Posts Tagged ‘Existence of God’

imagesAtheism is the view that God does not exist. Atheism is not a new development. Psalm 14:1, written by David around 1000 B.C., mentions atheism: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Recent statistics show an increasing number of people claiming to be atheists, up to 10 percent of people worldwide. So why are more and more people becoming atheists? Is atheism truly the logical position atheists claim it to be?

Why does atheism even exist? Why doesn’t God simply reveal Himself to people, proving that He exists? Surely if God would just appear, the thinking goes, everyone would believe in Him! The problem here is that it is not God’s desire to just convince people that He exists. It is God’s desire for people to believe in Him by faith (2 Peter 3:9) and accept by faith His gift of salvation (John 3:16). God clearly demonstrated His existence many times in the Old Testament (Genesis 6-9; Exodus 14:21-22; 1 Kings 18:19-31). Did the people believe that God exists? Yes. Did they turn from their evil ways and obey God? No. If a person is not willing to accept God’s existence by faith, then he/she is definitely not ready to accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). God’s desire is for people to become Christians, not just theists (those who believe God exists).

The Bible tells us that God’s existence must be accepted by faith. Hebrews 11:6 declares, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” The Bible reminds us that we are blessed when we believe and trust in God by faith: “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).

The existence of God must be accepted by faith, but this does not mean belief in God is illogical. There are many good arguments for the existence of God. The Bible teaches that God’s existence is clearly seen in the universe (Psalm 19:1-4), in nature (Romans 1:18-22), and in our own hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). With all that said, the existence of God cannot be proven; it must be accepted by faith.

At the same time, it takes just as much faith to believe in atheism. To make the absolute statement “God does not exist” is to make a claim of knowing absolutely everything there is to know about everything and of having been everywhere in the universe and having witnessed everything there is to be seen. Of course, no atheist would make these claims. However, that is essentially what they are claiming when they state that God absolutely does not exist. Atheists cannot prove that God does not, for example, live in the center of the sun, or beneath the clouds of Jupiter, or in some distant nebula. Since those places are beyond our capacity to observe, it cannot be proven that God does not exist. It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a theist.

Atheism cannot be proven, and God’s existence must be accepted by faith. Obviously, Christians believe strongly that God exists, and admit that God’s existence is a matter of faith. At the same time, we reject the idea that belief in God is illogical. We believe that God’s existence can be clearly seen, keenly sensed, and proven to be philosophically and scientifically necessary. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).

Fall is in full swing and I am in the middle of an important cold-case trial. As I sit in court each day, I can’t help but think about the nature of evidence and the objections that many non-believers express related to the case for Christianity:

OBJECTION: God‘s existence cannot be known with evidential certainty. The evidence for God‘s existence is entirely circumstantial and therefore cannot be trusted. There are no items of direct evidence that can be examined today to determine if Christianity‘s claims about God are true.

The answer to this objection lies in our perception of “evidence”. There are two kinds of evidence that are used in criminal and civil trials each and every day across America: ‘direct’ evidence (evidence that proves something ‘directly’ on the basis of someone’s first-hand experience) and ‘circumstantial’ evidence (evidence that proves something ‘indirectly’ on the basis of a reasonable inference). We might determine, for example, that a suspect committed a murder on the basis of an eyewitness who saw the murder directly or a suspect’s later confession (two pieces of direct evidence), or we might determine this on the basis of the suspect’s prior threatening remarks, his bloody appearance minutes after the crime, and his efforts to flee the scene (all examples of circumstantial evidence). Our criminal justice system draws no distinction between these two forms of evidence; both are equally viable and powerful in making a case.

When we decide we can trust a piece of direct evidence (an eyewitness account, for example) this evidence, in and of itself, is sufficient for us to come to a decision about the truth of a matter. This is the nature of direct evidence. Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, often requires additional support in order to reasonably infer the truth. The more pieces of circumstantial evidence you have that point to the same conclusion (the more cumulative the case), the better your inference and level of certainty. Many of us are under the false assumption that criminal cases cannot be prosecuted without some form of direct evidence, but, as a Cold Case Homicide Detective, I’ve never had the benefit of direct evidence. Murderers are convicted every day with nothing more than circumstantial evidence.

As it turns out, the case for Christianity is both direct (in a limited sense) and circumstantial (in a robust and comprehensive sense). We happen to have three direct eyewitness accounts (the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John). If these eyewitnesses can be trusted on their own, no more evidence is needed to establish the truth of Christianity. We can establish the trustworthy nature of these eyewitness accounts by examining the external corroboration from those who were hostile to Christianity, the internal consistency between the eyewitness records, and the lives and character of those who claimed to be eyewitnesses. A fair historical analysis in these three areas provides us with sufficient confidence related to the Gospel accounts. But in addition to these eyewitness accounts, there is tremendous circumstantial evidence available from the study of the origin and fine tuning of the universe, the appearance of cosmological and biological design, and the existence of objective morality and transcendent concepts (like logic) to make a strong and thorough cumulative circumstantial case for the existence of God. Belief in God does not need to be a blind leap of faith; Christian Theism is a reasonable inference given the circumstantial evidence. No successfully prosecuted case is evidentially perfect or complete, but all successfully prosecuted cases are evidentially sufficient. While we may not be able to examine direct evidence related to the existence of God, we do have sufficient circumstantial evidence to believe that Christianity’s claims about God are true.

Written by a Christian Attorney named Jim who writes for