September 2016

September 2016

How Do We Know God?

Saving faith is much more than believing that God exists. Saving faith means trusting in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Sacrifice for the sin of the world, whose blood reconciles you to God through the forgiveness of sins. But such saving faith is impossible without believing that God exists in the first place.

How do we know that God exists? There are a number of proofs that can demonstrate God’s existence logically. One is the argument from causality. Everything is caused by something else in one way or another. I was caused by my parents, who were caused by their parents, and so on down the line. But eventually that chain of causes has to stop somewhere. It can’t just keep extending farther and farther back into an ever more remote past. There has to be something that has caused everything else, something that itself has no cause—an uncaused cause. That uncaused cause is what we call God.

Of course, just knowing that God caused everything doesn’t tell us much about Him. There are other helpful arguments that can get us a little farther. One is the argument from design. If you were to find a watch on the seashore, would it be more logical to imagine that the functioning timepiece was assembled spontaneously by the motion of the waves sweeping debris together, or that some intelligent person designed and built that watch? There are magnificent designs throughout the universe. In fact, theoretical physicists tell us that the very fabric of the universe itself is an astonishingly intricate and precise design by some intelligence. That intelligence, the force behind such structures as the eye, the cell, and even reality itself, is what we call God.

We can also know a lot about God’s character. Every one of us has a conscience, which testifies to us about what’s right and what’s wrong. We all know that we are answerable to someone for our actions. We are all burdened with a sense of guilt where we have erred, and we are all desperate to show ourselves to be in the right. That sense of goodness we can trace back to God, who gave us our consciences and wrote His law in our hearts. The righteous and good source of all righteousness and goodness, the architect of the conscience, is what we call God.

And yet, as we lie dying in our beds, the thought that God is the Uncaused Cause, the Intelligent Designer, the Author of the Law, is but cold comfort. It may be easy to convince our intellects of God’s existence, but our hearts take rather more work. What comforts us in times of trial is not clever arguments, but an actual, direct, and personal knowledge of God.

How do we know God directly and personally? Through His Word and through prayer. When we hear and learn God’s Word, we are entering into an encounter with the Living God. We hear His voice and know who is speaking. When we come to Him in prayer, we call upon Him who made us and the world in which we live, who has a claim upon us as our Maker and Redeemer. We come to know God as we know a friend or a family member, as someone real whose existence we can take for granted.

It is therefore important that we take the time now, when we have the chance, to get to know God. Read His Scriptures regularly. Gather every week, if possible, with your fellow saints to hear God’s Word in the public assembly of the congregation. Pray at least every morning and every evening. Through your regular encounter with the Living God, when it comes time to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, you will do so not with an intellectual concept, but with a familiar Friend.

In Christ's Love,

Pastor Neuendorf