Can we really know that God exists?
We need to be aware, first of all, that we can’t prove God exists in the same way we can prove the correct solution to a geometry problem or a scientific formula. We should remember, too, that although we can’t prove God exists, neither can we prove that He doesn’t.
“It is easy for a person to say that God does not exist, but it is impossible for anybody to prove it.”
H. M. S. Richards, Sr., founder of The Voice of Prophecy, put it like this: “It is easy for a person to say that God does not exist, but it is impossible for anybody to prove it. On the other hand, to the one who believes in God, there are many evidences of His existence.”
The point is this: God’s existence is ultimately a matter of faith, however, there are many evidences or reasons to believe that God is real. Let’s look at some of those evidences from the two great sources we have that tell us about God—the things He has made (nature) and the words He has spoken (the Bible).
Evidences of God's existence:
From the beginning of recorded history, one of the main reasons human beings have believed in God has been the marvelous things they saw all around them in nature. The psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [the sky] shows His handiwork. . . . There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1, 3).
Look up into the starry night sky. How many stars can you see, just by looking with your eyes? The answer depends on whether the moon is full, on whether you are in a city or on a mountainside, and on other factors. Scientists tell us there are about 5,000 to 6,000 stars bright enough to be visible to the naked eye. However, you can see only about half of those at any one time because the earth itself gets in the way.
The night sky is impressive, but besides the stars which you can see, there are also millions of stars and galaxies you can’t see—all moving at incomprehensible speeds, perfectly balanced, perfectly synchronized in space. Who orchestrates this marvelous dance? Is it reasonable to think all this is taking place without any design or direction—just happening by chance? No wonder Isaiah says, “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things. . . . He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might” (Isaiah 40:26).
Physicists have unlocked many secrets of the atomic and subatomic world, but they still don’t know exactly how it all works.
And what is true of the vastness of space is also true of the microscopic world. A single grain of sand is made up of billions of molecules, atoms, and electrons, whirling around each other like a tiny solar system. Physicists have unlocked many secrets of the atomic and subatomic world, but they still don’t know exactly how it all works. And they certainly can’t create that miniature world. But Someone did. The apostle Paul says that “since the creation of the world” we can understand who God is and what He is like “by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20).
Let’s look at one further evidence for God from the world of nature—your own body! Until something goes wrong, we often don’t think about the incredible way all the systems and organs of our bodies work together flawlessly. Nerves and muscles, bones and tissues, our heart and brain and lungs, eyes and ears—all these things and hundreds more—are seamlessly connected into a functioning, healthy human person. Thousands of years ago, the psalmist pondered the intricate way his body was put together and exclaimed to God, “You formed my inward parts. . . . I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” (Psalm 139:13, 14).
We could find evidences for the existence of God from the amazing world of nature, but the point is clear. Behind everything we see in the world around us, we find two things: intelligence and power. Both are attributes of God. For those who believe, it is simply inconceivable that our complex, marvelous universe could have come into being without an infinitely wise, powerful God who designed and created it.
The Bible does not present formal arguments that God exists; it simply declares that He exists. The very first words of Scripture state grandly, “In the beginning God. . . .” (Genesis 1:1). Those opening chapters of the Bible go on to paint a picture of this self-existent, all-powerful God creating the heavens and the earth. As the apostle Paul says, “By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth. . . . He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16, 17).
In the Bible, God reveals Himself to us in a way that allows us to have a better understanding of Him than we could ever gain through nature alone. As convincing as they are, the evidences of God in nature can be misunderstood. In fact, that has often been the case. Throughout the ages, men and women have seen God in nature, but all too often they have confused the two. They have thought that nature was God and that God was nature. That’s why they began worshiping the sun and the seasons. That’s why they began imagining all kinds of deities that controlled rainfall and crops and sickness.
Without God revealing Himself to us more fully in the Bible, we would never be able to know Him as He wants us to. Job 11:7 asks, “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?” The answer, of course, is no. So God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible to give us a more complete understanding of Himself than nature alone provides. Let’s look at some of the things the Bible tells us about God.
Fulfilled prophecy tells us that there is a God who knows the future. God declares, “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10). The Bible contains many prophecies that have been fulfilled exactly as predicted. One of these is the great prophetic outline of world empires given in Daniel 2 which predicted that four world empires would follow one another—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome—and that the fourth would be broken up into fragmented nations that would never reunite as a world power. That historical procession occurred exactly as predicted.
Another example is the fact that significant events in Jesus’ life on earth were foretold centuries before He was born. These include His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14); where He would be born (Micah 5:2); His death and resurrection (Luke 23:23; Psalm 16:10); and even how much money His betrayer would receive (Zechariah 11:12). History confirms these and many other Bible prophecies and demonstrates there is a God who knows the future.
Jesus’ life on earth reveals His Father’s existence and tells us what God is like. Of all the ways in which God is revealed to us, the greatest and clearest is Jesus Himself. Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus came to show us what God is like. When Jesus healed the sick, He was showing us what God is like. When Jesus held the children on His lap, He was showing us what God is like. When Jesus fed the hungry, encouraged the despondent, forgave sins, rebuked unrepentant sinners, and worked miracles—He was showing us what God is like. Jesus was God, come down to live with us in human flesh (John 1:1, 2; 10:30).
God is love. All that Jesus revealed to us about God can be summarized in one word—love. In fact, this is the word the Bible uses to describe God. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). How do we know that God is love? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love for us is demonstrated in the amazing gift of Jesus who came to live for us and die for us on the cross. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:13, 14). Jesus calls you and me, His “friends!”
3) Evidence in your heart
The Bible says that it is foolish not to believe in God. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Something deep in our hearts knows that there is a God who loves us and cares for us. When we deny that knowledge and refuse to believe in God, we are acting foolishly. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If we seek Him, will we find Him? Yes. God says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
The greatest evidence that God exists is the transformed lives of the men and women who have searched for Him and have found Him and have invited Him into their hearts. This experience has convinced them beyond any doubt that God lives and that He lives in their lives each day. For those who have not yet asked God into their heart, God has a special invitation—and a special promise: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).