Saturday, January 5, 2013

20 REASONS I'M SURE: A Cumulative Argument Outline & Resources for Further Investigation

Here are 20 REASONS that I am sure that God exists and that he has revealed himself through the Bible and in Jesus Christ. This is an outline of a cumulative argument for Christianity that I hope to develop more fully.

1. THE UNIVERSE COULD NOT START ITSELF (The Cosmological Argument)
If something has a beginning, it must have a cause. Science has confirmed that the Universe has a beginning. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, the General Theory of Relativity, and astronomical observations (showing the universe expanding outward from a single point) prove the universe had a beginning. In other words, science has confirmed that there was a time when the universe didn't exist. The universe, then, must have a cause that brought it into existence....And that cause must be greater than the Universe.....more powerful than all the energy in the Universe, greater than the size of the Universe, and intelligent enough to bring into being the immense order of the laws of physics and the stellar and planetary systems.

*Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

2. OUR FINE-TUNED UNIVERSE (Fine-Tuning Argument & the Anthropic Principle)
Why is there order rather than chaos in the Universe? Why don't the atoms that make up everything just fly apart? Why don't the planets and stars and galaxies just crash into each other? Why are there physical laws that govern all of this? And why are these laws so precisely and elegantly mathematical?

Scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have noted that the rational, mathematical order of an entire universe governed by physical laws points to a divine mind.

Stephen Hawking comments on this: "The universe and the laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any one of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn't combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn't form the heavier elements,.....and so on...." *Austin American Statesman, October 19, 1997: quoted in Scientific Facts in the Bible by Ray Comfort, p.25

Arno Penzias, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics concludes: "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan."
*Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.


*Videos & Articles (with notes and links to help you find what you need)

3. LIFE (Abiogenesis or The Impossibility of Getting a Living Cell by Mere Chance)
In 1859, when Darwin published his book The Origin of Species, scientists thought of cells as something like microscopic balls of jelly.....and--much like ancient peoples--tended to believe that such "simple" life magically popped into existence.

Today we know differently. As Nancy Pearcey writes: "Each cell is akin to a miniature factory town, humming with power plants, automated factories, and recycling centers. In the nucleus is a cellular library, housing blueprints and plans that are copied and transported to factories, each of which is filled with molecular machines that function like computerized motors. These manufacture the immense array of products needed within the cell, with the processes all regulated by enzymes that function as stopwatches to ensure that everything is perfectly timed....The outside surface of the cell is studded with sensors, gates, pumps, and identification markers to regulate traffic coming in and out......Each cell has an automated 'rapid transit system' in which certain molecules function as tiny monorail trains running along tracks to whisk cargo around from one part of the cell to another. Other molecules act as loading machines, filling up the train cars and attaching address labels. When the train reaches the right 'address' in another part of the cell, it is met by other molecules that act as docking machines, opening them up and removing the supplies."
*Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth, p.185f; also see notes 16, 17 and 18 on p.416-17

This is just a glimpse into the complex workings of the "simplest cell"....and none of these machines occur naturally by themselves in nature. Rather they are only produced by living cells.

With all of our intense efforts and advanced technologies, we still cannot build a single living cell and create life. We are not even close to doing this from scratch.

To think that life came into being without a Creator stretches the imagination.


*Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

4. DNA (The Information in Every Living Thing)
Every living thing is reproduced and operated by DNA.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates says: "DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created."
*Stephen Meyer, Signature in the Cell, p.12

And the DNA in a single cell contains as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

DNA requires several key components--each of which requires a highly intelligent mind to construct: the creation of a language syntax that has meaning to both the giver and the recipient, the creation of a code to transmit that language between the giver and the recipient, the creation of the design to be transmitted, the creation of the information that will effectively communicate that design, and the creation of a robotic-like hardware system that interprets and implements the information received.


*Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

5. BEAUTY (The Aesthetic Argument)
Peter Kreeft simply argues: Bach's music exists, therefore God exists.
*Peter Kreeft, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p.81

We all know what ugly looks like when we see it. And yet within creation, everywhere we look the overwhelming impression is of beauty. This--combined with the fact that we have a built-in ability to experience and appreciate that beauty--points us to a God who created us to enjoy this world which is a reflection of his own beauty and majesty.

Steven Weinberg, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics...and an ardent atheist...writes: "I have to admit that sometimes nature seems more beautiful than strictly necessary.  Outside the window of my home office, there is a hackberry tree, visited frequently by a convocation of politic birds: blue jays, yellow-throated vireos, and loveliest of all, an occasional red cardinal.  Although I understand pretty well how brightly colored feathers evolved out of a competition for mates, it is almost irresistible to imagine that all this beauty was somehow laid out for our benefit.” *p. 250, Dreams of a Final Theory

Indeed it was.

*Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

6. THE LAW IN YOUR HEART (The Moral Argument)
Ironically, those who object to Christianity seem to inevitably do it on moral grounds. They say that something in the Bible is morally wrong....or that Christians do things that are morally wrong....or God sending people to hell is morally wrong.....or that if God is really loving and all-powerful, there would not be so much moral evil in the world.

While these objections are all mistaken on other grounds, their first and foremost problem is that no one has any basis from which to make these objections without a moral standard. And there could be no moral standard that applies to everyone if there is no God. Yet these strong moral objections point out that we all know such a moral standard does exist.

As Mark Twain observes: "Humans are the only animals who blush--or need to."

This strong moral sense common to all people points to a Lawgiver who is over all.


*Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

7. THE WITNESS OF EVERY CULTURE IN THE WORLD (The Universal Knowledge of God)
As James Kennedy writes: "In every language, every tribe, and every culture, we find a word for God. He has not left Himself without a witness, nor is there anywhere on earth where His fingerprints are absent."
*D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, The Presence of a Hidden God

People from every culture testify to God's existence, going back to ancient times. If God did not exist, shouldn't there be cultures that do not know anything of God? This universal testimony to God's existence is strong evidence that God exists and that he has revealed himself to all people as Romans 1:18-20 says.

**Videos, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

In the late 1700s, Frederick the Great asked the Marquis D'Argens: "Can you give me one single irrefutable proof of God?" He replied: "Yes, your Majesty, the Jews."*Ankerberg, p.251

Over the last 3000 years the Jews have experienced continual persecution--including numerous attempts to exterminate them: from ancient Egypt to Nazi Germany and modern Iran. Yet miraculously they have survived.

Amazingly, the Bible foretold this and the other major events of Israel's history thousands of years ahead of time. And a very unique history it is:

It was foretold that the people of Israel would become disobedient to God and as a result be defeated by a foreign power and exiled...but later be brought back to their land. It was also foretold that they would be exiled from their land again and scattered among the nations, that they would be hated by everyone, but that a small group of them would be preserved through it all and brought back to their land a second time. This happened after nearly 2000 years--on May 14, 1948.

And there's much more that could be said.

*Israel in Prophecy by John Walvoord: get the FREE ebook version here.

The Bible accurately describes scientific facts thousands of years before they were discovered by science.

For instance, despite accusations that the Bible's authors believed in a flat earth, the facts show otherwise: The Bible says the earth is a  sphere (Isaiah 40:22) that hangs on nothing (Job 26:7).

*And it says that when Jesus comes back it will happen so quickly that it will be like lightning and yet some will be sleeping and some will be working out in the fields while still others will be grinding grain (Luke 17:24-35). It even speaks of the earth in its rotation being like clay on a potter's wheel (Job 38:12-14)

Secondly, it speaks of the expanding universe--a fact only recently discovered by science. But at least ten times the Bible says that God "stretches out the heavens" (Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; etc.).

Third, a hundred years ago scientists thought the Universe was eternal. We now know the Universe has a beginning and is wearing out. Long ago the Bible declared: "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded."
*Psalm 102:25-26; see also Isaiah 51:6; Hebrews 1:11; Genesis 1:1

Finally: "Matthew Maury (1886-1873) is considered father of oceanography. He noticed the expression 'paths of the sea' in Psalm 8:8 (written 2,800 years ago) and said, 'If God said there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them.'" He  discovered the warm and cold continental currents. His book on oceanography remains a basic text on the subject and is still used in universities."
*Scientific Facts in the Bible by Ray Comfort, p.12

The fact that the Bible speaks of things that no human could have known about before the rise of modern science points to its supernatural origin.

*Check out these articles at Apologetics Press.

The Bible accurately predicts the spiritual and political climate of these last days:
It even reveals things that must have sounded contradictory when they were said: It states that the Gospel will be preached in the whole world before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). It says it will be so unpopular that the people of all nations will hate Christians and put them to death (Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:12-17). And yet, it also says that many will try to imitate Christ--that there will be many false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:4-5). And it predicts that there will be such intense deception that many who are Christians will turn away from the faith and betray and hate the Church (Matthew 24:10-12, 24; Luke 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The Bible also predicts an end time political scenario in which Israel is the center of the Middle East conflict and all the nations around her want to wipe her off the face of the earth....that Russia (Magog) and Iran (Persia) will be a primary threat to her (Ezekiel 38)....and that an outside force will seek to negotiate a peace treaty for her--but that peace will fail....

These and many other amazing and accurate predictions point to an origin for the Bible from someone who is able to know the future in a way that is not humanly possible, that is, God.

*The Return of the Lord by John Walvoord: get the FREE ebook version here.

The Bible is unique in its unity: The Bible is made up of 66 books written by more than 40 different authors on 3 continents in 3 languages over a period of about 1500 years....and yet they agree with and complement each other as a working organic whole. This is completely unique among all the collections of books in the world.

As Josh McDowell writes: "The Bible addresses hundreds of controversial subjects.....marriage, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, adultery, obedience to authority, truth-telling and lying, character development, parenting, the nature and revelation of God. Yet from Genesis through Revelation these writers addressed them with an amazing degree of harmony."
*Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p.6

It's also the world's first history book and the world's most influential book. And no other book has the power to completely change a person's life in the way the Bible can.

I believe the Bible's completely unique character from all other books written argues strongly for its divine origin.


*Video: "The Bible is Unique": a 3-minute video by Josh McDowell
*Article: "What Makes the Bible Unique?" by John Ankerberg and John Weldon
*Article: "The Uniqueness of Scripture" by Chris Poblete
*Book Chapter: "The Unity of the Bible" by Frank E. Gaebelein

12. WISDOM'S CHILDREN (The Impact of Christ on History & Culture)
In Luke 7:35 Jesus says: "Wisdom is proved right by all her children."
*Also see Matthew 11:19

Christianity has produced modern science and technology, hospitals, orphanages, charity and relief organizations, universities, education for the poor, the valuing of individual human lives, the end of slavery in England and the U.S., and freedom within limited government.....and Christians continue to lead the world in private charitable giving to humanitarian needs.

Although there have been many who have called themselves Christians who acted completely contrary to the teachings of Christianity, the stark contrast between the fruits of Christianity as a whole compared to the fruits of other religions clearly points to its divine origin.

 (with lots of links to other excellent resources!)

God has always used his supernatural intervention in the world to confirm his presence. Miracles are testified to in the Bible and throughout Church history. And there are countless credible accounts of miracles today. I and many close friends have witnessed such miracles. Twice in my life I have had the privilege of praying for people who were diagnosed with serious medical conditions; and when they returned to the doctor, the conditions were completely healed--supernaturally.

Let me give you just one firsthand example: This is how my good friend, Todd Thiess, tells about the miraculous healing of his son Seth:

"Our doctor was having trouble hearing Seth's heart beat, so she referred us to another doctor more experienced with in-utero heart issues. He did an ultrasound and confirmed that his heart was not beating regularly as it should and we began preparations for a pre-birth surgery or contingency plans for delivery involving ambulances & helicopters. Nina & I went to our Elders and explained the situation. They prayed over Nina. The following week, the doctor was amazed. He did another ultrasound and found that Seth's heart had been healed. The doctor had dealt with this problem several times, but had never witnessed it going away without surgery. He told us "If I hadn't done the ultrasound myself, I would swear it was two different babies." When the news reached our family doctor, she was in awe of the miracle as well. She cried when Seth was born, She has referred to him as "her" Miracle Baby. The ultrasounds were recorded and are available for review. Praise God."

Today Seth is an amazingly healthy and strong little boy who is always full of energy.

Miracles are a very powerful way that God makes himself known to us.

*Videos, Audio, Articles and Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need). These resources include many reliable accounts of miracles, sound thinking about miracles, and answers to typical objections.

Since ancient times, there have been reports of what have become known as "Near Death Experiences": People who died but were brought back to life reported leaving their bodies and then viewing their bodies and events around them from above. In fact, they often report seeing events outside the room where their bodies lay--events they should not have known about and yet others verified actually happened. Furthermore, these individuals often report entering spiritual dimensions that fit the Bible's descriptions of heaven and hell.

Tens of thousands of accounts have been well documented and scientifically analyzed by medical doctors specializing in this field. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the world's leading expert on death and dying, expresses these same conclusions after personally interviewing approximately 20,000 patients.
*Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., On Life after Death (Celestial Arts: Berkeley, California, 1991),
Summary of the essay "Living and Dying" (chapter 1 of the book) found inside the front cover:

These experiences confirm to us that this material world is not all there is. We're  not just a bunch of well-arranged chemicals but spirits who continue to exist even after this body has died. And they confirm an afterlife for which we must prepare.

*Videos, Audio, Articles and Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

If you want to send me something in the mail, four pieces of information seperate me from the other 6 billion people on earth. The Old Testament contains hundreds of prophecies concerning a coming Messiah....Many of these are very unique and unusual.

They foretold his family line, the place of his birth and the year he would be born.

They tell us that the Messiah would be God himself, that he would come as a man, and be born of a virgin.....That he would be a king, a prophet, and a priest.....that he would perform miracles and that he would minister in Galilee.....that he would be rejected by the Jews but received by non-Jews. They predicted he would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver and that the money would be used to buy a potter's field.

Some of the most startling prophecies concern Jesus' death....They predicted he would die a sacrificial death on Mount Moriah....that the sky would be darkened on that day.....They picture him being mocked and scorned.....That lots would be cast for his clothing....That he would be struck, bruised, spit on and crucified......but without breaking any bones.....and that he would be buried with the rich.

More startling yet are prophecies of his resurrection.....a prophecy no one else on earth has ever fulfilled.

All these details and more were given over 400 years before his birth. By one count, there are over 300 such prophecies.
*Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p.164-202


*Videos, Audio, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

Jesus's claim to be God is further confirmed by the fact of his miraculous resurrection.

He was publicly put to death by the Romans, who were experienced with routine crucifixions. They pierced his side; and water and blood came forth (John 19:33-35)--proving that the sac around his heart had been punctured or burst.
*Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p.224-225

There is absolutely no doubt he was dead.

You only need two or three good witnesses to bring a verdict in a court of law. But within the next six weeks, more than 500 people saw Jesus alive after he was raised from the dead. He appeared multiple times to people who knew him well. They spoke with him, asked him questions, listened as he taught them, walked with him, ate meals with him, and touched the scars from his crucifixion.

As pastor and attorney Randy Singer noted, if you spent an hour cross-examining all the witnesses to the resurrection it would take you three months just to hear their testimony.

*A List of Videos, Audio, Articles & Books (with links and notes to help you find what you need)

All of this is powerfully confirmed by the eyewitness testimony of the Twelve Apostles, the apostle Paul, Jesus' brothers, and others.

There are only two options: (1) Their testimony about Jesus is true.....or (2) They all conspired together to make up this story and stage the miracles that accompanied their testimony.

Chuck Colson was a ringleader in one of the biggest political scandals of all time: Watergate. He later became a Christian and wrote:

"This is why the Watergate experience is so instructive for me. If John Dean and the rest of us were so panic-stricken, not by the prospect of beatings and execution, but by political disgrace and a possible prison term, one can only speculate about the emotions of the disciples.....The Watergate cover-up reveals, I think, the true nature of humanity.....Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will save their own necks in the crunch, though it may be at the expense of the one they profess to serve so zealously. Is it really likely, then, that a deliberate cover-up, a plot to perpetuate a lie about the Resurrection, could have survived the violent persecution of the apostles.....the horrendous purge of the first-century believers who were cast by the thousands to the lions for refusing to renounce the Lordship of Christ? Is it not probable that at least one of the apostles would have renounced Christ before being beheaded or stoned?"
*Chuck Colson, Loving God, p.68-69

*Blog articles I've written.

Ever since this Gospel was first preached it has set people free from the bondage of sin, transformed their lives, and given them a profound peace with God....irregardless of the time in history or the culture in which it is preached. This has been my experience, and the experience of millions of others....and it can be yours, also.

In 386 A.D., Augustine....was freed from a life of immorality and confusion and later wrote: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." (St. Augustine's Confessions: Lib 1,1-2,2.5,5: CSEL 33, 1-5)

Around 1750, lifelong slave trader John Newton.....turned his life over to God and God transformed his life. He later wrote: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see."

If you know someone who has really been changed by the power of Christ, you know that it is real.


*Article: "The Top 5 Testimonies of 2015" at Christianity Today.
*Articles: Dozens of Conversion Stories at Christianity Today.
*Videos: The Legacy Project: Conversion stories and other testimonies
*Videos: I Am Second: a YouTube video project

He never wrote a book, ran a large business, held an office or led an army....Yet he changed history like no one else.

H. G. Wells, notes: “I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history."

So who is this poor construction worker from a small town in an insignificant Roman province who was rejected by his own people, but became the central fugure of all of history?

He claimed to be God. And there are only 4 options: He is either....
1. a Legend
2. a Lunatic
3. a Liar....or he is
4. Lord of all

No serious historian doubts he is a historical person. No psychologist ever doubted his sanity. And his miracles, the power of his teaching, his fulfillment of prophecy, his impact on history, and his resurrection all powerfully back up his claim that he is telling the truth: that he is indeed God in the flesh.


*Videos, Articles and Books related to Jesus' historicity (with links and notes to help you find what you need)
*Article with resources: "How Jesus Is Unique from All Other Religious Leaders in History"

And finally....
Every one of these reasons I have given you points us to God and confirm his existence, but they do not form a relationship with God himself.....and so you will never be satisfied with just these reasons. It's like reading a travel brochure about the Grand Canyon but never visiting it and experiencing it for yourself.

But we have these great promises, such as in Jeremiah 29:13: "'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.....' declares the LORD." He reveals himself to all who seek him.

So I urge you to seriously consider all of this evidence, to listen to the witness of the Spirit as he speaks to you, and to seek a relationship with God in which you will come to know him personally.


Interactive Website
*Belief Map by Blake Giunta....A very unique and easy way to navigate the maze of some of the most important areas of apologetics. Highly recommended. Check out the 3-minute video tutorial.

*"Arguments for God's Existence" by Peter Kreeft (78 minutes). An excellent presentation of five classic arguments: the argument from design, the argument from first cause, the argument from conscience, the argument from desire, and Pascal's Wager.

*Is Christianity True?: a series of 23 essays by 23 different authors at Apologetics315.
*Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God by Peter Kreeft
*Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments by Alvin Plantiga
*10 Arguments for God's Existence by C. Michael Patton
*"Arguments for the Existence of God" at Theopedia
*Last Seminary hosts 8 articles dealing with cumulative arguments that can be download for FREE--with brief abstracts for each.
*Know What You Believe: Nice outline and flow chart. Also has a small group study attached.
*42 Arguments: Prima Facie Warrants for God Belief

*True Way Tracts (by Marilyn Joy Tyner). "How Can We Know If God Exists?" Available as a full-color pamphlet or a tract.

*Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace. Wallace takes a cumulative case approach. One of my favorites. Also God's Crime Scene.
*Reasons We Believe: 50 Lines of Evidence That Confirm The Christian Faith by Nathan Busenitz
*Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy and Science edited by William Dembski and Michael Licona. Highly recommended.
*20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists by Ken Boa and Robert M Bowman, Jr. 
*I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek (452 pages). Available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, Audible, & Audio CD. Also at Overdrive in ebook & audiobookWritten for a popular audience. While I disagree with their probabilistic approach to the evidence for Christianity--and they misunderstand the issue of natural selection (which is inadequate but not for the reasons they give), this book is generally solid with many moments of pure brilliance. Overall it is a powerful cumulative argument for Christianity and I highly recommend it. Dr. Geisler's website is here and Dr. Turek's website is here.
*A View of the Evidences of Christianity by William Paley (1743-1805). A classic cumulative case for Christianity. FREE! on Kindle, which can be read on any electronic device using the Kindle app available at Amazon. It is also FREE! in PDF files or read online. You will also find a brief introduction to the book. You can also find another brief introduction at The Library of Historical Apologetics (which includes a link to yet another FREE! edition of this work with notes by Richard Whately).
*Manual of Christian Evidences (1888, 1892) by George Park Fisher. A brief but excellent cumulative case for Christianity. FREE!
*"Is Christianity True?": a series of 23 essays by 23 different authors at Apologetics315 (Technically this is a blog series, but think of it as a compendium. At any rate it is FREE! and I recommend it.).
*Why Does It Make Sense to Believe in Christ? by Martin De Haan II. A FREE! 32-page booklet in PDF file produced by Radio Bible Class Ministries. Another FREE! booklet by De Haan: How Can I Know There Is a God?


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