Can you prove that God exists? Is God a product of the human imagination, or is He real? How can you know Him? The answers to these questions may both shock and amaze you! The God of the Bible is real. The Creator, Designer and Sustainer of the Universe is alive, bringing to pass what He has prophesied in His Word.
Why is the God of the Universe not real to most people today?
Does God actually exist? Can you prove it? Is there one true God, or are there many gods—or is the idea of God merely the product of the human imagination? You need to know the real answers to these questions about God. You cannot afford to remain in the dark about such fundamental issues. The real answers may both shock and amaze you!
Surveys indicate that about 95 percent of Americans believe in God—yet most Americans live their lives as if God doesn't exist. More than 80 percent of Americans seldom or never attend church or read a Bible. Only about 30 percent of Americans view the Word of God, the Bible, as the ultimate authority in their lives; most just follow their consciences. In European countries the belief in God is much lower and the number of people who do not regularly practice any faith is even greater. While interest in religion among Americans runs high by some measures (e.g. religious books sold), America has been described as a secular and materialistic society. Vanderbilt Divinity School professor Edward Farley asserts "religiosity is marginal" to most of our cultural institutions (government, business, education and entertainment), and pollster George Gallup reveals that America is a "nation of biblical illiterates" where less than half of all adults can name the four gospels of the New Testament (The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal Christianity, Reeves, 1996, pp. 49, 63).
Many Americans practice what has been described as a superficial "consumer Christianity" or "cafeteria religion"—that is, they pick and chose what religious tenets they wish to believe and reject doctrines that do not appeal to their interests. For many Americans, religious beliefs are often generalized, casual and personal. Levels of confidence and conviction are often rather low. Doctrinal specifics are usually fuzzy. Each person believes what seems right in his or her own eyes. One teenager when asked by a reporter about what she thought about God answered, "God is everywhere. God is in me. I am God."
America, Canada, Australia and other European countries appear to have entered a "post-Christian" era (cf. Reeves, chapter 2). In this age of watered down religion, ideas about God are vague, and awareness of His power and purpose is just not real to most people. But how did this happen in Europe and America—in countries that had shared the God of Abraham with the world? Did a real Almighty God foretell that this very era would occur?
The United States—whose very coinage proclaims to the world "In God We Trust"—developed from European roots. The knowledge of the God of the Bible was carried to Europe from Jerusalem by the Apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ. In the book of Acts we read of how Paul informed pagan, superstitious Greeks in Athens about the One true God. Noticing an inscription "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD," Paul stated: "The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:23–24).
What many today do not realize is that the knowledge of the true God and the teachings of true Christianity, which Paul brought to Greece and Rome, were soon mixed with pagan religious ideas and corrupted. As historian Will Durant writes, "Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it." The form of Christianity that developed in Europe and later spread to America and the rest of the world "was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world" (Caesar and Christ, Durant, 1944, p. 595). Durant and other historians explain how the One true God became a "Trinity" as a result of the influence of pagan philosophy, how Gnostic ideas "obscured the Christian creed" (beliefs) and how theologians schooled in pagan philosophy tried to explain the nature of God through speculation, instead of teaching what God had revealed about Himself in the Scriptures. After centuries of such debate, the often abstract God of modern Christianity bears little resemblance to the true God of Scripture.
However, other ideas also emanated from Europe that altered and undermined ideas about God. The Enlightenment of the 18th century, and the discoveries of science that seemed to contradict traditional understanding of the Scriptures, led some to conclude the Bible and its God were only myths (see God's Funeral, Wilson, 1999). Darwin's speculations about evolution seemed to remove the need for a God of Creation. Julian Huxley, a promoter of Darwin's ideas, asserted "operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler, but the last fading grin of a cosmic Cheshire cat." He further stated that "our concept of God needs to stress religious experience instead of belief in a particular dogma." In other words, God is the warm feeling you get in your heart—not a Supreme Being, whose existence you can prove and who intervenes in history. Sound familiar? Just believe—no need to prove anything. This idea was promoted in the 1600s by the French philosopher Pascal who said: "It is the heart that experiences God, and not the reason". Yet Paul told a Greek audience to "Prove all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The prophet Malachi quotes God as saying "Prove Me" (Malachi 3:10). Proof involves solid, convincing reasons—not just warm feelings in the heart!
Over the last two centuries belief in God has come under direct attack by many intellectuals in the West. Nietzsche said, "God is a thought." Freud termed belief in God a form of mental disorder that mankind would eventually grow out of. Karl Marx termed religious belief "the opium of the people." Atheist H. L. Mencken asserted, "God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable." Playwright Tennessee Williams described God as a "senile delinquent." Prominent theologians in the 1960s actually proclaimed that "God is Dead." In light of such outright attacks on belief, combined with the near absence of powerful teaching of biblical truths by clerics, it is not surprising that the real God of this universe remains little-known to most people today. But are the critics right—or have they been deceived? Have the rantings of secular, atheistic intellectuals tragically misled our society about God? Let us notice some important lessons we can learn from the Bible and our recent past.
David wrote in the Psalms over 3,000 years ago, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). Solomon states: "The mouth of fools pours forth foolishness" (Proverbs 15:2). Looking back over the last several hundred years, it is becoming painfully obvious that many of the "enlightened" intellectuals—who have molded our modern world—were simply wrong! They were essentially the blind leading the blind. The communism envisioned by Marx and enforced upon millions has proven to be a dismal failure. Freud's psychological theories have largely been discredited. While Freud proclaimed religion a neurosis, one of his students (Carl Jung—who later rejected his teacher's ideas) found religion to be very beneficial in treating psychologically disturbed individuals (God: The Evidence, Glynn, 1997, p. 69). There is a growing body of scientific literature that documents the positive effects of certain religious beliefs on personal health. Sigmund Freud, whose ideas did much to secularize our society by undermining its religious and moral foundation, was mistaken about many things.
The evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, that supposedly did away with the need for God, have also come under increasing criticism in recent decades. While random changes and natural selection can explain the appearance of a certain amount of variety (essentially within species), Darwin's theory was not, and is not, adequate to explain the origin of new species. Darwin saw variations in finches, turtles, and dogs and concluded that—given enough time—nature alone could create entirely new species. The problem is that nature doesn't work that way. New species appear in the geological record quite suddenly and fully developed—they appear to have been created— they do not appear to have evolved. The many intermediate forms that his theory postulates are simply not there. The actual fossil record, compiled over the last century does not support Darwin's ideas. The theory of evolution, which has been termed "the greatest engine of atheism ever invented" does not refute the existence of God (see "Debating Darwin," Christian Century, July 15–22, 1998, pp. 678–681).
Some of the most remarkable evidence for a powerful Creator God has emerged in recent decades from astronomy, cosmology, physics and biochemistry. For most of this century the idea has prevailed that the universe and life on earth developed gradually over eons of time as a result of random, mindless, accidental occurrences. This now appears not to be the case at all. The Big Bang theory indicates the universe began suddenly. Scientists are coming to realize the conditions for life on earth are so delicately balanced that all this had to be "pre-planned" from the very beginning. As one author states, "Far from being accidental, life appeared to be the goal toward which the entire universe from the very first moment of its existence had been orchestrated, fine-tuned" (Glynn, p. 8). This is called the "anthropic principle" (Greek anthropos=man).
The modern emerging line of evidence strongly suggests that the universe must have been designed. Design requires an intelligent designer. This has been one of the traditional proofs that there must be a God who designed the universe— and for a purpose. The Bible states quite plainly that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). This is exactly what Paul told the Athenian Greeks as he explained to them about the one true God (Acts 17:24). The secular notion that life, animals and man, is merely the result of random biochemical accidents is not supported by the accumulating evidence. The actual evidence points in the opposite direction— to a real God who is a designer and creator and sustainer.
This is how David describes God when he states, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Solomon writes, "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens" (Proverbs 3:19). Abraham Lincoln commented, "I can see how a man can look upon the earth [man's activities] and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he can look up into the heavens and say there is no God." Even Albert Einstein realized "God is not playing dice with the Universe." The creation requires a real Creator. Design requires a real Designer. Mindless, accidental occurrences over eons of time are totally inadequate explanations for the origin of life and the universe.
The Apostle Paul told an audience in Rome that we can see the evidence for God and how He operates by observing what He has created. He also cautioned his audience that if we ignore the obvious, and follow our own theories that are contrary to what we observe in nature, we would become fools (Romans 1:18–22). Paul even indicates in these verses that the truth about God would even be suppressed. That is exactly what has happened in the last century.
Numerous experiments have been carried out over the last 50 years, in an attempt to validate the evolutionary theory that life developed by accident in a primordial pool of chemicals. Yet none have succeeded. Stanley Miller, a professor of chemistry who did one of the early experiments has admitted: "The problem of the origin of life has turned out to be much more difficult than I, and most other people, envisioned" (The Creation Hypothesis, Moreland, 1994, p. 175). This should not be a surprise. For years, biology textbooks have described the law of biogenesis, that life only comes from life—not nonlife. While this law has been downplayed or ignored in textbooks in recent years due to the influence of evolutionary theory, it has never been refuted. The Scriptures assert that God imparts life (Genesis 1:11,24). God made Adam's body out of the elements of the earth, then "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Man's attempts to create life from non-living matter have all failed. Is that because we are foolishly trying to do something that is not possible? Are we trying to assume a prerogative of the Creator God?
For years biology texts have referred to another law known as the fixity of the species—that there exists a genetic limit to the amount of variety that can occur within a species. Plant and animal breeders are aware of these limits. The Bible states plainly and repeatedly that God created creatures to reproduce "according to its kind" (Genesis 1:24–25). As we have already noted, Darwin saw that variety was possible within species (e.g. birds, turtles, dogs, horses and cattle), but he speculated that given enough time and chance this could produce new species. However, this just doesn't happen. Scientists have tried and failed. This, too, ignores what is plainly revealed in the Bible and the evidence in nature that substantiates what God has said in His Word. This evidence—basic laws of biology that point to a supernatural Law Giver—is simply ignored and suppressed today.
However the physical laws of biology are not the only laws that have fallen from favor in the last century. The moral and spiritual laws of God—the Ten Commandments—have been subject to derision and ridicule. Secular humanists have assumed that these are merely the ideas of men, and that they can be disregarded without consequence. This approach is also turning out to be a social disaster. The idolatry of our materialistic society produces only empty lives. Fornication not only ceases to be fulfilling, it is dangerous—as many AIDS victims are learning. Adultery is destroying the family—the fundamental building block of a stable society. In a culture saturated with media violence, human life has little value. Today, killing is commonplace—whether on city streets or in the birthing rooms of hospitals or abortion clinics. Crime is epidemic around the world. We have been led to believe there is no God, no purpose for human life, and that the laws of God can be ignored. The moral breakdown around us is the result of such ignorance. Physical and moral laws are sustained by a real God. Those laws apply whether or not we believe in God. They cannot be ignored without consequence. The existence of immutable laws points to existence of a real God.
Many prophecies that date to the time of Abraham (2000BC) reveal in remarkable detail the future course of history that many modern nations would take. Because of Abraham's obedience, God prophesied his descendants would become great, inherit blessings and be a blessing to mankind (Genesis 12:1–2). In their ascent to greatness they would gain possession of the gates of their enemies (22:17), eventually becoming a great nation and a company of nations (35:11; 48:19) that would spread colonies around the world (49:22). These and other incredible promises have actually been fulfilled by the United States of America and the nations of the British Commonwealth. However, additional prophecies indicate that because of our disobedience to the laws of Almighty God, the blessings and privileges we have been given are going to be taken away as God teaches our peoples some very important lessons (for more on this topic, request our free booklet entitled What's Ahead for America and Britain?).
Speaking of the "latter days," the God of the Bible also describes an empire that would undergo a series of revivals, arising for the last time just before the return of Jesus Christ to this earth (see Daniel 2:28,40–45; 7:7–8,19–28; Revelation 13,17,18). This great system which began as the Roman Empire appears to be rising again in Europe. Initially, this will seem like a good thing, yet this Central European union of nations will turn into an aggressive war-making power that for a short period of threeand- a-half years will blaspheme the true God and persecute true believers (Revelation 13:1–9). The God of Scripture foretold over 2,500 years ago this three-and-a-half year period would be "the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:1–7). God will use this resurrected Roman Empire to correct the rebellious and backsliding nations of Israelite origin who forgot the true God. Remarkable as it may seem, the God of the Bible predicted to Moses that the very peoples He chose to be an example to the world (Deuteronomy 4:1–10) would forget the true God and wind up in deep trouble in the "latter days" (Deuteronomy 4:23–30; 31:27–29). The real God is going to intervene dramatically and decisively in human affairs in the not too distant future. Mankind is going to come to see and understand there is a real God. These events will shock the world and impact your life!
While the God presented to the world by mainstream Christian religion is loving, forgiving and endlessly patient, barely believable and probably used evolution to accomplish His purpose, the real God of the Bible is a study in striking contrasts. The God that emerges from the Scriptures is a powerful Creator, an intelligent Designer who sustains what He has created and the laws He has put into affect. Although loving and merciful, He is also a God of justice and judgment who rewards us according to our works (cf. Revelation 22:12)—He lets us reap what we sow. The God of the Bible commands His true servants to "cry aloud and show His people their sins" (Isaiah 58:1) and not just preach "smooth things" that deceive people (Isaiah 30:9–10). The real God forgives us when we repent— when we come to understand how God defines sin (see 1 John 3:4) and begin to change our lives to actually live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4).
The Bible reveals that the real God is going to send Jesus Christ back to this earth to judge this earth in righteousness (Psalm 96:13; Revelation 19:11). He is going to put an end to human suffering and misrule and point mankind in the proper direction—towards peace, justice and truth (Isaiah 9:6–7; Revelation 11:15–18). The prophet Micah relates, "He shall judge between many nations afar off; and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Micah 4:3). The prophet Ezekiel was inspired by the living God to write, "So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord , the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done, says the Lord " (Ezekiel 39:7–8).
The God of the Bible is real. The Creator, Designer and Sustainer of the Universe is alive. He is bringing to pass what He has prophesied in His Word. This all-powerful God is preparing to intervene dramatically in the affairs of this world. Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth to establish the kingdom of God that will rule over all nations. The powerful, loving and just God, our Father, is going to save us from ourselves. This is what the gospel is all about. You can be part of this exciting future if you get to know the REAL GOD. The question is—Will you?