THE REASONABLENESS OF BELIEF IN GOD Pat Hardeman, Tampa, Florida It is the Christian's conviction that belief in God as Creator

of heaven and earth is the most reasonable belief to hold. While the idea of God is perfectly rational as an explanation of the origin of the universe, of the order in nature, and of the moral nature in man, the Christian points out that atheism has no reasonable explanation for any of these things. The existence of God is certainly not a problem that anyone can afford to ignore. Even the atheist must agree that if the Christian's belief is true, his own fate is certain. The problem gains in importance when one realizes that belief in some kind of Supreme Being is almost universal. Cicero said, "There is no nation so barbarous, no race so savage, as not to be persuaded of the being of a God." The findings of archaeologists, anthropologists and psychologists all testify that man has always believed in a Creator. While we do not beg the question by saying that the belief is true simply because it has been almost universally held, the universality of the belief is well worth remembering in connection with Lincoln's observation, "You may fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." The question of the existence of God commands consideration from every thinking person. Cause and Effect Science declares that every event has a cause, and that this cause is at least adequate to the effect. (The so-called exceptions are irrelevant to this type of problem). Prof. W. T. Stace in his Critical History of Greek Philosophy says, "Every science except the purely mathematical sciences affirms the truth of the law of causation. Every student of logic knows that this is the ultimate canon of the sciences, the foundation of them all." If everything which has a beginning does have a cause, as Prof. Stace points out, it would seem to cast doubt on the Christian's belief in God as the uncaused, the great First Cause. But as Aristotle shows in his Metaphysics, "If there is no first cause, there is no cause at all". If there is no first cause, then all things are effects (intermediates ); but this denies the law of causation which is the basis of the sciences. Or if there is no first cause, all things form an endless series, but this only multiplies the difficulty, and is contrary to both science and philosophy. Aristotle well said, "The causes of things are neither an infinite series nor infinitely various in kind". It appears that reason then demands belief in some kind of first cause. Mind or Matter The question thus arises as to what kind of first cause seems to be most reasonable. Clearly, there are only two kinds of first causes, viz., material and immaterial, or mind and matter. Now there is positive proof that the material universe cannot always have existed. This proof is afforded by the laws of thermodynamics, by the fact that the universe is running down due to the loss of energy into space. If the universe cannot have always existed, then there was a time at which it did not exist. The question, then, is: "How did the universe come into existence?" It is certainly not reasonable to assert that the universe came from nothing. Therefore, as there are only two

kinds of causes, and the material cause is ruled out, the first cause of the universe must be mind. But, someone may object, is it reasonable to trace a material universe back to an immaterial source? The answer is: it is not only reasonable, but it is illustrated in every day life. It is very seldom that an inquiry into the cause of any event leads to a wholly material source. For example, we hear a rifle shot. Now it is impossible to give an adequate description of the cause of the rifle shot without reference to the motive and purpose of the one who pulled the trigger or arranged the event Also, one would have to investigate the motive and purpose of the manufacturer of the rifle and the bullet. But motives and purposes are immaterial (has anyone ever examined a motive under a microscope?). Hence, it is reasonable to believe that the material universe, since it is sufficient in itself, is traceable to a great immaterial Cause—Mind or God. Verdict of the Scientists The eminent Sir James Jeans has shown both that the universe is running down, and that mind is not an unreasonable cause of matter. Consider well the two following quotations from this great scientist: "The universe is like a clock which is running down, a clock which so far as science knows, no one ever winds up, which cannot wind up itself, and so must stop in time. It is at present a partially wound-up clock, which must, at some time in the past, have been wound up in some manner unknown to us. ... The universe cannot have originated by chance out of its present ingredients, and neither can it have been always the same as it is now". (Eos, p. 52) And again, "Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter". (The Mysterious Universe, p. 186) In harmony with these principles G. F. Stout has shown in his remarkable Mind and Matter that mind never can have emerged from antecedent conditions at all, it must be an original and underived feature in the scheme of things. This is exactly the point of our argument. Not only must the universe have had a first cause, but Mind (or God) is the only adequate or reasonable Cause. The Christian's view is thus in harmony with science and with the average experience with every day life; while the atheist's view is contradictory to both. Truly, the true key to the whole problem lies in the very first line of Genesis, "In the beginning, God. . . ."
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