A Reasonable Hope

Christian Apologetics Week Two: Does God Exist? Part I

Last week A Reasonable Hope introduced our Apologetics Ministry to “The Outlet”, the high school ministry of Whitefield Baptist Church.

We post the outline the students receive so that in the event a student misses a lesson, it is very easily obtained directly from the website. Also, we hope that other ministries (or families, or small groups, etc), especially those void of any sort of Apologetic training, will feel at ease in using this as a template to introduce it themselves.

The Outline: (Words capitalized and in bold are what the student filled in themselves, except the heading marked by numbers)

Does God Exist? Part I

“if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

 

  1. SO WHAT?
    1. Either God EXISTS or He DOESN’T
  2. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT:
    1. The word Cosmological comes from the Greek word COSMOS, meaning “HAVING TO DO WITH THE UNIVERSE”
  3. THE ARGUMENT:
    1. Premise 1: Everything that had a BEGINNING had a CAUSE.
    2. Premise 2: The Universe had a BEGINNING.
    3. Conclusion: Therefore, the UNIVERSE had a CAUSE.
  4. PREMISE 1:
    1. We see in the universe that things don’t HAPPEN without a CAUSE.
  5. PREMISE 2: The S.U.R.G.E
    1. S: THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS
    2. U: THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE
    3. R: COSMIC BACKGROUND RADIATION
    4. G: GREAT GALAXY SEEDS
    5. E: EINSTEINS THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY
  6. S: THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS

The SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS states that the UNIVERSE is running out of usable ENERGY

So what?

So why does the question – Does God exist? – even matter? Well, simply put, either God exists or He doesn’t. And obviously both statements cannot be correct. It would behoove anyone who considers themselves a thinker that it is well worth the time to investigate the evidence and follow that evidence where it leads. Not doing so is called ignorance. Either God created us or we created god. If we created god, then there is no ultimate meaning or purpose to life; no objective right or wrong; and in the end it does not ultimately matter how we live because we’re all just going to return to nothing once again. We must consider the alternative, though: if God did create us, then there is an ultimate meaning and purpose to life and we then need to find out why we were created rather than not?

So in our cumulative case for Christianity we are, as Psalms 11:3 says, starting at the foundations: creation. How do we know whether or not there was a creation? How do we know if the universe had a beginning? And how do we know if God caused it?

Cosmological Argument:

For these answers we will start with the Cosmological argument. The word “Cosmological” comes from the Greek word cosmos, meaning “having to do with the universe”. With the Cosmological argument come the following premises:

Premise 1: Everything that had a beginning had a cause.
Premise 2: The Universe had a beginning.
Conclusion: Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

PREMISE 1:

We see that in the universe things do not happen without a cause. If they did, we would have no reason to do science, because science is essentially a search for causes. If things could pop into existence without cause, then why would we not see it happen today?

And before we move forward, let’s be clear about one thing: nothing is NO THING, non being, without any properties. So when we discuss things popping into existence from nothing – nothing is NOTHING! It makes sense then to conclude that if the universe had a beginning, then the universe must have had a cause. This leads us to premise 2.

PREMISE 2: THE UNIVERSE HAD A BEGINNING

If we are thinking of this process as a court of law; and with that, making a defense (an “apologia”) which aims to prove to the jury – that is, the people you are engaging – that the evidence points to the universe having a beginning. The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of creatio ex niliho (Creation out of nothing); but just because we say that does not make it true. We must follow the evidence where it leads.

If when we look at the evidence we can discover that the universe did have a beginning, we then can draw some conclusions about the nature of caused that beginning. For example, if space, time, and matter all had a beginning, then it is reasonable to deduce that the universe’s cause must be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. That’s because if space, time, and matter were created at the beginning their cause must have existed apart from these things. That leads us to arguing for a beginning with a S.U.R.G.E.

THE S.U.R.G.E OF THE UNIVERSE

When teaching anyone – children, youth, or adults – acronyms are always useful in aiding in memorization. I take this acronym from Dr. Frank Turek and Dr. Norman Geisler’s book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist”.

When examining the Cosmological Argument, we see at a minimum five lines of scientific evidence that leads to the conclusion that the universe did indeed have a beginning.

Here is the acronym:

S: THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS
U: THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE
R: COSMIC BACKGROUN RADIATION
G: GREAT GALAXY SEEDS
E: EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY

In today’s lesson (because each is only five-to-ten minutes long) we will only look at the first letter of S.U.R.G.E.

THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS:

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy. With each passing moment, energy is being used up. It must be noted that the First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in the universe is constant. In other words, the universe has only a finite amount of energy.

A practical example to let you know how the Second Law works would be gasoline in a car. If your car has only a finite amount of gas (first Law), and whenever it’s running it is continually consuming gas (the Second Law), obviously, your car would not continue to run had it started up and infinitely long time ago. Another example would be a wound-up clock. If a wind-up clock is running down, then someone must have wound it up right? Due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, if the universe were eternal, it would be out of energy by now. And since we still have usable energy, the universe must have had beginning.

Sometimes the Second Law of Thermodynamics is called the Law of Entropy; it also states that the universe is moving toward disorder rather than order. Both of these aspects go to show that the universe had to have a beginning. Without it, by now, it would be in complete disarray with no usable energy remaining.

If the universe had a beginning then it must also have had a beginner. Next week, we will continue following the evidence for the existence of God.

1 Peter 3:15