Atheist: Zeus, Ra, Ganesh?
Theist: Not those other gods, the real God in the Bible.
The atheist (played by Gervais, an outspoken atheist) is apparently under the misimpression that all gods are the same (ie. mythical), and the weight of evidence for each god is equal (ie. none). This is not an insightful analysis. The theist gives the correct response: she clarifies which God she means.
The God of the Bible is the God of all creation. Everything that exists was caused to exist at his command. Nothing that exists exists without his consent. The Biblical conception of God sets him apart from all the rest. Zeus is a created being. Yahweh is not. The true God is the ultimate Creator, not himself made. The difference is quite stark. One is the ground of all being – a foundation stone of all that exists, without which nothing would have or could continue to exist. Zeus and his pathetic pantheistic cohort, though certainly powerful compared to humans are worms compared to the One True God.
Whilst scant and unsatisfactory evidence is provided for the gods of old like Zeus and Ra, the God of the Bible is one who leaves traces of his existence in creation and conscience. One such thread of evidence is the beginning of the universe, dubbed the Kalam Cosmological Argument.
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause.
If the universe has a cause, then the cause of the universe (all space, time, matter and energy) has to be beyond the universe. Such a being needs to transcend the universe. Such a transcendent cause of the universe is rightly called God.
No lowercase god could rightly claim to be the same kind of cause. The evidentiary scales are fundamentally imbalanced, being weighted towards this conception of God and away from the likes of Zeus and Ra. This conception of the Divine Being finds a striking harmony with the Biblical conception of God.
“But,” says the atheist…
Atheist: Where did God come from?
Theist: He’s always been around.
That’s the correct answer. The pity is the atheist has used this as an example to say that’s how he can believe the universe has always been around.
First, a point of agreement. There is a similarity between the universe and God for the atheist. Both concepts are conceptually eternal. An eternal universe is a sort of God-substitute for the atheist. It is used to explain every other material thing. It’s the bottom floor of the explanation department. There’s no going down past that bedrock.
But a point of disagreement. There’s a dissimilarity between the universe and God. The universe is not, in fact, eternal. It began to exist. So whilst it’s sensible to ask where the universe came from, or why did it begin to exist, it’s not the same as asking where did God come from, or why did God begin to exist. He is not the sort of being that has a beginning. God is the bedrock. The cause of all causes. Below God there is no sub-floor where we’d find a cause or explanation for Him.
The atheist makes the mistake in thinking that God requires a cause. Just as he relies on the material universe to be eternal, and therefore not require an explanation, so the Theist does not require an explanation for God. According to the first premise of the above argument, only things that begin to exist require an explanation for where they came from. So while the universe does require an explanation, the God who made the universe doesn’t.