The Existence of God and Revelation (Theme 2) (The Design Argument…
The Existence of God and Revelation (Theme 2)
The First Cause Argument
The concept of causation : everything that happens has a cause and a causer
This chain of causes cannot be infinite as infinite regression is impossibe
Something cannot come out of nothing so there must be a first cause which is an
This must be God as He is transcendent
The simpler explanation is often the better one. Having an uncaused causer makes more sense than infinite regeression
Big bang theory
Proves the universe must have had a beginning as it shows there is a certain time where space and time were born. The only possible cause for this would be something/someone outside of space and time
The uncaused causer can only be God
Only God is eternal and omnipotent, and therefore must be the uncased causer, and created the universe
'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.'
(Big bang theory)
, it mentions that God created the world in 6 days then rested on the 7th (The uncaused causer can only be God)
It is absurd/illogical to argue backwards from everything having a cause, to God being the uncaused causer
Why must it be God?
The 'leap' of logic between an uncaused causer and God doesn't make sense
Big Bang theory
The Big Bang was a spontaneous random event, not an action caused by God
The true state of the question is, whether every object, which begins to exist, must owe its existence to a cause: and this I assert neither to be intuitively nor demonstratively certain
(Why must it be God)
Use an analogy for absurd reasoning
The Argument from Miracles
: a seeemingly impossible event, usually good, that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws, and is thought to be the action of God.
Events that break natural laws.
Jesus fed more than 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish:
All four of the New Testament Gospels state that Jesus did that.
They are events that break natural laws and cannot be explained by science; for example, Jesus said to have turned water into wine at the marriage in Cana.
Happy coincidences- no natural laws broken.
16 people survived (where 3000 other people died) the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre during the terrorist attck on September 11th 2001.
They are happy coincidences in which no natural laws have been broken but a coincidence occurs at the right moment to cause a good outcome; for example, a train stops in time to avoid hitting a toddler who has wandered onto the tracks.
There are no other ways of explaining how miracles have happened other than the fact that God had done it.
There are so many miracles recorded that they can't all be fake.
Unbelievable things happen that cannot be explained through science and break natural laws. The only one omnipotent enough to break natural laws is God.
Miracles can also just be happy coincidences that don't break natural laws but can just be down to luck.
We are still discovering natural laws.
Some miracles are made up/ fake in order to gain publicity or money.
Hume also argued that witnesses to miracles are unreliable as most of them are uneducated and primitive people. Witnesses do not look at all the possibiltites, they immediately jump to conclusions.
Many miracle healings may be the result of mind over matter on the part of the suffere or it could be a misdiagnosis from the doctor.
Features of Miracles
They are always good
We would not call a plane crash in which everyone dies 'a miracle'. But we would if they survived and we might even say God helped them.
According to religious believers, God uses His Omnipotence to help because he loves us.
Miracles are very often very personal; people see the miracle as God showing Himself to them by acting in their life for their good.
Theists use the argument from miracles to prove the existence of God by arguing that:
As there is no natural explanation for what happened in a miracle, then it must be a supernatural event.
The miracle must have been caused by something outside nature and, as only God is outside nature, then it must be the result of God's intervention in the world.
Therefore God Exists.
Revelation and Enlightenment
: God showing himself/herself/itself to believers; this is the only way anybody can really know anything about God
God making himself/herself/itself known through direct personal experience or an unsual specific event.
In Islam, there is no concept of special revelation like in other religions.
It is only for prophets and messengers because the human brain could never cope seeing God
"It is not granted to any mortal that God should speak to him except through revelations."
For example, in the Bible, it shows Saul, later becoming known as Paul, receiving a vision on the Damascus road by God.
The vision completely changed his life, making him totally committed to the Christian faith after previously being a Jew.
This strongly indicates that special revelations such as dreams or visions were given to people by God for specific reasons.
Christians think special revelations reveal to them that God is a personal and living God, knowing and understanding what is happening in their lives and that special revelations are very important messages from God holding deep meaning.
Christians strongly believe that special revelations are rare but when they occur, hold a deep meaning for the person receiving it, enabling them to become aware of reality in a new way.
They don't happen to a large group of people, but a small group of people or a single person, making it rare.
God making himself/herself/itself known through ordinary, common human experiences.
Examples of General Revelation
The heavens declare the glory of God ; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech ; night after night they reveal knowledge.
(quote for both Nature and Scripture)
Believers think God is shown as creative, artistic, powerful and awesome. It gives them an insight into God and His power.
The quote says that everything was made with God's hands
God is revealed as present in creation
According to some interpretations, the Bible reveals what God is like, how God acted in the past and how God wants people to live. There are, however many interpretations of the Bible
Fundementalist / Literal : What is in the Bible is exactly what happened
Non-literal: What is written isn't literal, various intepretaions. May need to be seen in modern day social and historical context
Myth: Stories are all false but show one truth - God exists.
"It is He who spread out the Earth, placed firm mountains and rivers on it, and made two of every kind of fruit; He draws the veil of night of the day. There are truly signs in this for people who relect"
Nature gives an insight into God. When Muslims look around, they think God is shown as creative artistic, clever, powerful and awesome.
This leads to feelings of awe and wonder at God's power to create and destroy. The natural world is a sign of God's power and love for his creation
"This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God"
Muslims believe the Qur'an brings to power of God into the world
People can feel God's presence when they read it because the words have hidden depths.
The words are so strong that people believe in the Muslim faith when they read or hear this words
The Qur'an has great authority as it is believed to be the actual words of God revealed to the Prophet Muhaammad
The gaining of true knowledge about God or self, usually through God or self-discipline; in Bhuddist and Hindu traditions, gaining freedom from the cycle of rebirth.
Enlightenment is a source of knowledge about the divine
For example, the Buddha sat beneath a Bodhi tree and made a commitment to meditate until enlightened
The demon of the mind, Mara tried to stop him from meditating but the Buddha called the Earth as a witness that he was ready for enlightenment, and understood suffering and the nature of all things - now truly enlightened
Nirvana is a place of perfect peace and happiness, like heaven. In Hinduism and Buddhism, nirvana is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person's individual desires and suffering go away.
The Design Argument
The world is so beautiful and complicated that is simply could not have happened by chance.
Everything in the universe is just right to support human life.
Only an omniscient being would know what is the right amount of everything for humans to exist
Ockham's Razor: The simplest explanation is the best one.
Paley's design argument is the simplest argument.
There are many flaws in the universe.
Things such as natural disasters and suffering shows that the designer is not omnibenevolent or omnipotent to create a perfect world. Therefore it can't be God
It is wrong to argue backwards (absurd reasoning).
We shouldn't argue from what we can see in the world today to say that God designed it. The simplest argument can sometimes be false and you need evidence.
The analogy of the watch is wrong.
Although they both contain complex parts, the universe is on a much larger scale and the universe is constantly growing.
Various Design Arguments
Isaac Newton's Design Argument:
Every person in the world has a unique thumbprint for all their life. They grow back when damaged
There must have been a designer who gave us this unique feature.
The thumb gives us precise and delicate movement like in hand-crafted items.
Thomas Aquinas' Design Argument:
Only an intelligent being could keep things in the universe in a regular order.
There must be a designer who is able to keep the universe so ordered.
The plantes, moons, sun and stars all move in a set pattern because God holds them in place.
Modern Design Argument-
F.R Tennant's Design Argument:
The universe seems 'just right' for human life to develop.
If the size between a proton and a neutron had just been a tiny bit different, then life would cease to exist.
Therefore, there must have been a designer who designed everything to allow life to exist in the universe - God.
Life is set up for the development of intelligent life. A designer must have fine-tuned things for life to exist
The universe favours of intelligent life/humans
Factors such as
Earth is in 'Goldilocks zone'
If the force of the Big Bang explosion had been different by 1/1060, life would be impossible.
If you were walking and saw a watch on the floor, you would immediately assume that it had not come about by chance.
This is because, the watch had an complex and oredered design that allowed it to achieve its purpose.
Therefore, the watch must have had a designer.
The universe too, is complex, ordered and works for a purpose.
So, like the watch, it could not have just come about by chance, there must have been a designer who designed the universe.
That designer is God.