How Do You Know God Exists?
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How Do You Know God Exists?
While this is a critically important question, the way you answer it is just as significant as the answer itself.
[Darris McNeely] How do you know God exists? Can you prove it? The way you answer that question is just as important as the answer itself.
When it comes down to it, the only person to whom you can prove the existence of God is yourself. In the end, that's all that matters. Each of us has to come to that answer ourselves, and so you ask, how much proof do you need?
I've been married to my wife, Debbie, for 48 years. We've raised two sons, we have four grandchildren. Nothing happens in our lives that we don't talk about, either before it happens or after it happens. We can finish each other's sentences, and we know each other's moods. In fact, we have a very close, loving relationship. I trust her and she trusts me. After 48 years, I know my wife very, very well. I know my wife exists not by faith or imagination but because we interact, because we have a relationship. I know my wife is very real.
Now, biology can submit that my wife exists and the scientific method can prove that she exists. But the scientific method cannot measure our relationship, the depth of our relationship. It can only make sense of the physical, not the spiritual. There's a famous atheist named, Christopher Hitchens. He was a very formidable atheistic arguer in his time but he conceded that he refused to believe in any God, not because it could be proved none exist, but because it could not be proved that one does exist. Science proves existence through sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. To a secular materialistic culture nothing exists that isn't physical. But if you look beyond the material, there is proof that God exists. The ultimate proof that God exists is what we call action. Action on our part, your part, action on God's part.
You see acting on the law of God you can prove by interacting and engaging with Him that He exists, by obeying God's teachings. Notice something God tells us, it's in the book of Malachi, it's dealing with the subject of tithing, but here's what God says, He says, "Will a man rob God? Yet you," it says, "have robbed Me!" He goes on and He said, "But you say in what way have we robbed You?" God says, "In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring the tithes into the storehouse," God says, "That there may be food in my house." And then He says this, "Try Me in this, If I will not open the doors and the windows of heaven for you and pour out for you such blessing there will not be room enough to receive it all."
What God is telling man in that passage of scripture is to prove the truth. Prove the truth of His word by action. In this case it's dealing with tithing, part of God's law, but really it applies to all parts of God's law and his way of life. No one will argue you out of that type of proof that you've proven by action. It's a combination of true faith plus experience. And when you've done this, you have met and come into contact with God. You know Him, He's real to you, and He exists.
Now most likely you believe that there is a God that does exist, but let me ask you this question. Can you prove your belief? What type of proof is conclusive for you? Think about that. What is the proof that you require? You see, you can prove the existence of God beyond any doubt. I'm convinced of that, many people are as well. How you do this is critical to maintaining your belief. You see, there's a wrong way to arrive at a correct conclusion, wrong way to arrive at a correct conclusion. That's why math teachers ask you to show your work. "How did you get to that answer?" they ask you. You can guess the right answer. I used to do that a lot myself, but guesses don't always stand up to scrutiny. The way you arrive at the answer is as important as the answer itself, the way you arrive is as important as the answer.
When I was a student in college in Southern California, I visited one time with our astronomy class Mount Palomar Observatory, huge Hale telescope that it is there. The curator director of the site was taking us around that, at one point I remember him saying to us, "Most scientists who come here and look through this huge telescope will privately," he said, “if not publicly admit that there is an intelligent design, a creator behind the stars and galaxies they observed and study." Now there was one such astronomer. His name was Alan Sandage. Alan Sandage spent a whole lifetime looking through telescopes hoping to understand the origin and the destiny of the universe. All of his life he had a question. Why is there something from nothing, as he observed it. After many years of research Sandage came to the point where he actually willed himself to accept that God was the answer behind what he was looking at. Here's what he said. "It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science." He went on to say, "it's only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence." This one scientist's experience confirms the balanced judgment of the great physicist, Albert Einstein. Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
Today we're going to look at some proofs for God's existence. Remember what I said though, that it is how you come to the answer, how you figure it out, that's really important. Our study aid that we are offering on this program today is "Life's Ultimate Question: Does God exist?" It's free and it goes into this important question. It can be a very invaluable aid to any to work with yourself, with your children, with your grandchildren on this very important question.
Every day brings some new challenge to faith and belief in God. Your children are taught that evolutionary process resulted in life on this earth but the biblical account says that God created human life as a unique part of His creation. That's not taught though. So many ideas work to destroy confidence in the biblical record when it comes to the creator, God, who fashioned man in His image. It's an important question. And you need the facts, you need the answers, you need our study guide, "Does God Exist?" So please go online to beyondtoday.tv or call the number on your screen.
Now, let's look at some ways by which people can prove that there is a God. We're going to examine three different ways here today. The first is the idea that the universe had a cause. It’s part of what is called a cosmological argument. That's a big Greek word there, but it's pretty easy to understand. The argument essentially is this that everything within the universe requires a prior cause including the universe itself. If it had a beginning, then it had a cause. Now that idea of beginning and a cause matches up with true science. Francis Bacon, who is called the father of modern science, said this. He said, "True knowledge is knowledge by cause." Science is about causes. Finding the cause and the reason for the material world. It's undeniable that nothing happens in this universe without a cause, that's true science. And it's accepted today that the universe that we observe did have a beginning. A common name for this is called the Big Bang. The Big Bang idea, some call it a theory, but it's pretty well accepted. Perhaps the first accepted evidence that the universe began with this big bang was when scientists looked through their powerful telescopes and they saw evidence that the universe was expanding in every direction they looked. Now Einstein, Albert Einstein realized this. He made a trip to the Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California. They have a 100-inch telescope there and that was the largest at the time. He looked through it and saw that and he realized that the universe was expanding and he concluded, he said, "I want to know how God created the world. I want to know His thought. The rest," he says, "are details."
The universe came into existence in a moment of light and energy. And at that point time and space began with that singular event and continues, the universe continues to expand today, as we speak. Now this occurred, according to scientists, some 14 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million all right? A long time ago.
Another scientist, a man by the name of Robert Jastrow, very famous with NASA. He wrote a book called "God and the Astronomer." And in it he said this, "We see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ," he says, "but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time in a flash of light and energy." This is his conclusion. Now, Jastrow's statement led other scientists to a conclusion that the beginning of the universe was nothing less than supernatural. And yet there are people, scientists, very intelligent people who would not accept this as convincing proof of God's existence. In fact ingenious theories have been devised to explain a universe as we see it without a divine Creator, no intelligent cause. The result they say purely of physical forces coming together to produce what we see and the agnostic and the atheist can live with such an explanation.
Second point. The laws of physics are very finely tuned and they are sustained. The physical and the mathematical laws of the universe, such as gravity, the speed of light appear to be finely tuned and sustained and they're working. Here's how it's explained. If you look at a watch, very nice timepiece that we have on our wrists in alot of cases, a very fine watch design highly designed crafted piece of jewelry, hundreds of parts put together to work accurately and consistently to keep time. Now the idea is the watch didn't put itself together. It was put together by a designer, by a craftsman, only the mind of a designer could have created such a masterpiece and caused it to work in that way. Thus the argument goes, we have a finely tuned universe put together by an act of a designer, that many would call God. There was another scientist, he was a physicist and actually he was first a theologian then he became a physicist, his name was John Polkinghorne. And he put it this way. He said, "When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly fine-tuned to produce the universe that we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind, there must be a purpose behind it." Now personally, I find that to be very convincing as an explanation to believe in God, but again some people would not accept that. They reason that given enough time, given enough opportunity, the universe could have put itself together as we see it. The same people might argue that given enough time and paper, a lot of paper, a monkey could pick out a letter, a volume of the encyclopedia on a typewriter or the keyboard of a computer.
Cosmologies are compelling proof that the world we observe exists because of the mind of a divine being and that is admitted by scientists, and it matches what's really described in the Bible. In Psalm 19:1, it says, "The heavens declare "the glory of God." The heavens declare the glory of God. It's the same thing that Paul wrote in his own words in Romans 1, where he said, "Since the beginning "of the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead."
There's one more explanation that we should consider. It's called design in nature. In other words we see structure across all the various systems of nature, particularly in microbiology, that act in a way cutting like machines in that they are very complex, irreducible, finely tuned, and clearly have a purpose. The best explanation the scientists look at these matters for, these complex features of nature whether it's a cell or some other part of the universe, they come up with the idea that there's an intelligent cause behind this. One of the leading proponents of this idea of intelligent cause or intelligent design is a man named Stephen Meyer, Dr. Stephen Meyer. And he says this, that intelligent design is an inference to the best explanation. An inference to the best explanation. What it means is that intelligent design is the best explanation for certain features of nature. Dr. Meyer says that this can inform the building block of a larger argument for the existence of a designer through the use of established scientific methods.
Now again people like us, we would then conclude that this intelligent source is God, the God described in scripture. We would turn to Psalm 139 and we would read there it says, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Now, as I've studied this I've concluded in my own thought and mind that this intelligent source behind intelligent design is God. The God of Abraham who declares end from the beginning who says that He stretched out the universe and the heavens. All of these arguments gives added weight to the self-evidence scriptures. Like what we find in Genesis 1:1 where it says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." It's a self-evident scripture. But when you look at the design of the universe to me, to you, many of you, that affirms this. In Isaiah 46:9, it says, "For I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me." Of course, again, for many people today there's nothing to convince them that there is a God. In that sense you have to come to the conclusion of Psalm 14, where it says, "The fool says there is no God." But for you any of these combinations offer enough proof, final convincing proof? That must come from the way that we have not considered.
Remember it's how we prove God, the manner by which we prove God exists, that is critically important. Again, I'd like to offer the booklet, "Does God Exist?" to our viewing audience today. One that many of us have read and looked at. It talks about this amazing earth on which we live where scientists from so many fields have discovered that the planet that we live on teems with life and seems to be expressly designed for life. Showing that an amazing intelligence is behind all of these conditions and leaves us the question really to consider, what is that intelligence telling us? Well you can begin reading this immediately online at beyondtoday.tv, or you can download that copy or get one mailed to you by calling or writing to the address that is on your screen. We'll send it right out. It's a very well put together booklet.
Now as we've seen there are many ways to look at the question, does God exist? For you it may be what you've always believed and accepted without any critical examination. In fact you may think that it's wrong to unnecessarily engage beyond what you believe. But as I've shown, science can neither prove or disprove the existence of a God or the spirit world. That's beyond the realm of science to do so. It's futile even to argue the case. People entrenched in their belief are hard to move for many reasons. When it comes down to it, the only person to whom you can prove the existence of God is yourself. In the end, that's all that matters. And so you ask how much proof do you need? Really, each of us has to come to that answer ourselves. You will know that you have enough proof when you're willing to die for the truth that you believe. You will know that you have enough proof when you are ready to endure any trial and difficulty in life that might test your loyalty and your love for your God that you believe in. You will know that you have enough proof when you make the decision to live your life all the way to the end of your life in the faith that you have in God and His word.
What we have discussed as arguments for God, they're all good arguments, they're fascinating, they offer understanding to support a belief in God, but none of them are enough by themselves to ground us in a final convincing proof. The final conviction and proof of God must come from a different way, not from yourself, from argument or even from philosophy, not even the proof of cosmology or intelligent design. Remember I've said, the way you come to your answer is what is important. The ultimate proof is from action, acting on the teaching and the laws of God, interacting and engaging with God that we read about in His word. The God that we come to love, trust, and have confidence in, His goodness and His faithfulness. We experience and we build a relationship with God. The Bible says that this is how we know God: if we keep His commandments, obedience, action, living by those.
Remember I said earlier I have a wife, my wife Debbie, of 48 years. I know she exists. Not by faith or imagination. We interact, we talk, we have a relationship. I know my wife is real. That's how we prove God. That's how we prove that God exists. And that He is real. God says through the Prophet Malachi that we read earlier, prove me now, prove me. That's how we prove God, by obeying His word, by talking with Him, by trusting His promises that are revealed in His word, the Bible. And discovering that they work, that they form a basic fruitful happy successful life that can't be measured. The spiritual law of God is truth.
In Psalm 34 it says, "The angel of the Lord is a guard. He surrounds and defends all who fear Him.” And it makes a statement there, "Taste and see that the Lord is good. All the joys of those who take refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you, His godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need." Taste and see, that's how we prove God. So when we have prayed to the one who says He is God and obey what He says is right and prove Him to be true, then we move beyond just a moral, philosophical argument. We know that God, by experiencing Him at the level of the heart and not just the mind. Proving God fully is done in the heart. And it is on our heart that God writes His law, the expression of His mind and His character. And that's a combination of true faith and experience. And when you've done this, you experience God at the level of the spirit which is where Christ tells us that we must experience that relationship with God. That's how we come into contact with the true God and His son Jesus Christ, and you can prove God that way through a relationship each day. And you will not forget that God. I could move away from my wife and in time I'd probably forget her, but I don't plan to do that. And I don't plan to move away from that God that I have come to know.
Now's the time to develop that deep meaningful relationship. The booklet that we're offering on this program today, "Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exists?" is so important. Even if you believe in God you will benefit from a study of the topic through this free study aid that we have. God does exist. And this tool could help you, your children, and your grandchildren, and develop that. Go online to beyondtoday.tv or call or write the number on your screen for your free copy. How we come to the proof of God is as important as proving He exists. Science can reject a divine Creator and stumble in their vanity. Religion can be blinded by not seeing the true God. But you can act and prove your way to a relationship with God who is loving and provides perfect judgment and justice on this earth. That's the God that exists. And that is the God you can know.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today's program, "Does God Exist?" Is there a God? We've all asked ourselves this question. Some don't believe He exists. Others believe in Him, out of faith alone, thinking it's impossible to prove His existence. What about you? Have you proven whether God exists? This free study aid, "Does God Exist?" will help you prove God does exist. It lays out in plain language the amazing scientific discoveries that refute evolution and point to a creator and master designer. You may be surprised to learn that the deeper scientists dig into the mysteries of life and the universe, the more their discoveries support God's existence. Order now, call toll-free, 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. The truth of God's existence will strengthen your faith and belief in ways you never thought possible and lead you to a more meaningful relationship with your creator. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to Beyond Today Magazine. Beyond Today Magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year, you'll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, "Does God Exist?" and your free one-year subscription to Beyond Today Magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv
[Gary Petty] In today's world of confusion, disorder and suffering, fellowshipping with others and learning the truth from God's word is more important than ever. Hi, I'm Gary Petty, a Pastor with United Church of God. If you're looking for a church that encourages living with the word of God really teaches, you found the right place. We're a community of believers dedicated to seeking the truth and preaching the good news of the coming kingdom of God. We'd like to welcome you to come and join us on this spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Visit ucg.org to find a church near you. We're looking forward to meeting you soon.