God’s existence. In case you don’t consider it a given.

by K.W. Leslie, 13 October

The existence of God, and proving it, isn’t really a theology subject. It’s a Christian apologetics subject. Theology is the study of God—and it takes God’s existence as a given. Of course he exists. Duh. Otherwise what’s there to study?

The bible likewise takes God’s existence as a given.

Genesis 1.1 KJV
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
John 1.1 KJV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The authors of the scriptures had to explain Jesus’s existence, but they never do explain God’s. Because he’s just there. Existing. Creating. Not battling the universe, nor Titans and other gods, so he could reign over them and control the elements: He created the universe. Humans and devils might stand against him from time to time, but it’s no contest as to who’s right, and who’s gonna win.

So we don’t have to argue God’s existence to fellow Christians. Should have to, either. If a Christian doesn’t believe in God they can’t very well follow Jesus, who is God and comes from God. It makes no logical sense to follow someone who claims, “I was sent by space aliens” when you don’t believe in space aliens—unless of course you’re a con artist who’s using other people’s beliefs to get money or sex out of them.

But Christian apologists insist we should start every theology discussion, every theology class, every theology textbook, with an obligatory lesson on what a God is, and how we know he exists. The better-written books likewise point out the scriptures take God’s existence for granted, with no preliminary explanation: “See, a ‘god’ is an almighty cosmic being, and here’s how we know only one of ’em exists…” God’s just there. Always has been.

The better-written books also point how we know there’s a God: Special revelation. People throughout history, including today, have God-experiences. God continually talks to people. And performs the occasional miracle, and many of us have witnessed one. He may be invisible, but his presence among believing Christians is so blatantly obvious, we don’t have to deduce him from nature or logic. In fact, if we have to resort to logical deduction to prove God… we need to seriously question our obedience, devotion, trust, and belief systems. ’Cause if God’s not living and active in our lives, ain’t his fault. We’re the ones who aren’t honestly seeking him.

So why do apologists persist on using logical deduction to prove God’s existence? Well… they’ve been convinced they really oughta learn how to. By whom? By the sucky Christians I just described. A lot of cessationists don’t depend on personal testimony of what they’ve seen and heard from God, like the scriptures demonstrate; 1Jn 1.1-3 they depend on reason. They’re replaced an interactive relationship with God, with belief systems which justify an absent God—so really, logical deduction is all they have left.

You wanna prove God’s existence? It’s super easy when you can point to God-experiences. And I still find it bonkers when I meet a Christian who claims they’ve had God-experiences… yet when they encounter skeptics, the first thing they resort to are apologetics arguments based on logical deduction. Dude, you could simply give them a word of knowledge, like Jesus did to Nathanael!

John 1.47-50 KJV
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

Didn’t take Jesus three hours in a coffeehouse to at least convince Nathanael he was somebody to reckon with. It took Jesus two statements which peered directly into Nathanael’s soul, and the lad believed. Beat that with a stick.

But I digress. You wanna know about the logical arguments for God’s existence? Fine. Let’s talk.

The usual arguments, in summary.

For thousands of years, philosophers came up with ways which claim to deduce God’s existence. Ways which sounded reasonable to them, anyway. They won’t always to us. First time I heard St. Anselm’s ontological argument, my first response is, “Wait… that sounds ridiculous.” The rest sounded kinda reasonable, but that one sounded way too much like wishful thinking.

Nontheists, namely atheists, presume God doesn’t exist at all. Therefore all the arguments have some flaw in their design, ’cause they’re arguing for the existence of something that’s not real. It’s as if we’re arguing the existence of an Easter Bunny: The very fact we have “proof” there’s an Easter Bunny proves something’s gone haywire somewhere in our reasoning. Which is why our arguments don’t work on them, and why they were able to find logical flaws in all of them. Seriously, all of them.

When I was a kid I made the mistake of debating atheists, so that’s where I learned all their rebuttals. So in my upcoming articles about proving God’s existence, I’m gonna include the rebuttals. I don’t want you to be blindsided by them.

Anyway here’s the list.

  • THE UNMOVED MOVER. Everything in the universe can be traced back, through cause and effect, to a first cause, and that’d be God.
  • INTELLIGENT DESIGN. The universe is way too complicated to have happened without a designer, and God’s the designer.
  • CONSCIOUSNESS. Brain activity doesn’t entirely explain human consciousness, which strongly implies we have an immaterial nature and a soul. This indirectly proves immaterial beings like God— especially if he created the soul.
  • MORALITY’S ORIGIN. C.S. Lewis’s favorite argument: Every human culture has independently came up with pretty much the same moral social order. How’d this happen? A designer built a conscience into us, i.e. God.
  • THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. St. Anselm’s idea that the fact humanity even has a God-concept, implies there’s a God as the underlying basis for the idea.
  • THE TRANCENDENTAL ARGUMENT. If nothing is absolute, and everything is relative, how can we know there are absolute truths? We can’t. Unless there’s a God, who can serve as our one fixed point.
  • HUMAN DIGINITY. Immanuel Kant’s idea that humans have an intrinsic dignity, and the only explanation for this dignity is we were made in God’s image.
  • CAN’T PROVE A NEGATIVE. Unless you have infinite comprehensive knowledge of the universe, it’s impossible to state something isn’t in the universe. Ergo atheists can’t prove, nor realistically claim, there’s no God. (It doesn’t really prove there is God; it only proves there’s not not God. It’s kinda lame.)

And yes there are others, which I may add as I write about ’em.

Subjective arguments work way better.

If we can’t simply prove God’s existence with objective, rational arguments, what are we left with? Simple: We have subjective personal experiences.

I know there’s a God ’cause I’ve met him. I know plenty of other people who’ve likewise met him. I’ve witnessed miracles; so have they. I’ve been given prophecies; so have they. God’s had a positive impact on my life; many a Christian can say so too.

If you crack a bible, you’ll notice the scriptures tend to point to our testimonies. Jews still point to God’s rescue of the Hebrews in Exodus. Christians point to Jesus’s resurrection, when the first apostles discovered Jesus is alive—and they died proclaiming and believing it. Centuries of followers since have experienced Jesus for ourselves and let him change our lives. We may not be able to fight for God’s existence through clever reasoning, but we surely know what we’ve seen and heard and felt.

So the best way to bypass logical arguments is to stick to our testimonies. Share your God-experiences! I tend to stick to my most recent interactions with God. “How do you know there’s a God?” is pretty easily answered, “We spoke this morning.”

When people believe in God just a little, and are actively seeking him, this tends to have a powerful impact on them: Hey, here’s someone who might get me in contact with God!

And when they want nothing to do with God whatsoever, their response is typically some condescending variation of, “I give up; I’m not wasting my time on madmen. For your sake, I’m glad you’ve had what you think is an experience with God, and find it comforting. Good for you. I think it’s all rubbish. Enjoy your rubbish. Hope it works out for you.” And they leave, angry and frustrated, ’cause they learned some really great atheist apologetics, and were hoping to try some of it out on me, and I ruined all their fun. They’re not prepared at all to debate personal experiences.

These are far more decisive and effective results than spending a few hours arguing over why it’s reasonable to believe God exists. It’s why I tell everyone to stick to testimonies. And, if the Spirit permits you, blow their minds with a prophecy or two. Way more fun than arguing.