moral argument Posts

How can I know God exists? (part one)

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1

Immediately we’re challenged by the verse. Why did God “set it up” this way- that we must come to Him by way of faith? If we think about it, this actually the great gift that god has given us. If He is truly God- infinite in all His qualities and eternal in time- how else would we come to Him? We cannot think our way to God any more than we can work our way to God. So it is by faith that we come to God.

Popular thought in our day, is the idea that fi you faith in something then it doesn’t matter so much what you believe as long as you are sincere. Really? You believe you can fly? Sincerely jump out of a plane without a parachute. People who are “sincere” can be sincerely wrong. It is the Object of your faith that matters. Biblical faith is not simply a leap in the dark but faith in a historical Person and a historical event- namely Jesus Christ- His perfect life, death, and resurrection.

How can I know that God exists? Recent surveys continue to show that 90% of all Americans believe in God. 80% said, “I never doubt the existence of God”. But can the Christian show that the God of the Bible truly is the only God- the One everyone must believe in- the One who claims He is the one and only God above all other gods (Exodus 20:1-5)?  We must be clear from the start that it is impossible to put God in a test tube or prove Him by science. In order for something to be proven by science it must be repeatable. History by its very nature is non-repeatable. You can’t prove a lot of things scientifically: How the world began; whether or not George Washington ever lived; what you did yesterday… but there is clear evidence that points directly to the existence of God.

Let’s check out eight arguments for the existence of the God of the Bible. Be ready pick the three that you think are the best arguments for the existence of God.

Eight Evidences for the Existence of God (part one- 1-4)

1. The Search for Something More

We all possess a need for God. Blaise Pascal, the great 17th century mathematician described this as the “God shaped vacuum” in every person. We all intuitively know that there is something more, something outside of us. This comes at us in many ways. We know we our world is broken, something is wrong. The challenge in the affluent West is that we live relatively comfortable lives and we have the ability to run to so many diversions, in order to medicate our pain. But now and then the fog is lifted when something happens that we cannot deny- a baby dies, we get cancer, someone opens fire in an elementary school or a theater and we think, “Wow, our world is broken! This is a mess.” But then we run back to our diversions. But they never last for long. We run to a new and improved self, we run to others, we run to the good things of the world, and we run to religion but none of it ends our search for something more. And here’s why: the solution to our problem is not found in us. It is something that comes from completely outside of us. It is Someone who is completely outside of us and it’s not another person. It’s not another girl or another guy. Men and women: it’s not your spouse. Parents: your child may be “student of the year” but your child makes a lousy god. If you’re running to them for purpose and meaning you will ultimately crush them. Do you believe that every person has an empty place that they are seeking to fill? Romans 1:18-22 affirms all of this.

 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools..” Romans 1:18-22

We know that God exists and if we do not embrace this truth it means that, “that by our unrighteousness we suppress the truth”. God placed within us a kind of homing device that calls us to Him. There is grace in this longing for something more and it should drive us to the Answer! Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God, “set eternity in the hearts of men”.

 2. Cause and Effect

This train of thought is simple Aristotelian logic based on the work of the great philospher, Aristotle and his foundational laws of logic. The Law of Cause and Effect is simple (note- “law” not a theory): No effect can be produced without a cause. We, humans, and the universe itself are effects that must have a cause. You eventually come to the “Uncaused Cause”- God. The fact that you exist is a great argument for the existence of God.

The context out of which atheistic evolutionary thought arose was the theological vacuum of the mid to late 1800s. The prevailing theological view at that time (particularly in western Europe) was summarized by Nietzche when he wrote, “God is dead.” – Nietzsche, 1883

Nietzche meant we had killed the concept of God, that He was “dead” to us in regard to His influence in our lives. Many theologians agreed that the concept of transcendence had lost any meaningful place in modern thought. God was no longer in the equation. So, with that prevailing thought already dominant in Europe in particular, we see the emergence of scientists and thought leaders who had eliminated God from their thought and work. So, by the mid to late 1800s scientists, like Charles Darwin began asking the ultimate questions of life: “Where did we come from?” (the question of origin), “What are we doing here?” (the question purpose), and “Where are we going”- (the question destiny). They came to the first question. “Where did we come from?” Well, not God because God is dead. God does not exist. So, they eliminated the answer before asking the question. “There is no God” So then, where did we come from? Let me suggest that when you eliminate the answer before you ask the question it will always lead to absurdity. It would be like eliminated the number 4 and then asking what is 2 + 2? 3.8? 5-ish? Absurd. Where did we come from? The response: Not God, we came from nothing! But, alas, that’s scientifically impossible. You can’t something from nothing and you can’t get living matter from non-living matter. But the dominant “scientific” position became that there is no God, so we came from nothing. Absurd. Impossible. Of course, someone noted: “Nietzsche is dead.” – God, 1900

3. Order and Design

No one would find a watch in the woods and their first thought be, “Wow, all these sticks and rocks, dirt and leaves must have come together and formed this thing, ticking away, keeping perfect time. No, the first thing we would think would be, “Someone has been here and someone made that watch. It didn’t just appear.” In fact, we would say that would be impossible. And yet, I look around in creation and I see things much more complex than a watch: the human eye that sees in 3-D and color, the heart that pumps on it’s own! Could a computer suddenly come into being without an intelligent designer? Could a monkey in a print shop randomly set Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in type? Could an eye that sees in 3-D and color happen by accident? Could the universe or the human body come into being without a Supreme Creator? Looking at the universe we see that there is design. Look at plain water. Water has a high specific heat. This means that chemical reactions in the human body are kept rather stable. If water had a low specific heat, we would “boil over” with the least amount of activity. The ocean is the world’s thermostat. The ocean keeps the earth warm in the winter and cool in the summer! If the earth were much smaller an atmosphere would be impossible. If larger the atmosphere would contain free hydrogen (like Jupiter and Saturn) and life would be impossible on earth. The distance from the sun is perfect for life on earth. The smallest percentage of change would make it to hot or too cold for life. These examples (and a million more) have led prominent Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson: “In some sense, the Universe knew we were coming.” SomeONE knew we were coming and created it all and with that we see a purpose in all things. The Universe is not an accident. You are not an accident. God has placed you here on purpose.

4. Meaning and Purpose

Apart from order outside ourselves, we all long for order within. Men and women through the ages have asked: “Why am I here?”

“What is life for? To die?  To kill myself at once?  No, I am afraid. To wait for death till it comes?  I fear that even more.  Then I must live. But what for? To die? And I could not escape that circle.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Life is just a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Vanity of vanities!  All is vanity!” Ecclesiastes 1:2- King Solomon (at the beginning of his search for meaning) It’s this pattern of thinking that led C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, to say: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

“The conclusion, when all has been heard is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”  Eccl. 12:13 – King Solomon (after his search for meaning) Our desire to live full and meaningful lives comes from God who made us for a purpose.

“Without God, what am I but a guide to my own destruction?” – St. Augustine

What will you do with the overwhelming evidence that points us to God? Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” Will you embrace the truth and worship God today or will you run off as if nothing happened? Tomorrow we’ll explore four more evidences for the existence of God and look further into exactly what has happened.

“Is there a God?”

Most people claim to believe in “God” but how can we even know He exists?  According to a survey last month (June 8, 2011) 92% of Americans believe in God- a number that has not changed much at all since 1940- when Gallop Polls started tracking this. As you look over “8 evidences” for God’s existence, I challenge you to pick your top three (in order) and be able to explain why you think those arguments are the strongest.

The definitive word in the Bible regarding atheism is this: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1.  In Romans 1 we see that God has revealed Himself clearly to us through creation and has made Himself “evident” to us so that we are “without excuse” (1:20).  In fact, He’s made His presence known “within” us (1:19).   

This is why I believe that every atheist is constantly trying to push the thought of God out of his mind.  I liken him to the man who went out and bought himself a new boomerang and he almost killed himself trying to throw away his old one.  Rick Warren recently tweeted, “I don’t believe in atheists. Therefore, there is zero possibility they exist.”

Before we begin our study of theism you must remember that you can’t prove God scientifically- science says that in order for something to be proven it must be repeatable.  Even history, by its nature can’t be repeatable. You can’t prove a lot of things by science.  BUT there is a lot of evidence that points to the clear existence of God.

8 Evidences for the Existence of God

1. The search for something more  There is something within all of us that sense there is something or Someone beyond us.“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” – Blaise Pascal

2. Cause and effect  There can be no effect without a cause. Every effect must have a cause.  All of us (and all of the Universe) are effects and God is the Cause.  Eventually you come to an “Uncaused Cause”- GOD.  Think about it: Can a computer suddenly come out of nowhere? Can matter suddenly exist from non-matter? Can life appear from non-life?  Can something come from nothing?  It is scientifically impossible.

3. Order and design  We see order and intelligent design throughout our world and the Universe.  I could choose a million examples but I’ll offer one.  Did you know that because water has a high specific heat your body is able to remain at a constant temperature?  As a result you r body can better absorb heat.  If water had a low specific heat you would “boil over” with the least amount of activity. 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water.  The oceans serve as the earth’s thermostat and keeps the planet cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  The distance of the earth from the sun, the tilt of it’s axis, the speed of it’s orbit, all make life possible on our planet.  The slightest degree of change in any aspect of the position in space would kill us all in no time.

4. Meaning and purpose  All of us are seeking meaning and purpose in life.  Where does this come from?  Consider a few famous people who wrestled with the meaning of life:

“What is life for? To die? To kill myself? To wait till death comes? I fear that even more. Then I must live. But what for? To die? And I could not escape that circle.” Leo Tolstoy

“Life is a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness.” Ernest Hemingway

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” –Solomon, Ecclesiastes 1:2

It was C. S. Lewis who said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”  It seems that God Himself has created us with a kind of “homing devise” and our hearts will not rest until we find our rest in Him.

5. The moral argument  If there is no God, where does our sense of right and wrong from?  Is that just an evolved state of consciousness?  Without an ultimate source of morality how do you explain a basic universal sense of right and wrong?

6. Love and emotion  If God does not exist how do explain love?  If it is not from God (the Author of love) then what are your options?  Is love an animal instinct?  Is it an evolved emotion or a chemical reaction?  How can you explain great acts of love, mercy, and compassion apart from a love God?

7. Jesus Christ  Of course the greatest proof of God’s existence is the fact that He actually came here and told us that He exists.  Jesus said that if we have seen Him, we’ve seen God. He said that He and God are One.  To see Him was to see God. To believe in Him was to believe in God and to reject Him was to reject God. Jesus revealed, not only that God exists, but He also showed us Who God is and what He is like.  Read these verses:

  • Hebrews 1:1-3
  • John 1:1-4, 14

8. Changed lives  Billions of lives have been changed by the power of God (including mine).  God has proven His existence by revealing Himself.  He desires to prove His existence and His love for you as well if only you will come to Him by faith.  Believe and then you will receive greater and greater understanding.  Which of the three evidences do you think are the most powerful?  Which one would you choose above the others?  If “changed lives” were used as proof of God’s existence and if you were brought to trial as evidence, would you be found guilty?