Christians take Scripture to be the ultimate divine authority of all matters of faith and reason. Therefore, a Christian apologetic for God’s existence is only feasible if Scripturally commanded or non-contradictory to it. On examination, Scripture does advocate some notion of argument for God’s existence. Peter exhorts Christians to “never hesitate to give a reason for the hope that is in you” while Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill does seem apologetically relevant. However, biblical history shows that the existence of God is always presupposed rather than something argued for; “in the beginning God…”. Even Paul’s Areopagus appeal argues that the people contain some idea of an “unknown” God. Christians therefore should not argue for the existence of God but appeal to the God whom all men know.
Christians should not argue that God can exist which places God as a possibility, based on the strength of the argument or evidence. In doing so, an unbeliever likewise is able to argue back against God’s existence, as though evidence could be both ways, and that he is capable of interpreting it and arguing the non-existence of God. That is, arguing for the existence of God appeals to the hearer’s judgment. How do we judge who is right or wrong based on two different subjective worldviews? Yet if Romans is correct, then our judgment is incapable of correct judgment without common grace, being darkened in its thoughts. Both non-believer and believer are using God’s reality to debate his existence.
One ought to presuppose the existence of God and argue for the necessity of God; his certainty and the impossibility of the contrary. Scripture demands it ethically. Moreover, necessity entails existence. From the Christian view, if God does exist, has revealed himself as Lord over all, and places a sensus divinitatis in each individual human, then there is no arguing for God’s existence from a human foundation or start “from scratch”. To do so is to assume revelation is not clear enough both to the believer or the unbeliever; it denies that all know God. The true problem is that each individual’s thinking has been darkened and seeks to suppress the truth of God, to the point of denial of his existence. However, this denial is not a matter of argument or evidence but sin.
A Christian should argue not just for the universality, necessity and certainty of God but also the whole of Christian theism as able to adequately provide a justification of all reality, ethics and knowledge. On the other hand, it is not just that Christianity is justifiable but that the contrary is unintelligible. It is the most concise philosophical position. Christianity must be demonstrated to be the only rational and true position because God’s creation and character can allow no other conception of reality or reality. It is more than irrational, it is metaphysically impossible and Scripturally false.
Drawing from Kant, Christians should use the existence of God not as an argument but as a precondition for knowledge and reality. Since reality and knowledge metaphysically exists, God does. Unbelievers lack epistemological self-consciousness which means while many of their beliefs draw from a Christian worldview inevitably, they are unaware of it. When prompted they will suppress such truth yet will be unable to provide adequate justification for such beliefs without circular reasoning. A Christian should prompt unbelievers to be epistemologically self-conscious. As the unbeliever seeks to draw from God and yet suppress him ultimately results in an irrational-rational dialectic. The Christian should argue ad hominem exposing the unbeliever to the absurdity of his thinking based on his own assumptions and the only resolution in the Christian presupposition. The inability to interpret factual evidence correctly and justify it should be exposed and part of the way to repentance.
Lastly, as the Fall shows that we are depraved epistemologically yet retain God’s image metaphysically, Christians should appeal to the metaphysical conscience and the person’s nature of being, the fact of his existence as due to God’s. They know God exists but have broken his law. The appeal must be to the depravity of humans and their inability to interpret right from wrong by suppressing God leading to their need for repentance and regeneration. Apologetics thus goes hand in hand with the gospel. Therefore, the argument for God’s existence is not knowledge of it, but rather an appeal to a person’s a priori and precondition for existence. However, care must be taken to appeal to the area of capacity (based on the situation) that needs God in order to be intelligible and justified. For Christians struggling with God’s existence, God’s existence can be reassured using fideist or evidential approaches due to the in-working of the Holy Spirit.
On a general note, when arguing for God’s existence, one must argue for the reformed faith and not general theism. Total depravity must be assumed, else man is just as capable of reasoning to God’s existence from natural revelation and can sufficiently judge the necessary preconditions for existence. That is, God is again dependent on the unbeliever’s ability for interpretation. Therefore in arguing for God’s existence, the Christian actually argues for the lack of need to prove God. Rather he is, and all creation knows, because by him and through him and for him they have their being.
Me: God. can you hear me?
God: It’s so nice to hear from you son. i love hearing from you! how’s life?
Me: yeah dad i know i haven’t talked to you in awhile. but i really need you this time. if you’re there please answer me. it seems like you’re always silent in times like these.
God: i didn’t say anything about that but i’m glad you’ve taken the privilege to talk to me. i am always here. i would love to know how you’re doing.
Me: well that’s why i’ve come to you today. life sucks. uni sucks. i’m busy all the time, my girlfriend drains me, oh and i hate my course. its so stupid. we don’t learn anything. i wanna quit.
God: i know son, i know. i’m glad you could share this with me. feel free to pour it out
Me: thats why i haven’t been able to talk to you lately actually. if there weren’t so many things going on and life wasn’t so tiring i’d be able to spend more time with you.
God: so how have you been dealing with it?
Me: i’ve just been complaining to my friends about it, they’re really sympathetic and helpful. i can always count on em. i just really wish i wasn’t in this situation
God: i’m glad to hear you’ve been blessed with such good friends. did you want to hear my advice for what you’re going through too?
Me: well i’m too busy for that at the moment, but can you fix it? can you make it better? maybe then i’ll be able to hear from you more often. i already heard from you this morning for 10 mins. i did my 10 mins of quiet time. and i do it everyday. sometimes i miss it though because i don’t have time. also the pastor tells me your messages from the answering machine each Sunday. me and the others talk about you on tuesday sometimes too when i’m not busy with uni or friends. aren’t you proud dad?
God: i always am son.
Me: thats great, i’m so glad to hear that. thank you. so will you be answering my prayers and helping to comfort me by solving my problems?
God: when would you like me to?
Me: well soon right? i mean you promised to deliver those who love you (Rom.). you promised a wonderful future and plan for me.
God: i do. and it is indeed wonderful to me. would you like to know your biggest problem right now? i’ve actually already solved it
Me: wow thats amazing! it must’ve been granting me that transfer to another course or better yet, the new guild wars 2!
God: nope. even better.
Me: …diablo? oh! is it better, more changed, genuine, non-fake, non-hypocritical christian chinese parents? a future job? a better church to go to? did you resolve my relationship problems with my girlfriend?!?!
God: nope. better.
Me: i have no clue.
God: you’re able to spend time with me right now and in your 10 mins of quiet time each night, and sometimes mornings unless you’re busy with other things. the problem is you’re talking to me and in my company.
Me: huh? why’s that a problem? you said you love to hear from me!
God: i do.
Me: so what’s wrong? isn’t that unconditional love? why can’t you hear from me?
God: i can’t. if i were to love hearing from you it would make me unloving.
Me: why not?
God: because of what you’re saying.
Me: but i haven’t said anything wrong.
you said that i am silent in times of trouble -
i am never silent, i am always there and speaking to you, to people, to creation. before abraham was I AM. but YOU could not hear me.
you asked if i was there? i am everywhere, heaven and earth is my footstool and i see all evil and good under the sun. the earth cannot contain my glory
you said you really needed me this time - you always have needed me. in me you live, move and have your being. without me you can do nothing.
you asked me to answer you - but i cannot love the cries of the wicked for i am a just god and not a man.
you said that life sucks - i made your life and knew you before you were born. i wove you in your mother’s womb and i have shaped your life and all that occurs in it before you ever knew me. before you knew me, i knew you. every circumstance has been from me and every blessing and good i have given to you. every evil has served to bring you closer to me and to teach you how to live fully.
you said you’re busy all the time - each and every good event you go to has been ordained by me so that you might learn to fear me and keep my commandment. every responsibility has been given to you from me so that you would learn to work and be the man i am shaping you to be. all your friends, church and ministry, i have given. all that time playing video games and sports, i have given for you to rest. do you choose to live in australia and did you choose to be born in a high middle class family? i planned to bless you from eternity
you said your girlfriend drained you - she is the one i have chosen for you to marry, to lay down your life for and to serve all the rest of your days. she is the one whom will have your children and who will help you die to yourself. she is my daughter whom i have chosen to give to you and not yours to keep or take. she is the daughter whom i plan to spend eternity with and whose anxious voice i hear since before you were born. she is the one whom i hold when she comes to me broken because of you.
you said that uni and your course sucks - without being at this uni and this course you would never have come to know me. i placed you in this course so that you might have a job and be a blessing to others when you graduate. i placed you in this course so that you might KNOW me and learn about me and my creation through it. by learning nothing, it means i have taught you nothing. am i a deficient teacher? your ATAR was given to you by me. not a little higher or a little lower. by putting you in your course, i had to deny thousands of other students. i allowed you to take the HSC and graduate while many others the same age struggle to learn to read or socialize. did i do you a disservice by placing you in this uni and course? should i apologize? who in the earth accuses the Lord God almighty of wrong doing? am i under a law that i might be accused of doing wrong? by hating your course you have hated what i have given to you and hated me.
you said that you have been complaining about your circumstance and life to your friends - who gave you these circumstances and who gave you this life? was it not good enough that you would want a better one? by complaining about your life situation, what does it say about the one who gave it to you?
you said that your friends were sympathetic, helpful and could always be counted on - were they there when you wanted to kill yourself in high school? were they there when you struggle through your nights of lust and self-loathing? were they there when i saved you from sin, death and shame? you have counted on me since you were born. who gave you your friends and the godly company you have had?
you said that you would be able to spend time with me when you had time - i gave you true rest and you played video games and watched youtube and porn. was my rest not good enough to come back to me?
you asked me if i was proud of the 10 mins you spent with me everyday - yet i killed the very one who loved me and spent hours in the morning and slipped away at night just to be with me. how could i say that i was proud?
the problem is this: that i am good. and you are not. i am the holy one of Israel whom no man has seen. man cannot see me and live. yet you are right here. talking. safe. and sound.
far be it from me to hear the cries of the wicked, my ears are too pure for evil. would not the earth cry out for justice if one answered the prayer of the wicked? can good stand in the presence of evil? i love good too much to hear you or let you stand.
have i wearied you (Isa.)? have i ever wronged you or let you down or misled you somehow? have i become such a burden that you can only afford to spend 10 mins in the morning with me before the life i have given you takes you away to your high places? has talking to me become something of necessity? has obeying me become such an inconvenience to you? have the very things my perfect, never complaining, always praying son died for become so tedious and inconvenient? did i think it too much of a burden for my son to die so that you could talk to me here today? please, tell me.
Me: … what can i say LORD? and whom can argue against you? i have nothing to say but to close my mouth and say no more. what right has the clay to say to the potter - “Why have you made me?” i repent and plead for forgiveness. ashes and all. what would you have me know?
God: my love is NOT unconditional, its condition cost me my only son. my only son died for you, son. so that i could call you son. so that i could see you, hear you and say “in you i am well pleased”. so that i could see you and not HATE you. so that i could be no longer unloving to know you and so that i could tolerate the cries of the wicked. i gave you my one and only son, whom i love from eternity to eternity. before the world began, he was with me. before abraham, HE IS. i gave you the only son whom i love so that in him, you might learn to love. I gave you my son. is 10 mins a day too much for you? i gave you my son. is giving yourself to your girlfriend too hard for you? i gave you my son. is life too much for you? I gave you my son. is that not enough?
go now and sin no more.
Me: you gave me your son. if that is not enough, what is?
1. Scripture or external references (e.g. Calvin’s Institutes) in italics
2. This post was written as a way of coming to terms on my frustrations both with myself and others within the Church.
3. I wrote this straight off the top of my head. Typos and incoherence generally ensues. Apologies in advance.
4. This is written with Christian in mind so there will be lingo that may not make much sense until its references are looked up