Chapter 1: God’s Existence
1.1 Science has made religion obsolete. There is
neither any reason to believe in God today, nor any need for religion.
Science and religion explore reality from
different perspectives. Science studies how things work, but religion seeks
also their origin and meaning. While science allows us to learn about God’s
creation, it can’t answer the questions, why is the universe here?, why do we exist?, and what is our destiny? These are
issues beyond the scope of science, but answered by religion.
1.2 Evolution has done away with the concept of a
According to Michael Poole, lecturer in science
education at King’s College, London, “A distinction needs to be made between
evolution—the fact that changes take place from generation to generation, which
is generally accepted by biologists; and the mechanisms by which changes
occur—a matter of continuing debate. Darwin’s
theory is about the mechanisms of change. It is based on certain assumptions.”1
The Darwinian theory of random mutation and
natural selection still depends on some kind of pre-existing order. Evolution
may describe a process of creation, and scientists may successfully use its
principles to manipulate or clone creatures, but it cannot explain away the
first cause. Even if the theory of evolution is correct, it still does not rule
out a creator: “Creation is an act—the act of an agent, in this case God.
Evolution is a process. A description of the processes of creation is not a
logical alternative to the act of creation, as Darwin himself realized…. Nobody
would claim that understanding the mechanisms of an invention ruled out an
inventor. Yet a similar claim is made that understanding the mechanisms of
creation rules out a Creator.”2
1.3 We came about by chance.
If we say the whole world was the result of
random changes, then no empirical evidence, or science, could ever prove it.
Indeed, if everything came about by chance, then what would be the purpose of
There are even darker ramifications to this
question. If our mind were just an accidental result of chemical reactions,
then it would be no more significant than a clod of dirt. Could we then rely on
any of our observations, our thoughts, or our feelings? If we came about by
chance, if there is no overarching purpose to existence, then what meaning
would there be to life?
We may exult in the ability to “shape our own
significance,” but what guarantee do we have of actually doing that, if life
ultimately were nothing more than randomly moving particles? If our desires
determine or justify all things, then what makes killing worse than blinking,
or love better than hate? In a universe caused by
chance, we are reduced to characters in an absurdist play, and the actions we
judge to be deeply meaningful become, in the cosmic perspective, equivalent to
tossing a ball, kicking a rock, or otherwise passing the time of day. Without
God, how can human life have meaning?
We use the word “chance” to describe an event
when we can’t see an obvious pattern. But we shouldn’t rule out the possibility
that someday we may discover a pattern. Applying the label “chance” to
something certainly doesn’t deny a divine cause or purpose. Rather, it’s
actually an indication that we can’t figure out everything by ourselves.
1.4 Why do Christians insist that the universe is
only a few thousand years old when scientific findings clearly show that the
universe must be billions of years old?
Not all Christians believe that the universe is
only a few thousand years old. Those who hold the old earth view recognize the
scientific evidence that the earth is billions of years old and interpret the
days of creation in Genesis as eras. Those who hold the young earth view
understand the days in creation to be 24-hour periods and believe that the
universe appears to be billions of years old but is actually a few thousand
years old. In other words, God could have made the universe in an “aged” state.
1.5 Since the universe has
been in existence for so long, it is highly probable that the first single
living cell was produced randomly, and that cell evolved gradually to all the
species of living organisms. In fact, science has shown that the building
blocks of life can be randomly produced. There is no need for a creator.
In the 1950s, in his famous experiment, Stanley
Miller subjected a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water vapor to
repeated electric discharges to yield amino acids, the building blocks of
proteins, which in turn are the building blocks of cells. The experiment was
designed to show how the primitive earth atmosphere could have generated life.
More recent scientific findings, however, question whether the mixture he used
could have represented the earth’s “primitive atmosphere.”3
While scientists have been able to generate
various organic acids and even sugars in laboratory experiments with different
gaseous mixtures, they have not been able to produce the next stage. Even
scientists recognize, too, that what they engineer occurs in highly contrived,
controlled environments, “with considerably more foresight and technical
support than the prebiotic world could have
The following illustration shows that it takes
much more faith to believe that the first DNA was a result of random events
than to believe in an intelligent creator:
“If a computer randomly typed
letters and spaces on a page, how long would it take to produce ONE page
accurately describing someone? All words must be spelled correctly. Sentences
must be complete and grammar perfect. It would take a long time even at a rate
of a page a second.”
“Now imagine that any letter has
a 50% chance of being upside down, one of which would destroy the page. At a
page a second, it would take more than 100 billion years just to get a page of
all upright letters (like flipping a coin 5000 ‘heads’).”
“This is analogous to the
evolutionary model of random events creating the first DNA… except for one
thing: instead of one page, we would need to create 500,000 pages to produce a
single DNA molecule.”5
As researcher James P. Ferris states in
Scientific American, “Scientists are not close to knowing the exact processes
that took place on the earth which led to the origins of life. They may never
know the exact answer.”6 Though they may suggest plausible processes, they can
never supply the real cause.
1.6 The universe is infinitely old. Because it has
always existed, it does not need a cause or creator.
According to the second law of thermodynamics,
the amount of usable energy in the universe is decreasing. The universe, in
other words, does not have an infinite quantity of energy. Since the universe
is finite, or limited, it must have had a beginning.
·The premise that the universe
had a beginning receives strong support from natural science. Science has shown
that the universe is steadily expanding: therefore, at some point in the
distant past, it came into being. The big bang theory, supported by the
discovery of a radiation echo in the universe, or low-level radiation from an
awesome explosion, points out that the universe is not eternal, but had a
beginning from a single source.
We observe that all matter changes and is
contingent. If all matter comprises the universe, then how can the universe be
If the past were infinite, then how could we
ever have arrived at the present? We would have to pass through an infinite
series of moments, which is impossible.
1.7 The universe results from an infinite series of
An infinite series of finite causes is
irrational because we still have to explain the first cause in this infinite
chain. Everything finite must have a cause. Thus, in reality, there cannot be
such a thing as an “infinite series of finite causes.” A real being must be the
first being in the chain, and this being must be God.
1.8 The universe comes from an endless series of
things mutually supporting each other’s existence.
Nothing is entirely self-sustaining. All things
are dependent on other things for their existence. But a thing needs to exist
before it can give existence to another. There must exist something—God—whose
being is not caused by something else or dependent on anything else. For
example, water evaporates into water vapor, vapor rises to form clouds, and
clouds condense to become water. But the hydraulic cycle does not account for
its very existence. Something that is not caused by the hydraulic cycle must
have caused the hydraulic cycle to come into being in the first place.
1.9 The Big Bang Theory tells us that the universe
was created by an explosion of great energy, not a personal creator.
The Big Bang theory speaks nothing about what or
who caused the Big Bang because such questions are beyond the realm of natural
science. If anything, the model points out that the universe is not eternal and
provides strong support that there is indeed a creator. Although the name “Big
Bang” seems to suggest that the universe resulted from chaos and blind chance,
the theory in fact makes no such implication. Some have even proposed a better
name for the Big Bang model, such as “the Grand Opening,” that would more accurately
represent the awesome origin of the universe.
1.10 How can we know God exists?
If something exists, it has
either 1) always existed, 2) been created by something that always existed, or
3) created itself. We know from evidence that the universe has not always
existed. We also know that it is impossible for something finite to create
itself. It would have to exist in order to create; but how can something be and
not be at the same time? Therefore, the only option remaining is the universe
was created by something that has always existed, has infinite might and
The Bible tells us that “since
the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead”
(Rom 1:20). When we see a tree, we realize that there was once a seed from
which it grew. When we see a child, we recognize that there were parents that
gave birth to the child. When we consider the universe, we know there must be a
source for its being:
Existence is like a gift given
from cause to effect. If there is no one who has the gift, the gift cannot be
passed down the chain of receivers, however long or short the chain may be… If
there is no God who has existence by his own eternal nature, then the gift of
existence cannot be passed down the chain of creatures and we can never get it.
But we do get it; we exist. Therefore there must exist a God: an Uncaused
We are able to exist today
because there are complex forces, systems and structures working in the
universe, keeping it in order. The earth sustains life because it is located at
just the right distance from the sun, between the thermally uninhabitable
limits of the boiling and freezing points of water. We live because each cell
of our bodies possesses about 80,000 genes that enable the trillions of cells
we have to function and communicate with each other. From the macro world to
the micro, we see both precision and complexity, but above all, purpose, in
existence. Nudge the earth a little off its path of orbit, and the temperature
would cause all of life to die; alter or remove a gene, and the whole body may
be destroyed. Such explicit design declares the existence of an intelligent
From His Word
God has revealed his existence
and his plans for humankind through his own word. The existence of the Bible
and its lasting influence over thousands of years attest to something greater
than the invention of man. Indeed, how could over forty authors, from peasants
to kings, statesmen to fishermen, and over a span of forty generations have
presented such a consistent image of God and message of his divine plan unless
his existence were real? Accumulated evidence has demonstrated the truth of the
Word: not only through corroborating archaeological findings,8 but also through
the fulfillment of over 600 specific, biblical prophecies through the ages9 and
its ultimate materialization in Jesus Christ (Jn
From Human Consciousness
God exists because we know and
experience him. The book of Romans tells us that humans “knew God” but
“suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (,18). And yet an underlying moral consciousness, a universal
sense of right and wrong, persists within us, testifying to that ultimate
source of justice. Though laws may vary across boundaries and “values” are
subjective, there are universally accepted notions of how one ought (e.g. with
honor, kindness) or ought not (e.g. murder, rape, lie) to behave that have
prevailed through history and across cultural boundaries. Fundamentally, or at
the very least, we recognize the obligation to obey our conscience—an
obligation that neither arises from nature nor ourselves, nor society, for none
of the three can fully “impose” that obligation on us. The only source for the
absolute moral obligation to obey our conscience is God.
The universal desire, found among
people in every age and culture, to seek out and worship God also affirms his
existence. Why would the desire exist if there were no real object for it? We
would not feel hunger or thirst unless food and water existed. As C.S. Lewis
argued in Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience
in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for
another world.” A person might win a million dollars, achieve a certain level
of fame, or gain the affection of others, but still seek something better that
he knows exists “out there.” The fulfillment, the perfect goodness, the
complete love we long for truly exists; the delusion occurs when we fail to
recognize we are really missing God.
Our knowledge of God, however, is
not only based on inference. We can know he exists through experience. God does
directly intervene in our lives, as testimony reveals. When we hear about a
person healed from a fatal illness, or a baby found sleeping, cradled in the
limb of a tree, after a tornado, we recognize that certain incidents cannot be
rationally explained. There must be someone beyond our “ordinary,” “rational”
world who has control over it: there must be God.
When we practice God’s word, we
will see the results. When we pray, as he instructed us, God listens and
answers our prayers, even in miraculous ways. If we pray for the Holy Spirit,
we will receive it, as many believers can testify—truly experiencing the power
and joy in the spirit as the Bible describes. Moreover, when we receive the
Holy Spirit, we experience the guiding presence of God daily (Ezek 36:27).
1.11 What kind of God exists?
God exists absolutely, and of necessity.
Regardless of what they are, all
limited things have a need for being that they cannot supply themselves. But
God cannot have that need; as the cause of all creation, he must exist. Because
there is no difference between what he is, and that he is,
he exists absolutely. Thus God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex ).
God is limitless.
The universe includes space and
time and all limited things. As the cause of the universe, God must exist
before and beyond it. Therefore he exists outside of space and time and is
unlimited (Isa 40:28).
God is one.
If God has sovereign power, then
there cannot be more than one God (Deut 32:39).
God is spirit (Jn ).
All matter is subject to change.
God is changeless; therefore he is immaterial.
God is transcendent and immanent: he is “above
all, and through all, and in all” (Eph 4:6).
God exists independently from his
creation, the universe. Yet God sustains all creation; all life exists because
of him. Therefore God is omnipresent, filling heaven and earth, and dwelling
among us (Jer 23:23-24, 2 Cor
God is wise.
God reveals his wisdom in his
creation. As Creator, God has complete knowledge of all things (Ps 147:5).
God is good.
As giver and sustainer of life,
God is infinitely good (Ps 145:7-9). Being wholly good, he cannot tolerate
evil; he is holy (Lev ),
just (Isa 45:21), and true (Jn
). Being good, he is
also loving (1Jn 4:8) and merciful (Ex 34:6). His perfect goodness is
manifested in Jesus Christ, through whom he fulfills his requirement for
justice and demonstrates his boundless love.
1.12 If everything has a cause, then what caused
The law of causality does not say that
everything must have a cause. It states that for every effect there is a cause
(an “effect” is something that requires a cause), or that everything that has a
beginning needs a cause. But God is not an effect nor does he have a beginning.
He was not created, but has always been. He is eternal, and therefore does not
require a cause.
There is a difference between self-existence and
self-creation. The concept of self-creation involves contradiction. A being
cannot create itself because to do that, it would have to exist already. But it
is not a contradiction to conceive of something that has always existed. God,
eternal, unlimited by time or space, and without a cause, was not created, but
has always been. As we have seen in the previous questions, it is because he
first exists, uncaused, that everything else came into being.
1.13 How do we know a self-existent, infinite
force, and not a personal God, didn’t cause the universe?
If the first cause had no mind or intelligence,
then how do we explain the intelligence displayed in the grand design of this
universe? If what caused our existence did not do so with a purpose, our
existence is also without purpose. All talk of intelligence or purpose is
meaningless unless someone had given everything a purpose in the first place.
If the first cause were an infinite, impersonal
force, then all the conditions for the existence of the universe would have
been present eternally. But the universe is finite and had a beginning. Its
existence, therefore, cannot be attributed to an impersonal, infinite force;
rather, it must be the result of a personal choice.
God chose to create the world; his intent is
behind it. And just as the universe displays intelligent design and purpose, we
know its creator must have intelligence and purpose. Though we cannot know or
fully understand him, it is important to consider what his intent for creation is,
and specifically, what purpose we have to live. Knowing that we owe our
existence to him, we must acknowledge that he deserves our worship.
1.14 Can God make a rock so big that he can’t lift?
This question is meant to stump a person on the
idea of an omnipotent being. It appears to raise a contradiction that
challenges the very idea of God’s existence. In fact, the question can be
restated as, “Can God make himself anything less than omnipotent?” Just as God
cannot lie, or disown himself, having almighty power does not mean God can
contradict his own nature. This does not challenge his omnipotence; on the
contrary, it confirms his absoluteness.
Using a logical puzzle to confound our concept
of God only says something about our own limitations, not God’s.
1.15 Because of our finite knowledge, it is just
not possible for us to know whether God exists (agnosticism).
The claim that God cannot be known is
self-contradictory. If we cannot know anything about God, how can we know God
so well to know that he cannot be known? It is like saying, “I believe it is
not possible to believe anything.”
Until we can confidently explain how we came to
be, and why we exist, we cannot confidently say, “There is no God.” But it is
equally impossible to suspend our judgment about matters of faith because
religious beliefs are not just intellectual theories. Matters of faith concern
life, and how we should live; and “since we cannot suspend judgment about life
itself, in the end we cannot be neutral about religious faith.”10 Jesus tells
us that whoever believes in him is saved, but whoever does not believe in him
stands condemned. If we refuse to believe him based on the rationale that we
cannot possibly know anything about God, then we already have made a decision
to be an unbeliever.
Blaise Pascal, the
French scientist, mathematician and founder of modern probability, formulated
this wager: if we bet God exists, then even if we are
wrong, we have lost nothing, for in the end, we would be left with eternal
nonexistence. If we bet against God, and if we are wrong, then in the end, we
have lost everything: heaven, eternal life with him, and infinite joy and gain.
We owe it to ourselves, but moreover, we owe it
to God, to examine the evidence carefully and open-mindedly, before we make our
1.16 There are many finite gods who reign over
separate realms of the universe. The multiplicity and chaos of the world show
that there are many gods with sometimes discordant plans. These gods were
either once men or arose from nature (polytheism).
If the gods are not eternal, then they are not
ultimate. We still need to explain where everything in this finite world comes
from. But if there is a Creator who is eternal and ultimate from whom all things came to being, why should we worship the other
so called “gods”?
God’s word, the Bible, clearly reveals to us
that there is no other god besides him (Deut 32:39; Isa
45:18-22). God alone is the Creator, Sustainer, Ruler, and Judge.
1.17 Believers often posit that because belief in
God is a “universal phenomenon,” God must exist. But the majority is not always
right. Most people were wrong about the sun moving around the earth. So why
can’t they be wrong about the existence of God?
Even though people were wrong about the
movements of the sun and earth, they still experienced the sun and earth and
motion. They were simply wrong in attributing the motion to the sun. But if
people are wrong about God, then what have they been experiencing? How do we
explain the living testimonies of people who have prayed and have been healed
of chronic diseases, or have received the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues?
Unless there is another plausible reason, we can only attribute these
experiences to the existence of God.
1.18 But religious belief has a very plausible psychological
explanation. Belief in God may stem from our childhood fears. God is in fact a
projection of our human fathers, our “protector” in our helplessness against
the forces of nature.
First, we need to acknowledge that what is
posited as an “explanation” really begins with the assumption of God’s
nonexistence. Given that, to the atheist, God cannot exist, another account of
religious belief must be formed: “since the closest earthly symbol for the
Creator is a father, God must be a cosmic projection of our human fathers. But
apart from the assumption of atheism, there is no compelling evidence at all
that God is a mere projection.”11
We could equally posit a psychological
explanation of atheism: alienation from the human father causes one to reject
1.19 If God wants us to believe in him, why doesn’t
he just appear to us?
God has shown himself to the world through Jesus
Christ. Jesus Christ, who is God himself (Col-17),
manifested God’s glory (Jn ; Heb 1:3) and made God known to the world (Jn ).
Jesus came to demonstrate his love for us, and teach us exactly how to be with
him, God, forever. But many still refused to believe him (Jn
-11). So even if God
merely appeared in the sky to everyone, that wouldn’t do us much good; even if
“seeing is believing,” it takes more than
that—faith—to be willing to follow and obey him.
God does reveal himself in more meaningful ways.
He reveals his greatness in nature, from the tiny atoms to the gigantic
galaxies. He reveals his character in Jesus Christ, who lived and taught among
human beings. He reveals his wisdom in the Bible, teaching us how to live a
full life by relying on him. He reveals his love to us in prayer, comforting
our sorrows and helping us through our troubles. He reveals his life-transforming
power by having his Holy Spirit live in us.
God persuades powerfully, but he doesn’t force
you to believe. Ultimately, it is your choice. If you can give God the benefit
of the doubt by following his teachings, you will experience for yourself that
God is indeed real.
Michael Poole, A Guide
to Science and Belief (Oxford, Lion Publishing. 1990) 96.
See Christian de Duve.
“The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” American Scientist (September-October 1995),
http://www.sigmaxi.org/amsci/articles/95articles/cdeduve.html; and Sean Henahan. “From Primordial Soup to the PrebioticBeach: An interview with exobiology
pioneer, Dr. Stanley L. Miller,” Access Excellence,
Christian de Duve.
“The Beginnings of Life on Earth.”
Ralph O. Muncaster,
Creation versus Evolution: New Scientific Discoveries (Mission
Viejo: Strong Basis to Believe) 17.
James P. Ferris. “Scientific American: Ask the
Experts: Biology,” Scientific American, http://www.sciam.com/askexpert/biology/biology15.html.
Peter Kreeft and
Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994) 51.
For a measured look at current archaeological
evidence, see Jeffery L. Sheler, “Is the Bible true?” U.S. News and World Report (October
25, 1999), U.S. News Online,
For a detailed discussion of biblical prophecy
and fulfillment, see Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, vol.1
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979) 265-323.
Stephen C. Evans. Why Believe? Reason and
Mystery as Pointers to God (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1996) 8.
Kreeft & Tacelli, 84.