how do you know god exists?

Posted: June 12, 2009 in Christianity, Theology
Tags: , , , , , ,

The question of God’s existence is fundamental to everything in life. How do you treat others? How do you treat yourself? What mores and paradigms do you adopt? This all hinges on what we believe about God’s existence. Not all people believe God exists and even for those who believe in a God, ideas about who He is and what He does are as varied as snowflakes. There is monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, etc. and variations within these types are great. Some see God as simply a higher power or a creator with no current interaction with mankind. Some see him as the nebulous manifestation of a larger consciousness. Some see Him as an unknowable puppet master while still others think a personal relationship with Him is available.

I’m often asked “how do you know God exists?” Well that depends. Are you asking can I prove Him via the scientific method in a classroom setting? If so, I couldn’t possibly know God exists because my knowing is constrained by man-made standards of proof. God can’t be proven or unproven scientifically. Actually, by sheer definition, God falls outside of the scientific method since His existence requires the supernatural and science deals only within the realm of the natural.

I do know God exists, though. However, my knowing is not based on tests and peer-reviewed papers. Its based on experiential relationship. That is my proof. This bothers some people because there is no universal standard to measure relationship by. There is no way to test the validity of an experience since it is defined only by the person who experienced it. Furthermore, its a type of proof that is frustrating to unbelievers because it can’t, by nature, be disproved. So while my experiential relationship with God is proof that He exists, it is really only personal proof and can’t be used for proof of His existence for anyone else.

In the 1997 movie Contact,  starring Jodie Foster, James Woods and Matthew McConaughey, this point is illustrated very well. Jodie Foster’s character is a scientist who states that she doesn’t believe in God. However at the end of the film, she has an experience that she can’t quantify or prove. Much like the faith of her friend (McConaughey) which she scoffed at before, she realizes the nature of faith and states that although she cannot prove her experience,  “everything that I am tells me that it was real.”

So that’s how I know God exists. I had a point-in-time experience where I met Him through His son, Jesus and I have since continued in a relationship with Him through the intimate friendship of His Holy Spirit. I wish I could measure, quantify and prove it through other means in such a way that my relationship with Him would be undeniable by third parties.  But the best that I have is the word of my testimony and the change that has taken place in my life over the years. Hopefully my lifestyle bears witness that I have come in contact with God and my relationship with Him is apparent to those who come in contact with me. Just like we don’t see the wind but see its effects upon the leaves in the trees, so do our lives provide a glimpse that the invisible God is, in fact, visible through His people and present among us.

I encourage you if you are currently an atheist, agnostic, you’re confused or just apathetic – seek a relationship with God. I mean, if He did create the world and He does want a relationship with us, its logical that we seek Him out, right? In the words of Yo Gabba Gabba, “Try it, you’ll like it.” 🙂

I encourage you if you are a believer that you not be angry with unbelievers. Remember, God loves people regardless of their incorrect beliefs. He is big enough to handle our questions. Don’t let atheists and agnostics offend you – they just haven’t met Him yet! Love them and pray for them and if they’re open, share what God has done in your life. Remember, we Christians overcome by 1) linking up with Jesus 2) sharing what He’s done in our lives and 3) not being in love with ourselves – even if it costs us everything. (Revelation 12:11)

In the next few posts I’ll talk about some of the things that make me feel that my belief in God, while still faith, is a very reasonable faith. I also want to talk about a few common objections to believing in God that I’ve heard over the years.

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Comments
  1. […] 15, 2009 In my previous post, I said the proof that I have for believing in God is a personal and experiential proof. Hebrews […]

  2. […] do you know god exists? – part three 19 06 2009 So we’ve covered how I know God exists and we’ve also covered why I believe those who believe in God have a reasonable faith.  Now […]

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