There are many different types of arguments for the existence of God. With each argument there is a conception presented of God. For each argument there are different approaches. I will be focusing on the Cosmological and Teleological Arguments. Teleological Arguments are known to be arguments from divine, arguing from order in the universe to the existence of God (1).With the ordering of the universe, created by an intelligent being, they hold that it is ordered towards a purpose or an end.
The Cosmological Argument “is the argument that the existence of the world or universe is strong evidence for the existence of a God who created it. It is a first caused argument where the existence of the universe, the argument claims, stands in need of explanation, and the only adequate explanation of its existence is that it was created by God” (1).
Behind this argument, it holds that though the universe still needs explanation for its existence, the existence of God Himself does not.
In the article McCloskey is critical of these arguments for God’s existence supporting his stance by offering the problem of evil as reasoning to not believe. He believes the belief in the existence of God is not a source of strength and security (2). However, if we are to use the Cumulative Case approach we can have successive truths. This case cumulates the Cosmological, Teleological, as well as, the Moral Arguments together. It gives us the conclusion of a personal, moral, intelligent creator of the universe as the best explanation for the universe we experience (3).
McCloskey maintains that the Teleological Argument is not satisfactory and that it can be rejected simply by rejecting its premise. The premise holds that there is in fact evidence of purpose and design. McCloskey says though, that there were many things that were considered evidence or proof, prior to evolution, but those very things are now not being considered as so. Thus, in order to be a proof, there has to be given indisputable examples. Given that the Teleological Argument, presenting disputable examples, says McCloskey, there is no proof. There can be no form of argument with evidence of an intellectual design and/or designer. I would have to argue with McCloskey by using the “fine-tuning argument.” Within the universe is nothing short of precision, not only of natural laws, but the beginning stages and state of the universe.
These both are pointers to an intelligent Creator. The universe is finely-tuned maintaining physical constants of nature (5).The strength of gravity should be considered. With the occurrence of the Big Bang. The gravity had to have precision because even with a little more force used on either side, it would not have occurred as the Big Bang, but the Big Crunch. Even with the slightest change in gravity, it could change the world into something completely other than what we know. That which is being offered as evidenced cannot be questioned. If we were to give to evolution as truth, there is still no grounds for believing it is true. It does nothing but in the end support the theist position, and shows that evolution needs teleology.
McCloskey’s main objection to theism is the presence of evil in the world, “No being who was perfect could have created a world in which there was unavoidable suffering or in which his creatures would(and in fact could have been created so as not to) engage in morally evil acts, acts which very often result in injury to innocent persons” (1). With this problem on McCloskey’s mind, he holds it to the theists. He still wonders how the theist does not take this to mind seeing that it goes against the perfection of the divine purpose.
There can be no grounds in a belief of a perfect being. Even if all reason was thrown out, he says the theist at best could only present a pool of beings full of “concern, dismay, and anxiety, rather than comfort and security” (1). There is a logical problem of evil and there is logical inconsistency when there is both the existence of God and of evil. The atheist holds that there is severe contradiction between claiming God is good, yet evil exists. Mackie, an atheist, says “…the contradiction does not arise immediately; to show it we need some additional premises…these additional principles are that good is opposed to evil, in such a way that a good thing always eliminates evil as far as it can, and that there are no limits to what an omnipotent thing can do.
From these it follows that a good omnipotent thing eliminates evil completely, and then the propositions that a good omnipotent thing exists, and that evil exists, are incompatible”(8). There exists two kinds of evil. There is “human evil,” and “natural evil” in which atheist claim are both forms of needless suffering. The logical problem of evil claims the “tension” between simultaneously having evil in the world, while also having a perfect God. This would without a doubt be a logical contradiction according to the atheist. There is also the evidential problem of evil. With this claim, there is not contradiction, but the fact that evil exists, if give grounding evidence for being able to reject that God is all-powerful. It is a weaker version of the former, and claims that it is highly unlikely that an all-perfect God exists. Plantinga responds with trying to defend that it is reasonable to believe in God, even without evidence. His position is known as “Reformed Epistemology”.
In order for his view to hold he would have to reject the Evidentialist Credo., which he claims rests on Classical Foundationalism. This led him to his positive view, or “Reformed Epistemology.” This holds that a belief in God is “properly basic.”Some object to these claims, saying that evil is logically required for good and is needed for us to see the good. Evil is a means and will cause good. There is given the “free will” defense that is meant to try and answer the problem of evil. Either this would come about by humans free will resulting in a greater good and that evil is ascribed the humans and not God. However, those who oppose this, bring up the issue of natural evils. Mackie stands his ground that God should have given human beings free will in such a way that we always chose the good.
The atheist propose God did not create men to choose between right and wrong, and that God is morally inconsistent. In response, the free will theodicy attempts to defeat the former by claiming the suffering of the innocent is justified because of the existence of free will. We as humans have misused our free will, thus what is known as ‘moral evil.’ Other sufferings from evil come from the natural evils. While McCloskey challenges the free will defense, Plantinga proposes the law of non-contradiction. He argues for there could be logically possible affairs whereby God would be unable of creating a world of both evil and autonomous humans (9). Evans puts it simply, “It does not seem to be true that a good being always eliminates evil as far as it can. What is true, perhaps, is that good being always eliminates evil as far as it can without the loss of a greater good or the allowance of a worse evil” (1).
McCloskey objects to the cosmological argument claiming, “mere existence of the world constitutes no reason for believing in such a being”(1). There has been great objection to this however because of the fact of contingent objects. God is the “first cause,” the one who began it all. Because there is not explanation for contingent beings, if God is a necessary being, He is the necessary cause of the existence of creation and we as beings. God has no cause, otherwise He would not be God. It is the very existence of the world that implies the existence of God. The “laws of nature” imply the existence of a lawgiver, God. This position was held by Aristotle, holding firmly against the possibility of infinite regress. The argument from contingency suggests that it is possible the universe might not have existed, thus needing explanation of why it does in fact exist. In essence, it must have a cause. This leads to the belief in “necessary being,” meaning a being that needs no explanation.
The temporal cosmological argument holds that the beginning of the universe was either caused or uncaused. However, objectors to this say we cannot actually claim whether the universe “had to exist.” Also, a “necessary being” comes into question. The refuters say this line of argument does not give enough explanation of why there could not be more than one cause. There is no ground for putting God as the first cause or prime mover. Time and causality as we know it cannot be grounds for explaining the beginnings of the universe. However, those objecting to McCloskey, hold if there were a being like the universe, then he would exist in time, thus he himself came into existence. But, the ultimate cause must not have come into existence. For it to be an ultimate cause, the ultimate Creator must be outside of time. (10).What McCloskey fails to realize, is that not every argument is going to capture every aspect of God. There are many different arguments that go about doing that.
If God does not exist, then all has no hope of immortality. Life, the world, and everything in it is meaningless. There would be no purpose or significance to anyone or anything. This leaves us with no ultimate meaning without immorality and God. Would we be able to say there was any purpose or meaning to someone who lived just to die? To be born just to pass out of existence? Lane says that it is not just each individual person that is headed towards the grave, but the universe itself is headed for extinction. This all in all is hopeless. Dying man, in a dying world. If this is the case, the small details in life do not matter, it does not make a difference. Our behaviors, our choices do not matter. Dotoyevsky said “If there is no immortality then all things are permitted” (11). Without God, there is no accountability, morality, or sense of right and wrong. Even more so, in a universe without God, good and evil do not exist (11). However, if we were to say there were no God, we would still be without purpose because we would just be accidental. We would just be accidents of chance.
The only view that can save the human race from itself is a theistic view (11). The only thing going for an atheist is living with the fact of the absurdity of life. Such a view makes it impossible to live a fulfilling, happy life. For the atheist, absurdity of life and creating meaning for one’s life is a contradiction. A major disadvantage of atheism is that no one has hope or faith for reward of good or and punishment of evil. A believer’s hope is this, Christ. Ephesians 3:11 tells us that God had a purpose I mind before He created. Man within his own voluntary will would be able to love and choose God. Nature alone points to God. Humanity and the universe itself does not have to exist. Both are not self-existent but caused. There is no explanation for their existence. Within a Christian world view, life is not meaningless and pointless ending at the grave. We have hope in the resurrection and of eternal life. God and immortality are both necessary for a meaning full life (11).
11- Craig, William Lane. “The Absurdity of Life without God.” In Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, by William Lane Craig, 71-90. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 1-Evans, C. Stephen, and R. Zachary Manis. Philosophy of Religion: Thinking About Faith. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009. 8- Kunkle,Brett. “The Logical Problem of Evil.” Truth Never Gets Old. April 21, 2009 2- McCloskey, H. J. “On Being an Atheist.” Question (1968):
63-69. 5- Biologos. “What is the “fine-tuning” of the universe, and how does it serve as a “pointer to God?” 9- http://kevinfannystevenson.blogspot.com/2012/07/on-being-theist-response-to-h-j.html 10- http://www.existence-of-god.com/first-cause-argument.html