Does God exist? An answer to this fundamental question is a prerequisite for answering the other big questions of life: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Do we serve a purpose? Do we have any intrinsic value? What happens after we die? The question of the existence of God is fundamental.
Does God Exist - A Philosophical Issue
Before we ask the question "Does God exist?" we first have to deal with our philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be no supernatural God), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. Asking the question "does God exist?" would be pointless. My answer would be "No, He doesn't," regardless of whether God truly exists or not. The question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist!
Dr. Richard Lewontin, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University, put it like this: "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door" (Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 28).
If, on the other hand, I were neutral, and didn't already have an "a priori adherence" to a particular worldview (be it naturalistic or otherwise), the question "does God really exist?" wouldn't be pointless at all. Rather, it would be the first step in an objective and meaningful search for ultimate truth. Our willingness to ask the question with an open mind is fundamental to our ability to discover the truth behind the answer. So first of all, before you even ask the question, decide whether or not you're really willing to accept the answer.
Does God Exist - Things to Consider
Once you're ready to ask the question, "does God exist?" here are a few observations to consider as you begin your search for an objective answer:
- Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation.
- Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.
- Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are astronomical. In fact, scientists aren't even sure if life could have evolved naturally via unintelligent processes. If life did not arise by chance, how did it arise?
- The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve?
- Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Who gave you your conscience? Why does it exist?
- People of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the ignorant, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, prophetic revelation, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?