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The Bible diagnoses humanity’s deepest need and then prescribes what it claims is the only antidote: God saves sinners. Is there an intellectual basis for believing in God? Or is being religious just a matter of blind faith? Are there reasonable proofs for God? Christianity invites scrutiny into its claims and the reasons for trusting them.

written Dr Andrew Corbett pastor of Legana Christian Church in Tasmania, Australia, National President of ICI Theological College Australia [Printable edition of the upcoming draft eBook]

Are there reasonable proofs for God? In December 2004 it was announced that long time British Professor and Philosopher, Anthony Flew, regarded by many as “the world’s most acclaimed atheist”, had renounced his atheism in favour of theism…

Professor Antony FlewThis dramatic conversion has been likened by Astrophysicist and now one of the world’s leading Cosmologists, Dr Hugh Ross, as having the same impact on the academic world as an announcement that Billy Graham had renounced Christianity would have on the Church!

One of the reasons cited by Prof. Flew was ‘the evidence.’ He admitted that for a long time the growing problem of Evolution’s inability to explain how life began, or for that matter, how anything began, led him to the inevitable conclusion that it was an inadequate answer in the face of the evidence. Then when the DNA Genome code was unraveled the evidence for Design became “undeniable.” These two pieces of evidence (1. the existence of life demanding a Life-Source, and 2. the scientific evidence of an extremely complex code in the make-up of that life- DNA) were enough for Professor Flew to renounce atheism.

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CAN WE PROVE GOD?

Some people feel that acceptance of God is entirely a matter of (blind-) faith. But the Scriptures actually claim that it is the truth which is the basis for this faith (Rom. 10:17). Truth is only truth if it is objective truth, that is, it is true for everyone regardless of time or circumstances. Thus, God is either true (and there can be objective proofs to support this), or He is not true and only subjective ‘truth’ can be offered for ‘proof’.

Some Medieval Philosophers, such as Anselm, argued that the fact mankind can imagine there being a God is itself a proof that there must be one. While this argument does have some merit, drawing on the positive aspects of human intuition, it has limitations. Taken to its natural application this means that if anything can be imagined it must exist. Based on the nightmares I had as a three and four year old boy- I really hope this theory isn’t true or I’m not going to sleep well tonight! This argument is an aspect of the ontological argument. The Greek word ontos means person. What Anselm was actually arguing for was that the universe displays the qualities of having being designed by a person. This includes an innate sense in those created by this Person that they have a Creator. The Apostle Paul described this knowledge as “plain” (Rom. 1:19) knowledge and in order to ignore it, a person needed to “suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). Ontology therefore also involves a certain reality to the world that includes not merely the physical, natural, material, laws of chemistry and physics, but also the reality of a world created with moral and psychological laws. To pretend that these laws do not exist is like being in the deep end of a swimming pool with a really big beach ball and denying that this ball wants to float on the surface. The claim that the universe has no such ontological realities, such as moral laws, is like suppressing that beach ball below the surface of the water of the pool in the vain belief that it requires no effort to do so. Even if a person believes that universal moral laws do not exist or that beach balls really do not want to float on the surface of a swimming pool, their belief does not negate the contradictory reality.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
First Corinthians 1:21-25

Tertullian once bragged that the main reason he so readily accepted Christianity was that it was ‘fundamentally absurd’. Perhaps he was alluding to First Corinthians 1-2 which talks about human wisdom and divine wisdom being incompatible. Some people are so committed to their beliefs that despite the evidence of truth they refuse to change their beliefs. In this way we observe that what some atheists claim is their scientific basis for unbelief is nothing more than their belief in their wishful opinions rather than evidence. Thus despite the mass of evidence to the contrary, many atheists refuse to accept that origin of life is best explained by what appears to be obvious: a Designer—the Creator.

We have to applaud Prof. Flew for having the courage to consider and then accept the evidence.

‘Proof’ though is measured, evaluated, and determined according to the type of claim. The type of proof needed to substantiate a claim involving chemistry is different to the type of proof needed to substantiate a claim made about history. Proof in physiology is different to the type of proof needed for psychology. Proof in philosophy is different to the proof required for philology. Proof required for biology is different to the type of proof required for theology. To demand that “hard” science (physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy) proof tests be the only acceptable means for testing a “soft” science (psychology, history, philosophy, literature) claim is unreasonable. Thus, imposing natural proof tests on supernatural claims is an unreasonable measure and totally inadequate. But where supernatural claims are made which have natural implications, such as “an invisible God created all that we see” (Romans 1:20) ‘proof’ takes on the garb of supporting or cumulative evidence when looking at the natural evidence to support this supernatural claim.

 

THE EVIDENCE

There have been a rash of very articulate and passionate atheists such as Richard Dawkins, (the late) Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, who have attacked theism (the belief in God) by attacking Religious Fundamentalism (the poor behaviour of those claiming to believe in God and their abuse of Religious rules to oppress people). The type of God these Religious Fundamentalists promote is not the God I am arguing for. But to some it is going to sound like it.

C.S. Lewis artfully makes the point in the “Magician’s Nephew” that there can be several people confronted with the evidence for God yet they can interpret that evidence quite differently. Lewis describes Uncle Andrew’s direct encounter with Aslan where he vehemently denied what he was seeing and hearing as making himself look stupid. And Lewis, the former atheist himself, continues, “Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did.” When it comes to proof for God, the evidence is cumulative and therefore acceptable proof.

It is, then, true that everything teaches man his condition, but he must understand this well. For it is not true that all reveals God, and it is not true that all conceals God. But it is at the same time true that He hides Himself from those who tempt Him, and that He reveals Himself to those who seek Him, because men are both unworthy and capable of God; unworthy by their corruption, capable by their original nature.
Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 557

This evidence, or proofs, for the existence of God invites those atheists to consider it – especially for those who claim that there is none. At the very least it should be reasonably concluded that atheism (the absolute claim that there is no God after considering all possible knowledge) is a highly irrational position.

The following is a summary of the reasonable evidence for accepting that there is indeed a Personal Omnipotent God as described in the Christian Bible-

 

PROOFS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

1. The First Cause 

Everything has a cause...
It is illogical to suggest that something had no cause. This is where the theory of evolution becomes inadequate. It can not explain how anything began, let alone life. When we consider the evidence (that there are things which exist) it logically demands that either something or someone caused it. We can then rule out ‘something’ as the solution since we would be returning to the original problem — what made the something? This demands that the First Cause must be an uncreated First Cause. That is, the First Cause has always existed (eternal). We don’t have to understand how this is possible, but it is reasonable to apprehend that it must be so.

The late Professor Stephen Hawking advanced the idea that the cosmos could have sprung into existence from nothing without a cause. He claimed that the pre-existent force of gravity could have supplied the energy and impetus to cause the Big Bang. This idea, of course, undermined his earlier seminal work with Professor Roger Penrose, where they demonstrated that the universe had a beginning and was not eternal. Hawking’s latter theories regarding cosmology (how the universe began) did not find wide acceptance among his peers and those who work in the field of cosmology because it is generally acknowledged that Prof. Hawking committed two errors. Firstly, he presupposed that ‘laws’ have creative power, and secondly, for his theory to be established he had to redefine nothing as having positive properties in which gravity could exist. Clearly his assumption about nothing begs the question because it fails to account for what caused these positive properties to exist without themselves being caused. And while we refer to observable, repeatable, testable, universal, physical interactions, such as gravity, as ‘laws’, this is a man-made designation and the ‘law’ itself possesses no mind which is a necessary and essential attribute for a First Cause. 

Dr. William Lane Craig presented the Kalam Cosmological Argument as the basis of his doctoral dissertation. The summary of it might be presented as-

  1. Whatever begins to exist, has a cause of its existence.

  2. The universe began to exist.

  3. Therefore, the universe had a cause for its existence.

The implication of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is that the universe must have had a cause. It also stands that this cause was uncaused. There are only three alternatives to this conclusion-

  1. The universe (matter, time, space and energy) has always been, that is it is eternal.

  2. Our universe was created by a powerful being/s from another universe (Multiverse Theory).

  3. The universe does not actually exist, that is, this universe is an illusion.

In response to these alternatives we note-

  1. The universe did have a demonstrable beginning. The Big Bang, where all matter, space, time, and energy began, is now attested to by over 20 major research projects. There is no evidence for the universe being eternal.

  2. The Multiverse Theory does not resolve the issue of beginnings. In affect it becomes a series of infinite regression, that is, if someone from another “uni” verse (which actually voids the term “uni” verse) created our universe, then who created this person? If the answer is someone from another universe, then who created this person, and so on.

  3. The idea that nothing is real might sound feasible in the Philosophy classroom, but our self-consciousness and ability to interact with other people who are similarly self-conscious, immediately dismisses this fanciful theory. It does however remind me of the story of the Philosophy Professor who held up a chair and asked his class to write a paper proving that the chair did not exist. Most students got to work immediately and referred to past philosophers and their writings to show why the chair did not exist. When the Professor graded the papers, there was only student who received top marks- even though he only wrote two words! He wrote, “What chair?”

Drawing upon the Kalam Cosmological Argument we know that our universe must have had a cause which was uncaused. This cause must have been outside of space, time matter and energy (as we know it). In theological terminology, we refer to: omnipresent, eternal, incorporeal, and omnipotence. We refer to the person satisfies these requirements as – God.

I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.
Isaiah 45:12

 

2. The Universe Exhibits Design

There is evidence for design…
The unraveling of the Human Genome Code was announced to the world as the discovery of the language of the Creator by then President, Bill Clinton. What scientists discovered was an extremely sophisticated genetic language necessary for even the simplest life forms to exist. To believe that this level of apparent design happened either randomly or by chance is a mathematical equation of probability with more zeros than I care to type (plus I don’t know what the word is for numbers which are thousands of trillions!).

Read Peer Reviewed Scientific Articles supporting the case for design in the universe

The universe displays an amazingly complex level of interdependency which logically leads to the conclusion that it was designed that way. There are just too many coincidences of such “just rightness” for it too be a random haphazard coincidence. The earth is “just the right” distance from the Sun; it contains “just the right” mixture of chemicals and gases to sustain life; humans have “just the right” ability to breath these gases; the human body has “just the right” synergy of internal organs in order to function, and so on.

Its important to note that the Bible does not give a date for the commencement of creation of the universe, or the date for the creation of mankind. The universe may well be 13,700,000,000 years old, and mankind’s origins may well be as recent as 150,000 – 200,000 years ago. These numbers are in no way counter to the Biblical record, and extremely compatible with the evidence. (See, “Who Was Adam?” by Dr. Fazale Rana, and Dr Hugh Ross, RTB Press, 2015, p. 66-67.)

“Perhaps the most popular and intuitively plausible argument for God’s existence is the so-called argument from design. According to this argument, the design that is apparent in nature suggests the existence of a cosmic Designer…Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God.”
“There IS a God”, Antony Flew, Harper One, 2007:95

Antony Flew artfully describes the design of the universe, and in particular its obvious design for humans, by asking his readers to imagine arriving at a motel room without a booking. As they come into their assigned room their favourite CD is playing their favourite track. As they bring their bags into the room they smell a very familiar fragrance. In fact, it is so familiar because it is their favourite scent. As they place their bags down they notice a basket of their favourite food waiting for them on the bed. On the wall hangs a copy of their favourite artwork. In the mini-bar there is a complimentary block of their favourite chocolate next to their favourite soft drink. It appears that someone knew they were coming and also knew they would be staying in this room!

In Flew’s scenario, there are just a handful of parameters (the music, the scent, the food, the drink, the artwork) that indicate that someone designed the room for a particular guest. According to Dr Hugh Ross of Reasons To Believe (www.reasons.org) there are over 400 parameters that are simultaneously needed in order for human life to be possible on earth. If one takes Flew’s analogy and considers not just the parameters that make life possible, but those which make life enjoyable and give pleasure to life, we soon discover that this list of design parameters climbs to over 600!

For Flew the reasons for so many “Anthropic” design parameters became undeniably obvious: there must be a Designer. He argues that if all it takes is five or so parameters in a motel room for us to conclude that someone designed our arrival, then what do you do with an entire planet that displays around 600 such parameters?

Dr Hugh Ross has been one of the pioneers in developing a comprehensive list of all the parameters necessary for human life. 

Human existence is possible because the constants of physics and the parameters for the universe and for planet Earth lie within certain highly restricted ranges. John Wheeler and others interpret these amazing “coincidences” as proof that human existence somehow determines the design of the universe. Drawing an illogical parallel with delayed-choice experiments in quantum mechanics, they say that observations by humans influence the design of the universe, not only now, but back to the beginning. Such versions of what is called the “anthropic principle” reflect current philosophical and religious leanings towards the deification of man. They produce no evidence to support the notion that man’s present acts can influence past events. Furthermore, their analogies with quantum mechanics break down on this point. The “coincidental” values of the constants of physics and the parameters of the universe point, rather, to a designer who transcends the dimensions and limits of the physical universe.
Dr. Hugh Ross, http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_designanthropic.html, as of March 2009

In one of his earliest articles on the parameters necessary for human life (http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_designanthropic.html, as of March 2009) Dr Ross discusses some of his early findings-

Cosmic Connection

Now that the limits and parameters of the universe can be calculated, and some even directly measured, astronomers and physicists have begun to recognize a connection between these limits and parameters and the existence of life. It is impossible to imagine a universe containing life in which any one of the fundamental constants of physics or any one of the fundamental parameters of the universe is different, even slightly so, in one way or another.

From this recognition arises the anthropic principle—everything about the universe tends toward man, toward making life possible and sustaining it…

Insufficient Universe

It is clear that man is too limited to have created the universe. But, it is also evident that the universe is too limited to have created man. The universe contains no more than 1080 baryons (Baryons are protons and other fundamental particles, such as neutrons, that decay into protons) and has been in existence for no more than 1018 seconds…

The bottom line is that the universe is at least ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times) too small or too young for life to have assembled itself by natural processes. (A common rebuttal is that not all amino acids in organic molecules must be strictly sequenced. One can destroy or randomly replace about 1 amino acid out of 100 without doing damage to the function of the molecule. This is vital since life necessarily exists in a sequence—disrupting radiation environment. However, this is equivalent to writing a computer program that will tolerate the destruction of 1 statement of code out of 1001. In other words, this error-handling ability of organic molecules constitutes a far more unlikely occurrence than strictly sequenced molecules).

The evidence for the universe being designed is overwhelming. This observation is not original. It was stated much earlier by one of the world’s leading cosmologists and physicists, Paul Davies, who said-

“the impression of design is overwhelming”

Paul Davies, “The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature’s Creative Ability To Order the Universe”, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988:203

Dr. Hugh Ross goes on in his article to list 19 specific parameters necessary for a planet to sustain complex life-

1. Number of star companions

  • if more than one: tidal interactions would disrupt planetary orbits
  • if less than one: not enough heat produced for life

2. Parent star birth date

  • if more recent: star would not yet have reached stable burning phase
  • if less recent: stellar system would not yet contain enough heavy elements

3. Parent star age

  • if older: luminosity of star would not he sufficiently stable
  • if younger: luminosity of star would not be sufficiently stable

4. Parent star distance from center of galaxy

  • if greater: not enough heavy elements to make rocky planets
  • if less: stellar density and radiation would he too great

5. Parent star mass

  • if greater: luminosity output from the star would not be sufficiently stable
  • if less: range of distances appropriate for life would be too narrow; tidal forces would disrupt the rotational period for a planet of the right distance

6. Parent star color

  • if redder: insufficient photosynthetic response
  • if bluer: insufficient photosynthetic response

7. Surface gravity

  • if stronger: planet’s atmosphere would retain huge amounts of ammonia and methane
  • if weaker: planet’s atmosphere would lose too much water

8. Distance from parent star

  • if farther away: too cool for a stable water cycle
  • if closer: too warm for a stable water cycle

9. Thickness of crust

  • if thicker: too much oxygen would he transferred from the atmosphere to the crust
  • if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great

10. Rotation period

  • if longer: diurnal temperature differences would he too great
  • if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would he too great

11. Gravitational interaction with a moon

  • if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would he too severe
  • if less: earth’s orbital obliquity would change too much causing climatic instabilities

12. Magnetic field

  • if stronger: electromagnetic storms would be too severe
  • if weaker: no protection from solar wind particles

13. Axial tilt

  • if greater: surface temperature differences would be too great
  • if less: surface temperature differences would he too great

14. Albedo (ratio of reflected light to total amount falling on surface)

  • if greater: runaway ice age would develop
  • if less: runaway greenhouse effect would develop

15. Oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere

  • if larger: life functions would proceed too quickly
  • if smaller: life functions would proceed too slowly

16. Carbon dioxide and water vapor levels in atmosphere

  • if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would develop
  • if less: insufficient greenhouse effect

17. Ozone level in atmosphere

  • if greater: surface temperatures would become too low
  • if less: surface temperatures would he too high; too much uv radiation at surface

18. Atmospheric electric discharge rate

  • if greater: too much fire destruction
  • if less: too little nitrogen fixing in the soil

19. Seismic activity

  • if greater: destruction of too many life-forms
  • if less: nutrients on ocean floors would not be uplifted

Dr Ross continues on to say that there are even more necessary parameters for a planet to sustain life-

About a dozen other parameters, such as atmospheric chemical composition, currently are being researched for their sensitivity in the support of life. However, the nineteen (parameters) listed (in Table 1, above) in themselves lead safely to the conclusion that much fewer than a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars will have a planet capable of sustaining life. Considering that the universe contains only about a trillion galaxies, each averaging a hundred billion stars, we can see that not even one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the necessary conditions to sustain life. No wonder Robert Rood and James Trefil (Rood, Robert T. and Treffi, James S. Are We Alone? The Possibility of Extraterrestrial Civilizations. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1983) and others have surmised that intelligent physical life exists only on the earth. It seems abundantly clear that the earth, too, in addition to the universe, has experienced divine design.
Dr. Hugh Ross, “Design & The Anthropic Principle”, http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_designanthropic.html

Professor Antony Flew marvels at the complexity of life’s design as he writes-

…there is a rich narrative drama surrounding our current understanding of the cell…The genetic message in DNA is duplicated in replication and then copied from DNA to RNA in transcription. Following this there is translation whereby the message from RNA is conveyed to the amino acids, and finally the amino acids are assembled into proteins. The cell’s two fundamentally different structures of information management and chemical activity are coordinated by the universal genetic code.
“There IS a God”, Antony Flew, Harper One, 2007:126-127

Professor Paul Davies calls the undeniable design of universe and in particular earth’s unique place in the universe as The Goldilocks Enigma. There are simply too many ‘just rights’ in the universe to dismiss the universe’s obvious design. 

While the late Professor Carl Sagan dismissed planet earth as an insignificant, pale blue dot, his successor, Professor Brian Greene (Professor of Mathematics & Physics at Columbia University), is far less prepared to deny the obvious. He says that the fact of the universe’s designed cannot be denied so the real issue is not whether it is designed but who is the Designer? Professor Greene appeases atheists by avoiding the theologically loaded term: “God”, instead opting for the term Grand Organising Designer, which coincidentally equates to G.O.D.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 19:4

 

3. Universal Moral Laws

There is intrinsic morality which needs a point of reference...
How do we know what ‘evil’ is? How do we know what ‘good’ is? These concepts demand either the existence of a standard to make such evaluations, or an understanding what these concepts mean. Each of us are born with an innate sense of morality. We each instinctively know what is right and wrong. It is incredible to consider that no matter time, culture, geographic location, or people, the Moral Law has been universally acknowledged.

William Lane Craig says it this way-

“1. If God does not exist objective moral values do not exist. 

2. Objective moral values do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.”

Dr. William Lane Craig, “The Moral Argument, Part1”, Defenders Podcast, 15th October 2007

Is rape always wrong? 

Is the worst abuse of children always wrong?

Is genocide always wrong?

Yes. Yes. Yes. There seems to be something intuitive within us all that knows that all of these acts are evil. Rape is not wrong because there is a statute against it. It is wrong because it is wrong. 

After World War II Nazi war criminals were judged at Nuremberg. The prosecutors had a major problem though. The defendants had not broken any laws! Even though they were responsible for the mass murder of millions of people (including Jews, Gypsies, and Christians). Since they were merely carrying out the policies of the lawful, official German government, the prosecutors were initially at a loss about how on earth they could charge them with any crimes. 

In a moment of inspired genius one of the prosecutors said they could legitimately charge these SS Officers with crimes against the laws common to all of humanity (the Natural Law). Thus, the charge of Crimes against Humanity was introduced and universally accepted. It was upon the basis of the court accepting that there was indeed a set of objective moral laws that universally define right from wrong that they were able to proceed in the prosecution of Nazi War Criminals. 

There are of course those who object to the idea of acknowledging that there are objective moral laws presumably because it interferes with their lifestyle and sexual proclivities. 

This tends to confirm that all of creation bears the finger-prints of a Creator who is fundamentally good and right. That is, we each share a knowledge of what is right and wrong not just because we are taught or conditioned to accept these values, but because we are born with them.

After Dinesh D’Souza debated the atheist Peter Singer about intrinsic morality being an argument for God’s existence, he was stunned with Singer’s admission-

I write this fresh from debating bioethicist Peter Singer on “Can we be moral without God?” at Singer’s home campus, Princeton University. Singer is a mild-mannered fellow who speaks calmly and lucidly. Yet you wouldn’t have to read his work too long to find his extreme positions. He cheerfully advocates infanticide and euthanasia and, in almost the same breath, favors animal rights. Even most liberals would have qualms about third-trimester abortions; Singer does not hesitate to advocate what may be termed fourth-trimester abortions, i.e., the killing of infants after they are born.

Singer writes, “My colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggest that a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others.” Singer argues that even pigs, chickens, and fish have more signs of consciousness and rationality—and, consequently, a greater claim to rights—than do fetuses, newborn infants, and people with mental disabilities. “Rats are indisputably more aware of their surroundings, and more able to respond in purposeful and complex ways to things they like or dislike, than a fetus at 10- or even 32-weeks gestation. … The calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy…

In Singer, we may be witnessing someone both horrifying and yet somehow refreshing: an intellectually honest atheist.”
Dinesh D’Souza, “Staring into the Abyss – Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous.”

Ironically, the oft made objection to there being a God is that a loving, good, God would never allow evil and suffering in the world. This is a self-defeating argument. Firstly, on what basis does anyone assume that God is “loving” and “good”? It seems that we all intuitively know that God is both loving and good. Secondly, the basis for our understanding of what constitutes “moral” (good and right conduct) is God. Therefore, saying that since there is evil in the world (relative to there being a loving and good God in the world) is like saying- since there is a loving and good God in the world by which we know what evil is, there can not be a loving and good God.

This tends to confirm that all of creation bears the finger-prints of a Creator who is fundamentally good and right. That is, we each share a knowledge of what is right and wrong not just because we are taught or conditioned to accept these values, but because we are born with them.

 

4. The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth
Dead men do not ordinarily come back to life...
Skeptics may dispute this historical claim that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead but they do so at their peril. This is because there is enough evidence to validate it and it is the point at which all of the history of Christ and Christianity rests. This means that if anything of Christ and Christianity is true then the Physical Resurrection of Christ is also true. The opposite is also true. If Christ did not literally rise from the dead then none of his history or teachings have any credence.

But if the resurrection of Christ can be seen as a reasonable historic fact (based on over 500 eye-witnesses, the preparedness of all of those witnesses to defend their testimonies even at the point of losing their lives, the resultant baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues- still available today) then this is perhaps the most overwhelming piece of proof for the existence of God.The proofs for the physical resurrection of Jesus the Christ include-

1. Eye Witnesses

The first Christians based their entire case on the truthfulness of the physical resurrection of Christ. To them, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then their message had absolutely no credibility.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
First Corinthians 15:14

Since the claim of Christ’s resurrection was central to the earliest Christians’ message, all their opponents had to do to rebut this naturally outrageous claim was to produce the corpse of Christ.

There were eyewitnesses to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. These eyewitnesses numbered in the hundreds. At one time there were up to 500 at one time who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. While some may contend that the resurrection of Jesus was merely wishful on the part of His followers who simply got lost in the ecstasy of wanting His resurrection to be true, it should be noted that it is impossible for 500 people at one time to see the same “hallucination.”

But was there merely a conspiracy to lie about the resurrection of Jesus? Considering that the testimony of these witnesses brought about swift and severe retribution from authorities, it seems an incredible claim to make that these people merely lied about being eye-witnesses to the resurrection of Christ. People hardly lie to their own detriment. That is, we generally lie to advantage ourselves not to disadvantage ourselves!

2. The Realisation of the Promised Experience With The Holy Spirit

On the Jewish Day of Pentecost, the Christian Church was birthed with a miraculous event (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues and prophecy) which Jesus assured them would only happen after He was resurrected from the dead.

“…if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”
Prof. Paul L. Maier

3. The Inability of Christianity’s Opponents To Produce The Corpse of Jesus

Peter addressed the crowd of thousands immediately after this miraculous commotion. 

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”
Acts 2:22-24

Peter based the truthfulness of his entire message upon the truthfulness and historicity of the resurrection of Christ. If Christ had not died and been resurrected then someone in this vast crowd could have pointed this out. But the claim by Peter went unchallenged! 

The empty tomb of Christ was immediately verifiable by the apostles original audience. But it was also falsifiable. The body of Christ was placed in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, and then sealed (with wax) by the Romans with their insignia displayed. To unlawfully break this seal was punishable by death!

4. The Character of the Eyewitnesses

Those who witnessed the resurrection of Christ were all consistent in their testimony of what they claimed to have seen. One of the most basic investigation techniques a criminal detective has is to ask a witness or suspect the same question over and over. If their testimony is untrue their inconsistency obviously indicates their attempted deception. But if they are consistent in their testimony – and consistent with hundreds of others who claimed the same events to be true, then their truthfulness becomes obvious.

“I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God bath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
Professor Thomas Arnold, “History of Rome”, (Chair of Modern History at Oxford)

5. The Dramatic Change In The Eyewitnesses

These eyewitnesses shared their testimonies about the resurrection of Christ at the risk of death. Around A.D. 112 the Roman governor of Asia Minor wrote to Emperor Trajan regarding the Christians there-

“I was never present at any trial of Christians; therefore I do not know what are the customary penalties or investigations, and what limits are observed…whether those who recant should be pardoned…whether the name itself, even if innocent of crime, should be punished, or only the crimes attaching to that name…Meanwhile, this is the course that I have adopted in the case of those brought before me as Christians. I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist I sentence them to death. For I do not doubt that, whatever kind of crime it may be to which they have confessed, their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy should certainly be punished…the very fact of my dealing with the question led to a wider spread of the charge, and a great variety of cases were brought before me. An anonymous pamphlet was issued, containing many names. All who denied that they were or had been Christians I considered should be discharged, because they called upon the gods at my dictation and did reverence…and especially because they cursed Christ, a thing which it is said, genuine Christians cannot be induced to do.”
Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, Oxford Press, London, 1943:3

6. The Willingness of Jewish Christians To Change Their Day of Worship to Sunday

The Sabbath (Saturday) was a core cultural distinctive for the first century Jew. Yet thousands of Jews willingly shifted their day of worship to Sunday based on the fact that it became the day the early Christian commemorated the resurrection of Christ.

7. The Change in the Brothers of Christ, the Sons of Mary, After The Resurrection

Sometimes family members are the hardest people to persuade when you’re claiming to be God in the flesh! Yet we have two books of the Bible written by the half-brothers of Jesus (James and Jude) where they acknowledge that Jesus was God and that He rose again from the dead.

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history.
Prof. E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics, Auckland University

 

5. The Claims of Christ Can Be Experienced
You are not a million miles away from God...

Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus Christ made some seemingly outrageous claims about the benefits of following Him. He offered “rest” for the weary, ‘nourishment’ for the hungry, ‘water’ for the thirsty, ‘resurrection’ for the dead, ‘direction’ for aimless, ‘liberty’ for the oppressed, ‘protection’ for the vulnerable, ‘healing’ for the hurting, and ‘salvation’ for the lost. 

I was 15 years of age when I accepted Christ. Never have I ever regretted it. It has been a journey for me that has seen me grow and change. I have felt the Lord guiding me. I can honestly say that I have heard Him speak to me (even though it hasn’t been audibly). He has answered my prayers so often that I now almost take it for granted that my prayers will be answered. He has given my life direction and purpose that I otherwise would never have had. 

Today He extends to you the invitation to experience for yourself the claims which He has made. You are not a million miles away from God; you are just one prayer away.

The evidence for the existence of God is available. For honest enquirers there are honest answers. For those who acknowledge that there is at least reasonable evidence (even if not all 5 points of evidence are accepted) then they can no longer claim to be ‘atheist’. Like Professor Flew they can bravely embrace the title ‘theist’ (God believer) without adopting any particular religious framework. Once this position can be reached then the next phase of the journey is to answer the question, ‘Is religion necessary or even helpful in discovering God?’

 

BUT HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE GOD OF CHRISTIANS IS THE CREATOR THAT THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO?

The scientific method has become synonymous with methodological naturalism. This is the idea that the only way knowledge can be apprehended is if it can be observed or mathematically verified. But this is a fairly recent hijacking of what the scientific method means. If we could allow the evidence from scientific method to lead us  to certain deductions, that is, follow the same path the Professor Antony Flew went down, whether they be physical or metaphysical, we may be removing the restrictions which might hold us back from the truth – especially if we employ the scientific method in examining any theories involving metaphysical claims.

Since there is sufficient evidence to show that the universe began and therefore must have had a beginning, we must also include the dimensions of time and space as part of that beginning. Therefore the “Beginning Cause” must have been outside of time and space. This is one of the central claims of the Bible about God: He is eternal and dwells ‘above the heavens’ (Heb. 7:26) – that is, God is outside of time and space. At this point, we could apply these deductions using the scientific method to dismiss the claims of certain religions which present their “God” as being a part of time and space (pantheism). This includes Buddhism and Hinduism.

Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Yet, the One who caused the universe has also given identifiable moral laws, which are often referred to as Natural Law (see Prof. J. Budziszewski, ‘What We Can’t Not Know’), from which we all seem to universally have a sense of right and wrong / just and unjust. It seems to stand to reason then that the Creator-Law-Giver must Himself keep these laws. If there is no such Law-Giver, then there can be no ultimate justice since there would be no Judge to administer justice. This makes sin the source of evil and the ultimate problem for all mankind. While Islam teaches that there will be a ‘Final Judgment’ (interestingly to be done by Jesus Christ according to the Qur’an), it does not regard sin as the reason for this judgment, and therefore it does not see any need for atonement of sins before this Final Judgment. Hinduism does not regard moral failure (sin) as the problem of the Human condition and does not depict Brahma as the Ultimate Judge. Only the God of the Bible is presented as being as supremely holy (without sin and therefore without evil), immutable (unchanging in moral character which is in contradistinction to either Islam or Hinduism), and impeccable (only capable of good and upholding perfectly His moral laws, which again is in contradistinction to Islam’s concept of ‘Allah’ who is morally arbitrary).

Perhaps the simplest test for discovering the identity of the Creator-God is to employ the scientific method in a spiritual way by putting Psalm 34:8 and Matthew 7:7 to the test.

 © December 2004-2021, Dr. Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania. This is a condensed summary of the arguments presented in the upcoming eBook by the same title.

46 Comments

  1. David

    NONE of these come even close to proving the existence of “god”. Dr. Corbett needs to take a class in elementary logical thought.

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      David, thank you for your opinion. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I disagree with you though. These evidences form a compelling case for the existence of the God described in the Bible. (FYI…I have taken classes in Logic.)
      -A.

      Reply
      • Darcy

        Excellent article. Can you explain further how the “god” of islam can be excluded. Thank you

        Reply
        • Andrew Corbett

          Hi Darcy,
          the god of Islam is a distinct concept from the God of the Bible. Any claim, by any religion, must be tested for its truthfulness. These Truth Tests include: i) Correspondence to reality; ii) Verifiability; iii) Falsifiability (if the claim was false it could at least be shown to be so); iv) Consistency; v) Coherence (comports with all other known truth). On this basis, the claims made about God as presented in the Bible uniquely passes these tests.
          -A.

          Reply
        • Someone

          The god of islam can be excluded because in the Qu’ran, which we all know is not the word of god, says that the Christian trinity is Mary, God, and Jesus. They said that God literally had sex with Mary. Such blasphemy.

          Reply
      • Sid

        ‪What is the difference in “proof”, “evidence” and “argument”? I have heard many interesting arguments for the existence of a deity, but I have never seen any evidence. And, certainly we can rule out proofs since they belong to the realm of mathematics. ‬

        Reply
        • Andrew Corbett

          Thank you Sid. I wonder how we might ‘prove’ the statement- “And, certainly we can rule out proofs since they belong to the realm of mathematics” — because I don’t think this statement itself can be proved true by mathematics.

          Reply
      • William Jordan

        Andrew – demonstrate your evidence because nothing here is even remotely considered any evidence of any god! Period! An all powerful god and still for centuries, no one can demonstrate his/her/its existence???? Unreal religion has survived for even 2 weeks – let alone for centuries!

        Reply
    • Collin

      Dude the one who needs to learn how to think is you because i see your statement is ignorant, if you want to call him out cite some evidence you cant prove him wrong proving nothing

      Reply
    • Collin

      dude if your going to call him out cite some evidence

      Reply
      • Collin

        David is who i am referring to

        Reply
    • Les

      No, David is spot on here. A couple of examples…
      At the end the article argues that because we can exclude the God-concepts of other religions – which seems unclear to me in the case of Islam, but whatever – we are left with the Biblical God. But there is no reason to restrict ourselves to the God portrayed in existing religions. Multiple creators, the creator of our universe being themselves a creation, creators who don’t even try to communicate with us or interfere in human history are all possibilities. Seems like the author pretends there are far fewer possibilities than there actually are because it suits his purpose.
      “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable. ” This is a clear fallacy. Consider, “Within the house is a cat. Mr Whiskers is outside the house, so he must be not-a-cat.” I’d call it the fallacy of denying the antecedent but it seems slightly more muddled than that. For someone who claims in the comments to have taken classes in logic, this is a pretty elementary mistake to be making.
      I have seen the case for God argued far better, and with so much Christian apologetics available online for free, there is no excuse for letting your side down with second-rate stuff like this.

      Reply
      • Andrew Corbett

        Thank you for your comment Les. I disagree with your comments, and think your responding analogy, about Mr. Whiskers, completely misses the point. Once again, if it can be shown that all space, energy, time and matter had a beginning – which Big Bang Cosmology supports – then it is logical that its Cause must be outside of it.
        -Andrew C.

        Reply
        • Les

          I think you missed the point of my analogy. Reading back, I hold this to be entirely the fault of my analogy, which was terrible. I really need to stop trying to make everything about cats.
          Let me see if I can make my objection clearer.
          “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable. ”
          We could express this as having the general form “Within X, things have a set of properties Y”
          Clearly it does not follow from this that outside of X, things must lack the set of properties Y. That’s the fallacy of denying the antecedent. Dogs are mammals, this is not a dog, therefore it is not a mammal. Doesn’t work. If there is moral evil within time and space, it does not follow that what is outside time and space must lack moral evil. Moral evil could be everywhere for all we know. There could be a Creator or Creators, and they could be “holy…and impeccable”, but this cannot be inferred from them being outside time and space, just because within time and space moral evil exists.
          Note that I am not making any claims about whether moral evil objectively exists, only about what can be inferred if it does.
          Hope that’s made my objection clearer. Happy new year!

          Reply
          • Les

            Small correction: “We could express this as having the general form “Within X, things have a set of properties Y”” should read “We could express this as having the general form “Within X, things have a set of properties Y. Therefore outside of X, things lack the set of properties Y.”

          • Andrew Corbett

            Les, thank you for your correction. This reasoning is still illogical and misses the point. There are only two logical explanations for the existence of everything: (i) Nothing caused everything, or, (ii) Something caused everything. Since no effect can be greater than its cause, whatever caused everything must be greater than everything, therefore the cause of everything can not be nothing. To assert that a causal agent also needs a causal agent is to commit the illogical error of infinite regression. Since infinity is a non-actualised theoretical concept, an infinite regression of causal agents is neither logical or possible.
            -Andrew C.

        • Les

          Andrew, this is actually a reply to your comment of 17 January, 2018 at 6:02 PM, which doesn’t seem to have a Reply button on it.
          You keep responding as if I am arguing against the Kalam cosmological/first cause argument for God. I cannot understand how you continue to make this mistake, since I have been, I think, very clear about what I’m arguing against. For the third time, it’s this statement here –

          “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable.”

          How on earth you manage to think that talk about infinite regression and whether an effect can be greater than its cause is relevant to this, I honestly can’t imagine. Relevant to Kalam cosmological arguments and the like, sure. But what does it have to do with what I’ve been saying? It’s as if you skimmed what I’d written *very* quickly, saw the phrase “time and space” and the word “Creator” and just assumed that I was trying to refute a First Cause argument.
          My best guess is that this is a case of what psychologists call attribute substitution, in which “when someone tries to answer a difficult question, they may actually answer a related but different question, without realizing that a substitution has taken place.” Or something like that. In other words, you can’t answer my actual argument/objection, so you substitute a simpler argument that you think you *can* answer.
          I won’t go over my objections again because I’ve already done so pretty clearly but one last time, the statement I’m objecting to is –
          “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable.”
          Not a first cause/Kalam cosmological argument, but that statement there, right above this, in quotation marks, your words so you ought to recognize them, these words right here in fact –
          “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable.”
          Those words, that statement, not any claims about whether the universe has a cause or whether that cause is the Biblical God. I am not positing or implying an infinite regress, I am not claiming the universe is uncaused, I am not claiming that a cause can be greater than its effect, I am saying that this statement here –
          “Within time and space there is moral-evil, corruption, and decay. Since the Creator is outside of this He must be holy, immutable, and impeccable.”
          – is a non sequitur, that the conclusion does not follow from the premise.
          There. If there’s a way to make myself clearer, I can’t think of it. My guess is that either you will delete this comment and probably my other ones, or that your reply will have as little to do with what I’ve written as your other replies have. But I just had to give it one more shot.
          Have a nice day.

          Reply
          • Andrew Corbett

            Les, you have repeated asserted that I have made a non-sequitur by claiming that the First-Cause must be the Uncaused First-Cause who is therefore outside of time, space, and matter, and therefore beyond evil, corruptibility, or decay. I fail to see how this is a non-sequitur. It is indeed a reasonable and logical statement then to conclude that the Creator is therefore holy (without any moral-evil), immutable (not subject to corruption) and impeccable (ineffably good). Since the premise of the Uncaused First Cause is intrinsic to the argument, a premise which you seem to be asserting is false, it is what I have responded to.
            -Andrew.

    • William Jordan

      David is correct – these are not even close to evidence of an existence of any god! Not even close – there has never been any proof demonstrated of any gods existence! Never in world history! It is insane religion has survived 2o days – let alone for centuries!

      Reply
  2. Andrea

    I can’t see an argument for a Christian god, surely you realise that man can not comprehend such a complex god and put it down in words such as the bible? We may try to follow the teachings of god but I suspect they may be misconstrued, warped, simplified to the point that the meaning written is completely different to what was meant. Language itself has changed to such a degree that even if what was written then will potentially not have the same meaning today. I prefer to live my life in a manner that would not offend any god, good morals and that we need to make the most of what we have. Personally it could be any god, even one we potentially haven’t given a name to.

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Thank you Andrea. The case for God being the God of the Bible, and therefore the case for “the Christian God” is pretty overwhelming. What we know know of God from nature, science, history, and personal experience, corresponds perfectly to the God of the Bible. I agree with you that IF the Bible was the product of men’s imagination, then it would not be possible for it to be sufficiently accurate. But its verifiable claim is that it is divinely inspired by God. One of the problems attempting to appease “all gods” is that their moral requirements for their devotees is so different – and often, absolutely contrary to each other.

      Reply
      • Les

        “overwhelming”? “corresponds perfectly”? This is, to use a technical term, crazy ape bonkers. Let’s have a look at these “perfect” correspondences.
        Nature and science –
        Evolution happened, so there was no Adam made from dust, no Eve made from a rib. Certainly to say that people being made from dust and ribs “corresponds perfectly” with what we observe in nature is ridiculous, since we never observe anything of the kind. Plenty of Christians accept evolution, and I don’t consider it to be a death blow to the Christian faith or anything. But then we run into a problem. If we take the creation story as metaphor, and take the message to be “God is responsible for the universe existing as it is”, then it’s too vague to make much of. The universe being fine-tuned for life would certainly be consistent with the Biblical God, but also consistent with almost any other God we could imagine. There are no features of the universe that even show that there must be a *single* designer behind it all.
        Verdict: Meh.

        History –
        The God of the bible performs big, visible miracles. Parting the sea, stopping the sun in the sky, bringing a valley of dead bones to life, often doing these things to intervene in human affairs like battles.
        What we observe and what history reliably records – nothing of the kind. Actual history is utterly barren of this sun-stopping, sea-parting God. Battles are won and lost by tactics, weapons, disease, weather, and when the Holocaust happened no terrible plagues came upon the Nazis. We know John F. Kennedy was assassinated; we don’t know of a single miracle. Moses is a figure of legend, not history. No contemporary historian mentioned Jesus.
        Verdict: Fail.

        Personal experience: I was a “born-again” Christian for 15 years. You will say I wasn’t truly saved. OK. But what about everybody around me? Every time somebody said “God told me…” it was always an obvious banality or based on knowledge the person clearly already had, e.g., “prophesying” over someone they knew well. Our pastor was eventually found to be guilty of a “serious moral failing” and asked to step down, but oddly God never thought to mention that to anybody. I heard no voices, I saw no miracles, and I don’t see any reason to think anybody else did either. Even other peoples best stories about personal experience were of recovering from illness/injury a bit quicker than expected or emotional experiences in church, while praying etc.
        Personal experience is personal, of course. I’ve never seen a ghost, but if someone says they have, well, maybe they did. I can’t prove they didn’t. But that is non-transferable, and you did say “what we know of God from…personal experience” I’ll only say that unless your personal experience could *only* have a supernatural explanation, then it doesn’t help the case.
        Verdict: Tricky.

        I think that you have MASSIVELY over-stated the case that the Bible is divinely inspired by God. It is something that can be discussed and defended, but the case for the Christian God is nowhere near “pretty overwhelming”.

        Reply
        • Andrew Corbett

          Les, you have made some sweeping assertions here which are patently wrong.
          ANTHROPOLOGY:
          Beginning with the Bible’s cosmology, ‘Creation Ex-Nihilo’ (“creation from nothing”), which corresponds to Big Bang Cosmology, to its description of the creation of Adam and Eve from whom all of humanity is derived, which corresponds to latest conclusions from the Human Genome Project which has concluded that all mankind has been derived one man referred to as Y-Chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve (Rana, Fazale, and Ross, Hugh N., 2015, Who Was Adam? Covina, CA: RTB Press, pgs 66-67).

          HISTORY:
          You assert that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist and that there are no contemporary historical accounts of him. This is simply false. Dr. John Dickson, Macquarie University History Department, states that there is not one professional historian anywhere who thinks that Jesus did not actually exist, because the historical evidence for Him is overwhelming. Added to this collective weight of professional opinion, we have the written accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – who were all contemporaries of Jesus of Nazareth. Their accounts were in wide circulation by 50AD which means that there were ample opportunities of contemporary refutations – of which there are none.

          EXPERIENCE:
          I sympathise with your negative experiences of how people have misrepresented Christianity. These are not the kind of experiences of which I am referring.
          By the way Les, I would not propose to claim that you were never a Christian and therefore you never really had a conversion experience. As a pastor, I have been privileged to witness and experience many positive phenomena, but I do not base my faith in the God of the Bible – or encourage others to do so – because of these. But, like you, I have seen moral failures by church leaders, pseudo-spirituality by charlatans feigning Christianity, and other misrepresentation of Christianity. But again, my faith in the God of the Bible is not based on the authenticity of people who claim to be Christian – but on good reasons grounded in evidence.
          -Andrew.

          Reply
          • Les

            Dear me, what a cavalcade of confusions. Where to begin?
            To clear up a minor confusion, the Human Genome Project formally began in 1990, whereas the idea of Mitochondrial Eve predates this by a few years – the journal Science published an article in 1987 called “The Unmasking of Mitochondrial Eve”. I’ve been unable to find any particular connection between the two, which is to be expected since mitochondrial DNA is not part of the human genome. I may have missed something though, and the HGP may have helped shed some light on Y-Chromosomal Adam.
            You have badly misunderstood what Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam are if you think they support biblical creationism. The names are misleading, I grant you, but there’s plenty of explanations online. Here’s one –
            http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/mitoeve.html
            The idea of exactly what Mito. Eve and Y-Chrom. Adam are is a bit complicated, but it’s most definitely not proof that the human race started from a population of 2. Mito. Eve and Y.Chrom Adam didn’t even live at the same time! I know the names and a vague understanding of the ideas makes it seem like they must be talking about the biblical Adam and Eve but it just isn’t so.
            However, speaking of the Human Genome Project, here’s what Francis Collins has to say on the subject of evolution –

            “As someone who’s had the privilege of leading the human genome project, I’ve had the opportunity to study our own DNA instruction book at a level of detail that was never really possible before.

            It’s also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming.”
            Francis Collins

            You seem to give weight to experts when they tell you Jesus existed. Fair enough, but you can’t turn around and dismiss them out of hand when they tell you something you don’t like. If a Christian, who’s a physician-geneticist of sufficient standing to have been in charge of the Human Genome Project says that “The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming.”, then surely you have to admit that the evidence must be, if not overwhelming, at least *strong*? That there must, at the very least, be a good *case* for evolution? If you give weight to an overwhelming majority of historians telling us Jesus existed, is it reasonable to dismiss an overwhelming majority of scientists? Does expertise only count when it’s convenient?
            And speaking of history…
            “You assert that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist and that there are no contemporary historical accounts of him. This is simply false. ”
            I agree! It is indeed completely and utterly false that I assert either of these things. What I said was “No contemporary historian mentioned Jesus.” I didn’t assert Jesus didn’t exist. It really does seem like you are not reading what I write, or if you are, you’re quickly forgetting it and substituting an easier target. And I didn’t say that there were no contemporary accounts of him per se, only that no *contemporary* *historian* – please note both words – mentions him, though I admit that’s a finer distinction and a more understandable misunderstanding.
            Richard Carrier might be a counterexample to John Dickson’s statement but I am aware that he’s well and truly in the minority. I’ll just point out that thinking Jesus existed and thinking he walked on water and rose from the dead are two very different things. Davy Crockett existed, but that doesn’t mean he “kilt him a b’ar when he was only three.”
            You didn’t say anything about any of the other points I raised re:history but I’m sure you’re busy and I suppose I can’t blame you for going after the lowest hanging fruit.
            As for personal experience, my experiences of Christianity were pretty positive. The moral failings of my pastor – Frank Houston if you’re curious – only came to light after I’d left, and had nothing to do with my abandoning my faith. It was more offered as an empirical thing, “15 years and here’s what I saw.” But thank you for not being judgemental on this one – it’s pretty common for Christians to claim that I could not have been truly saved or I wouldn’t have left, or words to that effect, and I appreciate you being an exception.
            I stand by what I said – “overwhelming” and “corresponds perfectly” are at best massive overstatements, and ultimately I don’t think overselling it like this does your team any favors.

            In conclusion –
            “City walk, city walk, city walk, city walk, city walk, city walk.” – John Dickson.
            And there at least is something I think we can both agree on.

          • Andrew Corbett

            Les, thank you again for your comment. The data from the Human Genome Project, has, as you have cited, led the Director of the Project, Dr. Francis Collins, to make certain conclusions which led to his resultant conversion. His subsequent book, is a credit to him. A friend of his, Biochemist, Dr Fazale Rana PhD., makes the scientific case for the correspondence of Mi-Eve and Y-Adam with the Biblical Adam and Eve. This position should not be confused with what is commonly called ‘Creationism’ (belief in a 6,000 year old universe).
            -A.

    • Les

      This is a reply to your comment of 20 January, 2018 at 6:54 PM, which has no reply button, because I am just *terrible* at taking hints.
      Francis Collins’ conversion happened when he was 27 in 1977 or thereabouts, long before the Human Genome Project, so that didn’t lead to his conversion.
      Belief in a 6,000 year old earth would be Young Earth Creationism. Dr Fazale Rana isn’t a YEC but he is an Old Earth Creationist.
      Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common ancestor for all currently living humans by matrilineal descent. The existence of such an individual is not a scientific discovery but a mathematical necessity. Regardless of what view you hold, there *must* be such an individual. Ditto a most recent common ancestor by patrilineal descent. All science does it give us a shot at estimating when they existed. Yes, the idea is consistent with the biblical Adam and Eve, but only in the exact same sense that my having a father is consistent with the claim that my father is Zeus.
      I watched a half hour video of Dr Rana talking about this, and his case seems to amount to “Estimates about the time and place of Mito. Eve and Y-Chrom. Adam are based on assumptions and models, and since those could be wrong, we could be right.” OK, but that’s like saying that my belief that my father is my father is based on my model of my parents as truthful, and my assumption that Zeus isn’t real. Trivially true, but not worth saying.
      OK, that’s all. You can save yourself the trouble of replying if you like. I won’t be back – you don’t read the things I’ve posted (“You assert that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist”? Really?) and you don’t do your homework. I’d ask why you think you’re fit to be an apologist but….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect
      You have heard it said that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But I say unto you that “I don’t know.” and “I don’t understand.” are the beginning of wisdom. It is my sincere hope that some day, you begin.

      Reply
      • Andrew Corbett

        Les, thank you again for your comment. Dr. Collins described the findings of the Human Genome Project as being ‘the language of God’ hence the title of his subsequent book.
        Les, I have tried to answer each of your objections and done my best to overlook your insults and ridicule.
        In responding to your objection about my statement that evidence and reason demands that God is good, I have several times responded with the reasoning for the foundational premise of God’s necessary existence (which you have repeatedly dismissed as avoiding your question when it is in fact pivotal to answering it). I have then argued that evil can only be identified where there is standard of good, and that God most reasonably must be that standard.
        Based on the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, it would be unlikely for all of humanity to derive from the same two common ancestors. Hence the Mi-Eve and Y-chrom Adam fit the creation model proposed by Dr. Fatale Rana and Dr. Hugh Ross in their book, “Who Was Adam?”
        I did respond to your historical assertion that there is no contemporary evidence for Jesus of Nazareth. Your further assertion that the Gospel details about Christ are ‘legendary’ have no basis in historical evidence as the Gospel accounts of Jesus were well in circulation within the lifetime of Christ’s contemporaries which gave ample opportunities for rebuttal – of which there are none.
        Why might God be thought of as the God of the Bible and not the God of Islam or Hinduism or other religions? This is because the cosmological claims of the Qur’an do not correspond to what we know to be true. The same thing applies to the teaching of Hinduism and Buddhism which both teach something contrary to Big Bang Cosmology. Islam’s anthropology is radically different to the account of the Bible and again is contrary to what we know from scientific research.
        If I have failed to answer your other objections, I apologise. I have not tried to be dismissive of your or your objections.
        -Andrew C.

        Reply
  3. Tyler Pedersen

    I agree with your points on the proof of God. Can you specify on why the Mormon God is not the same? I don’t have a perfect knowledge of their God

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Hi Tyler. The Mormon teaching about the nature and identity of God is substantially different to Biblical Christianity. The Bible teaches that God is eternal (uncreated), immutable (unchanging), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (all-present), omnipotent (all-powerful), and is, was and will be: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent. Mormon teaching about God states that he was once a man and we are and evolved into being God. They teach that he is one of many such Gods. They teach that each God has their own planet to rule, and that we happen to live on a planet whose God is identified as God the Father in the Bible.

      Mormon Apostle, Bruce McConkie, states, “[A] plurality of gods exist … there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods.” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake: Bookcraft, 1991), 576-577.)

      The Founder of Mormonism wrote, “In the beginning, the head of the gods called a council of the gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and (the) people in it.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 349; quoted in Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), 220.)

      “And they (the gods) said: let there be light and there was light. And they (the gods) comprehended the light, … and the gods called the light Day and the darkness they called Night… .” The Book of Abraham, (in one of the Mormon Scriptures, ‘The Pearl of Great Price’).

      Reply
  4. John

    There are inconsistencies with each of these arguments, and each one has a strong rebuttal. As I’m typing this on my phone, I will keep the rebuttals short.

    1) The concept of a linear time line does not take into account the state of the universe before the big bang. From our knowledge of black holes, we understand that the laws of time and space become severely warped as one approaches the event horizon. Within a black hole, the physics that governs our everyday world does not exist in the same way once you pass the event horizon. Time becomes virtually meaningless when you approach an infinite density. Therefore time would not exist in the same frame of reference if all matter in the universe were compacted to a singular point, and the notions of cause and effect would have entirely different meanings. To the point that it has been hypothesized that the universe condensed into a singular point at some time in the future, and no longer being bound by time as we know it, expanded 15 billion years ago.

    2) The idea that everything was designed because we have all the right mixtures of gases, just the right distance from the sun, etc. Is actually a kind of backwards thinking. It wasn’t that all the conditions on earth were right for us, it was that our ancestors were able to evolve to adapt to current conditions. We evolved to survive in temperatures that already existed, and to breath gases that already were in the atmosphere. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of species that could not adapt throughout the history of our planet, and those animals went extinct. If conditions on earth changed too much, too fast, we too would go extinct. Our species and it’s ancestors were simply very good at adapting to the changing climate, and reproducing. This doesn’t show design, it shows evolution.

    3) Morality is a human creation. There is no intrinsic morality within anyone. It is much closer to a case of treating people how we want to be treated. A child typically understands enough to know that if they want to make a friend, they have to be nice to that person. Being mean causes that friend to leave them. As a society, we agree on sets of rules that typically benefit a large group, preferably everyone, allowing all the people to experience a genuinely happy life. Lacking a desire to do harm says more from the realm of psychology than it suggests any sort of god.

    4) The problem with trying to claim the eye witness account of Jesus is that historians have shown time and time again that nothing was actually recorded until decades after the alleged death of Jesus. Unfortunately, this means that a simple kindergarten game of “telephone” can show how these claims do not hold any validity. By the time it was written down, it was a case of “My dad’s, brothers, friends, moms, uncle actually saw this happen!” Rumors became literature, not fact.

    5) No real argument can be made for anecdotal evidence when someone claims to feel god, or experience them outside of whether others feel the same way. I was raised Catholic, and despite my intense desire to feel god, despite years of prayer, and going to church, I can say I never felt god. I never felt that spirit that others claim. On the other hand, there was a group of scientists who discovered they could actually induce that feeling through a combination of sensory deprivation and a very low dose of acid. Since we humans have the ability to recreate that feeling through artificial means, it would suggest that an evolutionary trait that lends itself to mystical feelings must have passed on. I could speculate as to why that would be, however, my inability to explain the why does not give credence to the notion that there is a god.

    To summarize, many of the methods that people have attempted to use to prove god exists are either missing critical pieces of information that disprove them, or depend on the lack of scientific knowledge to further the claim that there is a god. Lack of proof for one hypothesis does not guarantee proof of another. Our world is not black and white, it is an incredibly complex and majestic existence that we should appreciate and enjoy, but that does not mean there is an intelligence behind it. Accepting the truth that there is no god was not easy, or fun. It was an incredibly painful experience to do away with the dogma that was instilled upon me from birth. However, I could no longer ignore the inconsistencies, and the fallacies of the bible, and I can say that I am a much happier person because of it.

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      John, thank you for your comments.
      1) TIME: Despite some materialists proposing “time before the Big Bang”, there is no evidence for it all. Despite Physicists such as Victor Stenger postulating “Pre-Big Bang time”, or what Stephen Hawking calls, “Imaginary Time” there is no proof for it, whereas, there is much proof for there being a beginning. This is why it is rejected by most Cosmologists because the evidence points to a singularity of the beginning of space, time, energy and matter. Far from time being meaningless in the moments of the Big Bang, the timing of the expansion rate from the moment of the Big Bang was critical.

      2) DESIGN: This does not actually address the data for design, particularly the Anthropic Principle. There is little dispute that certain species have gone extinct and that some species have adapted within their species over time – but this says nothing against the evidence for life being designed.

      3) MORALITY: Your comment is an assertion rather than an argument. If there is no intrinsic, objective morality, then the Post-WW2 Nuremberg Trials were without foundation (which is a preposterous notion) since these Nazi War Criminals broke no German Law and were tried and convicted on the basis of violating the Natural Moral Law. If anything is universally regarded as ‘wrong’ then there must be objective, universal morality. If there is any act which is considered wrong throughout all time, and by all people, then there is evidence for universal, objective, morality. Such an act of wrong-doing, which is not subject to any ‘human creation’, might be the slaughter of an innocent baby for fun, or the brutal rape of a young girl. These heinous acts are wrong – not merely because we in our culture consider them to be so – but because they are. The fact that there is a demonstrable Moral Law points to a Moral Law Giver.

      4) THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS: Your assertion is factually false. The documentation from eye-witnesses to the resurrection of Christ date extremely early and were verifiable by those who lived during that time-period.

      5) EXPERIENCE: I appreciate you sharing your story. Thank you. I have also seen psychologists, mentalists, and hypnotists produce pseudo-religious experiences in people. This does not negate the point though, that there have been millions of people who have prayed for God to save them from the pain and consequences of their sin and have experienced Christ’s forgiveness in an undeniable way. Despite seeing people manipulated into pseudo-religious experiences, I have never seen anyone manipulated into having a sense of their sins forgiven and receiving peace with God by these non-religious instigators.

      John, thank you for sharing a summary of your journey. I appreciate you doing that. I have found that believing in the God of the Bible and pursuing truth are not incompatible. I take a rather scientific approach to my faith in God and my examination of the Bible. That is, I promote scepticism by adopting and promoting the approach that all beliefs should be reasonable. I certainly do not advocate a “God of the gaps” approach as evidence for God. Neither am I trying to be simplistic or unreasonable and acknowledge that we live in a complex world. But I have found that the Bible informs me about reality – the way the world really is. Its history is reliable and verifiable. Its insights promote wisdom. Its commands ensure my highest good and the best welfare of others. Its climax in the story of Jesus of Nazareth is beyond human invention.

      -Andrew Corbett

      Reply
      • John

        I’m just going to respond to the morality comment, though I strongly disagree with you in regards to the other points. Even today we are still debating what is moral and what is not. Things such as homosexuality, or abortions being debated in the US. However, there are acts and actions that take place in other countries that we may say is morally flawed, and they might say is a virtue. In some places it is acceptable that newborn females undergo genital mutilations, and we in the US would believe that to be abhorrent, while turning around, and manipulating the genitals of newborn males and calling it “good”.

        Morality has been shown to be a construct of man that is ever evolving. Even in my own lifetime, I have seen a drastic change in society over what is considered moral and what is not. Certain comments that may be made towards women, or men. Certain jokes that are considered not acceptable anymore because they are based on race. Even today, our morality is continuing to change and evolve, and it will continue to do so.

        However, your comment about the Nuremberg Trials, what right do we have to say that those things were evil and terrible? That is through our social structure, not an objective morality. What the germans were doing could definitely be described as bad by our own personal morals because we do not have a desire to cause pain and suffering on others. However, it was also a threat, the germans research, and advancement. A threat that our country was willing to look the other way until we were bombed in pearl harbor. To which we ultimately killed hundreds and thousands of people who had nothing to do with the war in an attempt to force their own surrender. Was it moral? Was it right? We could certainly debate it.

        But the answer doesnt come from an objective moral truth. There was plenty of blood on everyone’s hands throughout that war, and some scientists guilty of war crimes never even saw punishment because of the value they could add to our own endeavors. A process that has been repeated numerous times.

        Of course we hope that people that do terrible things will ultimately get what they deserve. But ultimately, we have a society to run, a species to keep alive, and to do that, we have to have laws, and preferably cooperation. That doesnt always mean what is legal is moral or vice versa.

        But it is our own capabilities to process vast amounts of information and to create a moral system of our own, that is why it cannot be as easily dismissed as “no one is wrong if morality doesnt exist”. The truth is, we should have some basis for our own morality in order to have a functioning system, and i personally say that should start with causing as little harm and pain as possible. No single foundation is going to be perfect (that includes the bible), but if we are to construct a moral system that is good for everyone, we have to start somewhere.

        Reply
  5. Nashy

    People need to remember THEN….Gods existence also dictates another existence….The devil.

    Reply
  6. George Joannou

    My humble take on this debate.

    I was raised by my parents to be a Christian, go to church and have faith in God Almighty. At times when things are difficult in my life I begin to question my faith and ask “Why me or how can God allow this to happen ? ” . Or indeed when my prayers are not answered again I question God’s existence. The debate on the existence of God has been around for as long as man has been able to ponder his own existence.
    Despite all this I find that I am still drawn to God when I need his help and Divine guidance. Maybe it comes down to my Christian upbringing , I don’t know. If my parents were atheists then maybe I would have turned out differently.
    The world we live in is a pretty messed up place, certainly no Garden of Eden for sure and sometimes you have to keep believing that overall Good will overcome Evil.
    Jesus did exist historians at the time do refer to him but you know what. Even if Jesus was not the Son of God he preached love and cared for all people, sinners or not and his actions and his words prove that he was a kind and caring Man. He was willing to die for what he believed in and in my mind that makes Him Great.
    So when life gets me down and I question my faith I think of the Man named Jesus and what He did and what He sacrificed .
    Life will always have its challenges , be filled with happiness and sorrow but how strange it is that I always keep asking God for his help when I need it, even when I think he is not listening. I am simply drawn to God . When things are good in my life I thank God and when things are bad I pray for his help. Strange indeed.
    Debating the existence of God is pointless. Some will be swayed by strong arguments for or against God’s existence and others will stand their ground stubbornly regardless of what is logically argued either way. God is ! He simply is ! If believing in God gives you strength and comfort to cope with life’s challenges then He exists and that is that.

    Love and peace to all.

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Thank you George. I appreciate your comments.
      I think it’s important for many people to see that there is evidence for God’s existence – with Jesus the Christ being one of the most significant.
      -A.

      Reply
  7. Ray Coffman

    The order and consistency of the universe is powerful evidence that there is a God. Two plus three is ALWAYS equal to five – mathematics is a logic that was impressed on creation by an intelligent being. All planets, stars, and galaxies have gravity that can be calculated using the SAME formula. Electricity always behaves in a way that can be explained using the same formulas. A precise statement cannot be true and false at the same time. These elemental, non-material realities could not have evolved, they were in existence at the moment of creation and have been consistently true ever since. I used to have a job as Safety Engineer in an explosives plant; one of my jobs was to subject PPE to small explosions to test its effectiveness. I never once observed an explosion that created order – everyone of them resulted in random disorder, not the creation of something more complex. The idea of a Big Bang creating the laws of nature that governed its own creation takes more faith than it takes to believe in God.

    Reply
  8. Bridget.

    If God exists there should be no ambiguity about it.
    If God exists and the devil too then why don’t they fight each other directly and leave weak human beings out of it, why make us the battlefield.

    If God exists it should be apparent to all without recourse to theology or scriptures. If He is alive, here now today, then we should know of it personally without needing to be convinced by enigmatic religious either. Why hide, the ambiguity has only lead to error, as even a non omniscient could foretell.

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Bridget,
      I understand your frustration. I think there are good reasons for thinking that your intuition is correct – that it is possible to come to know God “without recourse to theology or scriptures”. For example, it is possible to deduce an all-powerful beginner must have begun everything, because we know for sure that the universe had a beginning – but couldn’t have begun itself.

      Reply
      • Jamie

        It is still unclear from your explanations or understanding how even if it was true that the universe had a beginning but couldn’t have begun itself why we must deduce it was a someone- you only really get to vague deism there but why it couldn’t just be can only be ruled out because you personally can’t accept that rather than have any proof to deduce that

        And even if all that is conceded and it would be a huge concession without evidence how do we leap to the God of the bible? Maybe you accept that it is the best explanation given the information you have but no way could definitively ascertain this?

        If all of human history was wiped out and rebuilt, God would have to relay his message again but it could no way be the exact same message and the fact he isn’t extremely clear in his messages it could be acceptable to assume it would be a completely different albeit a little similar story. In that future there could be a similar person as yourself preaching with exact same conviction but relaying a totally different story

        Something you commented on a lot was morality yet morality is demonstrated easily to have evolved since the stories in the bible and continues to evolve with modern philosophy day by day. Why didn’t God start off with the final moral code rather than deliberately invoke suffering of probably most humans that have ever lived and almost all animals and other living things

        Reply
        • Andrew Corbett

          Thank you Jamie for your comment. The evidence is scientifically clear that the universe had a beginning and it is logically deduced that the universe could not have created itself if it did not previously exist. The deduction that the universe was caused by the God of the Bible is a reasonable one since the universe supports this conclusion. For example, the Cause of the universe must logically be greater than the effect of the Universe — since no effect can be greater than its cause. We know that at the Big Bang, all space, time, energy and matter, came into existence. Therefore, the First Cause of this must be logically greater than this effects. Therefore, the Cause is not subject to space ~ it must be omnipresent; the Cause is not subject to time ~ it must be eternal; the Cause is not subject to any limits of energy/power ~ it must be omnipotent (all-powerful); and, the Cause cannot be material ~ it must be immaterial. Added to this, the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned and displays the hallmarks of purposeful, thoughtful design, which points to the First Cause being both personable (only personal agents are capable of thought) and omniscient. These are the unique and exclusive attributes of the God of the Bible.

          Reply
  9. Ray Hart

    Andrew!

    I just wanted to say that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed not only reading your article but your patient rebuttals to challenges.

    Thank you for reaffirming my belief in God.

    Regarding design. I make my living as a designer. I see design everywhere in nature. Design is a process, it doesn’t happen randomly. Nature does not have the ability to think, “there is a need for a design solution here.” Edison had the idea of a light bulb. It took him scores of tries (design development) until he came upon a solution. He kept trying, nature does think, “that didn’t work, I’ll try doing this.” Nature doesn’t have the ability to think, “this animal needs eyes” and then go about evolving eyes. There has to be a need, then a concept, then design development, until a solution is achieved. Everything that is created must go through these steps especially if it has never been done before.

    Thank you again for your well thought out presentation.

    God bless you!

    Ray

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Thank you Ray. I appreciate your perspective as a designer. You make a compelling and supportive point.

      Reply
  10. Dustin Vogelpohl

    Thank you for this. I had a debate at work today and decided to read about this tonight, you’ve pulled together so many arguments that’s it’s completely compelling in a manner I have never seen before. God Bless You

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Thank you Dustin. May God bless your faithful witness to your colleagues.

      Reply
  11. Daniel

    Not to be nitpicky but…
    The Greek word ontos means person is incorrect.

    Strong’s Number: 3689 Browse Lexicon
    Original Word Word Origin
    ontoß from the oblique cases of (5607)
    Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
    Ontos None
    Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
    on’-toce Adverb
    Definition
    truly, in reality, in point of fact, as opp. to what is pretended, fictitious, false, conjectural
    that which is truly etc., that which is indeed
    NAS Word Usage – Total: 10
    certainly 2, indeed 6, real 1, really 1

    Reply
    • Andrew Corbett

      Thank you Daniel. “ontos” is the present active participle of the Greek work “eimi”, which in English means “is”. This a person can “ego eimi” – I am. The present active participle of eimi is ‘ontos’. Therefore, the ‘ontological’ argument for God’s existence is that the cause of reality must be a person (an active intelligent agent) who “is”. The world is the way it is, with its moral/physical/chemical laws, because the ultimate ontos — whom the Bible describes as the great “I AM” – Ex. 3:13 ¶ Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”
      Ex. 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”.

      Reply

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