Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Existence of God

The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God, it assumes it. The Puritan John Preston said, “Now concerning God, two things are to be known: (1) that He is, (2) what He is” (The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations).

It is Assumed in the Scriptures

Genesis 1:1 begins like this: “In the beginning God.” Moses, who wrote the book of Genesis also wrote Psalm 90 and in verse 2 He elaborates on the phrase in Genesis 1:1 when he says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” The apostle John makes an attempt at this in his gospel when speaking of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He says in John 1:1-2 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” You must understand when you hear the words “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-2, it is not saying that God has a beginning. In fact both of those verses say nothing about this. Genesis 1:1 takes us to the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth. John 1:1-2 takes us to the beginning but it’s not referring to the beginning of the Word to assume that He was created or had a beginning. No it is taking us into a realm where our understanding ceases to exist. The verse would be better read this way: “In the beginning, whenever there was a beginning, the Word! ”Psalm 90:2 states it appropriately: “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

It is Revealed in the Creation

We read verses like Psalm 19:1 which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Or Romans 1:19-20 which says, “Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” God has always existed. The Bible does not set out to prove this, it assumes it directly or in creation. William Temple gives us this warning: “It is much worse to have a false idea of God than no idea at all” (Christianity Today, Vol.34, No.3, September 15, 1989).

It is Proven Theologically

Let me give you 6 arguments that theologians propose:

Teleological - This comes from the Greek word teleios which means, “perfection,” “result,” or “end.” When you look at something that has been finished or perfected, we conclude its resulting design must have had a designer. (eg. Watch) Design implies a designer.

Ontological - Ontos is a Greek participle from the verb translated “to be.” This argument reasons that man’s ability to conceive of an absolutely perfect Being implies the reality and existence of that Being.

Aesthetical - Because there is beauty and truth in the world, it is logical to assume that somewhere in the universe is a standard upon which beauty and truth are based.

Volitional - Because man faces a myriad of choices and exercises volition, it is logical to assume that there must be an infinite will somewhere. The world exists as an expression of that will.

Moral - That we know there is right and wrong suggests the necessity of an absolute standard.

Cosmological - Cosmology is the argument of cause and effect. The world and the universe exist, and we conclude that someone made it. That makes more sense than believing that everything came out of nothing—that at one point nothing equaled all things—which is essentially what the theory of evolution says.

As we carefully examine the world, we learn more about the One who made it. The cause of limitless space must be infinite. The cause of endless time must be eternal. The cause of perpetual motion must be powerful. The cause of complexity must be omniscient. The cause of consciousness must be personal. The cause of feeling must be emotional. The cause of will must be volitional. The cause of ethical values must be moral. The cause of religious values must be spiritual. The cause of beauty must be aesthetic. The cause of righteousness must be holy. The cause of justice must be just. The cause of love must be loving. The cause of life must be living

Our world gives evidence that there must be a God who is the cause of all those qualities, which are merely reflections of His character. And the Bible substantiates everyone.

John Owen on Knowing God

No comments: