I am going to argue that Scientific Naturalism is beset with critical shortcomings when we examine various scientific, philosophical, and historical arguments for the existence of God. Perhaps most conspicuous is that Naturalism, by definition, rules out the possibility of the supernatural ahead of time! As indicated by the name, Naturalists presuppose that only natural causes (not supernatural) should be considered to explain reality. As we will examine shortly, this bias ultimately leads the Naturalist to a recurring position, which can be summarized as, “We don’t yet have a natural explanation, but it’s not your God.” Again, God has been ruled out ahead of time. Let’s examine the data.
- Naturalism fails to identify the cause of the universe. Naturalists concede that, while the Big Bang is their preferred theory, they cannot actually identify the origin of the Big Bang. The standard Naturalist argument is, “Just because we don’t know the cause of the Big Bang does not mean it was your God.” Fair enough, but there is much that we can know about the cause. Since an infinite series of causes is logically impossible, the cause must itself be uncaused. Since time, space, and material came into being at the Big Bang, the cause must be timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. Since the cause created the universe, it must be astoundingly powerful and intelligent. Moreover, finally, since the cause chose to bring the universe into existence at a finite point in time, it must be personal. As summed up by Dr. William Lane Craig, the Kalam Cosmological argument “gives us powerful grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful Personal Creator of the universe.” This argument may not, on its own, prove that the cause of the universe is the God of the Bible, but it sure sounds like Him.
2. Scientific Naturalism fails to recognize the most plausible explanation for Cosmic Fine-Tuning, which is design. The argument is as follows:
- The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
- It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
- Therefore, it is due to design
We can rule out physical necessity because the evidence shows that a universe is much more likely to be life-prohibiting than life-permitting. Furthermore, we can rule out chance because the odds are so astronomically remote. Science philosopher Tim Maudlin summarized the situation by stating, “It seems that the only reactions are either to embrace a multiverse or a designer.” His conclusion? “If you want to believe in one of the multiverse theories, you basically need blind faith.” The Biblical Christian creation account aligns with the most plausible explanation of Cosmic Fine-Tuning. Naturalism rules out this possibility ahead of time.
3. While Naturalists can recognize objective moral values and duties, Naturalism fails to explain the existence of objective moral values and duties. This does not mean Naturalists are morally bankrupt or that one must believe in God to be a “good person.” Rather, the argument is as follows:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
Biblical Christianity clearly explains the existence of objective moral values and duties with God’s nature as the standard of what is good. Naturalists are left with no basis to argue why atrocities like the holocaust or slavery are objectively morally wrong.
4. Likewise, humans’ inherent moral value, dignity, and worth make perfect sense if we are all image-bearers of the greatest conceivable being, God. Naturalism fails to explain why an accident of nature in a “universe that does not care” would hold inherent moral value.
5. If we are indeed accidents of nature with no ultimate purpose for existence, why do we live as if life is meaningful anyway? Naturalism fails to explain why humans cannot and do not live as if life really is objectively meaningless. Biblical Christianity, in contrast, satisfies precisely the two requirements needed for a meaningful life: God and immortality.
6. Finally, naturalism fails to explain the “Minimal Facts” of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These historical facts include:
- Jesus died by crucifixion.
- The tomb in which He was buried was found empty by a group of His female followers.
- Appearances of Jesus alive reported by groups and individuals under varying circumstances.
- First disciples came to sincerely believe that Jesus had risen from the dead despite every natural predisposition to the contrary.
- The radical and sudden conversion of the church persecutor, Paul.
- The radical and sudden conversion of the skeptical brother of Jesus, James.
Every natural explanation for these facts has failed. The consensus of scholarship is that the alternative natural explanations are implausible. Therefore, the best explanation for these facts is the explanation given in the Bible: God raised Jesus from the dead.
The bottom line of Christianity is that if Jesus Christ rose from the dead, Christianity is true. Indeed, the Apostle Paul laid our cards on the table when He claimed, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14, New International Version).
Naturalists presuppose that only natural explanations should be considered to explain reality, but there is no plausible natural explanation for the accepted historical facts related to the resurrection of Jesus.
This leaves the Naturalist in a familiar position; namely, “We don’t yet have a natural explanation, but it’s not your God.”I disagree.
Since the Biblical Christian has not ruled out the supernatural ahead of time, he may follow the evidence where it leads. And where it leads is to the God of the Bible. We saw that with the origin and design of the universe, human morality and experience, and even the historical event of the resurrection. Biblical Christianity is a more plausible explanation of reality than Scientific Naturalism.
 William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (Colorado: David C Cook, 2010), 125.
 Lee Strobel, The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2018), 182.
 Craig, On Guard, 162.
 Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic, 1999), 133.
 Craig, Reasonable, 73.