As a Christian Theologian one of the most basic and relevant questions I am asked is, “Does God exist?“
An answer to this fundamental question is a prerequisite for answering the other big questions of life: Where do we come from? Why are we here? Do we serve a purpose? Do we have any intrinsic value? What happens after we die? For most of us the question of the existence of God is fundamental to our identity and self worth.
Before I address the question directly, we first must deal with our personal philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be nothing supernatural), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. Asking the question “does God exist?” would be pointless. My answer would automatically be “No, He doesn’t,” regardless of whether God truly exists or not.
With such a prejudice the question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist in a mind that is already predisposed to reject God.
If, on the other hand, I were neutral, and didn’t already have “a prior adherence” to a particular worldview (be it naturalistic or otherwise), the question “does God really exist?” wouldn’t be pointless at all. Rather, it would be the first step in an objective and meaningful search for ultimate truth and reality that not only includes, but also transcends the rational mind of man.
Our willingness to ask the question with an open mind therefore, is fundamental to our ability to discover the truth behind the answer.
So first of all, before you even ask the question, decide whether or not you’re really willing to accept the answer. If you are willing to forsake pre-conceptions, biases, and prejudice, (whether you presently believe or not) then you may benefit from the results of scientific research related to the existence of God. By “scientific research” I simply mean an applied system of checks and balances that fairly evaluate any and all evidence presented BEFORE allowing any acceptance of a definite conclusion.
Let’s start with a few confirmed observations to consider in a sincere search for a truly objective answer:
1. Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation; it was deliberate.
2. Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.
3. Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are astronomical. In fact, scientists aren’t even sure if life could have evolved naturally via unintelligent processes. Life did not arise by mere chance; it began with a purpose.
4. The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve? Such laws require a “law-maker”, an obvious intelligent source.
5. Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Where does a conscience come from? Why does it exist?
6. Millions of people of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the illiterate, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, prophetic revelation, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?
If your curiosity has been piqued and you desire to look into this matter further, I recommend that you consider the world’s assortment of so-called Holy Books. If God does exist, has He revealed Himself in any of these writings? If He has revealed Himself in some sacred texts, then surely He exists, but are all such documents reliable, and can we know which ones are true and which ones arecounterfeit?
Having said that, I feel it necessary to provide this perspective. While religion is universally associated with the worship of, or submission to, some form of deity, I must concur that ALL religions have MAN as their origin.
Please consider this intently. I am NOT saying that ALL religions are false and therefore merely wishful thinking. I am merely pointing out that ALL religions share this in common. They are ALL Man’s attempt to appease or attract supernatural beings – gods or GOD.
Sadly, many people have accepted various forms of religion as proper interpretations of true scripture, thereby believing that their religion is the one true religion. Sadder still, is the fact that many of these religions are considered to be Christian, even though they are NOT entirely consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Essentially, there are six major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and New Age Spiritualism. There are several thousands of factions within these major titles, with a significant split between mono-theism and poly-theism.
While half of these religions embrace a belief in many gods similar to ancient mythologies, the three that declare the mono-theistic belief in ONE GOD, all refer to the same story of origins, that GOD created the heavens and the earth and conducted a personal relationship with the SAME named historical figures: Noah, Abraham, Moses.
Studies on the demographics of atheism have concluded that self-identified atheists comprise anywhere from a mere 2% to 8% of the world’s population. With these figures in mind, it is safe to assume that the remaining 92% of the world’s population have some belief in the supernatural. If this were any other topic of debate, such a vast majority would be sufficient to conclude as more than substantial evidence in favor of the existence of a supernatural realm.
But this challenge is to remain objective and approach the question without bias.
That may be rather hard to do however, because so many personal experiences have been reported and confirmed throughout history that profess a supernatural encounter. Some of these reports indicate close encounters with extra-terrestrial beings or inter-planetary aliens. Others recount involvement with paranormal activity which often includes ghosts and demons. If any of these is given even minimal credence, the broader belief in the supernatural should be much easier to accept than to deny.
To effectively dismiss the existence of God, a reasonable alternative explanation for all the written evidence associated with the supernatural must be credibly presented. The most widely expressed evidence is related to what I have already mentioned . ALL religion originates from Man. In many religions, that is quite obvious as one is introduced to their unique explanation of their god(s). So it is convenient for some to conclude that someone just invented it; that Man created God.
I do NOT believe that, nor is such a conviction the result of my personal research or experience. However, there is some credence to such thinking, and therein lies a danger of building a false foundation.
Man has in many cases actually made gods after their own imaginations and desires. These false gods and resulting false religions rightly receive the scorn and criticism of non-believers, adding substantially to the argument in favor of atheism.
But we must strive to avoid being dissuaded by a repulse of false dogma into the absolute rejection of ALL spiritual awareness. It is reasonable to conclude that if false doctrines exist, reliable and true doctrines also exist. There is no need of a counterfeit except to decieve people into believing it is the real thing; where there is a counterfeit, there is surely a genuine counterpart.
Combine this anonymous quote with the latter one from Goethe:
“A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a mere argument.”
“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
If you can accept and agree with those quotations then you are ready to continue a meaningful search for a proper revelation of GOD. Real experiences always trump unproved disputes, and the existence of God is THE thing that matters most and therefore, can never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
“But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have You made me like this?” – Ro. 9:20.
In conclusion, it should be obvious that if you do not believe in God and accept the Bible as the inspired written word of God, any quotation from scripture is meaningless. But I included it here because it sums up perfectly the correlation between what matters most and things that matter least. If your perspective is lacking godly influence and a personal experience with God, then before attempting to resume your search for truth, please consider intently these two passages.
“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” – Jer. 29:13.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” – Rev. 3:20.
God definitely does exist. While I realize that anyone reading this article this far is probably already a believer, in the remote possibility that you are not convinced, please give a most thouhtful pondering of those quotations from scripture. If they really are the invitations of GOD to seek and find Him and you decline, then you can no longer continue to reject the reports of millions of believers throughout history.
It is no longer the lack of evidence that supports your claims, but rather your lack of expereince. GOD attempted to reveal Himself to you, but you refused to answer the door.
Additionally, those who have a fundemental believe in God but still lack a real personal experience with Him would likewise do well to prayerfully consider most intently those two passages that invite us into a fuller and deeper and much more meaningful personal relationship with the Almighty Eternal God.
Your thoughts and comments are of course quite welcome. Please don’t hesitate to use the form below, or contact me personally. Peace!