Updated: Nov 23, 2019
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The question of God’s existence is the subject of continual debate, one that has been part of human discussions in every generation. Is it possible to know God exists in the same manner that one “knows” Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States, that Chicago is a city in the Midwest, or that men have been to the Moon? Yes, it is possible to know there is a God and it is possible to know what God is like.
1. Nature reveals God to us.
Even the strongest skeptic recognizes that there is an apparent order in nature. The regularity of the sunrise and sunset, the beauty of a Spring morning and a thousand other sensations we experience suggest that what exists is the result of more than blind natural forces. God’s Word, the Bible teaches us that God’s existence is known to all human beings. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul, one of the biblical writers, who said:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
2. Human sinfulness seeks to suppress this self-evident awareness of God’s existence.
Atheists are not born, they are taught. No one comes into this world as an atheist. To reject the possibility of God’s existence requires a certain kind of education – an education whose starting assumptions are that there could not possibly be such a being as God. However, nearly everything about the physical world declares God exists. Why, then, do people deny God’s existence?
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
Although God’s existence can be known from observing the order and design of the physical universe, recognizing God as God still requires personal belief. To know that Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States requires some evidence that such a person actually existed and that he was elected to the presidency. It becomes a question of reliable evidence – are the historical records concerning this person accurate and trustworthy? A person can deny that Abraham Lincoln ever existed by rejecting evidence to the contrary, however, he or she must have strong evidence to support this rejection. In a similar way, a person can reject evidence of God’s existence. In both instances there is some element of faith – faith that the evidence is reliable.
3. Belief in God (or anything else) requires faith. Hebrews 11:1-6
The writer of Hebrews claims that whoever comes to God must “believe that he is . . . “ The clear implication of this verse is that the a key starting point is to believe that God is – that he exists. This is not some “leap of faith” that one takes in total blindness, but there are reasons to believe God exists. We can conclude from our observations about the world and human behavior that there must have been a being great enough to have brought into existence all of the different life forms, beauty and diversity that exists.