Presence of a God1

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Presence of a God1

Either God exists or He doesn’t. There is no middle ground. Any attempt to remain neutral in relation to God’s existence is automatically synonymous with unbelief. It is far from a “moot” question, for if God does exist, then nothing else really matters; if He does not exist, then nothing really matters at all. If He does exist, then there is an eternal heaven to be gained (Hebrews 11:16) and an eternal Hell to be avoided (Revelation 21:8). The question for God’s existence is an extremely important one. One might wonder why it is necessary to present evidence for the existence of God. As Edward Thomson so beautifully stated it: “…the doctrine of the one living and true God, Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor of the universe, as it solves so many problems, resolves so many doubts, banishes so many fears, inspires so many hopes, gives such sublimity to all things, and such spring to all noble powers, we might presume would, as soon as it was announced, be received by every healthy mind.” Some, however, contrary to their higher interests, have refused to have God in their knowledge and thus have become vain in their reasonings and foolish in their philosophy (Romans 1:21,22,28). They do not see the folly (Psalm 14:1) of saying there is no God. The Christian has not only the obligation to “give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you…” (I Peter 3:15), but an obligation to carry the Gospel message to a lost and dying world (Mark 16:15-16, et al.). There will be times when carrying the Gospel message to the world will entail setting forth the case for the existence of God. In addition, we need to remember that Christians are not agnostics. The agnostic is the person who says that God’s existence is unknowable. As difficult as it is to believe, some Christians take that same stance in regard to God’s existence. They assert that they “believe” there is a God, but that they cannot know it. They state that God’s existence cannot be proved. ‘This is false!’ God’s existence is both ‘knowable’ and ‘provable.’ Acceptance of God’s existence is not some “blind leap into the dark” as so many have erroneously asserted. The Christian’s faith is not a purely emotional, subjective “leap,” but instead is a ‘firm conviction’ regarding facts based upon reasonable evidence. God’s existence can be proved to any fair-minded person. Granted, we do not mean by the word “proved” that God’s existence can be scientifically demonstrated to human senses as one might, for example, prove that a sack of potatoes weighs ten pounds. But we need to be reminded (especially in our day of scientific intimidation) that empirical evidence (that based solely upon experiment and/or observation) is not the only basis for establishing a provable case. Legal authorities recognize the validity of a ‘prima facie’ case. Such a case exists when adequate evidence is available to establish the presumption of a fact which, unless such can be refuted, ‘legally stands as a fact’. Inferential proof (the culmination of many lines of evidence into only one possible conclusion) is an invaluable part of a ‘prima facie’ case which simply cannot be refuted. But an important question which serves as a “preface” to the case for God’s existence is this: “From whence has come the idea of God in man’s mind?” The inclination to be religious is universally and peculiarly a human trait. As one writer observed, even today the evidence indicates that “no race or tribe of men, however degraded and apparently atheistic, lacks that spark of religious capacity which may be fanned and fed into a mighty flame.” If, therefore, man is incurably religious–and has the idea of God in his mind–and if we assume that the world is rational, it is impossible that a phenomenon so universal as religion could be founded upon illusion. The question is highly appropriate therefore: what is the source of this religious tendency within man? Alexander Campbell, in his celebrated debate April 13-23, 1829 in Cincinnati, Ohio with Robert Owen, provided the answer to this question in a very positive fashion. He asked

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