The following is a formal response drafted to a recently lodged claim (and other related claims) insisting there is “no recent evidence” proving the existence of God.
For the purpose of this writeup, the following claims and counterclaims are being considered:
Claims: In support of
- God exists
- The story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is factual (historical)
Claims: In opposition of
- God doesn’t exist
- The story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is fictional
- The story of the Adam and Even is fictional
- There is no recent evidence (within the past 50 years, c. 2021) proving the existence of God
- The principal deity held exclusively to be the one true “God” is limited to that known to the local region.
For the purpose of this writeup, the following classifications of evidence are considered:
There are two types of evidence — direct (i.e. eyewitness accounts or a confession) and circumstantial (i.e. physical artifacts or appearance). Either kind of evidence can be offered in oral testimony of witnesses or physical exhibits, including fingerprints, test results, and documents. Neither kind of evidence is more valuable than the other.
— The American Bar Association. 2019. How Courts Work.1
The following definitions are also given:
In a criminal case, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt (the legal burden of proof required to affirm a conviction).
— LII / Legal Information Institute. 2020. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.2
Under the preponderance standard, the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true. This is the burden of proof in a civil trial.
— LII / Legal Information Institute. Preponderance of the Evidence.3
Evidence: “God exists”
- See Statements & Observations below
Evidence: “God doesn’t exist”
- [God] doesn’t prevent evil from happening
- [God] allows tragedy and suffering to happen
- [God] doesn’t answer the prayers of devout people of faith
Statements & Observations
Evidence of God Demonstrated By Equivalence Properties
- the Reflexive Property provides, “A = A”
- the Symmetric Property provides, “If A = B, then B = A”
- the Transitive Property provides, “If A = B and B = C, then A = C”
We see in at least two places where this is used; pertaining to the existence of God.
… that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
— Romans 1:19-20
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
— Psalms 19:1-6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
— John 14:6-9
Putting it succinclty, any Observer (A) who does not have direct access to God (C) is able to come to the same assurance of God’s power and existence when they acknowledge the intermediate term (B), named Jesus, who, in the first example is representative (“…being understood by the things that are made”) and in the second, equivalent (“…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”).
- Created things that are seen
- Manifestation of thing that are unseen (i.e. God’s power)
- That which may be known of God
- The invisible things of God
- His eternal power and Godhead
- Man, through acts of turning a blind eye to evidence, discounting evidence, contaminating evidence, or rejecting evidence altogether, is no more absolved of the effect which the evidence itself has upon mankind: which is the substantiation of God’s existence and accountability to increasing their knowledge of God and His expectations, including that which pertains to this life and the next.
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom. 1:19-20)
- Romans 1:19-20
“Separation of Concerns”
As a Christian, I believe that God created the world and everything in it, but also recognize the distinction between good and evil. On this note, I hold some things in this world to be separate—and even contrary—to the nature of God, expressly evil.
One way I can illustrate this in recent history (up to the minute), is in the way a software engineer writes code for a particular business purpose. It is the engineer’s will and intent for the system which he or she has crafted, to adhere to the behavior and function to which it was expressly prescribed and designed. However, as we have seen reported from year to year in Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report4 and countless other sources, we find even the biggest and best systems fall prey to the coercion of one or more malicious actors, resulting in millions of dollars in profit loss and far more in other irreparable/irreversible damages, including violation of customers’ privacy and trust. And while anything relating to the origin and cause is _possible_—as in a disgruntled employee intentionally causing harm to the organization—the overwhelming evidence and reasonable explanation for these incidents is that the malicious actor was/is in fact extraneous to the engineering process, and is not the one and the same entity who built the system (the engineer) in the first place. Furthermore, the ongoing occurrences of these crimes today do not disannul the existence of the engineer who built the system. Admittedly, the most ambitious and notable of incidents are those which successfully leverage multiple reputable organizations5 and/or orchestrate a combination of attacks in coercing even a robust system or high-value (highly secured) target to exist in a state in which it was never designed or intended to exist. This illustrates plainly that the creator of a system can exist apart from [and even in opposition to] an evil plaguing it, much in the same way I accept the existence of a “God” who created the system of the universe and the world we live in, in spite of the evil plaguing it today (see Managing Expectations below).
The following examples of evil and tragedy are given:
- A woman or child being raped
- A child with terminal cancer
How can these things [be allowed to] happen if God exists? In truth, it must be reiterated that the prevalence of these evils is not sufficient evidence to disannul the existence of a God—even as the recent daily occurrences of evil in systems of our own creation do not disannul the existence of their creator(s)—who created a world in which these tragedies, and their resulting sufferings, do certainly occur.
Notwithstanding, our knee-jerk reaction to these evils is born out of our own expectation of the way things should be, and thus begs another question: what is the source of our conviction or standard against which we measure one thing to be just and good, and another thing to be unjust or evil? What instigation produces the universally held position that it is good to honor one’s father and mother while it is wrong to murder, commit adultery, lie, or steal? And if by a majority consensus, all were to suddenly conclude it to be perfectly acceptable to do these things that we currently hold to be unjust, would we nonetheless rightfully and reasonably expect this new way of life to result in our own destruction?
Our own keen consciousness and awareness of what should be right and what should be wrong—in spite of what is currently happening in front of and around us—is daily evidence pointing to a source of moral truths coming from a higher level moral lawgiver that transcends every element of the space we exist in (this world), including but not limited to: time, culture, human agents, and even the human will.
It is the expressed intent of this writeup to address the specific claim that “‘God’ doesn’t prevent evil from happening, because he doesn’t exist.” It is not intended to address a different set of questions which must preliminarily accept the existence of God, including, “Why doesn’t God prevent evil from happening?” or “If God has the ability to prevent evil from happening or deliver a person of faith from a tragedy, having prayed earnestly, why doesn’t He do it?”
1The American Bar Association. 2019. How Courts Work. [online] Available at: <https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/evidence/> [Accessed 3 July 2021].
2LII / Legal Information Institute. 2020. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. [online] Available at: <https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/beyond_a_reasonable_doubt> [Accessed 3 July 2021].
3LII / Legal Information Institute. Preponderance of the Evidence. [online] Available at: <https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/preponderance_of_the_evidence> [Accessed 3 July 2021].
4Verizon Business. 2021. 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report. [online] Available at: <https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/reports/dbir/> [Accessed 3 July 2021].
5Hiroshima, N., 2014. How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://medium.com/@N/how-i-lost-my-50-000-twitter-username-24eb09e026dd> [Accessed 3 July 2021].
6Mathwords.com. 2021. Mathwords: Equivalence Properties of Equality_. [online] Available at: <http://www.mathwords.com/e/equivalence_properties_of_equality.htm> [Accessed 29 July 2021].