Does God Exist?
The question of the existence of God in the scope of human history is not a new one, but it is not particularly old either.
When one examines cultures throughout history there seems to have always been a “something greater” that is in control of it all.
For instance in school we studied Greek and Roman Mythology.
We know that the early Egyptians had multiple gods and even considered their Pharaoh to be a god.
As did the Romans.
We know that in the far East in places like India polytheism flourished.
Early indigenous peoples on our continent also worshiped various spirits.
It would seem it is in our human nature to worship something…and at times almost anything.
Perhaps you remember the movies in the 80’s, “The God’s Must Be Crazy” and the adventures brought on by the casual dropping of a Coca Cola bottle out of an airplane over a group of primitive people.
Still, the question haunts us.
And yet, we come from a place of faith, and it is virtually impossible for any who have come to this place, or perhaps tuned in from a far to begin with an absolute blank sleight.
Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
I have said from this pulpit many times that the way in which we understand those first four words will determine how we understand the rest of Scripture.
And though that is true, that has to do with Scripture, and that is where we come to a challenge within the logic of our argument.
Because we come to it with at least some seed of faith.
Yet others will come without faith and indeed they will come with an antagonistic bent towards anything “religious” or that one might consider Christian.
So, as we examine this question this morning I will not be able to just put up a bunch of Scriptures and we will just go from there as one who does not believe the Scriptures to be reliable would see that as an invalid resource.
Where to begin?
So where do we begin if we want to try and at least argue for the existence of God?
I don’t want to get too technical here, but there are two basic types of arguments for God’s existence:
a priori - deductive
a posteriori - inductive
Just about all theologians and philosophers admit to the validity and sufficiency of the latter method, though opinion is deeply divided regarding the former.
So, for today we’re going to look at the a posteriori argument, or perhaps better understood as the inductive argument.
Perhaps the most basic of arguments that was put forth by Thomas Aquinas and others is:
Motion, i.e. the passing from power to act, as it takes place in the universe implies a first unmoved Mover, who is God, else we should postulate an infinite series of movers, which is inconceivable.
What this is saying is, something or someone had to start it all.
Were there multiples of such “movers” they would cancel one another out as it would not be logical to think they were all moving in the same direction.
This is the basic argument that our Scriptures lay out in God’s conversation with Job,
One would think it seems as if God is saying don’t even ask the question.
I would remind you that it is God who is asking these questions?
Who laid the foundation of the earth?
Who determined its measurements?
Who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk?
Who laid the cornerstone?
We know or at least seem to know that this earth exists.
We can see it and the trees, the mountains, the oceans.
We feel the warmth of the sun, and enjoy the cool rain after a period of intense heat.
It was this physical evidence that started my journey of faith.
Evidence of God
I enjoy nature - and had studied ecosystems in school.
The balance that exists - life and death, food supply, and protection.
The intricate balance that is there is phenomenal.
And it’s not just on this planet but in our solar system.
Were the earth just a fraction closer to the sun our atmosphere would burn off and everything on earth would die.
If we were a fraction further than our furthest point from the sun our planet would freeze.
Were the earth’s journey around the sun not elliptical and were not the earth on a slanted axis in relation to the sun we would not have seasons.
So long all those summer veggies and fruits we so enjoy.
Indeed Psalm 19:1
Yet it’s not just external things we can see, when we examine the internal things:
The fact that blood can travel through your aorta at 40mph and you don’t explode!
The fact that we can digest food and all the processes that go into that.
The body’s ability to heal - think about it.
Notice those scars on your hands, remember how they got there and now you most likely hardly notice them.
And what do we do with our ability to think?
Where does an idea come from?
The Psalmist declares: Psalm 139:14
What about Right and Wrong?
Right and Wrong
Inherent in our minds is some basic idea of right and wrong.
How do we determine that things like murder are wrong?
This isn’t just some “self determined” morality, it has to be based on some morality outside of ourselves.
We talked last week about the idea if we can disprove the existence of God then we can disprove any standard for morality.
If we can disprove any standard for morality we can choose to do whatever we want, it’s our “own reality.”
Does God Exist?
Most in our culture would say that a God exists.
They may not put it in that phrasing, but most would contend that the stars aligned, or “it was meant to be” (a sort of fatalistic faith), etc. Interestingly its when we get to issues such as life and death that people seem to become more defensive of the existence of a supreme God out there.
So, if this is true, why then the lack of valuing others in our world?
We’re told in our Scriptures,
Genesis 1:26 (ESV)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...”
Image bearers of the Creator God, don’t value one another as such.
“God created man in his own image, and man was quick to return the favor.”
This question of whether God or a god exists is a question that most people would say is moot.
The reality is that most people even in our post-christian culture in the United States still believe in a god.
Though they may believe there is a god, they no longer would count this god as relational in any way.
Since they don’t know this god they don’t seek to behave the same.
So the question moves from Does God Exist to:
“If a Creator God Exists, Can We Know God?”
Can we as finite beings know a God that exists outside of our finite world?
If we can know that God, why would we want to?
A rather stern Christian teacher once told me “it’s not ours to question.”
I would contend that it is ours to question, and that questioning is a good thing.
Yet, we have to consider all of the evidence.
There is often a fear in teachers and Christian leaders that if someone asks a question they cannot answer that it somehow undermines their faith.
It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer, and that doesn’t mean the answer doesn’t exist.
The truth is you don’t know the answer …yet.
We all have questions.
The problem in too much of Christendom is that we’ve quit seeking the answers.
You simply don’t know yet.
Faith is a journey, this life is a journey.
Some have said our life here on earth is in preparation for heaven.
I don’t know about that, but I do know that there is much that we can learn about God here on earth and that definitely prepares us for what comes next.
Keep asking those questions and keep seeking the answers.