We’ve spent the last five months looking at the Bible, and are now tackling what’s probably the biggest part of the series, the Doctrine of God. Starting with the question “Is there a God?” This will be an overview, but if you’re really interested in it, check out Dr. William Lane Craig, J. Warner Wallace, Greg Koukl, and Frank Turek for starters. That’s their specialty.
Let’s get started.
Why do we think there is a God?
Humans have a sense that there is something more, along with what we see in nature and what the Bible says. As creative forces ourselves, we sense a bigger creator, yet we don’t honor it (Romans 1:19-25). Though some don’t want there to be something greater than them, who may expect something from them like we expect things we make to do as we want (Romans 1:18,20,23,25).
Some claim they have no sense of God and deny Him (Psalm 14:1, 53:1, 10:3-4); however, it’s evident they have some sense when they call on a higher power or ask for prayer during times of trouble. Don’t sneer when they do, but pray and help them.
For Christians, the inner awareness is stronger. We see God as our Dad, ourselves as His children, and know Jesus with enough depth that we love him despite never seeing him (Romans 8:15-16; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 13: 8, 10; Colossians 1:27; John 14:23; 1 Peter 1:8).
Then there’s nature and Scripture. In the Bible, you won’t find a place that doesn’t assume God exists. Creation tells of his character (Romans 1:20), and the heavens of His power (Psalm 19:1-2). The complexity of us in comparison to the other animals reveals something of the image of God, as the only animal with a spiritual/religious instinct.
I need more than that, what other evidence do you have?
There are traditional philosophical proofs of God used to back up what we see. We’ll look at four:
- The Cosmological Argument which comes in two forms, horizontal and vertical, cause and sustaining. The first is this, everything has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause. Something caused it, therefore, God caused it. God has no cause, as God is a necessary being, what Socrates described as an unmoved mover that exist out of necessity.
He can’t not exist, or else everything falls apart (Colossians 1:17) as the vertical proof asserts; every part of the universe is dependent, so all the universe must be dependent, therefore, the whole universe is dependent right now on some independent Being beyond it for its existence.
- The Teleological Argument has roots in the Cosmological Argument, both borrowing from the principle of causality. The argument states that all complex design implies a designer, there is complex design in the universe, therefore, there must be a designer for the universe. Designs have a purpose.
- The Ontological Argument is a proof for what God has to be like in order to be God. If God exists, we must conceive of Him as a Maximally Great Being that cannot not exist, so God exists. It’s confusing, here’s another video.
The Moral Argument, the last one. Our conscience and Romans 2:12-15 agree on this. It’s stated like this, moral laws imply a moral lawgiver, there is an objective moral law, therefore, there is a moral lawgiver.
C.S. Lewis said that the problem of evil kept him from believing in God. That is until he realized by saying something was evil, he was implying something was good. Who said that was good, and the other evil? That was a lightbulb moment for him.
These help in overcoming the intellectual objections of unbelievers and give believers a firmer foundation for their faith. These are the simplest forms of the arguments, if you want to go deeper then get Dr. Norman Geisler’s The Big Book of Christian Apologetics; An A to Z Guide.
There’s still the matter of the heart issue.
What do you mean by that?
Our very nature is so hostile to God, it’s blinding.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4: 4
The apologetics arguments can help you know of God, an intellectual assent if you will (1 Corinthians 1:21), but it takes the power of God to help see and trust Him. It took me 31 years to do that (1 Corinthians 2:5). The good news is He’s chasing you, all you have to do is stop, and turn towards him.
How can I know God at all?
He has to reveal himself to us, and he does in general revelation (Romans 1:19). A lot of apologetic thought springs from that. The ultimate revelation, though, is Christ.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
That’s needed because we can misinterpret what is revealed in nature.
What do you mean?
It can be suppressed in wickedness (Romans 1:18) because if you think there is a creator, then it created you for something. That leads to two options: find out what it is, and submit or rebel. Wickedness darkened their thinking as they tried to find out, or made their own gods (Romans 1:21-23; 25). Jesus is the light that clears the thinking (John 1:1-5).
Next month we’ll answer the question, how can you know God?
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Chapter 9: The Existence of God
The Big Book of Christian Apologetics; An A to Z Guide by Dr. Norman Geisler
God, Evidence for. Pg 198