Existence, Names and Miracles
18. Does the Bible attempt
to prove the existence of God?
a. Who is God?
b. The Bible does not attempt to prove the existence
of God. It simply states the existence of God (Gen 1:1). His existence
is a presupposition. We have to accept the existence of God by faith.
God is the uncreated source, creator and provider of the
universe; a spirit; eternal; infinite and perfect in His being, wisdom,
power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
But it is not blind faith. It is primarily based on the Scriptures,
and secondarily based on rational arguments using our reasoning.
Can we objectively prove the existence of God?
a. Cosmological argument (related to the "universe"):
Inductive arguments (there are at least 20) about God’s existence
are probabilistic arguments, but so are scientific theories. There
is no fully conclusive proof but the cumulative effect of philosophical
arguments makes the denial of God’s existence very difficult (Ps 14:1).
However, the rational arguments are traditionally not used
to lead non-believers from unbelief to faith, but rather to confirm and
support faith of believers.
b. Teleological argument (related to the "purpose" of
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. Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics [which says: there
is less and less available energy in a system, example: a mixture of hot
and cold water] and the disintegration of radioactive elements, the universe
is running down like a clock. So possibility that the universe existed
from eternity is impossible; the universe must have a beginning and a First
c. Moral argument:
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 the natural phenomena characterized by intelligent
design to chance occurrences. [Example: density of water highest at 4 degrees,
complexity of the eye existed for sight, balance in the distribution of
heat on the earth, presence of the atmosphere and the protective ozone
d. Ontological argument (that branch of philosophy about
Man is characterized by knowledge, righteousness, holiness.
The source of all "good" must be absolutely good. The existence of moral
nature and moral order (absolute right or wrong, truth telling, deep-seated
sense of responsibility) in man points to a source, a moral Being (Ro 2:14-15).
e. Idea of God argument:
Man has the idea of an infinite and perfect being. But if
this being is only an idea and without reality, then this being is not
perfect because existence is a necessary part of perfection. Since the
very concept of perfection requires existence, an infinite and perfect
being must exist.
f. Argument from miracles:
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)
as compared to something like a storm. This idea must be originated from
God. [Example: the presence of the word ‘glacier’ on a flat tropical island;
the explanation for such word lies outside of their apparent environment.]
It is true that an idea may also be imagination of a few persons, but the
idea of God is universal among all peoples.
20. What is
the Biblical perspective on miracles?
a. Latin miraculum means a marvelous event or
an event which causes wonder. Biblical words describing miracles include
meanings such as "wonder", "display of power", "sign".
Observable supernatural events such as miracles prove the
existence of a higher intelligent Being.
Miracles are the supernatural acts of God which transcend
natural laws. Natural laws were originally decreed by God and God is not
obligated to follow the natural laws.
Purpose of miracles: revelation of God (a sign) and His works,
largely not for the benefit of believers; therefore some believe that miracles
must be public and observable.
Examples: Ex 15:13 demonstrated God’s mercy; Nu 16:30 demonstrated
God’s judgment; Dt 3:24 demonstrated God’s greatness and power; Ex 4:5
attested Moses’ divine mission; Jn 9:30 attested Christ’s claims.
In the Bible, recorded miracles were concentrated at the
beginning of 4 Biblical periods: (1) Age of Law in Exodus, (2) Age of Prophets
at the time of Elijah and Elisha (1Ki 17 to 2Ki 13), (3) Ministry of Jesus
in the gospels, and (4) early Church in Acts. The miracles help to initiate
a new stage in the history of the Kingdom of God.
c. The term "miracle" has often been applied too loosely.
Events not to be considered as miracles include: regeneration (born again),
ordinary answers to prayer (example: Eliezer’ prayer in Gen 24:12-20),
works of magic or deception, events of Satanic or demonic origin.
d. Modern miracles: Some believe that there have been
no miracles since apostolic times. However, we must not put limits on what
God can or cannot do; miracles can still happen today. Yet, we must be
cautious in applying the term "miracle" as many of the alleged miracles
have been found to be instances of self-deception, or even fraud.
How does the Bible address God?
a. The widely used name "Jehovah" is an inaccurate transliteration
of God’s name. The Hebrew name of God in the Bible was written as YHWH
because Hebrew alphabet does not contain any vowels. It is generally accepted
that the proper pronunciation is "Yahweh". However, observant Jews always
avoid saying the sacred name of God and would pronounce "Adonai" to substitute
for "Yahweh" when they read their Bible (Old Testament).
b. There are many names for God in the Bible. They were
given by God Himself and they are expressive of God’s being and His actions.
Some of these are selected below.
c. Old Testament names:
Yahweh – self-existent: "I am who I am" meaning forever present
Yahweh Jireh – God provides (Gen 22:13-14)
Yahweh Elohim – God the mighty one (Jdg 5:3)
Yahweh Raah – God is my shepherd (Ps 23:1)
Yahweh Sabbaoth – God of hosts (armies) (1Sa 1:3; 17:45;
Ps 24:10; 46:7,11)
Yahweh Shalom – God is peace (Jdg 6:24)
e. New Testament names:
Adonai – Lord, master (when avoid using Yahweh) (Ex 4:10-12;
Elohim – Mighty one (Gen 1:1,26-27; 3:5; 31:13; Dt 5:9; 6:4;
Ps 5:7; 86:15; 100:3)
El Elyon – Most high (Gen 14:18; Nu 24:16; Is 14:13-14)
Yeshua – Jesus, Yahweh is Saviour (Mt 16:13-16; Jn 6:42;
Ac 2:36; Titus 2:13; 2Pe 1:11)
Christos – Christ (Gr.), Messiah (Heb.), both meaning the
Anointed One (Mt 16:13-16; Jn 1:41; 20:31; Ac 2:36; Ro 6:23; Titus 2:13;
Kyrios – Lord, master (Lk 1:46; Ac 2:36; Jude 4; Rev 4:8)
Soter – Saviour, one who delivers from danger and death (Lk
Abba – Father (or more accurately, Daddy) (Ro 8:15;
Gal 4:6; Jas 1:17)