Greg explains how he narrowed down the many worldviews and “gods” in existence to Christianity and the God of the Bible.
Question: In determining Christ is the one true God, how many others did you rule out?
Greg: Well, first of all, there’s not many others to choose from, unless you want to take all these different pantheons. What I don’t think is required—there are a number of people who have actually done this—but what I don’t think is required is that you have a multiple choice, and you find the best choice. I think what is required is that you look at the nature of reality, and you ask what best explains the way the world actually is.
It’s not so much individual deities as it is the worldviews that they represent. So, take the Greek pantheon or the Roman pantheon. It’s very clear, when you look at these different options, that these are finite creatures. These are people that are meant to control different kinds of things. For example, you’ve got Thor, the thunder god. Well, we happen to know thunder is a result of something else. It’s not the result of Thor. So, a lot of these options—whether it’s Greek mythology or Roman mythology or ancient Near Eastern or Egyptian or Norse mythology—they were all finite gods that seem to be put in place to explain certain phenomena that we have other adequate explanations for.
Amy: And they were limited gods.
Greg: And, in many cases, immoral gods, when you look at the details. So, I don’t feel a compulsion to say, “Well, wait a minute. Let’s talk about Zeus—no, let’s talk about Poseidon because I like fishing. Let me just check to see if I have no reason to believe he’s real.” But I have very good reason to believe that there is a God transcending the physical universe that is responsible for the physical universe. Why? Cosmological arguments. There’s a number of them, and all of them are meritorious. They are better than the alternative that everything came from nothing, which may be possible, but is it the best explanation for the way things are? Not hardly. That some self-existent being created everything else, that makes more sense.
So, now I reasoned to a transcendent, self-existent being. None of these other gods in the pantheons are anything like that. So, they’re not candidates. Now we’re talking about monotheism. Well, there are not too many monotheistic religions. There are three major ones—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—and Christianity and Judaism are kin in a very vital way, in a way that Islam is not. So, you really have two options now. There are a couple of other monotheistic religions, but they’re very small religions. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but that really trims down the options.
Then, I look at something like Jesus of Nazareth, who claims to be this one, and we have historical records that are reliable about his life, and we can look at those records and see what he said and what he did. If this person claimed to be the God of the universe, the one that we’re looking for, and then he was brutally executed and three days later raised himself from the dead, I would say he’s a pretty good candidate for the real thing. That’s the way I’m reasoning.
There is no reason whatsoever that I have to take every possible religion in the world and weigh it in the balance with Christianity when I have really good evidence. Here’s a good parallel. You have a crime that’s committed. You have a dead body, and the evidence is clear that it was foul means. What best explains the dead body? You don’t have to interview every human being in the state or in the city. You look at the evidence that’s there and find out which human beings match the evidence that’s there. That’s the smart way to do it, and the same thing applies here. What I’m describing is not somehow self-serving or unusual. “Well you didn’t look at every single religion.” I had no reason to believe that what I have here with Christianity is wrong, given, first of all, theism as a disqualifier of a whole bunch of other things based on the evidence. I look at the theisms that are in question, and I see the evidence in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, for example, as really compelling. Then, I made a reasonable choice, and I can’t be somehow faulted because I didn’t put the trident guy through the ringer.
Amy: I love that analogy of the detective looking into homicide. Let’s say you knew for a fact that it was a male. You don’t have to go to every female and rule her out if you already know it’s a male.