Louise Antony gave her reasons for thinking there’s no God, and I dealt with those here. But what are the reasons for thinking there is one? In most Christian literature, these boil down to five.
Why There’s Something Instead of Nothing
The physical universe tells us it had a beginning. The sun isn’t merely shining; it is burning up. The world isn’t merely turning; it is spinning down to a stop. Natural processes everywhere are in a state of decay and decline. The available energy in the universe is a consumable resource. There’s an end point when the mainspring of the whole cosmos will stop ticking. Therefore, it had to have been wound up at some point in the past. So the physical universe isn’t eternal.
So something else must have been here before there was a universe. Whatever that was, it must have been eternal and must have had the capacity to bring the universe into being.
Why There’s Order Instead of Chaos
When you drive through the South and see a 1000-acre tract of pine trees planted in rows, equally spaced along the row and all the same age, you don’t have to ask if somebody did that. When I look at the far more complex arrangements of DNA, it’s obvious that a mighty intelligence made this. DNA contains the coding needed to duplicate itself. But a process capable of creating a DNA molecule from scratch simply does not exist in nature. Nothing even remotely approaching this degree of sophistication has ever been observed, not in nature, nor even in man’s most advanced laboratories.
So something eternal and powerful was there before the universe existed. And it had the capacity to bring the universe into being, wind up the spring, and then release the energy through myriads of the most intricately designed mechanisms. Such a being is intelligent beyond all the reckoning of man.
Why Things are Right and Wrong
People have a moral component to their nature. Ms. Antony shows this when she asks that we all work for peace. Nice thought, though I wish she’d explain why, on atheistic principles, peace is better than war. After all, isn’t evolution driven by conflict and winnowing away the unfit so that only the strongest and smartest survive to breed again? Here’s a case where evolutionists are better than their principles. They generally wish the world were better — and “better” is defined in moral terms.
Furthermore, there is, for lack of a better term, a genuine reality underlying morals. We aren’t merely displeased when brutes kidnap little girls and sell them into sexual slavery. No, this is really and truly evil, and wrong. And it’s not just that we feel happy about a man who would redeem little slaves out of their bondage. No, such a deed is really and truly good and right.
The fact that morality cannot be derived from nature is not an argument from gaps in our knowledge. Rather, it’s plain to see that there is no arrangement of particles and forces that can ever account for a moral right and wrong because morality involves not just an assessment of facts, but an assertion of authority. Morality is the claim, coming from outside your own head, that you ought or ought not do something. And “ought” inherently arrives in the form of a command. Morality sees what is wrong and authoritatively forbids it. Morality sees what is right and authoritatively commands it.
The origin of morality, then, is very much like the origin of the physical universe. It’s here; it’s real, and it defies natural, material explanation. It demands a source that is outside of this world, transcendent, and that was capable of implanting it in the human heart when man was first formed.
So — just building the argument — something eternal brought the universe into being, something that was powerful enough to do it, intelligent enough to design it, and this Being possessed a moral code which it then hard wired into the hearts of men.
Why We Sense the Transcendent
It’s an interesting question as to why, on naturalist/materialist principles, people should have ever evolved to be capable of wondering about what could be outside this physical dimension. Where’s the survival value in such a massive and stressful distraction? Or to take the question a level deeper, how do matter and energy interact in such a way as to produce conscious beings who ponder things higher than matter and energy?
Ms. Antony herself experiences the draw of the transcendent but drops it too soon. The real question is what a sense of transcendence is leading you to. Being a Christian, it’s obviously my opinion that God created this in us to lead us to Him. Paul told the Athenians that we “feel after Him,” (Acts 17:27) clearly expecting that even pagan men would have been open minded enough to investigate an intuition shared by virtually all people.
We Christians find our sense of transcendence filled, satisfied, yet heightened and completed by knowing our God through His Son, Jesus. People from other religions testify of their version of the same sense of transcendence. It’s not my purpose to address those experiences, only to say that whether we’re making out shapes in a fog or seeing in the full light of day, something is there, and we all sense it to some degree. And although the argument is not dispositive, I can’t frame a better explanation for a sense of transcendence than to propose that God has indeed set “eternity in our hearts” (Eccl 3:11) as a way to both prompt us to seek Him and as a way to experience Him once He is found.
The life of Jesus Christ
The chief way God chose to reveal Himself to man was through Jesus. The officers sent to arrest Him said, “Nobody ever spoke like this man.” We exhaust all the superlatives when we consider Him. His teachings set the standard for goodness even among those who reject Him. He led such a life that those who sought His ruin could accuse Him only by lying. Without money, without armies, without political connections, without allies, without any access to the levers of power, having died young, Jesus did more to change the world for good than all who ever came before or after.
And He rose from the dead. Yes, His followers reported many other miracles He did, turning water to wine, walking on water, feeding multitudes out of a sack lunch.
But the miracle of His resurrection was the story they were all, to man, willing to be tortured and die for the privilege of telling it, not because they had anything to gain by it, but because they undeniably believed it to be true. If there is a God such as I have described, and if God became a man, I would expect Him to be a man like Jesus.
So that’s it. It’s why I think God exists and has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus.