Does God exist？
Searching for the truth about this question requires strategies that are somewhat similar to how you have understood other things that you cannot see. You cannot see the wind, but you have seen what the wind can do, and you draw reasonable conclusions. You cannot see other people’s thoughts, but you take their words and actions as clues. Looking for proof that God exists is not the kind of search that involves test tubes. It more closely resembles the approach used in a criminal investigation, and therefore is called a “forensic” method. In this approach, evidence is collected and weighed, and then a judgment call is made. This call is an act of faith, based on reasons. Those who accept the existence of God may not be able to give a proof that will convince everyone, but their faith is not “blind” faith. It is possible to find out their “reasons.” May you have success as you weigh the following reasons in your search for truth.
I.ORIGINS. These ideas were used already by early Greek philosophers.
1) THE FIRST CAUSE. Everything must have a cause, so there had to be something that caused all the rest. The Bible admits that it is “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Some prefer to say that they prefer to live by fact, not faith, but every alternative statement about the origin of the universe is also a statement of faith. See the book How Reason can Lead to God.
2 ) THE UNMOVED MOVER. Nothing can move unless something else sets it in motion. Something had to set the very first thing in motion. (See more background about philosophy)
II. SOCIOLOGICAL REASONS
1) A UNIVERSAL PHENOMENON. People all around the world in many different cultures recognize that there must be a God. This craving to relate to some higher purpose is so widespread, that even those who do not think there could be a god often take some other aspect of life and turn it into their higher purpose. For some that would be a sense of duty. There are others who attach a religious-type authority to science.
2) UNIVERSAL ETHICS. People around the world have a sense of right and wrong. Therefore there must be a source for this, and an ultimate standard for it. Whenever you say that something is unjust, you must be comparing it with some standard. The fact that all people around the world have a sense that some things are just and others are unjust suggests the possibility that there is a God who has implanted this standard.
III. INNER FEELINGS
1) CRAVING FOR LOVE. Since we all need love, there must be an ultimate source of love that gave us this craving and who alone can fill it. (By comparison, it would not make sense for people to have a feeling of hunger if there was not such as thing as food that can satisfy that craving). That’s why it is significant that when the Bible describes God, it stresses that God is love. Since we are creative, can love, and feel compassion, how could we assume that the power that brought us into being would not have those qualities?
2) CRAVING FOR JUSTICE. Since the evil of this world cries out for justice, there must be someone who will punish evil and set things straight. Realizing that God will deal justly by punishing evil helps us to accept a God who would judge the world, and do it justly. Who would not want evil to be punished? The God revealed in the Bible though extends grace and forgiveness to those who deserve to be punished. God came to earth as a savior, Jesus, and the Bible says about that savior “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6). God can therefore be fully just, because he sees to it that evil deeds receive their due punishment by being borne by Jesus, and God is also fully love, because God loved the world so that he sent that savior to perform that act of substitution for us, for Jesus said about himself that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). See Is God Unjust?
3) BRAIN IS WIRED. Research shows that our brain is wired to have religious experiences. Here is a sampling of what neuroscience is finding.
4) MEANING IN LIFE. If there is a God who created you, it would make sense that life would be more fulfilling if lived in recognition and harmony with that being.A person trying to make a go of life without God is like a glove without a hand, a wallflower without a dance partner, a cowboy whose horse has run away. Life with God is the opposite: a glove put to use, a dance where each partner is synchronized, the team-work of horse and rider. The scientist Blaise Pascal spoke of a “god-shaped vacuum” in people that can only be filled with God. Knowing and filling one’s place in the cosmos, as a creature under a creator, brings peace and fulfillment. Believing that God has placed us where we are because he wants to extend love and care to others through us brings meaning to whatever situation we are in. Knowing that God is all-wise as well as all-loving enables us to accept His will when it is not the same as our will, when our prayers are responded to with a “no,” or when we suffer loss.
5) SECURITY. This world is precarious and ever-changing, so believers look to God as the only One that is dependable. Some of life’s “undependable” situation is due to how God made the earth: it constantly renews itself with plate movements and volcanoes, and sometimes we are affected by them. Some is because life forms are in competition: our bodies have marvelous defense mechanisms against bacteria and viruses, but sometimes those defenses are overcome. Some is because our bodies are constructed to have a life-span; that makes God’s promise of eternal life more precious. Some is because evil exists and those motivated by it might do us harm. Some is because the supernatural realm includes not only God but other creatures that are in rebellion against God and desire to bring harm to His creation. In this precarious world, how can we carry on living each day without depending on God as the One who never changes and never stops caring?
IV. RATIONAL DISCUSSIONS
1) GOD AND SCIENCE. Some people are wary of accepting the possibility of the existence of God because they want to base their position on facts, not faith. It is helpful to realize that typically investigations done by humans involve both fact and faith. Religion does involve some facts, and science does involve some presuppositions that are taken by faith. Scientific conclusions are constantly changing, and science can never know when a new observation will turn up that will challenge previous conclusions, so science can not be an unchanging firm basis to build one’s life on. Moreover, the challenge that scientists set for themselves is to seek for natural causes for natural occurrences. Science does not claim to either prove or disprove the supernatural. Therefore it is not irrational for someone to accept both science and God. Statistics shows that only ten percent of Nobel prize winners are atheists. It is not a rejection of science to believe that there is a God underlying natural processes. For such people, the more details that are uncovered by scientific investigation, the more these people express awe and appreciation of the wisdom of God. See more on Science and Faith
2) ALL BELIEVE IN SOMETHING. Talking about God is less daunting if you assume that most people already have something that is functioning as a “god” for them: their “god” is that to which they owe their ultimate allegiance, that to which they turn to for security and meaning when all else fails. It may be themselves. They could ask themselves whether their object of trust has ever let them down. The God who sent Jesus does not let us down, for “if He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not grant us all things with Him?” (Romans 8:32) Enjoy this article by Dan Foster stating “Atheism is Not an Option.”
V. PERSONAL EXPERIENCES.
1) VERBAL COMMUNICATION. Some people report messages and visions that they attribute to God. The Bible records that God spoke to Abraham, making a covenant to protect his descendants, to Moses, providing him with the Ten Commandments, and to numerous prophets who wrote down the messages they had received. See Is the Bible reliable?
2) MIRACULOUS EVENTS. Some people experience healings or deliverance from danger and attribute them to God. The Bible records many healings and miracles, the most foundational being the Israelites’ escape from Egypt and the opening up of the Red Sea enabling them to evade the Egyptian army. While some are skeptical of these reports, for those who have had these personal experiences, the question of God’s existence is settled. Those seeking truth are right to take these thousands of years of experiences into account.
VI. CHRIST AS EVIDENCE OF GOD
The Bible admits that, “No one has seen God at any time …”
But that verse continues with this statement:
“but the only begotten God (ie, Jesus), who is closely joined to the Father, has made Him known.” (John 1:18)
This means that Jesus, who could be seen, made the unseen God known to people by his words and actions. Most notably, when Jesus died on the cross to pay for sins, he made the loving heart of God known to us.
God had begun to reveal Himself even before Jesus came to earth, according to this quote: “God has spoken to our fathers by the prophets, but now in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son … who is the radiance of His glory and the exact expression of His substance” (Hebrews 1:1-3). That word “radiance” suggests a comparison with the sun.
Do you believe in the existence of the sun? No space ships have yet landed on it, so the main reason we know there is a sun is because of the sunrays that it sends forth. They are made of the same substance as the sun. I have not run into anyone who doubts the existence of the sun, even though all we have are its rays.
In a similar way, Jesus is of the same substance as God the Father, and was sent forth from Him. In fact, Jesus said, “anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). When Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, he was demonstrating that he, as God, is creator. When he appeared to his followers after he had been killed, he demonstrated that he, as God, was worthy of trust, for he had said that he would be killed but afterward rise from the dead. When he raised Lazarus from the dead, he demonstrated that he can also raise us from the dead. Jesus has the characteristics of God, and is building those characteristics in us, as Romans 8:29 declares: “God has decided to transform you into the image of His son.”
VII. OUR ROLE
Jesus’ historical time on earth is finished, but those who belong to him and continue His mission are motivated by Him to acts of loving service, and these acts are evidence that God is still at work today. As we tell people what Jesus said and did, we are introducing God to them. Similar to the way that the universe portrays God’s greatness (“the heavens declare the glory of God,” Psalm 19), we humans who are made in the image of God and being transformed into the image of His son Jesus, demonstrate the reality of God by the way we show God at work in us. Referring to our acts of service, Jesus said “let your light shine before men in such a way that when they see your good works, they will glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). The way God’s people live their lives can be the living evidence for the existence of God.
VIII. STEP BY STEP QUESTIONS
Those searching for the truth about God might consider questions like these:
Step 1. Are you sure there could not be a supernatural?
Step 2. Are you sure people have not been contacted by the supernatural?
Step 3. Are you sure you don’t need help beyond your own strength?
Step 4. Are you clear on what each world religion’s concept of God is? See World Religions
Step 5. Are you sure your search for truth is free from concern that if God were real He might tell you that something you are doing is against His will, and you might need to face changing?
Step 6. Are you sure your search for truth is not clouded by not wanting to associate with people that you look down on, or people who don’t practice what they preach?
Step 7. Are you sure your search for truth is not clouded by the concern that if God is real, then other people you know may have been wrong?
Step 8. Are you sure Jesus did not rise from the dead? Do you think people who were committed to the oneness of God could have accepted Jesus as God unless they had seen Jesus appearing alive to them after he had been killed?
Step 9. Is it possible that some people have changed for the better by turning toward God?
Step 10. Are you willing to ask God whether He is real?
You might enjoy Tim Keller talking about his book The Reason for God.
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