1. God exists
The proposition, “God exists,” has been challenged for thousands of years. But it’s also been substantially defended throughout that same time frame. The apostle Paul writes, in Romans 1, that what can be known about God is made manifest to all people through that which has been created.
Me, you, the trees, the stars in the sky, all of these things testify to the reality of a self-existent Being who created all things. Here is a brief example: change occurs. I think we can all agree that change really does happen. I’m changing as I write this article (my fingers are moving, I’m progressing in thought, etc). Now, I think it’s also fair to describe change in terms of potential being made actual.
My cup of coffee is sitting on my desk right now. It’s actual in that it exists, and it’s actual in the sense that it’s potential for sitting still on my desk has been made a reality. At this moment, it’s pretty warm coffee, but it has the potential to become cool. In other words, the potential for my coffee to become cool will be actualized. But, what will the potential coolness be actualized by? There must be something that actualizes the coolness of my coffee. Cool air, the tendency of heat to rise, etc. are all things that are already themselves actualized which will, in turn, actualize the coolness of my coffee.
So, change is the actualization of potential; and for potential to be actualized, there must be something already actual to actualize the potential. This cannot go on forever. There must be a first actualizer which is actually an unactualized actualizer. Something that is not, itself, actualized by something else, but has always been actual. This entity would not have potential, but would be pure actuality.
Change itself points to the unchangeable, self-existent, actualizer of all things—God.
2. God is relational, necessarily
What I mean by this is that it’s self-evident that if creation was created by a God, this God must be relational in nature. This God had it in His mind to create before creation existed. More than this, this God had it in His mind to form a covenant with His people, before those people were brought into existence. So, God’s relationality cannot be contingent on creation. That would be nonsensical. This relationality must be grounded in Himself.
Relationality, however, cannot exist if there are no actual relations. Since God is not relational only in virtue of the existence of creation, He is relational in Himself. And for Him to be relational in Himself, He must have actual relations in Himself; or He must exist in manifold relations.
Now, the argument in my reason #1 (i.e. change occurs), necessitates a necessary Being (unactualized actualizer) behind all of creation. But a necessary Being can only be singular. There is no such thing as multiple necessary beings because one being would be contingent on its distinctions separating it from the other being to be what it is. A necessary being, if truly necessary, cannot be contingent on something else to be what it is.
Scripture is necessary to know the precise nature of this unity in plurality (i.e. Father, Son and Spirit), but through general revelation we may deduce a God who is one existing in multiple relations. In God is the cohering of unity and plurality, the age-old philosophical problem for the pagans.
3. Evil and suffering exist
One of the reasons I believe in the Christian God is precisely because evil and suffering exist. If the Bible is true, then we would expect the world to behave in the way in which it describes, and wouldn’t you know it? It does! Paul writes in Romans 3:10, 11 that no one seeks for God, that all people have turned away from Him and His righteous standard. All people are sinners. Scripture also says that, at the Fall of Adam in Genesis 3, the world was plunged into darkness which has resulted in suffering from things like disease and natural disasters.
The other reason evil and suffering causes me to cling to Christ is in the fact that if this God did not exist, then what would be so bad about any of the things we get upset about? We’d have no objective reason to mourn things like the death of a loved one or abhor things like sickness or the wicked deeds of criminals. The whole of our emotional response to these things would be completely arbitrary and meaningless. Sure, we could claim our sadness and indignation has meaning behind it, but our claim does not make it so.
The God of the Bible gives us a foundation for mourning the negative effects of sin when it tells us, “Jesus wept (Jn. 11:35).”
4. Glory through redemption
No other world religion can solve the problem of evil.
Other religions either embody evil (think certain sects of Islam) or they are inconsistent in their thinking about evil. However, in the Christian paradigm, God has determined to glorify Himself in the redemption of His people. Before God created the world, this was His plan. But a people cannot be redeemed if there is no fall (cf. Gen. 3). Nor can that same people enjoy the beauty of the eternal truths of the Gospel unless they have something to contrast it with (e.g. evil and suffering).
Now, we could spend all our time trying to “get God off the hook,” for the existence of evil and suffering or we could come to the realization that God ordains all things which come to pass in order that redemption will come to pass. And by redemption, I do not mean a mere restoration of creation to the garden state before the Fall of Adam. I intend to mean a punctuated existence where the people of God will be exalted with Christ upon His return. This redemption will be better in every imaginable (and unimaginable) way.
5. God saves the wicked
Of course, one of the reasons I’m a Christian is because God saved, and is saving, me.
By His grace and the bestowal of the gift of faith and the work of the Spirit in me, I have been drawn to Christ and given a new heart (Ezek. 36:26-37:14; Jer. 31:31-34; Col. 2:11; Titus 3:5). As mentioned above, Scripture tells us that no one seeks for God, and that all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:10-23). Because of this, we will not choose God unless God first chooses us and enables us to believe (Eph. 2:1-7).
No one is good in their own right. All people are wicked and rebellious against God. There is absolutely nothing we can do to justify ourselves before the Lord of glory. So God, being rich in mercy, has sent His Son to atone for the sins of His people. And on this basis, those who believe in Him are declared righteous (Rom. 5:9; 8:29, 30).
But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. — Romans 10:8-10
6. The folly of unbelief
Unbelief really just ends in irrationality.
Unbelievers, or atheists, simply cannot consistently account for why certain things are right or wrong. Moreover, they cannot even account for the foundations for logic, especially as it relates to their own reasoning.
In fact, many popular-level atheists are actually trying to claim the universe could have possibly created itself. The notion of self-creation is absurd because it violates the law of noncontradiction. For the universe would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship. That is impossible. Moreover, recent appeals to quantum mechanics by atheists to justify this notion falls flat on its face.
They want to say things like, “Well, the laws of logic do not apply to the most basic levels of existence (i.e. quantum mechanics.” But, if the laws of logic do not apply to quantum mechanics then we can’t predicate anything about it. The atheist has to use logical reasoning in order to say logical reasoning does not apply to something (the fallacy of question begging). There are things within certain schools of quantum theory that remain unexplained, but this should not lead one to think the laws of logic do not apply.
7. Jesus is real
All historical evidence points to the existence of Jesus as a historical person. Moreover, the primary sources we have which record Jesus’ ministry include the startling claims He made about His deity, the miracles He performed, and His prophecies including the foretelling of His bodily resurrection.
This Son of God, who was Himself God incarnate, is the chief reason a person should become a Christian. He came to offer Himself for all those who will believe in Him as their perfect federal head and sacrifice for their sins. He is our new Adam, being perfectly obedient to the Father, a task we could never accomplish. He is our propitiation for our sins, that is, He suffered the eternal wrath of the Father on the cross, the wrath we deserved. He rose from the dead just as He promised, and He is coming back to judge the quick and the dead.
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. — Revelation 14:9, 10
In Christ, we have a trajectory that ends in eternal glory. Our affections will be changed to conform to Christ’s and our faith will become sight:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. — Revelation 21:1-4