Did Man Invent God?

I have recently become aware of a video on the internet that is making its way around the campus of the local university. Several college students told me that after viewing the video, it really made them question their faith. Now, this might surprise you, but I am all for questioning one’s faith (I encourage atheists to do the same), but if one is to question what they believe, it should be for good and logical reasons!

Did Men Invented God

In my experience, it is usually Christians who present arguments utilizing the laws of logic with premises that lead to deductive conclusions. Most (not all) of the atheist arguments I find on the Internet are usually based in emotion as opposed to logic, and therefore, they rarely put their thoughts into logical argument form. After watching this video, I decided to put the statements of this atheist into a deductive syllogism. Let’s see if it is a logically valid argument or not.

1- According to the Bible, God has always existed and predates the universe itself.
2- According to the evidence, the idea of God began evolving 14,000 years ago.
3- Therefore, God has not always existed since man invented the idea of God, the Bible is false and atheism is true.

Now the first two premises are direct quotes from the atheist in the video. Let’s quickly examine them. Premise (1) is true. The Bible does teach that God exists necessarily, eternally with no beginning, and that God brought all things into being (including the universe). Here are two verses from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament to consider:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Hebrew for universe).

Psalm 148: 1-5 “Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created.”

John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.”

However, this proposition is not only “according to the Bible.” In fact, a logic-based argument that is supported by scientific data suggests the exact same thing! This is known as The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Moreover, arguments such as the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument and the Ontological Argument also logically conclude the same. The Kalam and Leibnizian arguments both rationally infer that there is ONE timeless, beginningless, eternal, necessary, spaceless, immaterial, volitional and personal mind that the universe (and all of its contents) is contingent upon. What is more, the Ontological Argument demonstrates that a Maximally Great Being exists and therefore, monotheism must be true as it is incoherent to have multiple “maximally great beings.”

So, yes, the Bible does make these monotheistic claims; however, even if the Bible didn’t exist, we would still come to these conclusions by thinking according to the laws of logic and the rules of rationality. Since the Bible makes claims that are in line with the laws of logic, it ought to be considered as a plausible explanation of reality. So far the argument is good, because premise (1) is true and is backed up by the laws of logic and modern science. Let’s look at the second premise:

(2) According to the evidence, the idea of God began evolving 14,000 years ago.

This is a controversial premise that historians can argue; however, I am not interested in attacking the supposed “evidence” this atheist thinks he has; rather, I am interested in arguing logically. So for the sake of argument, I will actually grant this premise (I’m not affirming it at all). Here’s the big question: Since I affirm the first premise and grant the second, does the conclusion follow? No, it does not follow because although the premises may be true, the argument is invalid because the conclusion does not logically follow from the two premises. Let’s look at the conclusion again:

(3)Therefore, God has not always existed since man invented the idea of God, the Bible is false and atheism is true.

Premise (2) seems to assume that if we can show why or how humanity started believing that God exists, then, we can logically conclude that these theistic beliefs are false. However, this line of thinking makes a big mistake in reasoning called the genetic fallacy. This mistake is made when someone argues against a proposition by pointing out why someone believes the proposition is true. While it is correct that people can believe propositions for bad reasons, it does not logically follow that the propositions they affirm are therefore false.

The truth or falsity of a proposition is independent of how or why someone came to believe the proposition.

For example, atheistic naturalists believe that all that exists is nature, and therefore, they hold that everything is determined by the laws of nature and past events receding all the way back to the initial conditions of the big bang (this includes all of our thoughts, beliefs, and actions). So, if I told an atheistic naturalist that the only reason he believes in atheism, naturalism and determinism is because he was determined by physics and chemistry to do so, and therefore, these positions are false, I would be committing the genetic fallacy. My objection does not show that the naturalist’s beliefs are false, they only show that he cannot rationally affirm his beliefs and therefore his beliefs do not count as knowledge (a.k.a. justified true belief). The determinist’s belief that determinism is true could luckily happen to be true, even if he does not have reason, warrant, or justification in affirming his propositions.

Back to the argument in question: the atheist is assuming that human ideas about God evolved from pantheistic ones a relatively short and finite time ago. He argues that these are not good reasons to believe in Christian monotheism, and therefore, Christianity is false. His entire argument is based on the genetic fallacy and therefore the whole thing must be discarded as any argument based on a logical fallacy is no argument at all. He claims we have come to believe Christian monotheism is true for bad reasons; therefore, Christian monotheism is false. However, the objective truth-value of the propositions of Christianity is true or false regardless of how we came to hold these beliefs. Remember the other arguments I listed above are good reasons to think monotheism is true independent of what the Bible does or does not say. These arguments are used without touching the Bible and only rely on the laws of logic with support from scientific data. Therefore, in regards to the Bible’s claims about monotheism, it is exactly right and in line with the rules of reason. Moreover, these arguments also prove the negation of this atheist’s invalid conclusion – atheism is therefore, false!

Premise (2) is not only controversial, but it implies the propositions Christians affirm are false because of how we came to hold these beliefs. Let me reiterate this again for the sake of clarity: This commits the genetic fallacy, and therefore, this entire argument is invalid.

One last thing: this video only attacked the Old Testament’s views of God. It is important for Christians (and non-Christians alike) to realize that the truth of “mere” Christianity requires only two key ingredients: 1- God’s existence, and 2- the resurrection of Jesus. That’s it! We don’t even need the Old Testament to reach the conclusion that Christianity is true (logically speaking). I’m glad we have it and it helps make sense of many things, but we don’t need it to conclude Christianity is true. Therefore, any attacks on it, or its infallibility, are completely impotent if their hope is to demonstrate Christianity is false. To do that, one must either demonstrate one of the two premises in the following argument to be false, or that the conclusion does not logically follow deductively from them:

1- God exists.
2- God raised Jesus from the dead.
3- Therefore, Christianity is true.

Premise (1) is reached by a cumulative case of logical arguments such as:

– The Kalam
– The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument
– The Moral Argument
– The Ontological Argument
– The Teleological Argument
– (And many more)

Premise (2) is reached via the historical method and inference to the best explanation. If God raised Jesus from the dead, it seems that God is validating everything that Jesus said, taught, and exemplified. Therefore, Christianity is true!

For more on some of these specific arguments, start here:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-1

Stay reasonable (Phil 4:5)

Original Blog Resource: http://bit.ly/2mYIUGf


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19 replies
  1. Ed Vaessen says:

    “However, this proposition is not only “according to the Bible.” In fact, a logic-based argument that is supported by scientific data suggests the exact same thing! This is known as The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Moreover, arguments such as the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument and the Ontological Argument also logically conclude the same. The Kalam and Leibnizian arguments both rationally infer that there is ONE timeless, beginningless, eternal, necessary, spaceless, immaterial, volitional and personal mind that the universe (and all of its contents) is contingent upon. What is more, the Ontological Argument demonstrates that a Maximally Great Being exists and therefore, monotheism must be true as it is incoherent to have multiple “maximally great beings.”

    Silly.
    It seems this site tries to convince by repetition of arguments that hold no water.

    Reply
    • David says:

      You have to prove that “multiple gods” exist in the universe in order to disprove these deductive arguments. Please provide evidence.

      Reply
      • Ed Vaessen says:

        I can’t. What the worship of these thousands of gods during history shows is that they are most likely invented by people.
        Of course, anything is conceivable. There may indeed be thousands of gods. There also may be only one god who desires to confuse us and for that reason has spread thousands of different messages in the brains of people.

        Reply
        • William Zimmerman says:

          The historical record does indeed reveal a history of error on man’s part. It should be troubling that such error is by no means limited to his speculations regarding the divine, the heavens, and the creator of all things, but also extends to his speculations regarding natural science. For thousands of years men have devised countless research programs, programs that facilitated numerous irreconcilable forms of scientific investigation, that each yielded radical discrepancies of results: Aristotelian natural science yielded the conclusion that reality is teleologically organized by countless intelligible species that we may come to know inductively through a process of abstraction. Lucretian natural science supposed all reality to be organized by particles each possessing substantial reality and existence, which organize themselves as if by magic into composite structures, such that atoms are the only ‘true’ things that exist. Plato supposed all material reality to be undergirded by radically transcendent Forms. Descartes supposed there to be a duality in substances that inform two mutually exclusive classes of ‘things’: Thinking things, and material objects. The latter could only be understood scientifically with reference to the former. Kant supposed science to be facilitated by the necessary a priori conditions that facilitate the possibility of the human mind’s peculiar phenomenal experience of the world. Hume proved quite reliably by his inductive argument that inductive reasoning (the reasoning upon which all scientific speculation regarding reality is based) can yield no definitive, true knowledge of anything at all. Hume was an atheist. Spinoza regarded all reality as ‘one’, namely as unified by an agent intellect within which all material and all minds participate. Modern natural science, following Locke and Russell especially, supposes all knowledge to be merely probable and based only upon the certainty of the contemporary scientific definition of evidence. Despite all of this(and many thousands more examples I could list), you would not assert that all science is ‘bunk’. But wouldn’t you have to on the basis of the argument you presented above? I suppose you would. I personally believe that scientific investigation, despite taking countless variegated forms throughout history, is certainly worth doing, because there is one point of reference that gives every scientist, past or present, some hope: The universe itself. In the same way, that every civilization in human history has arrived at disparate conclusions regarding the person and nature of God does not scare me, because God, like the universe, stands apart from man’s flimsy and unreliable imagination and intellect as who He is. The difference between God and the universe is that the answers to the questions man asks concerning the former are of far graver consequence than the latter. So forgive us for insisting the point.

          Reply
          • TGM says:

            Paragraph much? Look…it’s very true that new knowledge has supplanted the old. Great minds have investigated the world and learned more than their predecessors. The examples you mention are naturalistic speculations or philosophical musings. And those which can be examined naturally have all been dismissed naturally – by new investigations that build better models.

            The power of science is not in its ability to describe the world. Science’s power is in its ability to build predictive models and test them – successfully. A moment’s reflection on your examples illustrates that none of them could do this, so they failed and were rejected. That these ideas were popular once has no bearing on their validity. And today’s investigators are equally only as reliable as their predictions.

            But compare this to theistic assertions. Where is the predictive power in theistic methods? The God Model describes anything and predicts nothing. Consider also the historical convergence of naturalistic knowledge with the historical divergence of theistic claims. Why hasn’t time and investigation settled theistic disputes like it has naturalistic ones? Today there is more religious dissension than ever before.

            There will always be errors. But one method is far superior to correcting those errors. I’ll trust that method more than anything theistic.

          • Ed Vaessen says:

            William Zimmerman:
            “In the same way, that every civilization in human history has arrived at disparate conclusions regarding the person and nature of God does not scare me, because God, like the universe, stands apart from man’s flimsy and unreliable imagination and intellect as who He is.”

            Why did you write a long post preceding the quote above? Simply say “I believe in God”.

      • Brian says:

        David, I agree with Ed that the existence of ‘thousands’ of gods throughout human history certainly indicates that many, if not all, were invented by human beings. After all, it cannot be logically true that there is only one God and at the same time, many Gods.

        However, the trick then, is to try and discern which of the ‘thousands’ of Gods, if any, are true. That is the purpose of the logical arguments mentioned in this post. One argument alone does not answer the question, but rather the weight of evidence.

        Ed, I have to say that your thought regarding God putting confusing thoughts into the minds of people is not consistent with the Biblical description of God. So your argument, I think fails to convince, given that you’re making up another God, which you then try and show to be silly. Essentially it’s a straw god argument, as it were.

        Reply
        • Ed Vaessen says:

          Brian:
          “Ed, I have to say that your thought regarding God putting confusing thoughts into the minds of people is not consistent with the Biblical description of God. So your argument, I think fails to convince, given that you’re making up another God, which you then try and show to be silly. Essentially it’s a straw god argument, as it were.”

          Of course the Bible does not paint such a God. It would have been instant suicide for Christianity. But still such a God is conceivable.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “your thought regarding God putting confusing thoughts into the minds of people is not consistent with the Biblical description of God”

            The existence of such a God is ENTIRELY consistent with the bible describing God differently. A God that wanted to confuse people would ensure he was inaccurately described in the Bible!

          • Ed Vaessen says:

            And the God of the OT is exactly the kind you would expect to be invented by people living in that unholy land at the eastern side of the Mediterranean, where tribal mindsets could not possibly imagine anything like human rights.

    • Brian says:

      “It seems this site tries to convince by repetition of arguments that hold no water.”

      Ed, to which particular argument(s) are you referring? Kalam Cosmological Argument? Leibnizian Cosmological Argument? Ontological Argument?

      Moreover, a true defeater must either expose a fallacy in the form of the argument, or, defeat at least one of the premises. Your reply “hold no water” is not a defeater, though it may imply that you believe at least one exists. If so, I’d like to hear it or if that would take too much typing, then provide a link.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        The moral argument gets repeated over and over, despite no-one ever providing evidence for ‘objective morality’.

        Reply
      • Ed Vaessen says:

        The Kalam Cosmological Argument falls flat on its face because the first premise, namely that anything that begins to exist has a cause, is only known to apply to what we see every day inside our universe and which is nothing else than a rearranging of already existing matter.
        There is no reason to assume that this applies to the beginning of the universe as a whole. That would be the fallacy of composition.

        Reply
  2. SDP says:

    The failure of the atheist’s argument is due to a confusion between epistemology and ontology. This is altogether too common these days. Prof. Kirke’s “What DO they teach them in the schools these days?” comes to mind. The limitations of epistemology have no bearing on ontology whatsoever, nor could they.

    Reply
  3. Jack O says:

    This article is absurd. It just bases all points on other “arguments” with titles to make the points seem valid to the average sheep. You aren’t ready to be convinced of the absence of god because you have based your life on him. If god exists, then when did man first think of him? Did he come down and touch some caveman? Or was it some drunkard ruler that created a god to explain things such as thunderstorms and later to manipulate his people further? Religion is good if you use it correctly. Too bad it is based on obvious fallacies.

    Reply
  4. Avery says:

    Let do a little science with the Noah’s ark story and see how it stands up. I am going to use the argument presented by Bill Nye. The worldwide flood never happened. It would have been impossible for a ship of that size to be built with bronze age technology. In the 1700’s several hundred of the world’s best ship builders, tried to construct a ship 1/3 of the size that the ark is supposed to have been. The ship would twist and turn and cause leaks. No matter how hard the ship builders tried, they could not patch all of the leaks, and then ship eventually sunk. Now, these were the best ship builders in the world, there were about 300 of them. Now, explain how 8 unskilled workers could have built a ship 3 times the size? Second, where did they get all of that wood in the desert? Trees in the middle east are very scarce. And finally, how did Noah get every single species of animal from the entire earth to the middle east? The claim the bible is making is absurd. Another thing, it says Noah loaded them all in one day into the ark, even if Noah loaded 10 animals every single second onto the ark(which by the way is a very absurd claim) for 24 hours, he wouldn’t even be able to get 1,000,000 animals into the ark. Okay, lets just hypothetically say Noah somehow magically managed to get 2 of every single animal on the entire Earth somehow. The ark would not have had enough volume to fit Noah, his family, and all the animals onto it with the size the bible claims it supposedly was. Okay, let be really generous here and say Noah manged to fit all of the animals onto the boat, (which by the way would not have even remotely enough space for all of them), how do they get fed? You still need space to store all of the food to feed all of the animals and Noah’s family. Horses and bigger animals eat a lot of food. How did Noah’s family not get horrible diseases from all of the huge piles of feces from all of the animals everywhere? The final thing that breaks the metaphorical back of the hypothetical camel is the amount of water needed to cover every square inch of the earth. The earth’s total mass is composed of only 0.02% water, now for oceans to rise and make the earth a water world all of that water needed to come from somewhere. Even if Antarctica and all the ice melted, there would still be mountains that stick above the ocean that would cover about 90% of the globe. Now, in order for it to rain there must be water vapor in the atmosphere to form clouds, when the water vapor condenses it forms water droplets and makes rain. Which means, the water in the clouds has to come from somewhere. In order for the entire earth to be covered in water, it would have had to rain 3 1/2 times all of the water currently contained in the earth oceans combined. also, it would have needed to rain 8767 inches nonstop for 40 full daylight cycles. The highest ever recorded rainfall was 101 inches in a day, which is only 1.1% of the total required amount of rainfall in a day for the worldwide flood. The Noah’s ark story is completely impossible. Matter cannot be created nor destroyed, the water just simply doesn’t exist here on earth for that to have happened. The bible is nothing but a collection of Epic Poems, and should only be taken as stories made for entertainment and nothing more

    Reply

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