This is, perhaps, the most frequent of the frequently asked questions. Indeed, the whole crux of Christianity hinges on this point. If we cannot be certain about the existence of God, then the Christian religion really falls flat on its face. In this age of skepticism and doubt, I can assure you with full confidence that the God of the Bible does indeed exist; and even more, that he has spoken to us in no uncertain terms. The question then arises, “How can you be certain that God exists?” Some of you may find my answer surprising.
Historically, theologians and philosophers sought to answer that question with appeals to reason. So, we have such arguments as the ontological argument: God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived. Then there is the teleological argument (the argument from design): just like a person who picks up a watch from the ground knows that it must have a designer, so too we look at the world and must come to the conclusion of a Designer.
Well, I must say from the outset that, all things being equal, the human mind could (and really must) reason its way to the God of the Bible. We were created in the image of God, and our reason is part of that created image. The problem is that we are born with rose-colored glasses. Except instead of brightening the world around us, these glasses darken it. This is what theologians call the noetic effect of sin.
The Blind Leading the Blind
This noetic effect means that our sin nature distorts our ability to think about God properly in our fallen state. All of us are born into a fallen state because we are born in Adam (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 47-48). So by default, we cannot think about God rightly in our natural state. This necessarily means that we need God to reveal himself to us if we are to know him, and to know him rightly. This leads me to the part of the answer that may surprise you: certainty of knowledge must come from outside ourselves. In other words, in order for me to be certain that God exists, I need something that is outside of myself, an external source of information.
God Exists, Certainly
With that said, I know that God exists because he has revealed himself through the work of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Now, when I say that, I know that the immediate objection that comes into some people’s minds is that it is a subjective definition. So, let me take a minute to explain how that statements is not subjective. For those of you who may not be crusty old philosophers like me, something that is subjective is founded upon the subject.
Remember your grade school English lessons? The basic elements of a sentence are a subject, a verb, and an object. So, something that is subjective is something that varies from person to person. A perfect example of this is your favorite color. You and I can have two different favorite colors, because that is a subjective truth. The truth of “favorite color” varies from person to person because its truth is founded on the subject (the person viewing the color) rather than the object (the color itself).
So, the existence of God, and the certainty of his existence, is not subjective precisely because it requires revelation (knowledge) that comes from outside of us. This means that the knowledge of God is objective. God does not exist because I believe he exists. He exists whether I believe he does or not because he exists outside of myself. Well, “how do you know that?” Because he has spoken. Remember, I am certain that God exists because he has revealed himself in the Bible, his Word. So, the reason why I know that God exists whether you think he does or not is because he is a personal Being who has spoken.
There Can Be Only One
Of course, the nature (fallen) objection would be: “how do you know the other guy’s god(s) do not exist?” That is an excellent question, for which I have two answers. First, because the God of the Bible has revealed himself as supreme, sovereign, unique. There can be no other gods like him, because there is no being like Him. Second, I know that the gods that other men worship (which includes themselves) are nothing more than idols. The human heart loves to make idols, so in the fallen state men will worship everything other than the God of the Bible. Why? Because the God of the Bible is our Creator, and since he is our Creator, he is by default our Judge. He determines whether we meet up to our created standard or not.
Men naturally hate that fact, and so rebel against it. Human beings also hate anything that does not let them boast in themselves. So when fallen men hear the message of the Bible, that our hope lies in God and God alone, they naturally hate it. It requires the supernatural revelation of the Holy Spirit for men to not hate it (John 3). So, when people love the God of the Bible and his message to us, then it is a demonstration that he has worked in their hearts.
Do you know what every false religion in the world has in common? It is human beings trying to justify themselves. Every system in the world except for Biblical Christianity tells us that we have to make ourselves right with God. But Biblical Christianity says that there is only one way to get right with God: through the person and work of another, Jesus Christ.
See, the whole point of this short article is to show that I have no warrant for bragging. I did not arrive at some secret knowledge that only a select few can obtain. My God bought me at a price, delivered me from bondage to sin, and set me free in Christ. The same offer that was extended to me is offered to you as well. Repent of your sin, and trust in the work of Jesus Christ, and you too will be set free from sin. The promise is that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Will you call upon him today? Feel free to reach out via the Contact Page if you would like to hear more, or if you just need someone to talk with.