It has been said and I believe it to be true, that more harm and good has been done in relation to the question “Does God exist?” than any other question. The rise of communism and the killing of 100’s of millions of people is directly tied to Karl Marx’s answering that question with a no. To be fair, much damage has been done by people answering that question with a yes. Currently we can see the Islamic Extremists that would kill people because they think it is God’s will. For about 300 years the catholic church in Spain tortured, killed, and banished protestants, Jews, and Muslims. Even today much of America’s foreign policy is based on an incorrect understanding of God’s relationship with physical Israel. Many people don’t realize that God has no relationship with those people anymore. His special people used to be Israel (Ex 19:5-6), but now his special people is the Church of Christ (1 Pet 2:9).
The question of is there a God rightfully effects the decisions that every person will make. That is exactly what God would want us to do. The problem is, and has always been, that simply concluding that there is a God is only the first question that God wants us to answer. It is not the last question. Far too often, people never ask the most important follow up question, “What does God want me to do?”.
God has revealed himself in a number of ways to every human being. In Romans 1:20 it says that he has revealed himself through creation. You can look at any number of laws of nature and laws of common sense that prove his existence. A Law of Nature is something that is observed without exception. One of the seven Laws of Nature is the Law of Cause and Effect. That means that the Law of Cause and Effect is true without exception. The law of Cause and Effect states that every effect must have a cause whether you can see the cause or not. If there is a ripple in the water, there was a disturbance that caused it. If the earth shakes, there is a reason that it is shaking.
God has revealed himself through the Law of Cause and Effect. When we look at the universe and conclude that it spontaneously began to exist, we become fugitives from the laws of nature.
God has also shown himself through the order of the universe. Even in times that we would think of as uneducated and ignorant, people were able to see the order in the universe. Sailors used the stars to navigate the seas. People were able to build calendars and anticipate seasons all because of the order of the universe. But how many times do you get a perfect order out of chaos? You can spend every second of your life opening bags of M&M’s and pouring them on the table, but you will never have the candies fall out of the bag perfectly divided by color. God has revealed himself by the order of this universe.
In Romans 2:14 we learn that God has revealed himself through man’s desire to do good. Paul speaks of the Gentiles who did not have the Law of God, but are still trying to do good. Our intrinsic desire for morality can only be explained by God. You cannot account for why mankind has a conscience without God. Evolution can not account for why a species would evolve a conscience. It is unnatural to the rest of creation. Animals do not have a conscience. Animals do not have court systems. Animals do not have penalties for crimes.
In Acts 14:17 Paul tries to teach the pagans of Lystra, that God has also revealed himself through goodness. There are evil things all around us. It seems we see more of it every day. Yet still mankind prospers. That makes no logical sense. Man kills one another. Countries commit terrible crimes against each other, but the world keeps spinning and God continues to bring prosperity. There is no other explanation for man’s advancement.
People can look at any one of these areas and come to a conclusion that there has to be a God. And God wants us to do that. But if we stop there, we will get ourselves in to all sorts of trouble.
There is a special verse in Acts 17:27 that explains the purpose of God revealing himself in these ways. “So that they would seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope after him and find him”. The moment one realizes that there is a God, that is just the beginning. It is then that people need to ask the follow up questions of who is God, and how do I please him.
Those questions can never be answered by observing the universe. You will never know how God wants you to worship him by looking at the stars. You will never know that God wants you to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins by only appealing to your conscience. Knowing what God wants can only be answered through the Bible (Rom 10:17).
That’s why we are so insistent on knowing the Bible at the LaFollette Church of Christ. There is no other place to look for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). It is the lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). It is the instruction whereby our souls will be saved (James 1:21). It is the revelation by which we will be judged (John 12:48).