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The existence of God

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					                             The Existence of God
You only need to refer to Christianity in this section. You will need to understand the
arguments for and against the existence of God.

 Key Concepts:
 Atheist=Someone who does not believe God exists
 Theist=Someone who does believe God exists
 Agnostic=Someone who says we cannot know if God exists

                     ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Origins of the universe
There are a number of arguments as to how the universe came into existence.
               Creation
                Christians believe that God created the universe. The creation story is
                 contained in Genesis, the first book in the Bible. God is believed to have
                 created the universe from nothing in 6 days. God was the sole creator
                and creation was the will of God.

The Big Bang
This is a scientific theory that explains the origins of the universe.
(Remember it is a theory not fact!) The theory states that there
was a large explosion about 15 billion years ago and from this the
universe gradually developed. This is linked with the theory of evolution, this
was put forward by Charles Darwin. It is the idea that life developed gradually. Starting
with simple single-celled organisms over large periods of time these evolved into more
complex forms of life. The human race came into existence at a late stage in the
evolutionary process…………………


 THIS FOR CHRISTIANS DOES NOT DISPROVE THAT GOD CREATED THE
 UNIVERSE…………THEY BELIEVE THAT EVEN THIS THEORY SUPPORTS THE FACT
 THAT THERE WAS A FIRST CAUSE & THEY BELIEVE THIS IS GOD………………HE
 CAUSED THE EXPLOSION………………..THEY BELIEVE THAT THE GENESIS STORY
 DOES NOT NEED TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY.



The First Cause
St Thomas Aquinas said that things could not cause themselves to come
into existence, something has to cause them. He concluded that the
universe could not bring itself into existence therefore it needed a
first cause. He believed this first cause was God. Think of it like a
domino rally!
The Design Argument
This argument was put forward by William Paley. He argued that the
universe shows too much order to have come about by random
chance. To help you understand this: would a hurricane tearing
through a scrapyard produce a Boeing 747? He believed the
universe must have had a designer (Think about how perfectly fish
are designed for swimming and birds for flying!)
Paley used the famous example of a watch. If we came across a
watch we would know it had a designer by just looking at it, think about how all the cogs
work together to make the hands move.
Sir Isaac Newton also used the design argument. He said that just by looking at his
thumb print he knew God designed the universe.

Religious Experience
Many people claim to know God exists as they claim that they have
experienced him………………..Religious Experiences can take many forms e.g:
Miracles, visions, voices, healing, prayers being answered, meditation,
stigmata.
Many people claim to have had a conversion experience…………….a major
event has happened to them to convince them of the existence of God.
This then means that they convert to follow religion.
Some non believers are sceptical of these experiences and claim they are all in the mind or
are fakes!!!

                   ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

Suffering and Evil
This is a major problem for Christians.
If God is good, loving and the creator-Why is there suffering?

                           There are 2 types of suffering:
                               Natural e.g Tsunamis,
                           Man made e.g Murder and war.


For many, suffering and evil are   evidence that God does not exist.
Nietzsche argued that the world was imperfect because of
suffering and evil. He concluded that there was not order in the
world. This can be seen by earthquakes etc. Therefore
Nietzsche believed God does not exist.
 Epicurus said that God did not exist as there was evil in the world. He argued:
     If God cannot stop evil, he is not all powerful
     If God can stop evil in the world but chooses not to, he is not good
     If God can stop evil and chooses to do so there would be no evil, but there is!
       Why? Because God doesn’t exist!!


  However we know there is suffering but there are also still millions of Christians. For
them suffering is not evidence that God does not exist. They provide a number of reasons
as to why there is suffering.

Free Will & Original Sin
In the creation story (Genesis) God gave Humans (Adam and Eve)
Free will. God instructed Adam & Eve not to eat fruit from the
tree of knowledge. They chose to disobey him and to sin.
Therefore Christians believe humans brought suffering on
themselves. They believe God did not programme humans like
puppets but gave them freedom of choice. It is up to humans to
make the right decisions.

A Test of Faith
  Christians believe God will judge people on the way they have lived their
  lives. Those who have obeyed Gods rules will be rewarded and those that
  haven’t will be punished. Christians believe in order for this judgement to
  be fair, faith has to be tested. The story of Job contained in the Bible
  illustrates this. He suffers total disaster, his children are killed, he loses his property,
           he is also infected with a horrible skin disease…………..however through all this he
                    remains faithful to God. This puts forward 3 ideas about suffering:
                         Suffering is a test
                        Suffering is a punishment for sin
               Suffering is part of Gods plan which is beyond human understanding

           Christians argue that God has experienced suffering in the form of Jesus. He
           had an extremely humiliating and painful death and suffered
           immensely…………however they believe this was for a purpose.

				
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