Sunday, February 12, 2017

Does God exist? (part 2)

III. The Moral Argument

Simply put, this argument states that since there is an objective moral law, there must be a moral lawgiver.  There are valid reasons the connection can be made between the objective moral law and the lawgiver.  For example, all different human cultures throughout different time periods and even different religions have developed similar standards regarding absolutes of right and wrong.  For example, robbery, fraud, murder, and other similar offenses are considered wrong in all cultures in all time periods of human existence.  Of course, there are disagreements on some issues, but a comparison of criminal law codes across different nations today reveals significant similarity.  Burglary, assault, and bank robbery are universally considered to be criminal behaviors.  The moral argument may seem to be vulnerable to attack on the basis of a few actions that are considered to be criminal in some locations, but not others.  For example, smoking marijuana is legal in Amsterdam.  Certainly, there are variations regarding acceptable behavior, but every human being knows there are some things which are just plain wrong.  Some simple examples show the strength of the moral argument.  If I break into a man’s home, beat him, then assault his wife or daughter, that would be considered wrong in any culture at any time.  If I steal something that belongs to another person, that would be considered wrong at any time in any culture.  The considerable agreement of unacceptable actions indicates a higher standard than simple human consensus.  If there was no higher moral law than human consensus, how could anyone condemn the Nazi murder of six million Jews or slavery or racism?  Why is this so?  If morality is simply made up by each person or society, then people could decide that anything is acceptable and not feel any pangs of conscience.  But, we do have a conscience.  As Romans 2:14-15 states, “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”  Because there is a higher moral law, there must be an external source for this law.  One may also add here that, because this moral law is only understood by sentient beings, there must be an intelligent source for the law.  There must exist a moral lawgiver, also known as God.

IV. The Argument from Desire

Every desire we have corresponds with something or some way that can satisfy the desire.  For example, physical desires such as hunger, thirst, and sleepiness can be met with food, drink, and sleep.  Even non-essential physical desires, such as those associated with drug use and sex, have objects that can fulfill those desires.  Non-physical desires, such as for power, love, revenge, friendship, and others, are all capable of being met.  This does not mean they will be met or that it is proper to meet them, but it is possible.  Because some desires humans have cannot be met by anything on earth, and since all desires correspond with something that can satisfy them, there must be something beyond this life.  Throughout history, humans have consistently exhibited a desire to know God and the spirit world.  Though many different ideas of God’s nature have been conceived, there is a universal desire among people to know what else is out there beyond this life and beyond this world.  People have varying levels of inquisitiveness of the supernatural, but everyone at some time wonders, “Is this life all there is?”  Because we all have a desire to know God (in some form), there must be a real God.  Because we all desire to live beyond this life, there must be another life after death, since all desires correspond with something real that can meet the desire.   

C. S. Lewis explained this argument by saying, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.  A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food.  A duckling wants to swim:  well, there is such a thing as water.  Men feel sexual desire:  well, there is such a thing as sex.  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”[1] 

Someone may offer the rebuttal that they desire to see a unicorn or a round square or travel to another galaxy.  Since these things are impossible, one could say it is not necessary that God exists or there is life after death.  In response to this, it may be stated that these types of desires are simply absurd extrapolations from things that already exist.  Besides, no one really wants to see a round square, this is merely a statement made for the sake of argument.  However, the desire to know and please God is very real, particularly if we look at the things people have done in the name of pleasing God:  building pyramids to offer human sacrifices, burning heretics at the stake, and flying airplanes into buildings.  The intent here is not to bash other religions, but to make the point that people throughout history and even today have been very serious about their desire for God and the afterlife.  We humans sometimes inappropriately seek fulfillment:  overeating, spiritual perversions, and looking for love in all the wrong places.  This does not mean the desires themselves are inherently wrong.  Desires for water, food, sex, and love are not wrong if met appropriately.  The desire to know God and life after death is valid and good.  The Bible indicates that God himself has placed this desire in us:  “He has also set eternity in their heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  

The real issue?
The purpose of this blog is to discover the truth about God. Many people are honestly open-minded and willing to accept the truth when you find it.  Congratulations and welcome to the site.  Others, unfortunately, use the claim that there is no god or that god is unknowable as a smokescreen for the real issue.  What is the real issue?  My unwillingness to accept the fact that, if I believe in God, I know I will need to change the way I live.  So, because I don’t want to give up (insert sin of choice), I attempt to deny the existence of God; while in my heart, I know He’s there.  The sad thing about this reasoning is that, whatever God wishes us to give up is destructive anyway and God will replace it with things that are much better.  It is incredibly illogical to hold on to my pet sin when God is offering to give me everything!  As Paul said more eloquently, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Selected Bibliography:
Behe, Michael, Darwin’s Black Box, New York, NY:  The Free Press, 1996.
Gonzalez, Guillermo, and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet, Washington, DC:  Regnery Publishing, 2004.
Kreeft, Peter, and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1994.
Lewis, C. S., Mere Christianity, New York, NY:  MacMillan Publishing Company, 1943.
Rana, Fazale, and Hugh Ross, Origins of Life, Colorado Springs, CO:  NavPress, 2004.
Strobel, Lee, The Case for a Creator, Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2004.

[All Biblical quotations are from the NASB version.]

[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY:  MacMillan Publishing Company, 1943), 120.

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