Systematic Theology:The Doctrine of God Lecture Notes Chapter 9: The Existence of God

The Doctrine of God[1]

Lecture Notes[2] Chapter 9: The Existence of God


19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

(Romans 1:19-20)

How do we know that God exists?

The answer to this question can be given in two parts: First, all people have an inner sense of God.  Second, we believe the evidence that is found in Scripture and in nature.

 A. Humanity’s Inner Sense of God

All people everywhere have a deep inner sense; a “witness”; that God exists.   Paul states that this is true even for Gentile unbelievers.

Romans 1:19
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

What amazing Grace is it for us that God has revealed to every human being throughout all times that He is.  The next step that all men take is that they refuse to honor the God they know exists.

Romans 1:21 
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Our refusal to honor God naturally results in our thoughts becoming futile and foolish.  The next step of man then is to actively and willfully reject truth about God’s existence and character.

Romans 1:18
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 1:25

25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Psalm 14:1
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.

Psalm 10:3-4
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

These passages show us that sin makes everyone think and act irrationally by denying God’s existence, and that it is those who think irrationally or who have been deceived who will say, “There is no God.”

 

B.  Believing the Evidence in Scripture and Nature

1. Scripture

The Bible-all throughout-naturally and automatically assumes that God exists.  From the very first words, the Bible never presents evidence for the existence of God but immediately begins to tell us what He’s done.

Genesis 1:1
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

We know from the Bible not only that God exists, but also about His nature and His acts.

2. Nature

Every created thing in one way or another gives evidence; proof: of God’s existence and character.

Romans 1:20
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

A. Human Beings

More than anything else, man, created in the image of God, most abundantly bears witness to the existence and magnificence of our Almighty Creator.

B. All Other Created Things

For example: the “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons” and the “food and gladness” (Acts 14:17), the heavens themselves, the things that walk and crawl on the ground, the things that swim in the sea, the things that grow on the earth.  These all tell us that a great God and Creator has made them and continues to sustain them.  When we believe in God, this belief is not a “blind leap of faith” but is a belief built on facts; on an endless amount of reliable evidence from God’s Word and His works.

C.  Traditional “Proofs” for the Existence of God

1. Everything in the universe has an origin and that origin is God.

2. Everything in the universe has a goal or purpose so there must be an intelligent and purposeful God who created them to function this way.

3. The moral argument states that since man has a sense of right and wrong and justice, there must be a God who is the source of that right, wrong, and justice.

D.  Only God Can Overcome Our Sin and Enable Us to Be Persuaded of His Existence

It must be noted that these proofs, while very real, will not persuade everyone who considers them.  This is because many begin with invalid assumptions or do not reason correctly from the evidence.  It is not because the proofs are invalid in themselves.  These proofs cannot bring unbelievers to saving faith, for that comes about through belief in the testimony of Scripture.  In this sinful world God must enable us to be persuaded or we would never believe in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:4
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 Corinthians 2:14
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5
4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

We are dependent on God to remove the blindness and irrationality caused by sin.

QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL APPLICATION

1. When the angels around God’s throne cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, do you think they are seeing the earth from a somewhat perspective than ours?  How can we see things more from their perspective?

2. Is your hand more complex than a wristwatch?  Is it logical to think that either one of them came about by an accidental combination of elements?

3.  Do most people today believe in the existence of God?  If people believe He exists, why have they not worshipped Him rightly?

4.  Why do some people deny the existence of God?  What is the best way to approach someone like this?


[1] Based on and various Quotes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan

[2] All Scripture from ESV Bible, Crossway

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