Searching For God

Searching For God

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, We are his offspring.’  “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. Acts 17:24-30

In mans search for God, one of the big questions is, where do we start? Traditionally we start with God and our discussion would center on God or religion. But is God really where we should begin? Wouldn’t it  be more logical to look at the material which we know best? And is not that material, humanity?

If we start with God, we end up judging God by human standards and man’s reasoning, as though we ourselves were gods or as though we believe we have enough knowledge to make a sound judgment of Him. In this, we are saying that God’s existence depends on him  yielding to our criteria. Therefore, the biggest problem by starting with God is that as soon as we put him on trial, we have implied a number of  assumptions. We have assumed that we have the right to judge the creator, which infers that we have the authority, power and knowledge to do so.  We also assume that our reasoning is accurate enough to make a judgment on God. However, when human reason is put on trial, we will likely find her to be a sick lady; sick with finiteness and sin. So, what does she have to say of God that cannot be questioned?

Then again, if we start with man, there are two hypotheses that we can begin with. The first one is;  man is a creature that is purely an accident and the result of natural causes. Who over time has evolved into the creature that we know today. Then there is the theistic hypothesis; that man was somehow created by a deity, then something happened to the experiment and it went awry.

In this article, we are going to assume that the Christian or God hypothesis is correct, which would mean that man was created by a deity and something went awry. In tradition theology this is referred to as the fall of man. If this hypothesis is true, our attention should turn away from judging God, to cross-examining and judging mankind. In this view, humanity should be put on trial and be held accountable for its beliefs and its unbelief.

Now, if the Christian hypothesis is true, what should we expect to see? To begin with we should expect to see a creation (beginning) of all things, including man.  It also seems logical to think that we should see in a humanity created by God, an  intimate awareness of God, which would include a universal knowledge to some degree of good and evil.  It would mean that man as the image bearer of God would have a consciousness that was capable of choosing good or evil. It would also entail God creating a universe that is orderly and predictable based on laws, which a finite being like man could trust, in conducting and ordering his life.

Let us start with the latter quality, the habitat of man must be orderly, predictable and based on law in order for man to survive. When we look at the earth and universe that is exactly what we find. Now, if there were no God and the earth was an accident would we expect to find order or would we expect to find chaos?  However, when we look at the universe we do not find chaos or disorder. We find the laws of nature, which are immutable, giving man a perfect habitat to live in. These laws infer a law giver. The law and order of the universe is exactly what one would expect to find if a consciousness had created the universe.  It is this law and order in the universe that allows us to do science or philosophy. Without the consistency of the laws of nature reason would not work.

What about the hypothesis that mankind has an innate awareness of God? To begin with the Christian hypothesis proclaims beyond question that mankind as a whole has been given an awareness of the uncreated God. The apostle Paul says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 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 senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles” (Rom 1:19-23). The text infers that when men rejected this revelation of God’s existence that their reasoning and behavior become corrupted. The scripture does not reveal how their reasoning was corrupted, nor to what extent, it simply says that it happens when men reject God. However, it does seem that the text is pointing more to a corporate occurrence, rather than an individual one.

Is there secular evidence to support a universal revelation or consciousness of a higher power or cosmic order?  In actuality there is, however without any evidence it seems to be a self-evident truth that mankind in general is homo-religious, i.e. by his very nature he seems to be religious[1].  Religion is simply an outward symbol of a belief or an awareness of something that transcends this dimension[2]. The universal presence of religion is  strong evidence that God has revealed himself to all men, and that mankind has often neglected, rejected it or corrupted it. The scripture says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt. They do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.” (Psalms 14:1) In this passage the writer put everyone who does wicked deeds in the category of being an atheist.

In biblical times being an atheist had more to do with behavior than beliefs. Very few would have denied the existence of God or the gods in the ancient world. Modern atheism arose out of modern mans rebellion against the catholic Church and it misuse of power. It took its organized form in humanism and later in liberalism. Both philosophies are centered in rejecting any authority of man or God. The roots go deep into anarchy and rebellion against authority.

In addition, there is also a study done by Oxford University Psychologist Dr. Olivera Petrovich,  who demonstrates that children around the world are hardwired to believe in God as creator.  One of her conclusions is that “Atheism is definitely an acquired position.” Petrovich research is keeping with Steven Pinker’s study of human nature, in which he confirms that human beings are not born as a blank slate, but rather are hard wired in a number of ways[3].

Closely connected with an innate awareness of God, we should expect an innate sense of right and wrong if God created everything. What’s more, when we turn to the world that is exactly what we find. We find a sense of right and wrong everywhere. Of course, the naturalist will argue that morality is a creation of human reason and evolved over time.  However, in saying this they cannot produce one bit of evidence to prove their hypothesis, for they were not there to witness it.

What we have to work with today is our own experience that morality is universal and does not depend on reason alone.  Remember that Germany under the Nazis was the most intellectual culture of its day and yet it was the most barbaric.  Reason in itself does not lead to morality.   Reason needs a cornerstone from which it may lay its foundation on, to be able to reason from.

Our hypothesis infers that we should be able to pin point a beginning, or a creation where God made all things, including man in his image[4]. Well, when we turn to science it tells us that the universe had a beginning.  Scientists referred to this beginning as the ‘big bang’. The big-bang theory actually postulates that the universe came into existence out of nothing and this is exactly what you would expect if God created the heavens and earth as Genesis 1:1 teaches.  Prior to the Big-Bang theory, science taught us that the universe was steady and fixed i.e. eternal without beginning or end.

I admit that the above does not prove the existence of God, but it does show that the world in which we live is the kind of world, which we would expect to find if there was a God.


[1] Talcott Parsons, served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973. says “The view that belief in the supernatural is universal has been completely confirmed by modern anthropology. Religion is as much a human universal as language or an incest taboo, which is to say a kinship system. Any conception of ‘natural man’ who is not encumbered by such ‘cultural baggage’ belongs to fictional picture of prehistory, for which there is no solid evidence for the human, socially organized stage. The view that such ‘baggage’ ought to be dispensed with and that rational man should ‘face reality’ without any ‘superstition’ is a product of sophisticated culture, in no way true of the original human condition. Quoted in “An Interpretation of Religion by John Hick, page 21.

[2] William James speaks of this experience in his book “Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature”.

[3] The Blank Slate, The Modern Denial of Human Nature, by Steven Pinker.

[4] Here for are study, it does not matter how he did it, fast or slow.