A deductive argument is one in which the conclusion follows inescapably from the premises, if the premises are true. The classic example of a deductive argument is this:
1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
A basic deductive argument for God looks something like this:
1. Things that exist require a cause.
2. Things exist.
Therefore a cause exists.
A more sophisticated deductive argument based upon design:
1. If design is apparent in the universe, a cause for design exists.
2. Design is apparent in the universe.
Therefore a cause for design exists.
Does this mean everyone is forced to believe this argument against their will? No. One may willfully choose to believe (against reason and logic) that something comes from nothing. Does this eliminate or reduce the need for faith? No. In fact, it strengthens the foundation upon which faith stands, thus increasing faith.
But how do we get from a “cause” to God??? We’re glad you asked!
In philosophy, there is a concept known as “sufficient cause” which essentially means that “something can’t give what it does not have.” If you think about it, all causes must be sufficient to produce their relevant effects. For example, a block of ice melting might be a sufficient cause of a growing pool of water surrounding it, but a block of solid granite would not.
Applying this concept, it is appropriate to postulate that the cause of the universe must be sufficient to explain every unique thing in the universe. Let’s take a look at four unique things that we find in the universe:
A sufficient cause for these things would need to be able to cause physics, life, communication, love, and morality. It is therefore reasonable and necessary to expect that this cause would have a reservoir of these things, i.e., physics, life, communication, love, and morality, and/or the knowledge and power to cause these things.
Such an entity might reasonably be described as living, communicative, loving and moral, powerful, and knowledgeable.
Theists use the term “God” to describe such an entity.
But wait! How do we get from this “God” to the Christian God?
The concept is quite simple. If the entity that caused the universe and every thing in it is communicative, then it is possible that it has communicated with us. The Christian Bible may reasonably be considered such a communication. (See “Did the Creator of Communication Communicate“.)