Is There A God?
“IS THERE A GOD?”
by: Steven J. Wallace
“Is there a God?” Such is the question asked by countless numbers throughout time. This question has been met with a resounding answer by a myriad of voices in switching the is and there. So we gladly join the ancient echo asserting, “There is a God!” As a shepherd boy, David stood before a giant of a man and an imposing army of infidels and said, “…And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel”[i] (1 Sam. 17:46). And such happened. Hundreds of years later, Daniel made this assertion to one of the most powerful rulers the world has ever known. He exclaimed to the perplexed Nebuchadnezzar, “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days….” (Dan. 2:28). Likewise, this happened.
The fact that you are reading this tract warrants another question: “Why are you interested in knowing there is a God?” If it is merely for academic interest, then pursuing this answer any further matters little. If, however, the impact of this answer weighs heavy on your mind, then please read on. If the answer to this question is sought so that you might develop a positive obedient relationship to the Creator, then please diligently investigate the claims that are made for the existence of God.
Answering The Skeptic’s Dissent
There are some dissenting voices that answer our question in the negative. Some of the reasons for their contention are listed below:
· Evil exists in the world. “If a good God exists, why doesn’t He eliminate all the evil in the world?” Yet one could argue just as effectively that the reason there is any good and righteousness in the world is because of a good God. The fact that good exists should suggest there was a giver of good. Inanimate matter cannot create goodness. Further, those who complain about evil are often engaging in what is evil (cheating on taxes, lying, fornication, etc.). God has created man as a free agent, and with such comes the ability to choose evil or good. If the presence of evil denies the existence of God, then shouldn’t the same prove the existence of an evil spirit? But then again, atheism rules out that possibility too; therefore those who make the above argument do not really believe in it.
· Religion is self‐contradictory. “If there is a God, why is there so much contradictory confusion in religion?” Yet, there is confusion and contradiction sown among any field of study that man engages in (health, science, child‐rearing, politics, etc.). It doesn’t disprove God but rather proves the fallibility of man’s thinking. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Truth is clear, but it is man who makes it confusing by adding self‐will to it (Jas. 3:16). Hence, Jesus warned that division would come because of Him and yet at the same time prayed for unity to be achieved (Lk. 12:51; Jn. 17:21).
· Theists behave immorally. “If there is a God, why do those who follow Him engage in immoral behavior?” Yet, the irony here is that if there is no God, then there is no real reason to gage if something is immoral or not? Any person’s subjective standard of right or wrong would be just as valid as the next person’s. Lying, stealing, homosexuality, polygamy, nakedness, pedophilia, adultery, murder, suppression, racism, etc. would simply be a matter of one’s own choice, outlook, and law. If the fact that some theists behave immorally discounts the existence of God, then why doesn’t the fact that some atheists are capable of making morally pure decisions prove there is a God? “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes” (Eccl. 7:29). If a good carpenter can build a house that one day falls down, why would it be inconceivable that a good God could build man right who could later seek out evil?
· Faith is a fallacy. “Anything can be proven by ‘faith,’ so ‘faith’ is futile in proving anything.” When secularists speak against faith, it is evident that they do not understand what faith is. Yet their grievance is with the contradictory nature of those who claim to have faith and use it as a scapegoat to not answer inquiry. Proper faith welcomes inquiry and is ready to give answers (1 Pet. 3:15). All “faith” is not equal. High‐quality faith is measured in the quality of evidences, the strength of reason, and the credibility of testimony. For example, who would believe the sun is cooler than the moon? The fact that temperature seems to consistently rise when the sun is observable implies the sun is hotter. Since it is consistently that way, the sun must be hotter than the moon. Furthermore, while none of us have personally met George Washington, we can be fully convinced that he was our first president and founder of this nation based upon historical literature. So even the Christian faith is based upon quality testimony and compelling evidences, rather than human speculation, so that we might have a full assurance of faith (see Rom. 10:17; Heb. 10:22; 11:1). Jesus did not shy away from providing evidence for His claims. “But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (Jn. 10:38). The evidence to believe the claim was in the works that Jesus provided. Little evidence does not produce a strong faith but rather a blind faith. No one escapes from having a form of faith. The “unbeliever” has to himself a belief. Even though there is no scientific evidence, many “unbelievers” believe that matter is eternal and that sometime in the past, non‐living material spawned living material. Such is a faith, but a faith without any sustaining scientific merit. The unbeliever has faith that there is no God, yet he cannot prove there is no God. To prove that there is no God in the universe, the unbeliever would have to traverse the universe, observing all that is observable with the naked eye as well as all that is not. Amazing as this would be, he would have to see it all at the same time. Think about it, he would have to be a god to prove there is no God!
· God is a “no show.” One atheist asserted,
“…when you read the New Testament and very early fathers, visions, miracles, visitations and so forth seemed to be expected. Pardon me then if I expect that the same God ought to be similarly visible today. But of course He isn’t. All (emp. his, sjw) the apostles needed more than vagaries and promises. They hid in the upper room and were convinced it was all over, until the risen Jesus appeared to them. Thomas wouldn’t believe the other apostles until he could see Jesus. Paul wasn’t listening to anyone’s arguments or evangelization until Jesus hit him with a flash‐bang. And when the apostles went out, they backed up their words with demonstrations of God’s power. So pardon me for expecting an active, ‘on site’ God, like the one described in the Bible.”[ii]
Interestingly, four major flaws are evident from the above. First, those who could beckon miraculous power were unable to use it for eccentric and selfish purposes. The article referred to above also chastened the existence of God, due to no answers being given for a prayer that was offered up in the healing of a loved one. Yet, Paul, who clearly believed in God and in the power of miracles, could not heal himself of his own “thorn in the flesh,” nor could he expect being spared from all of the threats, beatings, and physical punishments that came upon him for serving Christ (see 2 Cor. 12:7‐9; 11:23ff). He still maintained a manner of fear and trembling, despite the fact that he was a miracle worker (1 Cor. 2:3). Second, the purpose of miracle‐working was not to entertain but to confirm the word (Mk. 16:20). Jesus charged, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…” (Matt. 12:39). They were given signs but quickly dismissed them as being done through Satan (Matt. 12:24). Once something is confirmed, however, it does not need to be “reconfirmed” with every subsequent generation. It has been confirmed once and for all, and there is no need for God to personally be “on site” today to re‐do what He already accomplished. Third, even the greatest miracle worker the world ever knew spoke of a time and a blessed state when people would believe without seeing the actual physical evidence. “Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (Jn. 20:29, emp. mine). He further pointed out the futile plea of the lost rich man who pleaded for a resurrection of Lazarus so that other family members might believe and be saved.[iii] Finally, the fourth flaw is that the Scripture that speaks of miracles assured the early church that when revelation was complete, miracles would cease (1 Cor. 13:8–13).
Now that we have looked at the naysayers, what are some reasons why God does exist?
1. Life, Law, and Order
The Universe – Is it not amazing to contemplate on the constancies of nature? We can readily count on them. Laws in nature point to a Lawgiver. Please consider: Our world continues to spin exactly the same way every day (around 1000 miles an hour near the equator) and continues to orbit the sun at a speed of 18.59 miles per second, or almost 67,000 miles per hour. If the world stopped spinning, the atmosphere would continue to spin and scour everything on the surface of the earth. If the earth slowed down, the balance between day and night would adversely affect vegetation growth. The gravitational pull of the sun and the centrifugal force of the earth’s movement are perfectly balanced to keep the earth from being flung into outer space or conversely being drawn into the sun’s heat. The earth is the perfect size with the perfect atmosphere, while traveling and spinning at the perfect speed at the perfect distance from the sun to allow life to flourish. What is the probability of a universe without purpose and a guide to create by chance an environment suitable for life that is fixated with discovering purpose? “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Keep in mind that no other place in the universe has been discovered which is hospitable for life.
Also consider that our world has an abundance of water, something we may take for granted, but without which we would all die. The vast amount of water on earth is essential to fight stagnation and maintain our pristine water filtration and irrigation system described in Scripture and testified by men of science.[iv] Water from the oceanic storehouses evaporates into the heavens where it later falls upon the earth, sustaining plant life. It eventually collects in rivers and is deposited back again into the oceans. Essentially, the pure water we use, drink, and bathe in is recycled water that countless other life forms have used for thousands of years. How did this design come into existence? Who put the earth here with these laws and conditions so minutely perfect that life literally hangs in the balance? Are we to believe this is a product of chance or design? How could chance and chaos discover such fine‐tuned parameters to grow life? There is no chance that the conditions needed for life could have occurred without an intelligent guide. Scientists state that some of the conditions needed for complex life to exist on earth are proper gravitational force, proper placement in the small habitable region of our galaxy, an oxygen rich atmosphere, large land mass and liquid water, a home star of correct mass and temperature, an orbiting route that is not too close or too far away from the star, a large moon, and a magnetic field that is strong enough to deflect radiation. The chance of these conditions being met at the same time anywhere in the universe has been estimated to be .[v]
The Scriptures give us an intelligent answer as to why we observe such an orderly universe. The greatness of a house points to a superior architect. “…He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Heb. 3:3, 4). As we should easily know that the architect is superior to any house he builds, so the earth, the universe’s only known house for life, cries out that there is a God.
The Micro Universe – It is a scientific law (Biogenesis) that life begets life, and we can never overstate that fact. It has never been demonstrated or observed that nonliving material could spawn living material, and yet this is a fundamental requirement for the belief of evolution. The same could be said of intelligence: Non‐intelligent matter cannot spawn intelligent matter. Likewise, non‐emotional matter cannot independently spawn emotions. The formula for life is mind‐boggling, and yet there is a working complex code in play. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Ps. 139:14). David knew that there was nothing ordinary about life, and now scientists are discovering that not only is physical life peculiar to earth, but that also it is beautifully complex.
Living things are composed of living cells which have a network of functions housed within. Each individual cell is like a community; it has distinct roles carried out by various parts of the cell for its function and health. The human frame is composed of around fifty to one hundred trillion cells that work in unison for the function of the body. Each cell (red blood cells not included) has a nucleus—where deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is found. If this microscopic double helix strand of material could be unraveled, it would span over 6 feet in length from one single cell! Imagine therefore the total length of this informational strand of the human genome; if unwrapped, it would span to the moon and back thousands of times! This is an abundance of information, but more importantly it is workable information. One could swat a fly on the wall and produce, as it were, a “pool” of information. The information for life is there, but the code is broken. Likewise, information must be input, as it cannot arise out of non‐information. It requires a sender. Who or what do you suppose placed the information within living organisms? Since man and animals are the recipients of living information, it would seem that the sender of the information must be greater than man and animal. Therefore God is a reasonable and intelligent choice. “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).
As factual as this is, one should seemingly see the dilemma that atheism finds itself in. That life and intelligence are here cannot be denied. How life and intelligence presently arise cannot be denied either. The only reasonable explanation would be that life and its usable information and energy had to come from a reserve of greater life, greater energy, and greater intelligence. Lifeless, non‐intelligent matter cannot be a suitable answer for origins. Is it not unreasonable to believe that from “nothing” came “something” and from “lifeless matter” came “living matter”? When would “nothing” produce “something”? Can you imagine how out of “nothing” came “lifeless matter,” which then somehow produced “reason”? Yet for “lifeless matter” to produce “rational matter,” it would have had to intelligently reason in order to make “reason.” Honestly, does that sound reasonable?
A life‐giving, intelligent, emotional, personal creator must have been at the point of origin. Such is exactly the answer that is given from Scripture. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (Gen. 1:26). “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7).
2. Realized Prophecies
We started this tract out by referring to Daniel’s conference with Nebuchadnezzar, and the proof that Daniel gave for the existence of God was that Nebuchadnezzar’s disturbing dream would first be told to the king and then explained. Daniel later went on to explain the dream as a revelation of events that would unfold over the next several hundred years. He foretold the rise and fall of various world empires. He prophesied the fall of the Babylonian and rise of the Mede‐Persian, then the rise of the Greek and finally that of Rome. Additionally, the kingdom of God was foretold to be established during the days of the Roman kingdom (Dan. 2:44). History shows that the kingdom/church of Christ was established during this time (see Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9). We could list prophecies regarding other nations, people, and events. We could list several Old Testament Scriptures that foretold of the coming One. He would be born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem (Is. 7:14; Mic. 5:2). About 1000 years before Christ, Psalm 22:16 speaks of the crucifixion of Christ hundreds of years before the act of crucifying ever occurred and about one thousand years before the Christ came to have His hands and feet pierced. Some skeptics have tried to assert that Psalm 22:16 was manipulated by Christians to look like it was the hands and feet being pierced, but that the actual text reads “like a lion my hands and feet.” Besides the fact that such a rendering makes no sense in the passage, a Dead Sea Scroll (4QPsf) was found dating before the crucifixion and the church which rendered it as the boring or digging through the hands and feet. With the many fulfilled prophecies given in Scripture, we are compelled to believe in God. Paul argued,
“(as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom. 4:17).
Calling things into existence, like Abraham being a father of many nations when he was not, is prophetic. Only God could know that Abraham would become a father of many nations, which was not fulfilled until hundreds of years later.
3. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Some skeptics complain that if there is a God, why does He not show Himself? Why is He so silent from heaven? Why does He not interact with man? The good news is that God has manifested Himself to man. He came to earth, lived with His creation, walked among us, taught and modeled the will of the Father, and paid an awful penalty for sins which we committed.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16, emp. mine).
While leaders of other world religions claimed to be prophets and teachers (Muhammad, Confucius, etc.), only Jesus claimed to be God. If Jesus was God, then there is a God! Many could claim to be God. Such a claim would be crazy for anyone to make unless he could prove it by offering up supernatural proof. Hundreds of prophecies spanning hundreds of years anticipated the coming of the Messiah who would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, teach in parables, be rejected and betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, be killed, rise again, start a kingdom, and ascend back to the Father (Mic. 5:2; Is. 7:14; 9:6, 7; Is. 53; Ps. 16:10; Ps. 78:2; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14; Zech. 11:12). Sufficient proof to be God would entail fulfilling these types of ancient anticipations.
In addition to the fulfillment of prophecy and the vast amount of miracles Jesus performed on earth, His greatest proof to the claim of deity is His resurrection from the dead. Skeptics wanted proof to this claim, and Jesus was willing to provide such:
“So the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty‐six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said” (Jn. 2:18–22).
That Jesus really died and rose up again is evident from the fact that Pilate had Him professionally crucified. This is seen by both biblical and non‐biblical sources. “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (Jn. 19:33, 34). Further proof is boldly offered by the early disciples citing a well‐known prominent rich man who was at the burial of Christ—Joseph of Arimathea (see Matt. 27:57–60; Mk. 15:42–46; Lk. 23:50–53; Jn. 19:38–40). Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin which condemned Jesus to death, though he did not consent to the decision. Stating that Joseph was at his death was itself a fulfillment of Scripture which Jesus could not have manipulated. It gives solid confirmation to the death of Christ by having one like a prominent statesman at the grave site handling the body of Christ (see Is. 53:9). If these facts were not true, Joseph would have had the power to squelch the Christian system by denying that he was there or that the body was dead! A non‐biblical source corroborates:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, because the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the sect of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”[vi]
This substantiates that Jesus lived during the first century, that many revered Him as more than a man, that He was put to death by Pilate and that He lived afterwards. Some have tried to assert that His body was stolen (Matt. 28:12, 13). There is no evidence for that, as there were multiple sightings and interactions of Jesus with mortals afterwards (see 1 Corinthians 15). Such an accusation from the enemies of Jesus only verifies that the tomb where the dead body once laid was empty. This empty tomb and subsequent sighting of Jesus is precisely what explains the change in Saul of Tarsus, who was so adamantly opposed to Christianity that he would hunt down Christians, compel them to blaspheme, and cast his vote against them to be put to death (Acts 26:10, 11). Yet his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus brought a drastic reversal in him (Acts 9; Gal. 1:11–24). Our eyes are also taken into the very grave where Jesus’ body lay, and we find a very strange article that makes it impossible to reconcile with the “disciples stole the body” contention. The very handkerchief that had been around the head of our Lord was laying there, folded (Jn. 20:7). Thieves that break in and steal do not fold useless articles nicely and put them away.
These reasons present a landslide of evidence to know that God exists. Kind reader, “There is a God” just as certain as there is life. It is in the hope that you will, upon that knowledge, draw near to Him in obedience. Many know that God exists but suppress the truth to justify their own morally corrupt decisions and lifestyle. “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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:20, 21, emp. mine). The very power that is seen and tapped into from the creation cries out for a powerful Creator. Deny not that fact. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30, 31). He has ordered us to be baptized into that very death in order to be saved, that we might rise and walk in newness of life (Mk. 16:15, 16; Rom. 6:3, 4). Upon such evidence we owe Him nothing less than the confession of Thomas, “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).
[i] All verses are from the New King James Version.
[ii] Pardus, Leo “Reasons Why I Can No Longer Believe” http://de‐conversion.com/2007/11/08/reasons‐why‐i‐can‐no‐longer‐believe‐2‐god‐as‐a‐no‐show/
[iii] Luke 16:27‐31, “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
[iv] Ecclesiastes 1:7, “All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.”
[v] Strobel, Lee, 2006, The Case For A Creator, The Film, Illustra Media.
[vi] The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3.