One of the big questions going around nowadays is the question of God’s existence. How can I know that God really exists? Is it even possible to find out if God is really real?
Often, when Christ-followers address this question, we are tempted to stretch the reach and power of reason and science too far. Because we’re so convinced of God’s existence, we want to use every possible proof we can find to convince others that God exists. Unfortunately, in so doing, we sometimes make claims that we can’t fully support from reason and science alone.
It’s healthy for us to remember that we see things the way we do because of the unique perspective we have. And that perspective is something that doesn’t come naturally. It’s the perspective of faith, and that perspective is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. The Bible says, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3, NIV).
Also, as Christ-followers, we acknowledge that our perspective is not going to be easily accepted by those who don’t have faith. And that’s to be expected. Those who believe in God are seeing life and the world around them through a completely different set of lenses than those who don’t.
It’s literally like looking at the world through different colored glasses. If one person is wearing dark sunglasses, perhaps with a very deep blue hue, they are going to see their world differently than those looking through clear glasses. To put it plainly, the facts remain the same, but the interpretation of the facts will differ.
The apostle Paul acknowledged the difficulty, actually the impossibility, of reaching the same conclusions as those who don't share our lenses of faith. He wrote to the Corinthians:“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV).
Does that mean that human reason and science have no place in determining the existence of God? Not at all. Christ-followers use their reason all the time, and love to ask reasonable questions. Here are some questions that we ask:
- Is it possible that there is knowledge in existence that is greater than what we, as human beings, can currently grasp or understand? The apostle Paul declares that such knowledge does indeed exist:“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" (Romans 11:33-34, NIV)
- If such knowledge does indeed exist, is it reasonable to assume that we might not be seeing everything accurately if we resort only to what we can naturally observe by our current human powers of observation and investigation?
- What if there is a knowledge that needs to be revealed to us by a higher intellect?
- As our ability to observe and investigate has been enhanced in the past century through scientific and technological advancement, it appears that greater order, complexity, interconnectivity, and interdependence in our universe is being revealed all the time. Some have, in fact, called mathematics “God’s language.” What do such observations suggest about a designer of our universe?
- What about the concepts of morality and beauty, in which there seem to be natural inborn inclinations toward certain standards which, in many cases, are universal? If morality is simply culturally conditioned, why do cultures around the world react similarly to the same standards of morality? And standards of beauty, while not quite as universally similar, still raise the question: Why is it that humans find certain things “beautiful”? Is natural selection really an adequate explanation for this? For Christ-followers, the answer is no.
Can I prove, solely through the use of reason, that God exists? No. But I can still ask reasonable questions. I don’t need to prove that God is real because I acknowledge that I accept that by faith. Through my lenses, God has proved himself to be real by sending his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus declared, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19, NIV). In fact, Jesus goes further than that and asserts that he will prove the truth of his claims to those who listen to him: “In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37, NIV)
Knowing how Jesus lived his life, knowing the amazing things he accomplished in his life, leads us to one last reasonable question, doesn’t it?
What if Jesus’ claims are true?