The existence of a divine Being is proven by several arguments. Each of these should be carefully considered, as none of them in itself may be a complete demonstration to some minds, but each becomes an important element in a line of reasoning which is fitted to carry conviction to every candid mind. The proofs by which the truth of the divine Existence are drawn, come from several sources.
The Material Universe - In the world God created, His reality and natural attributes are taught by the design and workmanship exhibted in the material universe; and also in the laws which govern it.
- "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork." - Psalm 19:1
Amazing! How full the universe is of magnificent demonstrations of a supreme intelligence and Architect, or First Cause. Someone must have been responsible for the rich heavens above, with their glorious constellations and glittering lights; and also for the abundant clothing of the earth with its grass and corn; flowers and forests; mulitiplied minerals - all of which man and beast require for their sustenance. "Nature," it has been said, "is God's Braille for a blind humanity."
- Astronomers claim there are over 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (40 sextillion) stars which are suns to other planets. God knows the exact number of them for He made them (Psalm 147:4; Isaiah 45:18). There are over 500,000 words in the unabridged Webster dictionary. If God has every star named, then there are enough such names to fill around 80,000,000,000,000,000 (80 quadrillion) books that size. It would be hard to to estimate how many more it would take to record all the other words God uses concerning the whole of His vast universe. No wonder the psalmist says in the next verse (Psalm 147:5), "Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite." - Finis Jennings Dake, Dake's Annotated Reference Bible; Copyright © 1961, 1989 by Finis Jennings Dake, Inc.
But no information can be taken from nature to explain the depravity of the human heart and its cure; and of the love of God for a fallen humanity revealed in the redemptive work of Christ. Neither can nature tell us anything about eternity, and of the conditions necessary for a blessed future. These deeper revelations can only be found in the only Book revealing God - the Bible!
The Soul Of Man - "Man, rightly and fully studied," wrote Dr. Handley Moule, "is to himself a revelation of the Being of God." An innate recognition of the existence of and responsibility to God dwells in all men. Heathen peoples who have not received the Bible or Christianity yet possess a belief in a chief god or spirit of some kind. While in many cases a number of gods may be worshipped, it is a remarkable fact that one is usually singled out for supreme honor. The ancient Romans worshiped innumberable gods, but Jupiter was the greatest ruler of all. Evidence of this inbred recognition of God is found in the inscription Paul describes on the altar at Athens - "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23).
The Revelation Of Scripture - Nature, history and man only partially reveal the existence of God. It is to the Bible alone we turn for the complete and final revelation of His words, works and ways. Within the sacred volume, His glorious attributes, activities and appearances are displayed. Scripture alone unfolds His dealings with man -
- Of His creation in innocence and purity;
- Of His lamentable and irretrievable fall;
- Of His redemption by the finished work of Christ;
- Of His future, for in the Bible the curtain of the unseen is rolled away, and the solemn realities of resurrection, judgment, heaven and hell are brought to His knowledge.
The Bible presents man with a fourfold revelation of God -
- In nature - a God above him.
- In providence - a God beyond him.
- In law - a God against his sin.
- In grace - a God for him and in him.
Everywhere the Bible speaks in the name and authority of God and assumes that there is a consciousness of God within the human soul that will recognize and respond to His claims. If man does not know God, his ignorance is inexcusable, seeing that ample evidence of His existence is available. They are, to quote Paul, "without excuse" - Romans 1:19,20. Often ignorance of God is due to some moral shortcoming rather than to any mental difficulty (Romans 2:12-15).
Further, the Bible reveals God, not as an abstraction, nor as some remote and impassive deity, but as Jehovah,, or as "The Eternal" - the living personal God exercising His sovereign power in every realm; and as the divine Father interested in and caring for His children.
The Lord Jesus Christ - The full nad final revelation of the character and will of God was made known in His beloved Son. Philip said to Jesus, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Then we have the calm and authoritative reply of our Lord, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:7-9). Thus, the complete revelaton of God came to man through the Incarnation of the Son, the Christ of God, through His manifested Person, Word and Work.
Psalm 19; Romans 1:19,20
The Proof Of The Intelligibility Of The Universe
The existence of natural objects shows that they must have had a Maker, for there can be no effect without a sufficient cause. A house proves that it must have had a builder, and the universe with all its wonders must have had a Maker. Man, by the powers of reason and observation is able to comprehend the order and structure of things around him. He can perceive how they are formed and grouped, and by what laws they are organized. He can formulate laws of motion, guiding the heavenly bodies in their orbits - investigate and chart the animal and vegetable kingdom, as well as his own being. This fact of the intelligibility of the universe leads us, logically and inevitably to the conclusion tht it must have been fashioned by a mind greater than man's mind. The laws that rule our thinking find expression in the laws and arragements of heavenly bodies. The universe is a mirror reflecting man's own powers, proving, thereby, a kinship between the mind of man the mind behind the universe. A modern writer impressed with the force of this argument adds to the axiom, "I think therefore I am," a further one namely, "I understand, therefore there is a God."
1. The Cosmological Argument - Cosmology is that science or teaching dealing with the universe, which offers itself to view as sky, earth and sea, as an orderly and systematic whole. Observing things around us, we come to think of an orderly universe and reach the conclusion that there must be a cause for what we see. This argument from causation has as its basic postulate - "Every effect must have an adequate cause." This cosmological approach is latent in Paul's great statement concerning God as the first Cause -
"In whom we live, move, and have our being." - Acts 17:28
A causeless phenomena is impossible - an uncaused begining is inconceivable - a mindless world could not produce itself and life in it! Origin implies an oiginating power, the cause being sufficient to produce the effect. Everywhere, nature reveals marvelous evidence of design or adaptation of means to an end, and as design implies a designer; and since design in nature is far superior to anything man is capable of, the designer of the universe must be someone much greater than man.
Whether we think of time and space, force and matter, dependence of finite parts which are derivative, we are driven to the conclusion that there must have been a Cause outside the universe. Behind all intermediate processes there must have been a Being - causative without being caused, who has existence in Himself. We thus rise by necessity of thought from the finite to the Infinite, from the caused to the Uncaused, from reason evident in the structure of the universe to the eternal and universal Reason which is the ground of all. As one scientist expressed it, "Nature is imbued with intelligent thought."
If "order is heaven's first law," then nature abounds in proof that God, as a God of order and not disorder, is the One who fashioned the laws of nature. A digest of the argument of the cosmos is -
- There is a power somewhere because there are effects everywhere.
- There is wisdom somewhere because wise deeds are accomplished everywhere.
- There is intelligence somewhere for there are order and arrangement everywhere.
- There is goodness somewhere for there are beneficent agents and resultant gladness everywhere.
The mental act is prior to the physical, that is, thought precedes action, therefore, there is an intelligence prior to the order of the universe. In this intelligence there must have been a mind to devise and a will to carry that design into effect, and these are qualities belonging to a person. Thus in the cosmological argument we can trace the footsteps of God the Creator.
2. The Teleological Argument - This further argument carries us a step further than the previous argument which proceeds upon the evidence of order and the harmony resulting therefrom. The teleological argument from Telos, meaning "issue," can be defined as the science of ends, or final causes. Nature is before us as "a living arithmetic in its development, a realized geometry in its repose." This present line of evidence can be summarized thus -
- Order and useful collocations and arrangements pervading a system imply intelligence and purpose as the cause of that order and collocation. Since order and useful collocation pervade the universe there must exist an intelligence adequate to the production of this order, and will adequate to the directing of this collocaion to useful ends.
Nature is a complex whole made up of several sections or powers all interacting yet constituting together one complete system. All these parts or activities are connected with each other, the least with the greatest, but order reigns throughout the entire whole and universal harmony prevails for each part serves the other with admirable reciprocity. These parts are so guided as to conspire to sustain and promote - not convulse and subvert - the whole.
For instance, we could elaborate upon the intricate solar system with the central position of the sun, binding the system together by the law of gravitation, and furnishing light and heat necessary for the welfare of each of the planets. The ceaseless, speedy rate of the sun, with all the planets and their attendant satellites performing their varied evolutions with unfailing regularity and marvelous harmony is a striking evidence of design. Then there is the constitute elements forming the atmosphere surrounding the earth, the gases of which are blended with such perfection as to meet the requirements of plants, animals and men.
Associated with this teleological (sometimes called the physico-theological) argument are form and color. What skillful adaptation of natural forces we have, all cooperating toward specific ends. Creative skill, design and beneficence are behind the wondrous beauty of form and color in flowers and forests, lakes and landscapes. What an indubitable and convincing proof of design is the human body with its structure and organs, skin and muscles and nervous system and heart and eyes and members! No wonder the Psalmist exclaimed, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
- The body is wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). It consists of various chemicals - iron, sugar, salt, carbon, iodine, phosphorus, lime, calcium and others - about 98¢ worth. The body has 263 bones; 600 muscles; 970 miles of blood vessels; 400 cups on the tongue for taste; 20,000 hairs in the ears to tune in to all sounds; 40 lb. jaw pressure; 10,000,000 nerves and branches; 3,500 sweat tubes to each sq. inch of skin or 40 miles long; 20,000,000 mouths that suck food as it goes through the intestines; 600,000,000 air cells to the lungs that inhale 2,400 gallons of air daily; and a telephone system that relates to the brain instantly any known sound, taste, sight, touch or smell. The heart beats 4,200 times an hour and pumps 12 tons of blood daily. - Finis Jennings Dake, Dake's Annotated Reference Bible; Copyright © 1961, 1989 by Finis Jennings Dake, Inc., p. 618
We could also elaborate upon animals, birds and fish with their adaptation to environment.
The teleological argument is incontrovertible, for sound reasoning demands that effect must have an adequate cause, and that design and adaptation a superintending intelligence. If an imposing cathedral presupposes an architect and builder, surely the infinitely greater and more complexed structure of the universe demands a Creator whose wisdom designed it for profitable ends. Without a doubt, "the world we live in is a fairyland of the exquisite" and "our very existence a miracle in itself."