I believe that this question is the cornerstone of our faith. If we don’t have an answer, then our faith is blind and possibly dead.
Proverbs 14:15- The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.
The world tells us that we have faith in God because it gives us false hope. Marx called it “the opiate of the masses”. I obviously disagree with this, but I also disagree with those who have a “blind faith” that they never question. I’m not arguing that we must get all existential about why we believe, for instance, that a cabinet is black. Just because we’ve never thought about why we believe something doesn’t mean there is no good reason. Do other people agree that the cabinet is, in fact, black? Is there a record of it being black? Have you ever experienced the cabinet being some color other than black? If you think about it, there are lots of reasons why you believe it. You’ve just never spent any time thinking about it.
Belief in God is another issue entirely. It is something that we are forced to think about on a frequent basis. Our culture tells us that He doesn’t exist. The physical world screams that He does. Belief in Him is not easy and dis-belief has enormous consequences. This friction removes the possibility of our believing without knowing why; at least at some level. If we never think about why we believe ( or don’t believe!), then our belief is very superficial and lacks a needed foundation.
Our primary purpose, as Christians, should be to help others come to a belief in God. How can we do this without knowing our own reasons for believing? Are we saying to someone that they should believe and then have no answer when they ask, “Why?” I know that I sometimes avoid telling people about my belief purely because I don’t know the answer to that question. Shame on me! That person could have been placed in my path divinely so I could be a witness to them. What if I am the last Christian who has this opportunity with them? Are they to spend an eternity in hell because I
didn’t take the time to figure out why I believe? As a Christian, what could be more important?
I guess I need to figure out why I believe in God? If asked the question yesterday, I would have responded with some vague scientific facts and maybe a life experience or two that affirmed my belief. Today? I’m not sure.
I read a lot. I have read, probably, over a hundred books that deal with the evidence for God. The evidence is very compelling and there is way too much of it to go over in this forum. I would like to skim the surface though. I won’t make individual references, but I will list several good sources at the end of this article. Also, I believe in God, His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. All three are implied when I say that I believe in God.
The historicity of God is a subject that I love. I have always loved history, but my public school education caused there to be a disconnect between what I knew of history and what I knew of the Bible. I know that it’s hard to believe my high school didn’t teach Biblical History! It turns out that there is tons of historical evidence for world history as it is portrayed in the Bible. Many of the people , places, and events of the Old Testament that were once thought by historians to be myths, have been proven to have happened and existed. As archaeologists armed with new technologies continue to make discoveries, historians are forced to admit that the Bible is, indeed, more accurate than they thought. As more is discovered every year, it becomes harder to write off Biblical record as anything other than fact.
The New Testament is the most documented work of its time. We have multiple manuscripts for most of it, dating to within a generation of its writing. This is unheard of in ancient literature. Famous works like Homer’s The Iliad are reproduced from its oldest known manuscript that was written many centuries after the original. All of the New Testament that pertains to doctrine, people, and places is as accurate today as it was when it was written by the people who witnessed these events. How exciting is that? We are not reading a book that was doctored and warped as societies changed. We are reading the inspired word of God as it was recorded. Few doubt the existence of Christ and yet few believe He was the son of God. What was he if not our savior? Was He insane? That claim is hard to swallow given the intelligence of His teachings. Was He a genius, self-serving manipulator? This is unlikely due to the fact that He refused fame and acclamation. All that He received for His time on earth was a poor existence and a lonely painful death at the age of 33. Yet in three short years of ministry He impacted the world more than anyone in history.
If the historical evidence is vast, then the scientific evidence in mind blowing? Few honest scientists believe that Darwin’s evolution is the explanation for the world that surrounds us. Any “evidence” we may hear of is conjecture built upon theory that is sensationalized by the liberal media and education system. Much like historical record, scientific technology continues to rewrite what was once believed with what is written in the Bible. All the while, many scientist cling to their disbelief with theories of aliens and multiple realities. Some just admit that they don’t know where we came from , but stand firm in their belief that it couldn’t have been God. Physicists now realize that all time and space started from a single point. Hmm? Astronomers annually discover objects that are unfathomably far away. Try 13,200,000,000 light years away! ( a light year is the distance that light travels in a year) And that is just what we can detect. We continue to discover that everything is larger (and smaller- see “Fermions”) and more complex than previously thought. Biologists are discovering bacteria, viruses, and other things that can’t be explained by evolution. It seems that the more we discover about creation, the more we realize that it all points to God.
There are several known arguments for the philosophical belief in the existence of God. Some of those are Pascal’s Wager, The Ontological Argument, The Cosmological Argument (including the first cause argument), The Teleological Argument (i.e. the argument from design), and The Moral Argument. They are all convincing arguments but are a bit deeper than I want to go here. Let me just say that belief in God, based on philosophy, is easier than disbelief. I believe that we, as humans, inherently know that there is a God without being told. God is the basis for our beliefs in right and wrong, good and bad. Why would a being, evolved from nothing by chance, think that murder, theft, and rape are wrong? Without God, there would be no moral standard. Who could say that I shouldn’t kill the person who cuts me off in traffic? I also believe that we can know that there is a God merely by witnessing His creation.
Romans 1:20- For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
There are many more scholarly arguments for God’s existence, but I am not convinced that we can argue someone into belief. I don’t even think we need to. People will, ultimately, only believe what they are willing to believe. Most people don’t want to be accountable to whatever they think God is, so they refuse to believe no matter what evidence we present. In today’s Google world I can present a fairly compelling case that George Bush is an alien robot that masterminded 9/11 even though he is supposedly an idiot. A lot is presented as fact when it is merely conjecture. Even my previous arguments need to be checked against reputable sources and we still wouldn’t know the truth. Unless we are the one doing lab tests and studying ancient manuscripts the decision to believe the evidence comes down to what we’ve been presented with and by whom. What are our sources views? What does our source gain from our believing them? What are the sources motivations for coming to a conclusion? This goes both ways. An outspoken atheist studying the veracity of scripture might not be a trustworthy source. Even if they are trying to be honest in their assessment, their pre-conceived ideas and views will unwillingly taint their results. This is called ethical subjectivism. We may be able to convince someone that God exists using these arguments, but only if they are willing to believe. We will never argue them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Personal testimony is another source of belief. If the people around me say that the cabinet is black, I could probably draw the conclusion that this is true without seeing it myself. I must, of course, assess their motivations and views prior to believing them.
My belief in God is similar. I have been around Christians most of my life. I have heard their testimony of what God has done in their lives. I’ve had people tell me about how horrible they lived before they found God. I have seen God, apparently, change people in awesome ways. I have seen people put their trust in God and be rewarded for it in unimaginable ways. I have seen medical miracles that baffle doctors as the result of prayer. I have read books and heard testimony of even more miraculous things.
Personally, I have had countless prayers answered in ways that leave little doubt as to their cause. I once journaled my prayers every day for a year. I would notice a few obvious answers to my prayers right away, but most seemed like they went unanswered. Then I would look back several months and be amazed at the answers I had received and very thankful that some went unanswered despite my mindset at the time of the prayers. After years of infertility my wife and I were blessed to find out we were finally pregnant. The pregnancy progressed excellently until the day after the baby shower. Only a few weeks from our due date, our precious baby was gone. You might think this a weird thing to bring up as evidence of God, but it’s not. God gave me an irrational peace during this time. I was upset and sad and I poured out my emotions with my wife, but I was also able to trust God and be strong for Jeanette when she needed me most. We were able to hold are baby girl’s body in our arms and smile at God’s creation. I could not have done this on my own. God was with me. Today we have been trying again for 3 ½ years and our outlook is not good, yet I am still able to trust in God. I know that He will give us another child if that is part of His plan for us.
It’s the smallest of things and the biggest. I can see God’s hand every day in my life. I talk to Him and listen to Him through His word. I believe the vast amount of evidence I have seen and heard. I believe what people have told me. I believe what the Bible says. I believe because I know that I am God’s and He loves me.