How an apple can prove the existence of God

Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”

Note to reader: For those wanting another version of this post, check it out at the other blogsite: http://pastormahlon.blogspot.com/2014/10/using-apple-to-prove-existence-of-god.html

Introduction:

I recently came across a conference message delivered by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias that was entitled: “The Existence of God” (here is the link):http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/orlando_2007_national_conference/the-existence-of-god-3949/. Mr. Zacharias began his talk by outlining the three major catastrophic consequences that result when we deny the existence of God:

1. Loss of morality or a foundation for morality                                                                                 2. Loss of meaning                                                                                                                                   3. Loss of hope

Following on the heels of that introduction, Ravi then began to trace a three stage argument for the existence of God. What he outlined in the first stage is what I would like to explore in today’s post. We will summarize what he said and then track out some additional implications.

Proving God’s existence with a simple apple

As Ravi Zacharias began to present the first stage of his argument for the existence of God, he used a simple apple and then made reference to the imagery of falling dominoes. Imagine an apple. Now the apple, or any other object in the universe, whether the smallest sub-atomic particle or the largest galaxy, all have one thing in common: they by themselves cannot account for their own existence. As you hold an apple in your hand, ask yourself: “Whence came this apple”? Of course the answer would be: “an apple tree”. The next question would follow: “When then the tree?” The answer of course would be: “an apple seed”. The next logical question of course would be: “whence then the seed?” The only answer of course would be: “an apple”.

As he presented this basic demonstration of the chain of cause and effect, Mr. Zacharias then noted how it would be impossible for this chain to be indefinite in length. Think about it, if there would had been an infinite amount of apples, seeds and trees going all the way back to eternity, then there would be no way we could be holding an apple currently in our hand.

In similar form, imagine a domino called “x”. We find that domino “x” had been knocked over by a previous domino, and that previous domino knocked over by a prior one, and so on. Just like the tree, apple, seed chain of cause and effect, there would be no way one could have an infinite series of dominoes in an infinite chain of cause and effect, otherwise we would had never observed the falling of domino “x”.

What is the point Mr. Zacharias is making? That everything in the universe has to have had a cause, being that everything, from sub-atomic particles, to dominos, to apples to galaxies had a beginning. Everything in the universe ultimately had a beginning; and in turn, everything that had a beginning has a cause. Furthermore, being that everything in the universe is composed of matter and energy that is on every level incapable of giving an account for its own existence, then it follows that the Cause for all things lies outside of the universe. According to Ravi Zacharias, that Cause can only be One – God.

Assessing Ravi Zacharias’ argument

Ravi Zacharias’ argument is powerful because of the fact it is a combination of a couple of historically powerful arguments of the existence of God. With regards to the impossibility of an infinite series of cause and effect chains, Christian Apologist, Dr. Norman Geisler, writes in “The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics”, page 290, notes:

“Mathematically infinite series are possible, but not actual ones. The former are abstract; the latter are concrete. It is possible to have an infinite number of points on a line on this page. But one cannot get an infinite number of letters on this line, no matter how small they are. Points are abstract or theoretical entities; a series of causes of existence is comprised of actual entities. An infinite number of the former are possible, but not the latter. The reason for this is simple: No matter how many dominoes one has on a line, no more could be added. The number cannot be infinite.”

This first argument as laid out by Dr. Geisler is what is referred to as “The impossibility of an ungrounded infinite regress”. Dr. Geisler further notes: An ungrounded infinite regress is tantamount to affirming that the existence in the series arises from non-existence, since no cause in the series has a real ground for its existence.” This statement by Dr. Geisler fits well with what Ravi Zacharias noted throughout his talk on the fact that nothing in the universe, by itself, can account for its own existence or as to why it exists.

Another Christian apologist, Dr. William Lane Craig, has made popular a centuries old argument for the existence of God called “The Kalam Cosmological Argument”. Dr. Craig outlines the argument in an article he wrote on his website: reasonablefaith.org:

“This argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument, can be exhibited as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.

               2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite.                                                      2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.                                                                                                      2.12 An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.                                                    2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist.                                              2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by                    successive addition.                                                                                                                                  2.21 A collection formed by successive addition cannot be actually infinite.                              2.22 The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive                              addition.                                                                                                                                                      2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-existence-of-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe#ixzz3G2s0ltPz

In another book entitled: “Five Views of Apologetics”, edited by Stanley N. Gundry and Steven B. Gowan, William Lane Craig writes in his contributing piece: “Classical Apologetics” the following on page 51 – “On balance, then, it seems to me that on the basis of the kalam cosmological argument, a person who is sufficiently informed and whose faculties are functioning properly ought to agree that it is more likely than not that the Creator of the universe exists.”

Closing thoughts

As we close out today’s post, let the reader be reminded of the fact that this first line of argumentation can only serve to demonstrate the proposal of God’s existence as being most reasonable and demonstrable. The Bible uniformly declares that God has made known His existence in the general revelation of Himself in the cosmos, life, humanity and the conscience. (Psalm 19:7; Romans 1:18-20) Further identification of God the Creator as the Savior who came as God-incarnated in human flesh can only be found in the special revelation of the Bible.  Upon the grounds of establishing the existence of God in general, other such truths as revelation, morality, meaning and hope can be pursued and explained. Thanks to wonderful men of God like Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler and William Lane Craig, we can demonstrate God’s existence in a coherent fashion by way of a simple apple!

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About pastormahlon

By the grace of God I was converted to saving faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 10 and called into the Gospel ministry by age 17. Through the Lord's grace I completed a Bachelors in Bible at Lancaster Bible College in 1996 and have been married to my beautiful wife since that same year. We have been blessed with four children, ranging from 7-18 years of age. In 2002 the Lord enabled me to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Thought at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield PA. For nearly 25 years I have been preaching and teaching God's Word and have been studying the original languages since 1994. In 2016 God called my family and me to move to begin a pastorate at a wonderful Southern Baptist Congregation here in Northern New York.
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