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Why belief in God is a rational position

Unsplash/ Ran Berkovich
Unsplash/ Ran Berkovich

Can we prove with certainty that God exists? As I stated in a former article, "Why Certainty Isn't Necessary for Belief in God," I pointed out that we don’t live by certainty. We live by what is reasonable to believe. We live in confidence.  We can’t prove that God exists, but He has given us enough evidence to point to His existence.

There are several arguments for the existence of God. But here I will apply just two of them to show that everyone can be reasonably convinced that God exists, and that therefore, belief in God is a rational position.

The Kalam cosmological argument

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The argument has three premises. The first is that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The second is that the universe began to exist. The conclusion is that therefore, the universe has a cause.[1]

Let’s look at premise number one. Do things pop into existence by themselves? No! This is self-evident. Isn’t it? We just know this. So, if someone ever tells you he doesn’t believe in the law of causality, then simply ask, “What caused you to come to that conclusion?”

Can you think of something that exists that has no cause? God does not have a beginning. He is the uncreated creator. He is the uncaused cause. Since He exists and He isn’t created, then it follows that the first premise shouldn’t say that everything that exists has a cause. That’s why it says that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

How about premise number two? The second premise claims that the universe began to exist. Up until the last 200 years ago, people took an Aristotelian position that the universe was eternal — that it always existed. But since the time of Einstein, scientists know that the universe actually began to exist, and there’s very little debate about this. There was a big bang. We just know who banged it!

One of the main pieces of evidence for the universe having a beginning is the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the universe is running out of usable energy. But if it is running down, then it could not be eternal. What is winding down must have been wound up. So the question is then, who wound it up? The creator would have to be one who is intelligent, transcendent, and not subject to time or the universe. Someone outside it who freely chose to create the universe in time. The creator would have to be the first cause. Uncreated in order to avoid an infinite search (infinite regress) backward for its cause. That would mean the creator is a supernatural being, God.

The moral argument

The moral argument is one of the arguments for the existence of God that has long been debated between naturalists and theists. The argument goes like this. 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. 2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.  3. Therefore, God exists.[2]        

The moral law means that there are simply basic principles of right and wrong that everyone knows. Whether they will admit it or not. The moral law is undeniable. Everyone wants to believe that morality is an objective feature of the universe. It’s undeniable.

A naturalist is one who doesn’t believe in the existence of God but believes that nature is all there is and ever was and ever will be. The argument that the naturalist makes is that moral law is subjective and comes from our social culture. Morals are a personal preference. This argument falls short because all people would agree that certain deeds are unquestionably evil like murder, theft, lying, and torturing babies for fun. If morality is subjective, how could anyone say that any of these things could be wrong? What’s wrong for you might be right for me, and vice-versa. Everyone expects people to live by certain moral standards and to be treated fairly. This implies that objective moral standards do exist.

We know what one really thinks about the objective status of morality, not by one’s actions, but by one’s reactions. The evidence for this is in seeing how one expects to be treated.

So where do morals come from? Some claim that morals and the mind come from evolution. Authors Francis Beckwith and Greg Koukl contend that “Advocates for this new view would claim that even the moral threads that make up the fabric of society are the product of natural selection. Thus, morality can be reduced to chemical relationships in the genes. Love and hate, guilt and remorse, kindness, self-control can be explained through the cause and effect of chance genetic mutations and natural selection.”[3] So our morals come from our genes? This theory is problematic for two reasons. The first is that there is no evidence for this theory. The second is that true morality includes intent and motive. Motive can’t be determined by a gene or by observing behavior. For example, if I am observed squeezing my son’s finger to the point of his tears, it might look like I’m being very cruel. When in fact, I’m trying to remove a splinter that would have infected the finger had it remained.  Beckwith and Koukl continue, “When morality is reduced to patterns of behavior chosen by natural selection for the survival value, then morality is not explained; it’s denied.”[4]

Another distinctive quality of morality is its “oughtness”.[5] Morals include what we should do. Not just past behavior. If there is no God, it is impossible to condemn evil. “For there is no right or wrong. All things are permitted.”[6] Why should someone be moral in the future? Science and evolution can’t explain this. “Darwinism can only attempt to describe why humans acted in a certain way in the past.”[7]  Logic and emotion can’t be explained by science. Darwinism, as an explanation for morals, is false. “It doesn’t account for the incumbency of moral rules. Nor does it make sense of the guilt and expectation of punishment one feels when those rules are violated.”[8]

Morals could not come from genes or evolution. “Incumbent”[9] morals must come from an intelligent designer “whose proper domain is the universe, who has the moral authority to enforce his laws and the power ultimately to met out perfect justice.”[10] It is God who puts the standard of goodness in our hearts. The universe is His possession because He created it, and He has the right to rule over it.        

The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Moral Argument clearly show that the evidence for the beginning of our universe and the incumbent morals within us point to an intelligent designer. Belief in God is not only a rational position but the most rational position.

[1] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Wheaton, Ill., Crossway, 1984) 111,
[2] Craig, Reasonable Faith, 172
[3] Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1998) 157
[4] Beckwith and Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, 161
[5] Ibid. 162
[6] Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 175
[7] Ibid. 164
[8] Ibid. 168
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.

Claudia is a Christian apologist, national speaker, and blogger with a Master of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. She is on the speaking team for the Talbot Seminary Biola On-The-Road Apologetics conferences, teaches Apologetics at her church, and leads the ladies Bible study. Claudia has been a repeat guest on the KKLA radio show in Los Angeles, Real Life With Gina Pastore and David James. Her blog posts have been published multiple times in The Poached Egg online apologetics magazine, and she is a contributing writer for Women In Apologetics. She blogs at Straight Talk With Claudia K. After raising two now adult sons, her focus now is to make an impact in the world for Christ.

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