Romans 1: 19, 20 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse”.
Prima Facie Evidence is evidence that would, if uncontested, establish a fact or raise a presumption of a fact. A Prima Facie Case exists when a plaintiff’s lawsuit or criminal charge appears at first blush to be an “open and shut” case. Does the Scripture quoted above rise to Prima Facie Evidence or a Prima Facie Case? To the nominal Christian the answer may be I think so, to the non-believer the answer most probably would be an inequitable no! Consider the following posited by an atheist: “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Richard Carrier (2006). I quote: “
“I shall assume here that C.S. Lewis was correct when he said “mere Christianity” consisted in the belief that “there is one God” who “is quite definitely good or righteous,” “who takes sides, who loves love and hates hatred, who wants us to behave in one way and not in another,” and who “invented and made the universe.” But this God also “thinks that a great many things have gone wrong” with the world and thus “insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again,” and to this end arranged the death and resurrection of “His only Son,” Jesus Christ, who is or embodies or represents the Creator, and can alone “save” us from “eternal death” if we now ask this Jesus to forgive our sins. That’s as quoted and paraphrased from his aptly titled Mere Christianity. Following are the four reasons Mr. Carrier uses to explain his non-belief:
- God is Silent
- God is inert
- The Evidence is inadequate
- Christianity Predicts a Different Universe
The Evidence is Inadequate
“The most popular–and really, the only evidence people have for God’s existence and role as Creator–is the apparent “fine tuning” of the universe to produce life. That’s at least something remarkable, requiring an explanation better than blind chance. As it turns out, there are godless explanations that make more sense of the actual universe we find ourselves in than Christianity does–but we shall examine this point later on. For now, it is enough to point out that “intelligent design” is not the only logically possible explanation for the organization of the universe, and so we would need empirical evidence for it. Just as scientists needed copious amounts of evidence before justifying a belief that the present cosmos was the inevitable physical outcome of the Big Bang, so do Christians need copious amounts of evidence before justifying a belief that the organization that arose from the Big Bang came from an intelligent engineer. Again, the mere possibility is not enough–we need actual evidence that an intelligent engineer was the cause and not something else. And Christians don’t have that. Or anything likes it.
Finally, to prove “God is good” we have essentially nothing at all. Since God is a totally silent do-nothing, we don’t have anything to judge his character by, except an utter lack of any clear or consistent action on his part–which we saw earlier, is sufficient to demonstrate that if there is a God, he is almost certainly not good (and therefore Christianity is false). Christians do try to offer evidence of God’s goodness anyway, but what they come up with is always circular or far too weak to meet any reasonable burden.
For example, some argue “God gave us life” as evidence he is good, but that presupposes God is our creator, and so is generally a circular argument. But it also fails to follow from the known facts, since a mindless natural process can also give us life, and even an evil or ambivalent God could have sufficient reason to give us life. Moreover, the harsh kind of life we were given agrees more with those possibilities than with the designs of a good God, especially since there is as much bad in life as good, and no particular sense of merit in how it gets distributed. In fact, the evidence is even worse for Christianity on this score, since if the universe was intelligently designed, it appears to have been designed for a purpose other than us–but, again, we shall examine this point later”. Carrier
We all have heard of a “big bang” theory, or everything just was, or worse that God is not necessary for “What Is”. So what is? If everything thing just is where did the is come from? You say billions of years ago it just formed from nothing. Where did the elements find their beginning, how did the air we breathe and the design in humans to breathe this air begin? Who or what thought there should be a man and a woman so that by interaction a third person could come into existence? Is the miracle of birth random? You say animals don’t acquiesce to a God they don’t even know him. But did God not know this and did he not exhibit this knowledge when he told mankind to take dominion over the earth and the things of the earth? In fact God was so involved in planning out the sequential pattern of evolvement of his creation he created the earth as you might bake a cake but it remains incomplete until someone administers the frosting to the cake. This is exactly how God intended the fallen angels, now us, to administer the further building and stewardship to his creation called earth.
A challenge to Christianity and Christians in particular for how can a non-believer distinguish the wonder of God when for all intent and purposes we look and act just like them. We are to be empowered by his Spirit and actually serve the needy, heal the sick and loan to the poor. And I venture most would say that is true but the actual accomplishment of such things and our present state seem miles apart. There is a road to be traveled and it seems long and there are many obstacles in the way fraught with perceived dangers and we are not so sure we can make it. Both you and I can answer Mr. Carrier by example and not speculation for as we note in Psalm 14: 1, “the fool says in his heart, “There is no God”. Mr. Carrier has eyes to see but does not see and ears to hear but does not hear because he looks with the flesh and reasons in the flesh and he cannot perceive the things that are Spirit. He has no way of knowing in this state of being that the Temple of God is within a man and that the God he cannot find resides there or that scripture asks, “O Lord who shall sojourn in your tent’? “And who shall dwell on your ‘holy hill”? And as King David often spoke unto God, “in you “I take refuge”. And as a baby inverts or turns in its position in a Mother’s womb prior to birth so too must a man invert or turn from his previous position to reappear from the spiritual womb with Jesus the new head (or mind promised) and we are his body whose new heart is pulsing the rhythm of God and I have found true meaning of repentance (in the turning), and my new name has been discovered as well. This is why an atheist, Mr. Carrier, or anyone else, will never comprehend the things of God or to know his Son Jesus Christ to which he subjected all things. We by Becoming what Jesus is, bears witness in a Prima Facie Case to which an affirmative judgment is rendered.