Answers to Skeptics: There IS a God!
“Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel.” ~ Isaiah 45:15
The question of God’s existence has plagued philosophers and theologians for thousands of years. For that reason, I don’t have any canned answers on the question and I’m not about to solve the problem. But I do have some thoughts that may cause you to rethink your position and help you reach your own conclusions.
I have met many people that have struggled with believing in the reality of God. This is especially true for very intellectual people. They feel that there is zero proof for God’s existence. How can a person put faith in a God who cannot be seen, felt, heard, touched, or smelled with his or her physical senses?
Some people deny God’s existence because they love their lifestyle. They surmise that if there were a God, they would have to be accountable to Him and change their behavior. As a result, they simply reject the notion that God exists so they would not have to feel accountable to anyone for their actions. For them, to believe that there is no God helps to appease their conscience in some way.
Others have experienced deep pain, sorrow and heartbreak in their lives. And many of them cannot understand why a good God would allow such things.
Even for the most devoted Christians, when tragedy strikes, faith is put into the salt-shaker.
No one can prove that God exists. Only evidences can be offered. I learned that early on.
When I first started down the path of being a Christian, I took a big interest in trying to convince my friends that God was real. Sometimes we would evaporate hours discussing the subject.
Enduring their antagonistic bombasts caused me to generate my own nagging doubts. It had gotten so bad that my path grew almost too dim to follow. But after processing the whole subject to near exhaustion, I discovered that I couldn’t deny that God exists, even if I tried.
Faith was present. And I couldn’t shake it.
Here are a few things to consider before you adopt the idea that no evidence exists for God’s existence:
1. The complexity, order, sophistication, and intricate design of the universe and all biological and botanical life give strong evidence for God’s existence.
There are only three alternatives to explain the origin of the universe: 1) It always existed, 2) It was created by chance, or 3) It was created by God.
The universe could not have always existed, for it is expanding and contracting. This suggests that it came into existence at a certain point in time.
The universe could not have been created by chance because it is too orderly and complex. It is a basic principle that the things which chance creates are always unorganized, irregular, inconsistent, and partially integrated. And whatever chance creates, it almost instantaneously destroys.
For example, if I continue to throw a chair into the air, by chance the chair will eventually fall to the ground on its four legs. However, the next time I throw it up, it will land on its back or side.
Suppose that we put a monkey in front of a computer keyboard. If the monkey stays at that keyboard long enough, he may eventually produce a coherent sentence (maybe after a few hundred years of typing!). The sentence may be: “Monkeys rule.”
However, with the next few strokes, the monkey will make that coherent sentence incoherent through his arbitrary typing: “Monkeys rule lsldksldfsdoaf.”
So whatever chance creates, it almost instantaneously destroys. Therefore, it is inconceivable to believe that chance could create anything complex and sophisticated, whether it be a watch, a car, a computer, or a human being. All of these things require a superior designer.
Therefore, the consistency, organization, symmetry, form, and purposefulness of the universe and all life forms testify compellingly to God’s existence. Would you not agree?
I mean, can you conceive of something as complex as the human brain simply coming into existence randomly by the forces of chance? That would be like believing that the computer I’m presently typing on just appeared without a designer.
Can you conceive that something as complex as human life emerged spontaneously out of nothing but random chance and long periods of time?
By my lights, it requires much more faith to believe that the universe always existed or that it was created by chance than to believe that God created it.
Incidentally, the “Big Bang” theory doesn’t solve much. For it doesn’t answer the probing question: “Who or what started the Bang in the first place?”
2. A natural and inborn desire for God in the heart of humans supports God’s existence.
Virtually every religion in the world believes in a Creator. And there is no culture on the planet that does not have a religion as a part of its tradition. So the belief in a Divine Person is universal.
It can be found in all cultures, nations, and tribes. Desire implies and indicates the existence of a real object. In other words, if a person desires something, it shows that the desired object exists in some form.
If, for example, I desire a car, a house, or a particular job, then my desire for these objects demonstrates their existence. Moreover, orphans desire parental love, even though they may have never seen their real parents or had a foster parent.
Someone may object, “Yes, but what about Santa Claus? Children desire him and he’s not real.” Yes, but the Santa Claus myth is that of a human being who gives gifts to people. And the myth was spawned from historical origins.
So every desire of the heart arises out of an existing object, even if that desire is tailored or reframed. Seeing that people in all cultures have a capacity and a desire to believe in, to know, and to fellowship with God, God must exist. The explanation for this, of course, is that God created humankind with a capacity to know Him and to fellowship with Him.
3. The multitude of answered prayers that cannot be explained by natural means affirms God’s existence.
What I have set forth thus far rests on the modern belief that everything can be answered by science or reason. But that belief is becoming old and tiresome. There is something within all of us that cries out for that which is unseen and spiritual.
Resting in the human heart is an authentic desire to experience God. My next two points relate to that intangible element which transcends reason, empirical proofs, and scientific models.
All who have known God throughout the span of time know that He is real by His response to their prayers and the specific guidance that He affords them in life. Neither coincidence nor chance could account for the thousands upon thousands of answers to specific prayers that Christians in the past and present have received. Many of these answered prayers were miraculous in nature and cannot be explained by empirical means.
I have met a lot of people who have tried to dismiss this fact. But none of them could prove that such reports were not genuine. Time and space would not permit me to describe the countless answers to prayer that I myself have received in my life, not to mention the countless number of others who have had the same experience.
Although this evidence is subjective, it is still an evidence for God’s existence.
I would also add that the belief in God has changed multitudes of lives. Those who meet God change. Sometimes in profound ways.
By contrast, I have never seen the philosophy of atheism sober an alcoholic, reform a criminal, deliver a drug addict, or transform a prostitute. But God’s transforming power and love has done all of these things in the lives of multitudes.
4. The sense that God is our Father within those who have met God.
Although this is a subjective evidence, it nevertheless remains a reality for those who have met the Lord. When we do not know God, He seems distant — like a stranger who lives in some unseen planet millions of miles away.
But upon meeting Him, something dramatic happens. We have the sense that He is near and that He is our Father. This being so, we instantly have an affinity for others who also know God. We have the sense that they are our relatives . . . our brothers and sisters. A kinship beyond words is discerned.
I have met Christians in other parts of the world. We had nothing in common except the Lord. Instantly, there was a common bond. We did not shake hands; we hugged. The sense of family was immediately present. And yet, we may not have said five words to one another beforehand.
The connection I am describing here goes beyond the natural affinities that people who hold common interests share. I cannot quite put my finger on how it is richer except to say that it is the result of God’s indwelling life, which is a very real thing. And it creates an invisible bond between those who possess it.
One of the major objections that some of my friends have had to my belief in God is the problem of human evil. The argument goes like this: “If God is good and all-powerful, how can He allow evil in the world? Since evil exists, it proves that God cannot be good and all-powerful.”
Modern philosophers have perfected this argument. But here’s a question I’d like to ask you in response.
If you were God, how would you remove evil from the world at this minute?
Most people answer saying, “I would just remove it with the snap of my fingers.”
My reply: You have just annihilated every breathing soul from planet earth . . . including you and me!
The reason? Because every person on the planet is either presently committing evil or they are capable of committing evil. So you just terminated us all.
It seems to me that God had two choices when He created humankind. He could have created humans without a free will. If He had, we would all be robots forced to follow His will at all times. The result would be no evil in the world. But God would get no pleasure out of it. Because we would be loving Him out of sheer force rather than free choice.
The other choice God had was to create beings with a free will who possessed the ability to choose to love Him or reject Him. The net result is that evil would be born in the world, for some would reject Him and live selfishly. Not to mention the insidious consequences that often follow those selfish actions.
But the amazing thing about God is that He is so wise as to take the evil that is inevitable and use it for good. To put it in a metaphor, God is masterful at drawing straight with crooked lines.
I know in my own life there have been many horrible experiences I endured because of the evil of others. I have also suffered as a consequence of my own foolish choices. But those experiences have always culminated in making me a stronger and better person. (Sometimes it takes years to make that discovery.) As one philosopher put it, “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”
These are just some things to consider.
Augustine said, “Do not seek to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”
Faith is simply trust. It is rooted in humility and is the tool of a child. It knows with the heart, not the mind. Though it doesn’t contradict reason.
Surprisingly, the Bible never sets out to prove God’s existence. The Lord has chosen to remain invisible. He is a God who hides Himself (Isaiah 45:15). He has chosen to remain unprovable.
One reason for this is because salvation is a work that is utterly His own. It is exclusively His doing. No person could ever boast about being saved because they were bright enough to figure out that God exists. Knowing Him is a matter of child-like faith that springs from humility, and it will always be so.
“The Lord resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” and “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” we are told in the Bible.
God reveals Himself to those with believing, child-like hearts.
While on earth, Jesus said, “I have hid these things from the wise and prudent, but revealed them unto babes.”
So be a child. Be a babe. For the kingdom of God is given to such.
Taken from www.frankviola.org. Used by permission.