There is a great deal of apologetic energy given to providing evidence for the existence of God, and rightly so. If there is no belief in the existence of God then there is no need of faith in him as a Savior. Furthermore, there is a great deal of thrust toward the evidence of New Testament reliability and proof of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This is extremely valuable as well, but none of these claims, even if accepted as true, complete the picture of the Christian Gospel. In other words, if one were to acquiesce the existence of God why does it follow that there is a need of faith in him? That really doesn’t clear it up. Let’s put it this way; if God exists, why does it follow that we need a Savior? If God, why sin?
We must assume a couple of things first of all, to even get to this question. Let’s assume that a person accepts the existence of God as would be evidenced by the main 2 arguments of apologetics, the cosmological and teleological arguments. These are the arguments which would say that the god being described is the necessary first cause of the universe, and has fine-tuned creation for humanity as well as imputed some purpose to this apparent order.
Next, let’s assume that even if a person accepts the reliability of the New Testament, that alone does not necessarily lead to a belief in inspiration. If we were to assume inspiration, this problem we have assumed of need of a savior would instantly cease to be a problem. A large part of the New Testament is written to explain this to us and if it is in fact inspired, we do not need to progress with this argument. So, for arguments sake, let’s not assume inspiration.
I don’t believe the Resurrection itself makes the need for a savior clear. It is obvious to a Christian why Christ died, for the forgiveness of sins, but to an outsider who may be slowly giving assent to God’s existence and the New Testament, that information may not necessarily follow. I do though believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth provides a path to the understanding of our need of a savior. It’s not the one we will take here.
One last thing, let’s assume that this so called need is due to sin. We will define sin more specifically in the argument.
So, if God, why sin?
The god of the cosmological argument, if accepted as such, is the only god. There can only be one maximally great being or if you don’t like that term, one first cause. A first cause of the universe may not be preceded by anything by definition. If there were two gods, then there would need to be a first cause of at least one of them, then that first cause would be the first cause, which has no cause or self-existent. There is only one god.
The god of the cosmological argument is omnipotent (all powerful). This being made all that exists (space, time, and matter) from nothing. Because of this, this being is sovereign over all that exists (space, time, and matter). Sovereignty can be defined as having the power to do what is desired with a thing along with the authority (right) to do with that thing what one pleases. This being, because it brought everything that exists into being, obviously has the power to impose its will upon creation. It also has the right to impose its will upon the universe because the universe depends upon this being for its own existence. In other words, being the first cause of the universe implies ownership or Lordship of the universe. The entire universe is subject to this authority.
We are a part of the universe and thus subject to the authority of this god alone.
The god of the teleological argument is personal. He has designed the entire universe in such a way as to provide for humanity an ideal and sufficient dwelling place. If any of the great number of anthropic constants were different, humanity could not exist or would cease to exist. This indicates God’s desire for human life to not only exist but also flourish. He takes pleasure in some sense in humanity, thus he is at least in that sense, personal.
The design of the universe not only points to a personal god, but also indicates his purpose. The desire he has that humanity flourish not only points broadly to relation between him and us, it points to some purpose he has for us. The purpose may be broadly described as human prospering or flourishing and relational to God and his design.
These ideas are the givens. These are at least what we would assume given the cosmological and teleological arguments. Why would it follow that we sin and therefore need a savior?
- We are in rebellion against our sovereign by seeking to become sovereign through our autonomy.
- We actively distort his purpose and attempt to change his design.
“Sin is cosmic treason.” RC Sproul
- We constantly and actively distort God’s creative order and attempt to change his design. From the first time we disobey our parents, our earthly sovereign placed over us by God, to our attempts to distort marriage and sex, take life, improperly seek to impose authority over others like us, steal and covet, pollute creation, think of ways to distort creation’s design, and even give the “okay” to those who do (plus many more ways), we rebel against him. We are greedy, self-centered, power hungry, sex-crazed, and generally careless about design or order. All of this and so much more is rebellion towards God. It is active and explicit treason against his purposes and design.
- As if that weren’t bad enough, we attempt to become sovereign ourselves. We deny his existence. We place ourselves in the “we know better” camp by our active distortion of his creation. We lie to ourselves and others by pretending that we are “in complete control of our lives”. In our minds we place our wants above his purposes and relationship to him. We pay him insufficient homage as our Sovereign as we fail to keep the obligations he has Sovereignly impose upon us. We stake claim to his freewill being subordinate to ours. This list could go on as well. It doesn’t need to.
I needed only to demonstrate one act or thought of rebellion to the one who is by definition, sovereign over us. If there is any act or thought of insubordination, rebellion, treason, or sabotage, in each of us, each one of us is guilty of sin. The fact is, even if our actions do not make manifest our rebellion, our motives do. That’s what sin is. That’s our problem. Rebellion against our Sovereign, the First Cause and One and Only God, Who has created us with a purpose and designed the universe for our life, follows the cosmological and teleological arguments as true. Therefore, if anyone accepts these two arguments as sound and valid, they are by default accepting their own confession of cosmic treason, punishable by death.
Now there is need of a Savior to rescue us from the deserved and righteous wrath of our Sovereign.