Considering the Existence of God

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Considering the Existence of God

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“It is astonishing that any man can forebear enquiring whether there is a God; whether God is just; whether this life is the only state of existence” —Samuel Johnson

More than 200 years after the period of literary giant Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), journalist and historian Paul Johnson wrote: “The existence or non-existence of God is the most important question we humans are ever called to answer. If God does exist, and in consequence we are called to another life when this one ends … our life then becomes a preparation for eternity ” ( The Quest for God, p. 1, emphasis added).

All that said, even in our secular Western world the majority at least acknowledge the existence of God. So perhaps the more relevant question for our modern age remains: Is God real to us? Even the best of us occasionally behaves as if God is powerless to deal with our misdeeds: unable to forgive, free us from guilt and set us back on the right path.

However, the Bible tells us that “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
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). The patriarchs, prophets and apostles all experienced the reality of God in a personal way. Consider the patriarch Abraham. He learned over time that whatever God had promised He was able to perform (Romans 4:20-21 Romans 4:20-21 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
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Of course, the Bible itself never questions the existence of God. The Holy Scriptures are built upon the solid reality and presence of God. They are reliable witnesses to many personal encounters between God and His chosen servants—first the historic Hebrew prophets and later the first-century apostles. The Bible includes the Hebrew writers in the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
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) listed in Hebrews 11, which recounts the stories of many of God’s faithful servants.

Did God establish personal contact with certain people?

“God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am’ ” (Exodus 3:4 Exodus 3:4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
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This is the account of the burning bush—the first of many personal, direct conversations between God and Moses (compare Numbers 12:6-8 Numbers 12:6-8 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
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; Exodus 33:11 Exodus 33:11And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
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As professor Keith Ward wrote in his book Religion & Revelation , “When one reads the biblical accounts of revelation, one finds records of long, almost everyday, conversations between God and Moses. It is as though God is Moses’ companion, telling him in particular situations what he needs to do” (p. 115).

Truly God did appear to Moses, revealing His divine words, which the prophet carefully recorded for future generations. In the Bible we are told that “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Exodus 24:4 Exodus 24:4And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
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Did God clearly identify Himself?

“Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6 Exodus 3:6Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.
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The One Moses encountered was the God of the Hebrew patriarchs such as Abraham, who also had personal conversations with this same God (Genesis 18). Moses’ initial fearful reaction to the awesome presence of God is entirely understandable. Later he overcame that fear and requested to see God personally (compare Exodus 33:18-23 Exodus 33:18-23 18 And he said, I beseech you, show me your glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
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; Exodus 32:11-14 Exodus 32:11-14 11 And Moses sought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why does your wrath wax hot against your people, which you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
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; Deuteronomy 3:24 Deuteronomy 3:24O Lord GOD, you have begun to show your servant your greatness, and your mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to your works, and according to your might?
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).

Many today don’t know who and what God is! This fundamental knowledge has escaped the majority of mankind. The prophet Hosea lamented that the house of Israel had willingly lost and abandoned the knowledge of God, with tragic consequences (Hosea 4:1-6 Hosea 4:1-6 1 Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. 3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yes, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. 4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for your people are as they that strive with the priest. 5 Therefore shall you fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with you in the night, and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
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). How much more in this present age!

Do the biblical prophets tell us who the Creator is?

“Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it” (Isaiah 42:5 Isaiah 42:5Thus said God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
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God clearly tells us that He is the Creator of both the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
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)—and human beings (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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; compare Acts 17:24-26 Acts 17:24-26 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
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From time to time throughout history God has chosen to remind certain men that He is the Creator of all things. The patriarch Job was one such man. Four chapters in the book of Job are devoted to God extolling the intricate wonders of His creation (Job 38-41). Genesis 1 is not the only chapter about creation in the Bible.

Can we understand more about God through His creation?

“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 …” (Romans 1:20 Romans 1:20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
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A millennium earlier, King David similarly expressed the understanding that God also reveals Himself through His wondrous creation (compare Psalms 19:1-6 Psalms 19:1-6 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. 2 Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit to the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
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). It makes a lot of sense to most human beings that the creation requires a Creator. Just as a finely tuned watch doesn’t come into existence by itself, so our magnificent, awe-inspiring universe did not somehow create itself. God carefully planned, crafted and created it. He is not a blind watchmaker. God fully understood what He was doing (compare Genesis 1:31 Genesis 1:31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
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; Revelation 4:11 Revelation 4:11You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.
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Does God say that there is a direct relationship between belief and behavior?

“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt” (Psalms 14:2-3 Psalms 14:2-3 2 The LORD looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that does good, no, not one.
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The context of Psalm 14 is clear. Unbelief and corrupt behavior go hand in hand. But, the better we know and understand God, the better our Christian conduct is likely to be.

Although God is Spirit (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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) and far above us in nature and stature, what is His approach and attitude toward His people?

“For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15 Isaiah 57:15For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
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God “inhabits eternity” and therefore is not inhibited by the physical laws of time and space. Yet He is quick to forgive and encourage those who are really repentant and desire in their hearts to do His will (Isaiah 55:6-7 Isaiah 55:6-7 6 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
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And, although there is ample scientific evidence from many fields of learning confirming the existence of God, the most meaningful proof remains personal.

When we really achieve a private spiritual relationship with God as our Father and Jesus Christ as our elder Brother, we know that They exist.

We should not underestimate the power of God’s Word. Lydia of Thyatira heard the preaching of the apostle Paul. As a result, “the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14 Acts 16:14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul.
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; compare Romans 10:14-15 Romans 10:14-15 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
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