By James D. Watts
The very idea of “God” is evidence of His existence. All peoples of the world have a concept of God or “gods,” a power outside themselves which is responsible for man’s being here and to whom man is ultimately responsible.
Where did man get this idea? Two possibilities seem apparent. One, God is a creation of man’s imagination. As someone aptly put it, “In the beginning God created man in his own image, and since then man has been returning the compliment.” The second is that the concept of God has its basis in reality. We must decide which is true.
The Bible begins with the assumption of God; nowhere does it set out to prove His existence. In the first place, one does not need to prove God, and secondly, one could not prove God – not concretely, as man would have it – if it were necessary. It is, and ever shall be, a matter of faith. Only in eternity, when we know as also we are known, will it be otherwise.
Faith is the belief of a proposition based upon testimony of witnesses. We must examine the evidence and consider the testimony, and then come to a conviction of faith.
Some approach the problem from a purely subjective point of view, which is completely unreliable. The lyrics of a song in a hymnal popular among brethren say, “He lives, You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart,” The Pentecostals, with their “feeling better felt than told,” could not say it better. However, the way a Christian knows God lives is by His Word. The word of the witnesses, Christ’s apostles, forms the testimony upon which our faith rests.
God Is Because We Are
Nature attests to the existence of an intelligent creator. Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” See also Psalm 139:14. The beauty and order that is characteristic of our world proclaims that God is. To say that it all happened by chance is to remove intelligence from the process of beginnings. When we allow intelligence to be behind the order of our universe, we have to acknowledge that intelligence is God.
Some have asked, “What if man eventually is able to produce life in the laboratory? What will that do to your faith in God?” It would only prove God’s existence all the more by demonstrating the role of intelligence in creation. It will show that man, using all his accumulated scientific knowledge, is finally able to do what God did in the beginning. I personally doubt that man will ever be able to produce a true life form. But should this happen – if man figures out how God did something in the beginning and then is able to duplicate it – to me it is only further evidence that man is indeed made in the image of God.
God Is Because The Bible Is
Revelation attests to the existence of God. The world of nature may give evidence of the fact that God is, but it is reserved for the realm of revelation to tell us about the character of God and His will for us.
The Bible is the most remarkable book in the world. It has done more for civilization than all of man’s books of philosophy. The Bible was written by about 40 men over a period of about 1,600 years. There was no possibility of collusion or conspiracy among them – yet there is unity from Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible claims to be the word of God. The expression “Thus saith the Lord” occurs about 2,600 times in the Old Testament. Jesus absolutely trusted the Scriptures to be the word of God. In Luke 24:44, He said, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, tht all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.”
Jesus also based what He taught about marriage on what was written from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-8).
The Bible is not primarily a book of science, although it contains some scientific information. It also contains a considerable amount of history. These are two areas where we can test its truthfulness and find corroboration from secular sources. When the Bible says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” there is no way we can test that short of eternity – and then it will be too late. But if the Bible is without error in those areas where it can be checked (science and history), we can be sure it is likewise true in others.
God Is Because Jesus Is
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is at once the foundation and capstone of Christianity. It is the conclusive evidence that God is and that Jesus is His Son. Others have come – and others will come – who claim to be God’s Son. One of the most notorious is the Korean Sun Myung Moon, who claims he is the third Messiah, after John the Baptist and Jesus. But consider the title of a recent book on him: The Moon is Not the Son. “The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is at once the foundation and capstone of Christianity.
Jesus said He could lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17-18). When God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 8:11), that proved the truthfulness of all that He taught. The false Christs cannot offer such demonstrations.
The point of the first sermons was the resurrection of Jesus. The apostles had only one message – Jesus Christ and Him crucified, who was raised to life again. They were willing to give their lives to preach that message, because they knew it to be true. They knew this message, the gospel, was the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). They knew that even if they lost their lives in the preaching of the gospel, He would give them eternal life. They were the witnesses of the resurrected body of Jesus. Would atheists be willing to give their lives for their non-faith?
God is! The Bible is His word and Jesus is His Son. The only thing that remains to be considered is what God is to you and me. What are we going to do about God? Are we going to love Him and obey Him? Or are we going to reject Him and neglect Him? He is the judge of the quick (living) and the dead. On the day of judgment every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to God. We may entertain doubts and be a skeptic here, but there will be no question then that God is. Will you confess Him now?
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 20, pp. 609, 633
October 18, 1984