<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                        "ISSUES OF DISTINCTION"

                          The Existence Of God


1. In our previous lesson, we introduced several "Issues Of
   Distinction", matters which by their nature differentiate those with
   opposing views...
   a. The existence of God
   b. The identity of God
   c. The identity of Jesus of Nazareth
   d. The all-sufficiency of the Scriptures
   e. The purpose of baptism
   f. The nature of the Lord's church

2. I concluded by saying that it is important...
   a. That we do not artificially put up barriers
   b. To diligently study matters to determine whether they merit such
      importance as to differentiate ourselves from others
   c. To present our conviction on such matters in the proper spirit:
      1) Speaking the truth in love - Ep 4:15
      2) Without quarreling, in gentleness, with patience and humility 
         - 2 Ti 2:24-25

3. Therefore, if an issue is such that it is one of "distinction", we 
   ought to be able to...
   a. Explain why we believe the way we do
   b. Present reasons why those who differ ought to reconsider their

[In this study, we shall take a closer look at the first "issue of 
distinction":  The Existence of God...]


      1. Then atheists and agnostics are on the side of TRUTH
      2. Then there is no Supreme Being to which we must give an 
         a. I.e., no Judgment Day
         b. I.e., no heaven or hell
      3. There is no reason to be accountable to anyone but ourselves
      4. There is no right or wrong, no good or evil
      5. We would best live by the saying:  "Eat, drink, and be merry,
         for tomorrow we die"

      1. Then there is a Supreme Being to Whom we must give an account
      2. We owe to ourselves to learn whatever we can...
         a. About the NATURE of this God
         b. About what He may REQUIRE of us
      3. Such a search for knowledge concerning this God may be 
         life-long, but if there is a God, then it is worth it! - cf. 
         Jer 9:23-24

[In any issue of controversy, the burden of proof rests upon those who
argue in the affirmative; so what are the EVIDENCES presented by those
who affirm that God exists?]


      1. This argument was espoused by Anselm, a theologian and 
         philosopher, also the archbishop of Cantebury (ca. 1100 A.D.)
         a. It runs something like this:  "If man can have the concept
            of a perfect God, then He must exist"
         b. It is based upon the premise that everything man can know 
            or think is based upon some reality (though often
      2. "This is probably one of the weakest of the philosophical
         arguments; and to many this argument is somewhat
         unconvincing." (J. D. Thomas, Facts & Faith)

      1. This argument is based upon "the universal belief in God and
         the religious instinct"
         a. "Men in all the world, and throughout all time, not only
            believe in deity, but also engage in acts of worship and
            devotion." - cf. Ac 17:26-27
         b. "The religious principle is extremely potent in all 
            nations, dominating their thought and history."
         c. "Everywhere the human heart has a craving for God.  There
            will be exceptions as individuals, but the exceptions do 
            not invalidate the rule.  The atheist is an exception in
            every society!"  (Ferrell Jenkins, Introduction To 
            Christian Evidences)
      2. This argument reasons in this way:
         a. Since there is in the universe those things that satisfy 
            man's deepest longings...
         b. ...there must be a reality (i.e., God) that complements and
            meets this universal craving for a Supreme Being

      1. This is also called "the argument from first cause"
         a. It is based upon the premise "every effect must have a 
         b. The cosmos (universe) is an effect that has adequate cause
         c. The theist believes that Gen 1:1 reveals that adequate
            cause:  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
      2. A common objection is often raised:  "Who created God?"
         a. It is important to bear in mind that the law which states
            every effect has a cause applies to things that are
         b. God by definition is not physical, and therefore not bound
            by laws which we may discern to apply to physical things
            1) God is a spiritual being - cf. Jn 4:24
            2) His omnipresence is but one example of how He defies 
               laws of nature - cf. Jer 23:23-24
         c. So the argument does not apply to Him, and He becomes the 
            "uncaused cause" of all things!

      1. This argument is based upon the evidence of design in the
      2. Evidence of design suggests a "designer", some Being with 
         intelligence possessing purpose
         a. E.g., a watch shows design, and implies a watchmaker
         b. To credit such intricate and precise workmanship to blind 
            chance is unreasonable
      3. Examples of design in the universe are many;  some examples...
         a. Orderly movement of heavenly bodies, making space travel
         b. Animal instinct, such as the migration patterns of birds,
            eels, and salmon
         c. The human body itself, e.g., the eye
      4. Contemplating upon the universe and the human body rightfully
         produces awe, and points man to his Creator - cf. Ps 19:1-2;
         139:14; Ro 1:19-20

      1. This is also called the "anthropological argument"
      2. It is based upon reality that everywhere people have "a sense
         of ought"
         a. That in certain circumstances, certain things should be
         b. People are concerned...
            1) That people should act a certain way
            2) That people do not often act the way they should
         c. Even atheists and agnostics have "a sense of justice", and
            are angered when it is violated (as in the case of rape and
      3. This moral nature in man demands a Moral Being as the Original

      1. This argument is based upon the presence of beauty and 
         sublimity in the universe
      2. It observes that you have both...
         a. The presence of beauty in nature itself, and in art 
            produced by man
         b. The response of man to such beauty
      3. How did this "beauty", and the "ability to appreciate" it,
         a. Were both the result of blind chance?
         b. Or did it come from a Supreme Being, who is not only...
            1) Intelligent (an argument from design)
            2) Moral (an argument from our sense of ought)
            ...but also Artistic (an argument from beauty and our sense
               of it)? - cf. Ps 96:4-6


1. These arguments we have considered are "philosophical arguments",
   but they are based upon what the Bible itself says can be learned 
   about God from nature - cf. Ps 19:1-2; Ro 1:20

2. The arguments we have considered are some of the reasons why so many
   believe in the existence of God, be they Hindus, Buddhists, Jews,
   Moslems, Christians, etc.

3. Other arguments can be offered to support the existence of God...
   a. Fulfilled prophecies in the Scriptures
   b. Scientific foreknowledge of the Scriptures
   c. Uniformity of the Scriptures
   d. Evidences for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
   -- But these arguments we shall consider as we examine other "Issues
      Of Distinction"

But Who is this Supreme Being?  In our next study, we shall take a look
at "The Identity Of God"...
<< Previous | Index | Next >>

Home Page
Bible Study Guides | Textual Sermon Series | Topical Sermon Series
Single Textual Sermons | Single Topical Sermons
Search The Outlines

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2001