Does God Exist?

October 12, 2018

To be human means to be aware of one’s existence and to have questions about existence. One of the basic questions involves God. Does God exist? Nine out of ten adults in our country believe in the existence of some kind of God. Two out of three adults would describe God as the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe. The remaining one-third is divided among those who say there is no God (1 in 10), those who believe that God has a different nature, and those who believe divinity is within them.

We each approach the task of answering that question in our own way. Some of us grow up believing in God. Yet child-like faith often goes in search for solid answers as an adult. Some are raised with skepticism, yet spiritual hunger leads to reexamination. What brings belief in God into focus may vary. Baxter told the story of a Russian scientist who reflected on a child’s ear as the child sat in his lap. That was the catalyst for concluding the universe needed a designer, and therefore, God exists. Whatever the catalyst may be for our thinking, we have two basic areas of evidence to examine: the world around us including human nature and the claims of religious texts. Has God revealed something about Himself in nature? Has God given a special revelation of Himself in words?

As we ponder our world, what is a sufficient cause for the universe? Either there is an eternal God or eternal matter. In a universe that is running down, it seems to take greater faith to believe in eternal matter with oscillating universes or multiverses than to believe in God, the Creator.

One hundred plus years after Charles Darwin, a new crop of scientists is questioning the sufficiency of chance and natural selection to explain life. Life is more complex than Darwin could imagine. Books like Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box open again the debate about a designer. Is it easier to believe in God, the Designer, or blind chance?

Human nature also argues for the existence of God. My sense of ought, of what is right, fair, and just, cries out for a standard by which such things can be measured. If God does not exist, then there are no moral absolutes. Yet, from a toddler’s cry, “It’s not fair!” to an adult’s struggle with ethical decisions, human nature seems to argue for a Moral Being, a first cause of morality.

The explanation for the Bible that seems to best fit the evidence is that God exists and that He has inspired it. The unity of the Bible seems beyond human achievement. The Bible anticipates findings of modern science. It contains predictive prophecy.

We must wrestle with the evidence from our world and from the Bible. It’s a very basic question about life. Do you believe God exists?


The Parable of $100,000

October 5, 2018

The Bible reader must be careful. The message must be properly understood and not distorted. Sometimes passages do need further enlightenment that will change our perspective. This may come from considering all that scripture says on a subject, allowing scripture to interpret scripture. It may arise from new insights gained from history, customs, geography, understanding literary forms, or the biblical languages.

Yet, there is also the danger that we will fail to understand and apply simply because we don’t like what it says—our own willfulness gets in the way. Maybe scripture challenges our beliefs and attitudes, and we shrink away. Søren Kierkegaard told a challenging little parable of $100,000:

Suppose that it was said in the New Testament—we can surely suppose it—that it is God’s will that every man should have 100,000 dollars: Do you think there would be any question of a commentary? Or would not everyone rather say, “It’s easy enough to understand, there’s no need of a commentary, let us for heaven’s sake keep clear of commentaries—they could perhaps make it doubtful whether it is really as it is written. (And with their help we even run the risk that it may become doubtful.) But we prefer it to be as it stands written there, so away will all commentaries!”

But what is found in the New Testament (about the narrow way, dying to the world, and so on) is not at all more difficult to understand than this matter of the 100,000 dollars. The difficulty lies elsewhere, in that it does not please us—and so we must have commentaries and professors and commentaries: for it is not a case of “risking” that it may become doubtful to us, for we really wish it to be doubtful, and we have a tiny hope that the commentaries may make it so.

Let us be careful readers and students of the Bible searching for the truth (see Acts 17:11). Yet, let us not protect our hearts from scripture’s rigorous demands, but allow it to challenge and change us. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NASB).