Often, after I mention “God,” I will hear the challenge, “What evidence do you have that there is a God?”
Sensing a hostile close-mindedness, I’ll often answer in generalizations:
- The evidence for God is all around us. All of my senses proclaim the artistry, design and wisdom of God.
“Well, who made God?” For anyone who has read the militant atheist Richard Dawkins, this retort is predictable. Sometimes, it is followed by an explanation to impress upon me the weightiness of this seemingly childlike response:
- “God” is no explanation at all for design if you can’t account for God’s origin. You’re just merely passing the buck without any explanation whatsoever.
While, for an anti-theist, this challenge is quite satisfying, it hides many problems within its confident assertion. For one thing, the theist freely admits that we can’t explain God – the infinite, eternal, and uncaused Being. In fact, such an explanation is logically impossible! It is impossible to explain something or Somebody who precedes everything else – all causation.
Let me try to explain. If we were to explain the origin of the sun, we might want to mention the natural forces and matter that pre-date the sun. This is because any explanation requires causal agents or forces that exist prior to the thing or event we hope to explain. If these agents do not exist prior, then they can’t be used to explain the thing we want to explain. This is because the cause must precede the effect!
Therefore, if God came before all else – time, energy, space and matter – then these can’t be expected to explain God’s origin. In fact, nothing can be invoked to explain His origin!
Furthermore, if time, energy, matter or space could be called upon to explain God, then, according to the logic of the non-theist, our explanation would be invalid because we then would find ourselves unable to explain our explainers – time, energy, matter, and space – because these would require their own explainers! This is the problem of “infinite regress.”
There is even a more fundamental problem with this atheistic challenge. It requires that any explanation be complete or exhaustive. It rejects our explanation of an Intelligent Designer to explain design because we lack complete knowledge about Him – and we do lack this complete knowledge.
However, we lack complete knowledge about everything. Does this mean that we are unable to even give an explanation for anything? Of course not! Why do plants grow? Because of the sun and water! Although this explanation is incomplete, it doesn’t make it meaningless or irrelevant. Actually, this explanation can be very helpful. It instructs me to water my plants and to not plant them in complete shade.
The atheist will retort:
- This analogy doesn’t work. We do know a lot about the sun and water. Whereas, you know nothing about your God.
Of course, the atheist cannot prove that we know nothing about God. Nor can he offer the slightest bit of evidence in support of this claim. In addition to this, even if we do know a lot about water and the sun, we still are miles away from a complete knowledge. We are still baffled even by the nature of time, space and matter!
Perhaps this places God back-on-the-table!