Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lucifer and the Existence of God

In response to a post I made earlier on "Lucifer" someone who goes by "JD" posted a comment.  Since it's been over two weeks, the original article is in automatic moderation for posting comment,  I decided to post a new article for that reason and the fact that I believe we need to get more fundamental with JD.  JD's original response is there, my response is here:

JD: Firstly, I stumbled upon this site by accident while trying to find out when season two of Lucifer will begin.
Then I read this little article and began to laugh my ### off at its absurdity.

SW: You are entitled to your opinion and I have even permitted it to be expressed here.  I would encourage you to continue this discussion - my only request is that you keep it civil and respectful.

JD: First and foremost satan/the devil/Lucifer doesn't exist. Neither does the place you krisjans call hell.
SW: And JD, what do you base these unsupported assertions upon?  Are we supposed to just accept the word of some passer-by who popped in and makes such an authoritative assertion without backing it up?  Let me take it back a bit for you and for anyone else reading along by asking you "Does God exist?"  If not, why not?  What do you base this statement in?  So, before we continue to discuss another of what we believe to be another of God's creations (Lucifer), let us discuss the existence of God first.  Fair enough?

SW:  Also, this is where I would also ask you to be a bit more respectful.  We are Christians, we believe in our Lord and Savior, Jesus - the Christ (the Annointed One).  You do not need to be disrespectful with words like "krisjans," unless you're just illiterate and do not realize the root of the word is "Christ" whom we follow and it is a proper noun, which should be capitalized.  I am perceiving that you are not an illiterate, so I respectfully request you refer to us as Christians.

JD continues:  What this show does is show you who's really responsible for everything. YOU! You are responsible for everything that happens in your life not your invisible friend in the sky or his invisible enemy that's who knows where. You should watch the show for its entertainment value. It's hilarious. Just remember here folks your faith is less that 2,000 years old.
SW:  Actually, our "faith" is prehistoric.  The first recordings of our faith dates back to Moses, about 4000 years ago and he takes that which was previously an oral tradition and records it, which takes us back at least another 2000 years.   The Catholic Faith did not just begin with Jesus, the Christ, but in reality is THE continuation of the Jewish Faith, which takes us back to the dawn of mankind.  About one third of our Faith is pre-historic, again, and Moses as guided by God wrote down the pre-history.  Then, from Moses forward, as they say, "the rest IS history."  If you're going to make assertions, please be accurate.

DOES GOD EXIST?

Taking us back to our catechism days, one of the first things we learned from the Baltimore Catechism (still my favorite) is the fundamental questions are: "Who made you?"  We answer:  "God made me" (Question 1, Book 1).  It is also asked, "Why did God make you?"  We answer, "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next" (Question 150, Book 3).  Okay, so far I'm just begging the question.  So far I've provided a "faith based" answer, so allow me to quote from The Existence of God website to present four classic arguments for the existence of God.

The Ontological Argument

The first purported proof of the existence of God is the ontological argument. The ontological argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the laws of logic alone. It dates back to St Anselm, an eleventh century philosopher-theologian and archbishop of Canterbury, but was also used by the French philosopher RenĂ© Descartes. It argues that once we mentally grasp the concept of God we can see that God’s non-existence is impossible. This argument, if it is successful, demonstrates the existence of a perfect being that could not possibly fail to exist.

The First Cause Argument

The second purported proof of the existence of God is the first cause argument, also called “the cosmological argument”. The first cause argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the fact that the universe exists. The universe came into existence at a point in the distant past. Nothing can come into existence, though, unless there is something to bring it into existence; nothing comes from nothing. There must therefore be some being outside of the universe that caused the universe to exist. This argument, if it is successful, demonstrates the existence of a Creator that transcends time, that has neither beginning nor end.

The Argument from Design

The third purported proof of the existence of God is the argument from design, also called “the teleological argument”. The argument from design seeks to prove the existence of God from the fact that the universe is ordered.
The universe could have been different from the way that it is in many ways. It could have had different laws of physics; it could have had a different arrangement of planets and stars; it could have begun with a more powerful or a weaker big bang.
The vast majority of these possible universes would not have allowed for the existence of life, so we are very fortunate indeed to have a universe that does. On an atheistic world-view, there is no way to explain this good fortune; the atheist must put this down to chance. On the view that God exists, though, we can explain why the universe is the way that it is; it is because God created the universe with beings like us in mind. This argument, if it is successful, strongly suggests the existence of a Creator that takes an interest in humanity.

The Moral Argument

The fourth purported proof of the existence of God is the moral argument. The moral argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the fact that there are moral laws.
Moral laws have the form of commands; they tell us what to do. Commands can’t exist without a commander though, so who is it that commands us to behave morally?

To answer this, we only need to look at the authoritative nature of morality. Commands are only as authoritative as is the one that commands them; a command of a ruler carries more authority than a command of a citizen. Moral commands, though, have ultimate authority; they are to be obeyed under all circumstances. Their authority transcends all human authority, and they must therefore have been commanded by a being whose authority transcends all human authority.
The existence of moral laws, the argument concludes, thus demonstrates the existence of a being that is greater than any of us and that rules over all creation.

Summary

Together, then, these arguments claim to prove the existence of a perfect, necessary, transcendent being that created the universe, has authority over it, and takes an interest in humanity. This, if it could be accomplished, would be more than enough to show that the Christian conception of God, and those conceptions of God related to it, are close to the truth.

St. Thomas Aquinas presents Five Ways to prove the existence of God:

 The First Way: Argument from Motion
  1. Our senses prove that some things are in motion.
  2. Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.
  3. Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.
  4. Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).
  5. Therefore nothing can move itself.
  6. Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.
  7. The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.
  8. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes
  1. We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.
  2. Nothing exists prior to itself.
  3. Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.
  4. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect).
  5. Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.
  6. If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.
  7. That is plainly false (i.e., there are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).
  8. Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.
  9. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
The Third Way: Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument)
  1. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, that come into being and go out of being i.e., contingent beings.
  2. Assume that every being is a contingent being.
  3. For each contingent being, there is a time it does not exist.
  4. Therefore it is impossible for these always to exist.
  5. Therefore there could have been a time when no things existed.
  6. Therefore at that time there would have been nothing to bring the currently existing contingent beings into existence.
  7. Therefore, nothing would be in existence now.
  8. We have reached an absurd result from assuming that every being is a contingent being.
  9. Therefore not every being is a contingent being.
  10. Therefore some being exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. This all men speak of as God.
The Fourth Way: Argument from Gradation of Being
  1. There is a gradation to be found in things: some are better or worse than others.
  2. Predications of degree require reference to the “uttermost” case (e.g., a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest).
  3. The maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus.
  4. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.
The Fifth Way: Argument from Design
  1. We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance.
  2. Most natural things lack knowledge.  
  3. But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence.
  4. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Each of these adds a certain amount of logic to the debate and there is more to each argument if you're interested in following the links.  The challenge, therefore, is do we have enough of an argument to prove the existence of God and/or at least have enough to support a faith based in the belief of the existence of God.  If not, then I challenge JD (or any other takers) to present support for his assertions that God (our "invisible friend in the sky") does not exist.  What do you say, JD?  Or, were you just another "drive-by" commentator?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep in mind while posting:
1) Please respond ON TOPIC to the article at hand.
2) Posts more than 4 weeks old are set to automatically save new comments for moderation - so your comment may not show up immediately if you're responding to an older post.
3) The "Spam Filter" is on - and randomly messages get caught in that filter. I have no control over which messages get caught in the spam filter and those that do must wait for me to mark them as "not spam." A message caught by the spam filter may show up for a moment, making you think it posted, and then disappear. Do not assume I have deleted your comment, it's probably just the spam filter and it will show up.