In my studies and reflection, I’ve concluded that there are many cogent arguments—philosophical, theological, and scientific—supporting the existence of the biblical God.1 I also know that science tends to get some people’s attention. Perhaps you’ve engaged with skeptics who seem to be open to scientific arguments. With that in mind, let’s briefly consider three philosophical and science-related arguments for the existence of the God of the Bible. (See the resources for further exploration of the arguments.)
1. The existence of the biblical God offers a rationally plausible explanation for the cosmos’s origin.
Scientific evidence supports the universe’s beginning. According to big bang cosmology, the universe had a singular beginning about 14 billion years ago. The universe came into being in a cataclysmic but controlled explosion of extreme heat and light. The big bang cosmological model, accepted by nearly all research scientists and based on comprehensive astronomical evidence and testing, shows that the cosmos is not eternal but had an origin in the finite past.
Knowing that the cosmos had a singular beginning, consider the Kalam cosmological argument:
Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.
2. The existence of the biblical God provides a rationally plausible explanation for the complex order and design in the world.
The scientific community’s broad acceptance of the anthropic principle—the view that nature’s laws appear to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of human life—supports the view that the cosmos is the product of a designer. Even a committed atheist would have to acknowledge that the universe exhibits extraordinary order and design. Moreover, scientists have proposed that the cosmos didn’t have to take its present form and the statistical probability of producing a life-permitting world is virtually incalculable.2
In reflecting upon our life-friendly, orderly universe, consider this fine-tuning argument:
Premise 1: The fine-tuning of the universe must result from physical necessity, chance, or design.
Premise 2: It does not result from physical necessity or chance.
Conclusion: Therefore, the fine-tuning results from design.
3. The existence of the biblical God provides a rationally plausible explanation for the compatibility between mathematical ideas and their capacity to describe the universe.
Over the last few centuries, scientists have recognized that abstract mathematics can be used as a type of tool or language to explain the physical cosmos. In his paper “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,”3 physicist Eugene Wigner even uses the word “miracle” to describe this extraordinary congruence between mathematical ideas in the minds of human beings and their explanatory power to describe physical reality.
Does mathematics operate simply because that’s the way the universe happens to be (a fortunate accident as the result of a brute reality)? Or is the cosmos the product of reason because it was created by an infinitely wise divine mind?
Consider this abductive (inference to the best explanation) argument:
Premise 1: Abstract mathematics accurately describes the universe.
Premise 2: But if the biblical God exists, then math’s applicability to nature is an expected matter of course resulting from the act of creation.
Conclusion: Thus, there is plausible reason to conclude that the biblical God exists.
From a Christian perspective, mathematics and logic flow from the mind of the Creator God who imbued these rational elements into the nature of the universe.
In terms of explanatory power, the biblical God can account for a broad range of science-related phenomena in the cosmos. In contrast, how does a godless perspective compare? Does a universe that (1) had an origin, (2) reflects order and design, and (3) corresponds to mathematics comport well with a naturalistic point of view?
- Kenneth Richard Samples, 7 Truths That Changed the World: Discovering Christianity’s Most Dangerous Ideas
- For a dozen such arguments, see Kenneth Richard Samples, 7 Truths That Changed the World: Discovering Christianity’s Most Dangerous Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), chapters 7 and 8.
- Physicist Paul Davies argues that the cosmos could have followed a vast variety of contingent outcomes. See Paul Davies, The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 169. And concerning chance being responsible for the universe’s fine-tuning, physicist Roger Penrose has calculated the chance, or undirected, formation of our cosmos to be one part in 1010(123). See Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 344.
- Eugene Wigner, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” reprinted from Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics 13, no. 1 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1960).