical absolutes are conceptual. • P3: Concepts exist in the mind only (they are mental). • P4: Logical absolutes would exist even if your minds did not. • P5: Therefore, logical absolutes are transcendent • P6: Since logical absolutes are transcendent and conceptual, they must exist in a transcendent mind. • P7: This transcendent mind is that we recognize as God. • Conclusion: God exists.
    • 23. Transcendental Argument (TAG) • As used by presuppositional apologetics, the transcendental argument affirms that, in order to make sense of the world, it is necessary to postulate the existence of the triune God as revealed in the Bible. Geisler, N. L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics
    • 24. Anthropological Argument • Based on the uniqueness of human beings. • The cause must be greater that the effect. • People are intelligent, therefore God must be intelligent. • “…Humans can hear, see, and think. Since the cause must be like the effect, there must be a cause (God) who can hear, see, and think.” – Geisler and Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus
    • 25. Need to Worship • Idols are an implied argument for God. – Everyone needs to worship something. – It is futile to worship something made by humans. – Therefore, there really is an unmade Maker who should be worshiped. Geisler and Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus p.117
    • 26. Existential Argument • We don’t need or desire what is not. – Whatever human beings really needs really exists. – Human beings really need God. – Therefore God really exists. • Nontheistic philosophers Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russell both note that life is meaningless without God. – Geisler and Zukeran, The Apologetics of Jesus
    • 27. Existential and Need to Worship • Combination of the last two arguments. – Everyone needs to worship something. – Whatever human beings really need really exists. • Nothing humans need does not exist. – Therefore God exists.
    • 28. Possibility That God Exists • The very definition of God demands that God is a necessarily existing being. • Most opponents of theism are willing to concede that God's existence is at least possible. • Atheists argue that the very concept of God is incoherent since, for example, it entails paradoxes such as the paradox of the stone: Can God make a stone so big that he cannot lift it?
    • 29. Wishful Thinking • Atheists argue against the existence of God because it is simple wish fulfillment. – “If our belief in God is a result of wish fulfillment, then it is just as likely that nonbelief in God is a result of wish fulfillment. The believer wants to believe in God; the nonbeliever doesn’t want to believe in God. The argument about whether God exists is a draw. Neither side makes a case.” • James Sire