Article 18 - "Does It Even Make A Difference If God Exists?"

Dr.William Lane Craig

C. S. Lewis once remarked that God is not the sort of thing one can be moderately interested in. After all, if God does not exist, there's no reason to be interested in God at all. On the other hand, if God does exist, then this is of paramount interest, and our ultimate concern ought to be how to be properly related to this being upon whom we depend moment by moment for our very existence.

So people who shrug their shoulders and say, "What difference does it make if God exists?" merely show that they haven't yet thought very deeply about this problem. Even atheist philosophers like Sartre and Camus—who have thought very seriously about this problem—admit that the existence of God makes a tremendous difference for man. Let me mention just three reasons why it makes a big difference whether God exists.

1. If God does not exist, life is ultimately meaningless. If your life is doomed to end in death, then ultimately it does not matter how you live. In the end it makes no ultimate difference whether you existed or not. Sure, your life might have a relative significance in that you influenced others or affected the course of history. But ultimately mankind is doomed to perish in the heat death of the universe. Ultimately it makes no difference who you are or what you do. Your life is inconsequential.

Thus, the contributions of the scientist to the advance of human knowledge, the research of the doctor to alleviate pain and suffering, the efforts of the diplomat to secure peace in the world, the sacrifices of good people everywhere to better the lot of the human race—ultimately all these come to nothing. Thus, if atheism is true, life is ultimately meaningless.

2. If God does not exist, then we must ultimately live without hope. If there is no God, then there is ultimately no hope for deliverance from the shortcomings of our finite existence.  For example, there is no hope for deliverance from evil. Although many people ask how God could create a world involving so much evil, by far most of the suffering in the world is due to man's own inhumanity to man. The horror of two world wars during the last century effectively destroyed the 19th century's naive optimism about human progress. If God does not exist, then we are locked without hope in a world filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering, and there is no hope for deliverance from evil.

Or again, if there is no God, there is no hope of deliverance from aging, disease, and death. Although it may be hard for you as university students to contemplate, the sober fact is that unless you die young, someday you—you yourself—will be an old man or an old woman, fighting a losing battle with aging, struggling against the inevitable advance of deterioration, disease, perhaps senility. And finally and inevitably you will die. There is no afterlife beyond the grave. Atheism is thus a philosophy without hope.

3. On the other hand, if God does exist, then not only is there meaning and hope, but there is also the possibility of coming to know God and His love personally. Think of it! That the infinite God should love you and want to be your personal friend! This would be the highest status a human being could enjoy! Clearly, if God exists, it makes not only a tremendous difference for mankind in general, but it could make a life-changing difference for you as well. 

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