Five Good Arguments from Five Good Apologists

By Tony Vance

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August 21, 2017

Have you ever encountered an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic of your Christian faith? Perhaps you have had doubts and questions. Maybe you are an atheist or an agnostic. This article is dedicated to those looking for a handful of arguments pointing to the existence of God and for those who are interested in investigating the evidence. This article is also for those who are looking to strengthen their own faith (reasons to believe), or simply to dispel the doubts that can naturally occur.

I have included, what I feel are five of the best arguments for the existence of God. I am not asserting that these are necessarily the five best, but rather, these are five good arguments offered by five different and very good apologists. I’ve included some well known arguments along with maybe a couple you have never heard of (some of them are “related”), but I will summarize each argument and encourage you to check out the particular arguments, as I will link where you may read the full argument yourself.

ROBERT JOHNSON

I’ll start with my good friend Rob Johnson. I’ve affectionately called Rob the ‘rising-rock-star’ of apologetics. He is new in the world of apologetics; a fresh face, a fresh voice, and fresh approach to the discipline of apologetics. His Podcast, ‘Apologetics 105’, is a staple of mine and always strengthens my arguments for God’s existence. Rob uses the classical approach to apologetics and uses one of the strongest arguments for the evidence of God in the Classical Moral Argument (CMA). Although this syllogism is by no means original to Rob, he communicates it with clarity. He describes this argument in the following manner:

“This argument seeks to show that God exists on the basis of morality. In the argument we will look at whether or not morals are objective and if so, how they are grounded.”

The argument is structured in a simple way, easy to remember and easy to articulate. It can be shown as:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Rob fluidly takes you thru each premise and shows strong reasons for their use. He gives a clear definition of the key word, “objective”:

“When I say that something is objective I am saying that it is a truth outside of our feelings and emotions. It’s not based on opinion, it’s factual.”

Just as objective is necessary to define, he shows that there is a difference in values and duties,

“A value is something that is either good or bad; while a duty is something that is right or wrong.”

To help explain this difference Rob uses an example to explain,

“…it may be good to be a pastor or a doctor but just because it is good does not mean it is right (obligatory). We cannot be all the good professions at once; however, it is right to have a good profession. Right and wrong have much to do with things that are obligatory.”

These set up the arguments of each premise.

He actually tackles two potential grounders for morals and values that non-theist may use. Either Platonism (from the teaching of Plato and the esteemed ancient Greek Philosophers) or Humanism are used as potential origins of morals and values. In essence, Platonism teaches that there are abstract things that exist, such as numbers or logic, but Rob explains,

“Platonism would be a poor option for grounding objects as they cannot account for the objective obligatory actions that we find in the world.”

He thus eliminates the illogical use of platonic (abstract) items as grounds for objective morals and duties. Rob does note that humanism is an “interesting potential grounder.” By interesting, he means as a weak alternative to platonic objects. Rob points out, anecdotally, that most unbelievers hold to this view, that is to say, Humanism. It can be explained as simply the idea that we (humanity) created our own values and duties. Rob explains why this is a weak argument:

“… it boils down to us (humanity) as the cause which seems contradictory, at least on an objective basis.”

Rob shows that humanists will use empathy or “the majority rules” as means to create values and duties. These are quickly dispatched by him, as he shows their weakness in explaining the fact of morals and values. For more on the classical moral argument, watch this short video by William Lane Craig (click here).

WILLIAM LANE CRAIG

Speaking of William Lane Craig, he is the next apologist I would like to introduce. In my opinion, Dr. Craig is the greatest living apologist in the world. His credentials are astounding and he is Research Professor of Philosophy at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology and also a Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University. Dr. Craig is an active debater and also does a weekly podcasts and a blog He also has a very resourceful website at, reasonablefaith.org. Dr. Craig is famous for various arguments from a philosophical, scientific, and theological basis for the existence of God. However, without doubt his most effective and well-known case is the Kalam Cosmological Argument. His argument is comprised of two simple premises leading to one powerful conclusion. It is comprised as such:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is a simple straight forward argument that Craig has defended time and time again. His numerous debates with philosophers and scientists always seem to focus on this argument. Regarding the first premise of the Kalam, Craig has said,

“Believing that something can pop into existence without a cause is more of a stretch than believing in magic. At least with magic you’ve got a hat and a magician. And if something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time? No… Everyday experience and scientific evidence confirm our first premise—If something begins to exist, it must have a cause.”

Simply put, we see things beginning or coming into existence all the time. Without fail, it is always observed that there is always something that causes these things to begin existing. Although we have never observed anything that has come into existence that did not have a cause, there are some who seem to believe that the WHOLE universe could come from nothing.

Regarding the beginning of the universe, Craig states the following:

“Did the universe begin or has it always existed? Atheists have typically said that the universe has been here forever-‘The universe is just there, and that’s all.’ First, let’s consider the second law of thermodynamics. It tells us the universe is slowly running out of usable energy… and that’s the point. If the universe had been here forever, it would have run out of usable energy by now. The second law points us to a universe that has a definite beginning. This is further confirmed by a series of remarkable scientific discoveries…”

Craig talks about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Edwin Hubble’s discovery of an expanding universe in 1929, and a modern scientific theorem. Craig states,

“Three leading cosmologists—Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin—proved that ‘any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning.”

This data provides strong support for the second and vital premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Craig sums up the argument as such,

“And since the universe can’t cause itself, its cause must be beyond the space-time universe. It must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncaused, and unimaginably powerful. Much like… God.”

For a good introduction to the Kalam Cosmological Argument watch Craig’s short video (click here).

TIM STRATTON

My friend Rob Johnson, our first apologist, exposed me to a great thinker and apologist by the name of Tim Stratton. His website is FreeThinkingMinistries.com, where he regularly blogs on various theological and philosophical ideas. One such article he recently published is entitled, ‘Time Proves God’. In my opinion, his argument from time (related to the Kalam) is one of the best articulated and persuasive arguments I have ever encountered. It is one of those ‘aha’ moments when you realize the implications and then you are dumfounded by its logical conclusion. Stratton is deep and quite philosophical in his writings and it sometimes takes some time to get a full grasp of all of theological implications he brings to light. With that said, he is masterful in taking a very common subject and bringing to bear the logical and Biblical implications that follow from his arguments. His Argument from Time which deductively concludes the existence of God is a great example of why you should read all of his writings on apologetics and theology.

Stratton starts out his argument by stating,

“I have come to the conclusion that if we understand time correctly, then the rest of reality starts to fall into place.”

Of course, just like most things that seem to have a clear reality to them, many atheistic philosophers (and some more scientific types) reject time as a continuous thing, as Stratton explains,

“some have rejected the idea that time is dynamic and embraced the idea that temporal becoming is only an illusion. This is just a fancy way of saying that things do not really happen one after another.”

This is what is known as the A and B-Theory of Time. In essence the A-Theory of Time is the notion that time is as it seems: a past (that is no longer occurring), a present moment (currently existing), and a future (which has not yet arrived). While the B-Theory is the idea that time as we experience it is only an illusion. Stratton states,

“On the B-theory, time is better thought of as a physical location on a four-dimensional block, instead of an event that has happened and is over with or that will happen but has not yet occurred.”

Stratton points out the problem with static (that is to say it is, past, present, and future are always “just as real”) theories of time:

“things would not decay, evolve, or emerge if everything is static. Nothing happens – ever – if dynamic time does not exist.”

Dynamic time is a way of saying that time is moving, from past to future, or as we stated before the A-Theory of Time. He also said, (to illustrate a problem with the B-Theory),

“If one chooses to reject the concept of dynamic time and the A-theory, then it logically follows that they also must consequently reject Darwinian evolution as an explanation for the biological complexity of primates today. Moreover, they also must reject the existence of libertarian free will.”

He also points out, very effectively, that rejecting the A-Theory leaves you without rationality and knowledge. The B-Theory has many issues that Stratton deals with in other articles (See The Kalam, Evolution, & the B-Theory of TimeThe B-Theory of Time, Rationality, & Knowledgeand Free Will & the B-Theory of Time).

We want to focus on his premise for this argument which he describes as, “The Argument from Dynamic Time:

1- Dynamic time began to exist.
2- The cause of dynamic time must be timeless, eternal, and metaphysically necessary.
3- Apart from dynamic time things do not happen unless the cause of dynamic time is a volitional agent.
4- Volitional agents are persons.
5- Therefore, the cause of dynamic time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

The argument from time is quite philosophical in nature, but Stratton has had great training from some of the best philosophers in the world today at Biola University (including William Lane Craig)! When the premises are fleshed out by Stratton the point he is making becomes clear and is powerful. I had to read over it a few times to get the essence of his argument, but once it clicked it rocked my world! In my opinion, I believe his argument from time makes for one of the best arguments for God I have ever encountered. Stratton defends each point thoroughly, but he also makes quick points that are useful in conversations with skeptical friends — like this from his defense of the first premise:

“Thus, to reject premise (1), the objector is left with the heavy burden of rejecting both evolution and knowledge.”

Each of his premises seem to be true. Consider the second step of the argument:

“If dynamic time began to exist, the cause of dynamic time must be timeless, static, and therefore, eternal with no beginning (because genuine beginnings require dynamic time).”

His argument boils down to a notion of an agent (we know to be God), he describes,

“… a very powerful volitional agent who could bring dynamic time into existence by choosing to perform an action.”

In premise 3 he states,

“dynamic time could not even begin to exist in a frozen and eternally static state – UNLESS at least one of these eternally existing “things” is a volitional agent who can freely choose to act and bring about change.”

His argument keeps building on these strong points as he moves to premise 4,

“A rock or a tree is not a volitional agent. Subatomic particles such as quarks are not volitional agents. Even if abstract objects exist (which is debatable), by definition, they are causally effete and they are not agents with the ability to act or cause things.”

He clears any confusion by further stating,

“A volitional agent is always a person. This should not be confused with a human.”

Which logically (!) gets us to the fifth step of the argument. I will quote his last statement completely:

“If the premises are true, then the cause of dynamic time – which we all experience – must be a timeless, eternal, and necessary Person (this seems to require a capitol “P”). This beginningless Person is timeless sans any volitional act. However, simultaneous with this first act, this Person will forever be IN dynamic time and can logically never return to a timeless state, even if He returned to a static state. This is because the static Person who caused dynamic time to begin could never start the stopwatch again for the first time.

Therefore, this necessary Person who was eternal with no beginning in a static state is now also eternal into the infinite future of dynamic time.

This Person is God!”

Make sure to check out all of Stratton’s work! He might be best known for his “Freethinking Argument” which deductively proves the human soul exists, but I love his argument from time!

J. WARNER WALLACE

I became aware of our next apologist through investigating good apologetic arguments. J. Warner Wallace’s website, coldcasechristianity.com, has a vast amount of resources. Most of these resources — if not all — are for free! They cover a wide range of subjects, including Biblical studies, theology, and of course apologetics. Wallace became a famous homicide detective in California for his amazing ability to solve ‘cold-case’ crimes. A ‘cold-case’ is an unsolved investigation, often many years old. As a 35 year old atheist, Wallace applied these same detective skills to investigate the claims of Christianity, and came away convinced of their truths. This leads me to one of his unique ways of using his vocation in apologetics. He has a technique he developed called ‘inside the room’, in which the scene found (often with a dead body) must be determined if the evidence points to what is in the room or if it points out of the room.

The universe has evidence that makes it impossible to believe that it brought itself, or anything within the known universe, into existence. Wallace explains,

“The beginning of the universe cannot be explained from “inside the room.” The evidence points to an external cause outside of space, time, and matter.”

It is impossible for the Universe to exist before it existed, and then create itself, too. He then gives some difficult problems scientist have struggled with in trying to stay away from an outside source of the Universe,

“In an effort to explain the evidence we’ve described in the universe, scientists looking for an alternative to the Standard Cosmological Argument have considered a number of possibilities over the years. They’ve asked some important questions, but their answers and explanations suffer from the liabilities I’ve observed in my criminal trials.”

These liabilities he had described earlier as:

“(1) unsupported by the evidence, (2) have erroneously redefined critical aspects of the data, or (3) suffer from logical contradictions.”

In making his case he asks three questions, (1) “Could the Universe Be Expanding Eternally?” (2) “Could the Universe Be Cycling Eternally Between Expansion and Contraction?” and (3) “Could the Universe Be Part of a Larger, Eternal Environment?” Of course Wallace is getting to the fact that many cosmologists are aware that there had to be a ‘cause’ even if they are reluctant to use a theistic answer. Wallace observes,

“A variety of quantum theories acknowledge the beginning of our universe, but seek to place it in the context of a larger eternal setting.”

This is the issue with quantum physics or even a “multi-verse generator,” it is still presupposing some beginning, some cause, ultimately, as an eternal universe is logically impossible. He answers this conundrum,

“Emergent models redefine the meaning of “nothing” to include “something” (the primordial vacuum, virtual particles, and time). While this solves the problem semantically, it doesn’t solve the problem evidentially.”

As Wallace describes the evidence, in a true detective type way, we (those accepting theism or rejecting it) must grapple with the facts that seem to point to something that had to be the first cause. Wallace even quotes a scientist,

“Cosmologist Paul Davies, recognizing the dilemma presented by the evidence, writes, ‘One might consider some supernatural force, some agency beyond space and time as being responsible . . . or one might prefer to regard the [beginning of the universe] as an event without a cause. It seems to me that we don’t have too much choice. Either… something outside of the physical world… or… an event without a cause.’”

Wallace concludes,

“This inference of a cause “outside the room” is reasonable, given the strength of diverse evidence for a caused universe, and the inadequacy of efforts to stay “inside the room” of the universe for an explanation.”

His ability to explain complex issues are useful. If you have questions about the authenticity of Christianity, dating of scripture, or the evidences for the resurrection of Christ, Detective Wallace is a great resource as he breaks down the evidence just like detectives do in front of a jury of lay people. If you want to read more of his argument for ‘inside the room’ see “Why the Beginning of the Universe Cannot Be Explained from Inside the Room.”

MICHAEL ROBINSON

The final apologist in this article is my latest ‘find’ in the apologetics scene, Michael Robinson. He is the Lead Pastor at Abundant Life Community Church in Granbury, Texas, he also has taught at Christ Covenant Bible School and Full Life School of Theology and is a prolific writer, having written over 30 books on Theology, Evangelism, the Bible, Apologetics, World Religions, Islam, Cults, and numerous other religious subjects. I became aware of his work recently and was impressed by some of his arguments — especially the Causality Argument.

As a presuppositional apologist, Robinson starts out in Romans, asserting that atheists really know the truth of God (although they suppress the truth). Even though I theologically agree with his assertion, in my humble opinion, I do not think it is helpful to state this while arguing for God’s existence with atheists. However, to Robinson’s credit, he doesn’t stay there long and goes on to make an actual case. He starts with Aquinas, “To know that God exists in a general and confused way is implanted in us by nature,” (Aquinas, Summa Theologica 1). Next he goes to Bahnsen, “There is no transcendental argument that “rules out all other kinds of arguments … either in general philosophy and scholarship or particularly in apologetics” (Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic).  Finally, he goes to Don Collect, “God is not a deductive consequence of the premises of the argument, but rather the ontological and logical ground for the very possibility of the premises themselves” (Don Collect, Speaking the Truth in Love).

I would note that while God’s existence is not ontologically grounded because of deductive conclusions stating, “Therefore, God exists,” this does not entail that it is wrong to make these deductive arguments concluding that God does exist! Moreover, Collect’s very presupposition can be concluded via logical argumentation. While I am no “presuppositional apologist” myself, what I like about Robinson is that he seems to recognize the value of classical apologetics to support his presuppositions! I wish more presuppositional folks would follow his lead. Pastor Robinson proceeds to the classical arguments such as the Moral Argument (referenced above), the Ontological Argument, and many others as he proceeds through a clear and convincing rebuttal to the “new” atheists.  After supporting his presuppositions via classical arguments, he then slips back into his presuppostional framework (again, not my favorite type of argument):

“Regarding traditional arguments, I would add: To make sense out of our world, the atheist still must presuppose the Christian worldview. It alone supplies the required pre-essentials for the immutable universals such as laws of thought. These laws are necessary for predication, communication, and the intelligibility of theistic proofs. When the perspective of the Christian worldview is rejected, the unbeliever is left in foolish ignorance because his philosophy does not provide the a priori conditions for knowledge and meaningful experience.”

Robinson seems to note the value of classical argumentation to support his above claims. The Causality Argument (CA) is a variation of William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument referenced above. Again, the idea is that anything that comes into existence had a cause. Robinson explains,

“The denial of the CA would imply there would be an infinite chain of cause and effect, an infinite regress. Furthermore, if one rejects an ultimate cause, one would never find a specific effect since the infinite regress would never arrive at a particular effect. Therefore, it is necessarily the case that there exists a first efficient cause, a cause with a sufficient ontology such as God, but nothing within the known universe has such ontic attributes. Causality is not understandable or logical away from the biblical God.”

If you want to further explore his other writings go to Fresh Apologetics Books, eBooks, and Unique Resources. I’ll leave it here with Robinson, but I encourage you to check our his work.

Conclusion

This list, far from exhaustive or the official “TOP five,” simply offers a few very good apologists in my opinion, and each one of these guys argues in their own unique manner. Apologetics is vital for the church today! I hope this article demonstrates just a few ways we can point people to God, even without the Bible.

None of these arguments (including Robinson’s) even appeal to the Bible as a source of truth as they point to God. It isn’t that the Bible is not important, because it is, but the truth that God provides in nature (His WORK) is just as convincing as the truth provided in the Bible (His WORD). God is the source of all truth, including the truth that our world around us declares. We must have both the general revelation of God (created nature) as well as the special (the Bible) to get the full picture that God wants us to see. After all, the Apostle Paul made it clear in Romans 1:19-20 (KJV)

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (20) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

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About the Author

By Tony Vance

Tony Vance is a husband, father, minister, blogger, and podcaster whose greatest desire is to make Christ known and know HIM better! Please check out his website and his podcast at www.tonyvance.com