Why Believe in God? Part 1

Faith in God, in recent time, has been under attack.  It is not uncommon to hear people openly speak against and mock God.  Our children, especially as they reach the teenage years, are being attacked from all sides.  It is surprising the arguments used against God.  It is our intent to provide a list of reasons for believing in God which counter the modern atheist movement.

It’s The Intellectual Road
A false accusation, which is becoming increasingly popular, is that Christians cannot believe in God and be intellectual. It is based on the assumption that Christians reject true science and cling tightly to a “fairy tale faith” instilled in them by their parents and grandparents. It is common to hear agnostics and the New Atheist claim, “Christians check their brains at the door of the church building. They take everything the old time preacher says by faith with no substantial proof.” Such philosophy is a gross misrepresentation, but if accepted it will undermine the faith of our youth. It is ironic, but the truth is, faith in God is the intellectual road.

Faith in God is not for the weak minded. God never has asked humanity to accept Him blindly without substantial evidence. Instead God expects each person to use their brain to intellectually embrace Him. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment He replied, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:30). The greatest desire our Creator has for us is to love Him with all of our being—this includes our mind! Thayer defines the “mind” as, “the faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring.” Thus, it is clear God expects us to become intellectually engaged in our life of service for Him. Following the definition of the word mind, R. T. France states it, “…suggest a deliberate extension of the familiar text to emphasize the intellectual faculty as a key element in God’s service.”

The affirmation of Jesus to be engaged with our mental capacities is not a new revelation for it is has been God’s yearning for humanity for millennia. J.P. Moreland, in his outstanding work Love Your God With All You Mind, wrote,

The Old Testament proclaims that the same rational God who reveals Himself to the prophets also created the world as an orderly, understandable cosmos. And the Old Testament assures us that this God made our minds to be apt for gaining knowledge and understanding so as to avoid foolish living and ignorant beliefs. For those willing to pay the price of exercising their minds and studying diligently, there is knowledge and wisdom to be found in Scripture (Psalm 119); in the natural world and its operations (Isaiah 28:23-29); and in the accumulated insights embedded in the art, literature and science of the different cultures of the world (Isaiah 19:11-13; Jeremiah 49:7, Daniel 2:12-13; 5:7). 

Thus, blind faith in God and His creation is contradictory to God’s expectations of us.

Solomon declares, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Prov. 14:15). In today’s society, this outstanding advice, should be heeded. Some people are so gullible they will believe nearly everything they hear. Please allow me to offer another nugget of guidance—not everything you read on the internet or watch on Youtube is true. One must still discern the message and decipher truth. Before accepting outlandish claims against God spend some time analyzing the truthfulness of the message. A prudent person will “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21).

The Scriptures were written to provide an ample body of evidence for the believer. The Hebrew author states they were, “confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (2:3). Peter declares he was, “a witness of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Pet. 5:1) and affirms “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16). Consider the purpose of Luke’s account of the life of Christ:

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed (Lk. 1:1-4).

Notice carefully that Luke, who is considered a top notch historian, declared these truths as an “eyewitness” and wanted Theophilus to “know the certainty of those things.”

God never asked us to embrace Him blindly with no thought. Instead, the true intellectual examines the evidence and makes a reasonable and logical decision. It is the fool who disregards the truth. The psalmist said, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” (Psa. 14:1).

It Gives Life Meaning
One of the most perplexing questions of life is simply, well, life! In other words, “Why am I here?” or “What is the meaning of life?” Philosophers and humanists from time immemorial have discussed and debated these questions. Yet for all the reams of writing generated, they have failed miserably in comparison to God’s wisdom.  Paul spoke of the Gentiles and their reputed knowledge: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:19-20). The point is simple: God gives meaning to life. Without God life has no true purpose. An attentive study of Scripture will demonstrate the significance that God gives to life.

Let us, however, first look at the other side of the equation. If one rejects God, which by definition is an atheist, then what is the purpose of life? Why are we here? If, after all, we are just a random bag of molecules or an accident from natural causes (which, by the way, is scientifically impossible) then life has no meaning. Through this worldview we were not supposed to be here. If we were an accident, then there is no God. Nothing in the physical realm matters. When we die we simply cease to exist.  Thus, when one faces difficult and trying times, even the sorrowful events of life, there is no true comfort. How tragic! Ravi Zacharias in his book Can Man Live Without God sums up this position well:

“For many in our high-paced world, despair is not a moment; it is a way of life. Momentary lapses into disconsolation or even purposelessness are not uncommon, and we all at some time experience these moments. But the resigned posture that deems life to be completely devoid of ultimate purpose and bereft of meaning can hardly be touted as a rationally comforting dogma.”

Our very purpose for existence is to praise God. Jesus, when asked about the greatest commandment, stated, “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind…” (Lk. 10:27). Our purpose in this life is to serve God with every fiber of our being. Modern men often look at servant-hood—any kind of servant-hood—as a curse. But serving God is a blessing. The very nature of God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). As an all-loving God it is His desire to care for us. The nature of love, by definition, is sacrificial (1 Cor. 13, Jn. 3:16). God’s greatest display of love for us is seen in the passion of Christ at Calvary. Through this gracious act, one which we can never repay, a means of forgiveness and salvation was made available. Of course, it is understood, we are still responsible for accepting God’s offer through our obedience to the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 6:3-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). As a Christian, our service to God results in eternal blessing. Thus, the ultimate meaning for life is realized by conforming to God’s plan for our lives.

Solomon, one to ponder the meaning of life, wrote, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Eccl. 3:11). In a similar vein, Paul says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom 11:33). God’s ways are so masterful and beyond earthly comprehension that it will only be in eternity that we fully grasp the “big picture.” Though much about understanding God’s will is challenging, discovering our purpose in this life is quite simple. Solomon pursued insight into the meaning of life and he wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).

The materialist pursues riches, but finds no peace, happiness or fulfillment. The one who dies with the most toys, money, possessions, etc., still dies. He will face his Creator in the judgment. The Bible reminds us of the follies of heaping up riches: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15). Jesus follows this statement with parable of the self-reliant rich man who made profit and plans without considering God’s will. Jesus reveals what the man forgot: “But God said unto him, ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Lk. 12:20-21). Paul also reminds, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Tim. 6:7). We come into this life with nothing and leave with the same, thus the true purpose must reside in how we live our life—that is the cause for which we live.

The psalmist, in reflection of God’s powerful design, says, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psa. 8:3-4).  It is amazing, in all of God’s power, that He is mindful of us. Considering who God is and what He has done, only He can reveal the true path for a joyful, satisfied life. Ravi Zacharias says, “I say to you with emphasis that the older you get, the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder, and only God is big enough to do that.” Thus, God provides the answer to all of life’s negatives—all the struggles, sorrows, and misfortunes; as well as its positives—joy, satisfaction, and happiness.  It is only through an understanding of God that life has meaning.

 Article by: Brad Shockley