This article is an opportunity for you to take an honest look at the possibility of God. This will attempt to answer the question, "Is there a God who is powerful, personal and loving? Does such a God exist?"
Here, then, are some reasons supporting God's existence:
1. Throughout history, in all cultures of the world, people have been convinced there is a God. Could one say with any sense of confidence that all those people have been mistaken? Billions of people, who represent diverse sociological, intellectual, emotional, educational makeups . . . all came to the same conclusion that there is a Creator, a God to be worshipped.
"Anthropological research has indicated that among the farthest and most remote primitive people today, there is a universal belief in God. And in the earliest histories and legends of people all around the world, the original concept was of one God, who was the Creator. An original high God seems once to have been in their consciousness even in those societies which are today polytheistic."(3)
2. The complexity of our universe, our solar system and our planet Earth all point to a knowing, deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today. Pages and pages of examples showing God's design could be given here, possibly with no end. But here are a few:
The Earth . . . its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases over the surface of the earth. Only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface, our atmosphere contains the right mixture of gases to sustain life. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.(4) Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere appropriate for plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located exactly the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the earth's position to the sun and life on Earth would be impossible. The Earth remains at its perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. And the Earth's rotation on its axis allows the entire surface of the earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
Our moon is the right size and distance from the Earth. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean water does not stagnate, and yet it restrains our massive oceans from spilling over across the continents.(5)
Water . . . colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Water has not been found on any other planet, yet covers more than 70 percent of our earth's surface. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water . . . about two-thirds of the human body is water. The characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
The human brain . . . simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of this article in your hand. In addition to all the sensory information, your brain recognizes emotional responses, ideas and memories. Your brain also keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.
The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.(8) Fortunately, your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function of the brain is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. A brain that deals with more than a million pieces of information every second, while evaluating its importance and allowing you to act on the most pertinent information . . . can we say mere chance assembled such an astounding organ?
When NASA launches a shuttle mission, it is assumed a monkey didn't write the plan, but intelligent and knowledgeable minds. How does one explain the existence of the human brain? Only a mind more intelligent and knowledgeable than humanity could create a human brain.
3. The improbability of mere "chance" being the explanation for life's characteristics. Could one look at Mount Rushmore in which the likenesses of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are carved, and ever believe that it came about by chance? Given infinite time, wind, rain and chance, it is still hard to believe something like that, tied to history, was randomly formed in the side of a mountain. Common sense leads us to conclude that people planned and skillfully carved those figures.
This article only touches on a few necessary intricacies of our world: the Earth's position to the sun, some properties of water, one organ in the human body. Could any of these have come about by chance?
The distinguished astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle showed how even the amino acids randomly coming together in a human cell is mathematically absurd. Regarding our lives, Sir Hoyle illustrated the weakness of "chance" with the following analogy. "What are the chances that a tornado might blow through a junkyard containing all the parts of a 747, accidentally assemble them into a plane, and leave it ready for take-off? The possibilities are so small as to be negligible even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole universe!"(9)
In all of life we see a reasonable law of cause and effect. Every effect had a cause. When one considers the intricacies of our life and universe, it is reasonable to think that an intelligent, loving Creator provided for everything we need for life. The Bible describes God as the author and sustainer of life.
4. Humankind's inherent sense of right and wrong cannot be biologically explained. Even a thief gets upset and feels wronged when someone steals from him. There arises in all of us, of any culture, universal feelings of right and wrong. If someone violently grabs a child from a family and rapes that child, there is an anger and revulsion and a rage to confront that act as evil, regardless of the culture. Where did we get this sense of wrongness?
And in areas like courage, dying for a cause, love, dignity, duty and compassion, where did these come from? If people are merely products of physical evolution, material and biological substances, why do we have a sense of rightness? How do we explain a universal law in the conscience of all people that says murder for fun is wrong? Do not all people sense that a humble spirit and a focus on meeting the needs of others are admirable qualities? Our conscience can best be explained by a loving Creator who cares about the decisions and harmony of humanity.
5. God has not only revealed Himself in what can be observed in the universe, in nature, in human life, but He has even more specifically shown Himself in the Bible. God's thoughts, personality, and attitudes can only be known if God chooses to reveal them. All else would be human speculation. We are at a loss if God does not wish to be known. But God wants us to know Him and has told us in the Bible all we need to know about His character and how to relate to Him. This makes the reliability of the Bible an important consideration.
Archaeological findings continue to confirm the accuracy of the Bible, rather than refute it. For example, an archeological find in northern Israel in August 1993 confirmed the existence of King David, author of many of the Psalms in the Bible.(10) The Dead Sea Scrolls and other archaeological discoveries continue to substantiate the historical accuracy of the Bible.
The Bible was written over a 1500-year time span, by
40 different authors, in different locations and on separate
continents, written in three different languages, covering
diverse subject matters at different points in
history.(11) Yet there is an astounding consistency in its message. Throughout the
entire Bible the same message appears:
Along with this central script, the Bible specifically reveals God's character to us. Psalm 145 is a typical summary of God's personality, thoughts and feelings toward us. If you want to know God, here He is.
6. Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God. Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at Him. Though He talked about His Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in Him, believed in the Father.
He said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."(12) He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Here's the kicker. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, "follow my words and you will find truth." He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."(13)
What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can't do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people: blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects: on at least a couple of occasions, he created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature: walked on top of a lake, instantly stopped a raging storm for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because He constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I'm telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you're seeing.(14)
What did Jesus reveal about God's personality? What about God's thoughts, expectations and His feelings toward humankind? Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although God views us as sinners, worthy of His punishment, His love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan. God would have His Son receive the punishment for our sin. And Jesus willingly accepted this plan.
Jesus was tortured with a whip of nine sharp-tipped ends. A "crown" of two-inch thorns was pressed into his head. Then they secured Him to a cross by pounding nails through His hands and feet into the wood. Given His other miracles, those nails didn't keep Him on the cross; His love for us did. Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to Himself. Because of Jesus' death we can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."(15) This is God, in action.
The most conclusive proof that Jesus is equal to God was Jesus' most closely scrutinized miracle--His own resurrection from the dead. Jesus said that three days after His burial He would come back to life. On the third day after His crucifixion, the almost two-ton boulder in front of His tomb was catapulted up a slope.(16) The guard of well-trained Roman soldiers saw a blinding light and an angel. Except for the burial clothes that had been wrapped around Jesus' body, the tomb was empty. Over the years, legal, historical and logical analysis has been applied to Jesus' resurrection and the most feasible conclusion still is that Jesus rose from the dead.
If you want to know if God exists, investigate Jesus Christ. We're told that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."(17)
Do you want to begin a relationship with God and actually know you are accepted by Him? This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with Him, you can do so right now by asking Him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her]."(18) If you want to do this, but aren't sure how to put it into words, this may help: "Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. Thank you that you want a relationship with me. Amen."
God views your relationship with Him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in Him, Jesus Christ said of us, " . . . I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand."(19)
Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way. Please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (1-800-236-9238) if you need more information about Jesus' claim to divinity, or about God's existence, or if you have similar important questions.
Marilyn Adamson, a former atheist, is a graduate of Drake University and a frequent contributor to Every Student's Choice.
1. Romans 1:19-21
2. Jeremiah 29:13-14
3. Paul E. Little, Know Why You Believe (Victor Books, 1988), p. 22
4. R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20
5. The Wonders of God's Creation, Moody Institute of Science (Chicago, IL)
9. Little, p. 24
10. Thomas McCall, "The Stone of the House of David," The Levitt Letter (Zola Levitt Ministries), September 1993
11. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict (San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life Publishers, 1979), p. 16
12. John 8:12
13. John 14:6
14. John 14:11
15. Jeremiah 31:3
16. Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1977), p. 90-91
17. John 3:16
18. Revelation 3:20
19. John 10:27-29
© 1996 Campus Crusade for Christ, International