The Scriptures themselves never set about to prove the existence of God. The Scriputres assume the existence of God. The Bible tells us that this knowledge is planted in the soul of every man, but that men repress it because of their sin. Not only do they repress this inner sense of God, but they shut their eyes to the abundance of proof found in God’s creation and in His revelation of Himself in His Holy Word. Although philosophers have attempted to use the windom of man to prove God’s existence, sinful man will, untilately, only be convinced by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel.
Humanity’s Inner Sense of God
The key passage that bears on man’s innate knowledge of God is found in Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For 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: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
According to Paul:
- God has manifest his existence to mankind
- The creation speaks to God’s glory and power
- No man can claim ignorance as an excuse for atheism
- Mankind has become dark through sin and disobience
- Mankind thinks that atheism is wise, but it is the height of foolishness
- The ‘religious’ nature of man drives him to become an idolator to fulfill his need for ‘true religion’
- God gives hard-hearted men over to their own sins – to destroy themselves in foolishness
- Man uses his sin and lust to further suppress the knowledge of the Creator and begins worshiping created things in His place
Philosophical ‘Proofs’ for the Existence of God
If a sinner cannot be convinced by the light of nature and by the words of Scripture, he WILL NOT be convinced by the wisdom of man – no matter how wise that wisom might be. However, there is some use in the traditional proofs for the existence of God. They provide comfort to the believer who struggles with his lack of faith. They also give ammunition to the Christian believer who is ridiculed as being ‘small-minded’ because of his faith.
- Cosmological Argument – This is the argument that everything in the universe has a cause (i.e. for every effect, there is a cause). Therefore by tracing the cause of every effect in the universe, we ultimately end at an ultimate cause that caused everything else. The atheist might try to explain this as ‘the big bang’. Greek philosophers called this the ‘uncaused cause’. To the believer, this is the eternal and everlasting God, who has no beginning or end.
- Teleological Argument – This argument focuses on the order, harmony, and design in nature. For the believer, it is the utter height of stupidity that any person can look at the amazing complexity of something as simple as a human cell and imagine that this complicated machinery came together by a completely random sequence of events! The fact that a biologist can look at these marvelous mysteries through his microscope and not see the evidence of a brilliant design is all the proof I need to see the utter blindness and despair caused by sin in this world!
- The Ontological Argument – To understand this argument, one must imagine the greatest possible of all beings. It must follow that the characteristic of existence must belong to this being, since existence is greater than non-existence. This argument does little for me, but philosophers have been stumped by it for generations.
- The Moral Argument – If you ask an atheist if God exists, he will say no. If you then ask him if good and evil exist, he will be forced to say no, if he is consistent. If you ask him if Adolph Hitler is evil, he will most likely say yes. Every human being as an internal moral compass that reflects the image of the Creator. That moral compass has been damaged by sin, but every man is a hypocrite that denies it. We are all built with an innate desire for justice! Without a Creator, where does this desire originate?
Only the Holy Spirit Can Convince the Heart of Sinful Man
Although every man has in innate sense of the existence of God, he will persist in blindness and hardness of heart until the Holy Spirit gives him ears to hear and eyes to see.
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
It is better to be seen as fools to the world and to have eyes to see and believe the gospel, than to be esteemed highly by dying men who are soon to be cast into hell.
…the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence…
…the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Cor 1:25-29, 2:11-14)
Even though the created being bears the stamp of the Creator, and the world declares his majesty and power, and very justice, goodness, and mercy demand that there be a God, yet ignorant sinful man rebels against this knowledge. Indeed, the proofs given above should be enough to convince any rational being, but the moritfying power of sin kills the rational part of man’s soul and leaves him a souless being, feeling around in the dark for means to gratify his basest desires and to suppress his own guilt and despair – “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor 4:3-4).
Let us thank God for the glorious grace of regeneration – “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt 13:16).
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.