{2}           God (1): Existence of God

6.                 Does God exist?

a.  Naturalism: It holds that the universe is self-existent and self-operating. The world-process is purposeless and man is only the result of an accident.

b.  The Bible: It simply states the existence of God and does not attempt to prove it (Gen 1:1; Rev 1:8). We are to accept the existence of God by faith.

c.  Rational Arguments: But belief in God is not a purely subjective faith. It is objectively supported by events in the Scriptures, and by rational arguments using our reasoning.

7.                 Can we prove the existence of God?

§        There is no one fully conclusive proof but the cumulative effect of many inductive arguments makes the denial of God’s existence very difficult.

a.  Cosmological argument (related to the universe):

     The gradual “running down” of the universe shows there must be a First Cause at the beginning; this First Cause can only be an infinite great Being.

b.  Teleological argument (related to purpose of things):

     The design and purpose of the physical world prove the existence of an intelligent Being (Ro 1:19-20; Ps 94:9; Ps 19:1-2). It is extremely difficult to ascribe all these to chance. [Example: density of water highest at 4°C, complexity of the eye existed for sight.]

c.  Moral argument (related man’s morality):

     The existence of moral nature and moral order in man points to a source, a moral Being (Ro 2:14-15). Note: Naturalism and atheism cannot logically explain the origin of morality.

d.  Argument from the idea of God:

     We have in us the idea of God who is a perfect and absolute Being. But this idea has no objective reality (cannot be objectively proved). This idea must be originated from an existent perfect and absolute Being: God. Moreover, the idea of God is universal among all peoples.

e.  Argument from miracles:

     Observable events such as miracles and answers to prayer prove the existence of God.

     Miracles are the supernatural acts of God which intervene into natural laws. The purpose is to manifest the glory of God. In the Bible, miracles concentrate in the beginning of 4 periods in the history of the Kingdom of God: [1] Exodus (Age of the Law), [2] Elijah and Elisha (Age of the Prophets), [3] Jesus, [4] early church.

8.                 How does our human nature point to the existence of God?

A.  Miraculous mind: The human mind is uniquely designed to understand the world around us. We even strive to understand everything in the entire universe.

B.  Appreciation of love: Man appreciates “lovely” things even though “loveliness” cannot be precisely defined. We can appreciate music which expresses an eternal beauty.

C.  Self-consciousness and self-determination: Man is a personal being, able to make real conscious choices—not just responding to stimuli.

D.  Morality: Human beings are moral beings, striving to choose the “right” action. But morality cannot be explained by cultural norms (aiming at unity) or instinct (aiming at survival).

E.  Sense of eternity: Man has a yearning for something beyond what they experience day to day. Many search for paradise and eternal life (Ecc 3:11).

9.                 Why is it important to believe in the existence of God?

a.  Origin: The argument for the importance of a belief in God is called “Pascal’s Wager”, formulated by Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), one of the most intelligent person in history.

b.  Argument:

     Suppose logical reasoning by itself cannot decide for or against the existence of God; then we must “wager” on this question of utmost importance.

     If you place your bet with God, you lose nothing, even if it turns out that God does not exist, because then nothing happens after your death. But if you place your bet against God, and you are wrong and only find out after death that God does exist, you lose everything: God, eternal life, etc.

     Therefore the only good bet is to believe that God exists. If God exists, he wins the reward of eternal life; if God does not exist, at least he wins a good present life, with peace and joy.

10.            Can we know God?

a.  Man can have partial knowledge of God.

     The Bible presents God as incomprehensible (Isa 40:18). But the Bible also says that God can be known and that salvation comes from the knowledge of God (Jn 17:3; 1Jn 5:20).

     Man can have knowledge of God but not full comprehension. But this partial knowledge is perfectly adequate for the realization of the divine purpose in human life.

b.  God wants us to know Him: He communicates the knowledge of Himself to man (Hos 6:6).

c.  God reveals Himself through: (1) General revelation of nature (Ps 19:1; Ro 1:19-20; Ac 14:17); (2) Special revelation: (a) in history, (b) through Jesus, (c) by the Scriptures.

11.            Are miracles real?

A.  Definition of miracles: Skeptical people insist on two criteria: an event that is specially caused by God, and a violation of one or more of the laws of nature. Since natural laws were decided or ordained by God, He possesses the sovereignty to suspend it.

B.  Miracles of Jesus: They are proved to be authentic by: (1) undeniable historicity of the Gospel accounts. (2) other independent sources that recorded the miracles. (3) enemy attestation.

C.  No contradiction between miracles and science: Science has limitations.

(1)  Miracles were criticized as contradicting natural laws. But natural laws are only a description of how nature normally functions, and belief in miracles does not deny natural laws.

(2)  The rejection of the possibility of supernatural events is an example of confusing naturalism or scientism (believing Science as a god) with science.

(3)  Science has documented many real events that cannot currently be explained by science, such as near-death experience, spontaneous human combustion, exorcism, paranormal encounters, etc.

(4)  Supernatural influence appears to work even today such as between prayer and healing. Christians have given testimonies of events that cannot be explained by natural laws.