Why don’t arguments for God’s existence give us the Christian God?

I received a question about the specificity of the arguments for God’s existence.  The respondent wanted to know why the arguments didn’t hone in on the Christian God, but left a number of different non-Christian worldviews open as possibilities.

My response is below:

You’ve raised a common challenge.  Why aren’t the arguments for God’s existence more specific in the God they are describing?

This may demand too much of any single argument.  We will typically want to make a cumulative case for God’s existence, and rely on more than one argument to make our case.  The Kalaam Cosmological Argument, for example, will do nothing to tell you about the incarnation of Jesus or his resurrection.  The arguments for the resurrection of Jesus are what gets you to Christian particulars.

Most of the popular apologetics arguments you’ll find are used in conversation with atheists.  In this context we are trying to discriminate between theism and atheism rather than various forms of theism.

I think you’ll find, however, that the arguments do give you a very narrow definition of God.  The argument from contingency, for example, identifies God as the necessarily existing foundation for all of reality.

Since God exists by necessity, he must also be simple (not composed of parts but one unified entity).  If he were made of parts, then he would be contingent on the assemblage of those parts.  Since he exists by necessity, he is therefore not made of parts.

Since he is not made of parts, he must be unchanging.  For when something changes there is part that remains the same and part that changes.  Since God is not composed of parts, this scenario cannot happen for God.  It is impossible that he should change.

We also learn from the Moral Argument that God is the grounds for objective morality, including the moral value of love.  Whenever there is love we must have at least two persons.  We have the one who loves and the one who is loved.  One who loves only himself would not be loving, but would rather just be self-centered.  Thus for God to be, by nature, loving there must be at least two persons within his being.  This is the only way that God can embody love apart from the creation of the universe.

Thus with just these two arguments we get a changeless necessarily existing unified being, but having more than one center of consciousness.  Christianity is the only worldview I am aware of that postulates such a being.

It is true that specifics require divine revelation (such as 3 rather than 2 persons within this being), but it is reasonable to expect that there will be some things about God that we cannot know unless he tells us.

Sincerely,

Matt Bilyeu


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