Saturday, April 16, 2022

God Belief---Proven, Probable, or Doubtful?

 What is more important than belief in God? Many would put this question at the top of their list of important life issues. People who believe in God usually acknowledge that God is the Creator. Many also acknowledge that we should offer God respect and obedience. As Creator, God has established requirements for successful, fulfilled living. In our day of personal self-esteem, there are many ways these requirements are met. The wide spectrum of beliefs and how they manifest themselves in the fabric of our lives is very wide indeed.

Belief in God is fundamental. The Creator does not force his human creations to believe in a particular way. They are free to respond to God with love or reject Him in disbelief. Believers in God experience a wide range of allegiance to the Creator. God knows that in our human frame we are weak and imperfect. Sadly, even In our day up to one third of the populace professes disbelief in God. Their response depends on how the question is phrased. A large fraction of people self identify as a member of the category of “nones”—they do not identify with ANY religion. In the past fifteen years this fraction has virtually doubled. This may indicate these individuals do not believe in the reality of God. Included are atheists and agnostics.

In our personal devotional life there are many opportunities to contemplate the quality of our “God belief.” We acknowledge that our quality of belief may vary moment to moment or day to day. We may speak on the topic of personal “God belief” with family or friends. This results in many interesting discussions. Can we demonstrate that the reality of God has been proven? Is the Creator’s reality axiomatic and self-evident or a proposition taken to be true intrinsically? Some people insist they need proof for the existence of God. Others are satisfied with the probability that God exists. 

Individuals intent on solving such weighty questions must be approached honestly and sincerely. Truth seekers have devoted energy to solving similar questions for thousands of years. Our discussion barely touches the surface of this profound topic. Pastors in our church pulpits most often present their sermons assuming that their members’ “God belief” is axiomatic or self-evident.

What arguments for the reality of God are proposed by theologians or by the writers of science/faith blogs such as ours? There are several arguments. 

(1) The cosmological argument poses the reality of a first cause. William Lane Craig has stated the Kalam argument that everything has a cause. The universe began to exist. The universe, therefore, has a cause. That cause is God.

(2) The teleological argument is the argument citing the apparent design of the universe, sometimes called the intelligent design argument. When we examine the world, we perceive it is complex but coherent, orderly, and inherently purposeful. There are many aspects of the teleological argument including the apparent consistency of fundamental physical constants governing gravity, electromagnetic charges and forces, masses of particles, and velocity of light. If any of these physical constants were even slightly different, matter’s existence and life itself would be impossible. Existence of consistent physical constants is affirmation of the argument from design—intelligent supernatural design.

(3) The moral argument for God’s existence refers to objective truth which must exist driving people to act morally. God must exist to give authority to these moral truths.

These capsule statements are far from convincing. They do not prove God’s existence nor could they persuade anyone that God’s existence is probable. Our goal is to encourage subjective investigation related to this vital question. In a New Testament passage (Mark 9:23-25) the father of a demon-possessed boy confesses his belief in Christ as a divine healer was weak: “I believe; help my unbelief,” he stated. Many people of that day had difficulty believing in Christ and in the reality of the Heavenly Father. The issue of belief in divine reality has always been present in man. Ultimately, belief in God is a divine gift from God himself: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).