“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Questions and Answers on the Existence of God (Tom Edwards)
Questions and Answers on the Existence of God
1) “How Do We Know That God Exists?”
We know that God exists because we exist! This doesn’t mean that He exists because we made Him up in our imagination; but, rather, that our very existence is the proof of His reality. Paul indicates this in Romans 1:19,20: “…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His ETERNAL power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (emphasis mine). In other words, since we and everything else in the physical universe had a beginning, it required not only something that preexisted everything else (that Great “First Cause”), but also that which had high intelligence, tremendous power, and awesome abilities to bring about the creation and all things therein.
We also know that God exists by what we can infer in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies that were given hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth and, therefore, prior to the New Testament Age, yet came to pass with even specific accuracy. God, thus, has that power to know beyond human ability of things to come — and through prophecy and its fulfillment, He has proven that!
2) “How Do We Know That Our Creator Wasn’t Also Created By an Even More Superior Being?”
One might say, however, that “to speak of God as having ‘preexisted’ prior to the creation,” as mentioned earlier, “doesn’t necessarily mean that He has always been. How do we know that He was not created by a God even more superior?” The answer to that is found within the word God has given us. For after acquiring faith through His word (Rom. 10:17), realizing the reality of His existence through the creation and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and learning about the goodness of His nature, such as knowing that He cannot lie (cf. Titus 1:2), we can then very easily accept by faith the truthfulness of His word, such as in Isaiah 43:10-13, in which He says: “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And I am God. Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?’” God is also referred to elsewhere as being “eternal” (Deut. 32:27), “everlasting” (Isa. 40:28); and, in addition, the idea of His being “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6) figuratively expresses His eternal nature.
In view of the indications of God’s reality through the creation and fulfilled prophecy, perhaps these are a couple reasons why the Bible declares that “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ …” (Psa. 14:1, Psa. 53:1). In other words, God’s existence should be easily accepted by any accountable person — and certainly much more reasonable to do so than to believe that everything on earth and throughout the universe came about without an Intelligent Designer behind it all.
Recently, I watched a BBC documentary of a baby developing in the womb. It was interesting to see that in just 18 to 19 days from conception, the heart began to form and then started functioning at around the 21 or 22 day. The heart, of course, is necessary in distributing food and oxygen for the continuation of the baby to develop and is, therefore, said to be “one of the first recognizable organs to form.” But while seeing the entirety of this unformed substance begin to form its own heart, I began to think of how anyone could actually deny this amazing process as having been made possible by God. For how would an unintelligible mass know it needs to first form the heart in order that the rest of the development can also occur? And that is just the heart! Think, too, of all the other organs that will also become necessary to sustain life. It is said that the body is made up of 70 vital organs. The top 10, in countdown fashion, are the bladder, the skin, the small and large intestines, the kidneys, the spleen, the stomach, the liver, the lungs, the heart, and the brain. Each one has its own special function, and each one has its own design, and each one is made up of numerous cells. But how did each cell know of which group of organ cells it was to be a part of and how it was to form with the others of that group to make possible a particular needed organ, and where it was to reside in the body? According to Smithsonian.com, the body is made up of 37.2 trillion cells! But each one is not merely anywhere in some haphazard fashion throughout the body; but, rather, where it needs to be with purpose in forming and performing. We know that all of that was made possible by the DNA code, but how did that highly complex code come about? Could we not compare it to a computer program? Modern technology has provided us with a wide array of programs to use in our computers and other electronic devices. We see on our screens what they can do. But within each program or app is the needed line after line of computer language that gives the instructions that make the program what it is, how it appears, and how it functions. For example, Windows 10 is said to have about 50 million lines of code, while Facebook has 61 million, and Google (with all its Internet services) is 2 billion lines of code! But if we thought of each human genome pair in our DNA as a line of code, it would require 3.3 billion lines! So just as a lifeless computer program has the need for an intelligent programmer, the same is similarly true of us — but of the need for a Creator who can also give life to that which He makes!
Yes, we can know that God exists because we exist!
3) How Do We Know That God STILL Exists, and Is Not Now Dead?
Someone might admit that God once existed, created all things, and set everything up to continue as it does — but could it be that God now no longer exists?
Fifty-one years ago, on the never-before pictureless cover of Time, were the three words — in large, red letters on a black background — that asked the question, “Is God Dead?” It was the cover story for the April 8, 1966 edition. Even 42 years later, the Los Angeles Times referred to it as being one of the “10 magazine covers that shook the world.” Do some still ask that question today? “Is God dead?”
The good news is that God is very much alive and well! He still exists and will always do so, because He is eternal. For that which is eternal cannot die. Even Jesus, who was put to death on the cross, only had His human body (which had a beginning) to die, while His true essence (His eternal spirit, which has always been) was still very much alive and in Paradise (cf. Luke 23:43) for those three days following His death and until His resurrection. Similarly, Jesus speaks of Himself figuratively as being the Bread of Life “which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die” (Jn. 6:50). And that “If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death” (Jn. 8:52). In saying these things, Jesus does not mean that a person who keeps the Lord’s word will never die physically, but that spiritual death will never come to the one who does so. His soul will remain spiritually alive unto God — rather than spiritually dead.
Imagine, for example, that before God could die, one would have to first go back in a time machine to the “beginning” of God, that time when He first came into existence. But since God has always existed, the individual in the time machine would never arrive at the “time” when God began. God, of course, dwells in eternity and not in linear time as we do or as indicated in this example. But we are using a stretch of endless time in both directions, past and future, to represent eternity and to point out that there will never be an end to God, any more than you could actually find a “beginning” of His existence — since He has always been. And what God, therefore, has always been, He will also always be. This, too, means that He never had to acquire or develop good traits or qualities, as we do. For His virtues have always and perfectly been a part of who and what He is. When the Psalmist, therefore, declares, “…Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psa. 90:2), he is not prophesying that God will still be God at some future time; but, rather, that God already is filling all eternity as fully God. It is only because we cannot actually imagine eternity that we think in terms of the linear time that we do know, with its past, present, and future. But how wondrously different an eternity in heaven will truly be!
Isn’t it great to know that this God, the only true and living God who has always been and always will be, also wants us to enjoy an eternity with Him in heaven? What an unsurpassed experience that will be for all those who believe and obey God’s plan of salvation!
(Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are from the NASB.)
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)