Is There a God? If So, Who Is He?
Is there really a God? The Bible declares that there is a God, and it goes on to declare that men know that there is a God. Men may not know who God is. Yet men do know that God is. The Bible calls a man a fool, if he says that there is no God: The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. (Psa 14:1) The fool may say that there is no God, but God’s creation proves that there must be. A reasonable man observes his surroundings and concludes that there has to be a Creator God. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. (Psa 19:1-3) God created man with a sense of rationality that is common to men. Moreover, the wonder of creation declares to man’s sense of reasoning that there must be a God. The spectacle of the skies (whether the sun by day or the stars by night) speaks the same common message to the common sense of men of all languages. The heavens declare the glory of God, in that the works of His hands can be seen in the sky.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Rom 1:20) Observation of the complexities of the universe (both macro and micro) forces the rational mind to the reasonable conclusion that there must be a Creator. Any position, which does not recognize the wisdom and power of an eternally existent God, is a senseless and defenseless position.
Yet even with the God-given ability to know that there must be a God, many people refuse to acknowledge and believe that there is. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Rom 1:21-22) How can intelligent educated men, who even study the intricacies of God’s creation, conclude that it all just happened by chance and time? They profess themselves to be wise, yet they have the thoughts of fools. To use the scientific method to study God’s creation, and then to declare that science proves that there is no God, is to declare yourself not to be a true scientist, but to be a fool. Observation of creation teaches common sense reasoning that there must be an intelligent and powerful designer of it all.
As men know that there is a God, even without the Bible’s testimony, they can also know that there must be only one God without the Bible. Now the Bible does repeatedly declare that there is only one God. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. (Deu 6:4) For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isa 46:9) I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. (Isa 45:5) Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isa 43:10)
Yet even without the Bible, men can come to the logical conclusion that there is only one God. If observation of creation teaches common sense reasoning that there must be a God, then contemplation of creation teaches common sense reasoning that there is only one God. As observation of creation says, “God caused everything,” even so contemplation of creation asks, “Who caused the Cause?” If God is the cause of all things, then who is the cause of the cause of all things? Did something cause God? Is it possible that there is a Creator of the Creator?
Come let us reason together. If God had a beginning, then something must have caused Him to be. If something caused God to be, then that something (which would have been both prior to God and superior over God) would be God. So if God was caused to be, then He is not God. God’s cause would be God. (If we say that God caused Himself to be, that would make God before Himself, which is an absurdity.)
So by necessity, at some point there must have been a ‘First Cause’ that caused everything, and that ‘First Cause’ must be eternal, without beginning. The One (and only one) Being of God must have always existed. One God, the ‘First Cause’, is without cause, and is the cause of all. One God, the Eternal Being, is the cause of all other beings. All live, and move, and have their being in Him, yet He receives His Being from none. He is dependent on none—independent of all. This can be said of only one Being—and none other. Thus, there is one, and only one, God.
Well who is this one God? Eastern mystics claim ‘God is everything’. Western scoffers claim ‘God is not’. A ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ rants his sacrileges. A ‘Medicine Man’ chants his superstitions. Heathen idolaters make gods with their hands. Visionary dreamers form gods in their minds. Some trust a four-leafed clover. Some sign a cross. Some worship deceased ancestors. Some reverence sacred cows. Moses declared the God of the mountain. Mohammed declared the god of the mosque. Nebuchadnezzar declared a God on a throne. Jesus declared a God on a cross. The hippies said, “God is dead.” The angel said, “He is risen.”
So who is God? And what is He? Will the real God please stand up? Is it even possible to know who God is? My gut feelings tell me that I know who the real God is. My gut feelings further tell me that I can trust my gut feelings. I know who God is, and I know that what I know is right. Surely the God of my parents, the God of my church, the God of my preacher is the true God. I am certain that my God is the real God. He must be. You see, I believe it with all my heart. So it must be so!
Yet reasoning and observation tell me that strong gut feelings can sometimes be wrong feelings. Think about the false prophets of Elijah’s day. They surely had strong gut feelings about their gods, in that they cut themselves and sacrificed their own blood to those gods who were not God. It cannot be denied that their feelings were strong feelings, but it is certain that their feelings were wrong feelings. By the end of the day, the real God proved them to be wrong. With conviction they strongly believed in the reality of their gods, but their strong beliefs did not make them right, nor did their wrong beliefs turn their unreal gods into the real God.
Consider the suicide bombers of our day. They willingly martyr their lives to kill Christians. I do not believe in the god they believe in. I do not see how they can believe in the god they claim. Yet I cannot deny that they sincerely believe in their god. Though I know that their gut feelings are wrong feelings, I cannot deny that their gut feelings are strong feelings. I believe that they believe in their god with all their hearts.
So my conclusion is that strong gut feelings can be wrong gut feelings, and even the strongest wrong feelings cannot make the wrong to be right. Moreover, sincere belief can believe in untruth, and even the greatest belief in an unreal god cannot make the unreal god real. Yet in spite of these observations about how gut feelings can be undependable, my gut feelings still tell me that all these things apply to others, who have wrong gut feelings, but not to me. My gut feelings still tell me, that my gut feelings are right gut feelings.
Yet I know what the suicide bomber would say about my gut feelings. While my gut feelings continue to tell me that my feelings are right feelings, I expect that his feelings are telling him that he is right. At this point I might say, “I have the answer. I have the book of answers. My Bible not only declared the false prophets in Elijah’s day to be wrong, but it also declares the beliefs of the suicide bombers to be wrong.”
Yet at that point the suicide bomber might reply, “Oh, but I have a book, too!” Then the eastern mystics pipe in, “Look at all our books.” The PhD’s flaunt, “I have more books than you all.” The scoffers say, “Bah! Who needs books? The world is full of books, and books are full of baloney!”
So can we ever get beyond gut feelings? Is it possible to get past men’s opinions? Man can look at creation and know that there must be a God. Yet as we look back through history, and around at cultures, it seems that there are gods many and lords many. Is God just to be pondered, or can He be known? Men have always pondered the idea of God, and in all their pondering, men have churned out lots of ideas about God. Men have reasoned and speculated. Men have fought and debated. Yet left to themselves, men have figured out very little about God. Men can know by common sense reasoning that God is, but men have no way of knowing who God is. Left to man’s own limited ideas and imaginations, God would forever remain past our finding out. Truly the only way for men to discover the identity of the real God would be if the real God revealed Himself to men.
Yet if we are waiting for a revelation from God concerning His identity, we need to wait no longer. God has revealed Himself to men, and men can know who the real God is through God’s revelation. We were on the right track when we grabbed for the Bible to prove who God is, because the Bible is God’s revelation concerning Himself, and many other things. It is only through the Bible that men can know God. The scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God. The Bible is a special book beyond all books—beyond their books. The scriptures were not actually penned by God. The Bible was written by men, but the men wrote what God inspired them to write. The Bible is truly God’s book, wherein God reveals Himself to man. Men can know that there has to be such a thing as God without the Bible, but men cannot know who God is without the Bible. The scriptures tell us who the one true God is.
This takes us back a step. We cannot just take for granted that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the inspired revelation of God. Before we use the Bible to discover who God is, we need to be satisfied that the Bible is a book that merits its use for such a purpose. Lots of people have lots of books, but what makes our Bible better than any other book? Why do we say the Bible is the word of God? How can we know the Bible is inspired by God, and not just another book written by men? How can we know which god of all the books is the real God? If we can prove the Bible to be the revelation of God, and not just another book by a man, then we have grounds to take the Bible as the book for our only rule of faith and practice. Let us see if we can prove that the Old and New Testament Bible is truly the book that is inspired by the one and only, true and living God.
The Bible accurately prophesied countless future events. What are the odds of predicting hundreds of events with 100% accuracy? In God’s book, all predictions come to pass in full accuracy, because the God who can see the future wrote the book. There were dozens of prophecies in the Old Testament that came to pass in the coming of Jesus. Who, but God, could have declared the details from the coming of the babe to His rising from the grave? The Bible recorded where Christ would be born, even centuries ahead of time. God alone could have named Bethlehem as the place. Who, but God, could have known of the killing of the babes and the fleeing into Egypt? Who would have dreamed of Jesus coming out of Nazareth? How could Psalm 22 have declared all those particular things that Jesus would say on the cross? How could it be known how He would die, where He would die, and hundreds of years before, when He would die? Who could have predicted resurrection? From the manger to the resurrection, the details were foretold. Moreover, every minute detail came to pass, even dozens of prophecies all happened just as it was written.
Let us contemplate other amazing prophecies, not related to Jesus. Let us consider two different Old Testament kings, beginning with a King of Judah named Josiah. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. (1Ki 13:2) So what is the big deal? The verse calls Josiah by name and declares what he will do. Yet the amazing thing is that these words were written about 300 years before the birth of this man named Josiah. It is impossible for men to even be sure about what will happen tomorrow, but here we are given details about a particular man, and things this particular man would do, even 300 years into the future.
Now let us observe the verse that describes the fulfillment of the prophecy, even 300 years later. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. (2Ki 23:16) [Emphasis added.] Who, but God, could have called Josiah by name 300 years before he was born? Who, but God, can see 300 years into the future? Who, but the real God, could have written such a book that records not only the past and the present, but with equal accuracy, the Bible records the future?
Next, consider the words of prophecy written about a King who would be named Cyrus. (It should be noted that these words were written about 175 years before the time of Cyrus.) That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. (Isa 44:28) Now observe the fulfillment of the prophecy. Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (Ezr 1:1-2)
There are three outlandish things about this prophecy. First of all, God called a king by name, writing it down 175 years ahead of time. Secondly, God predicted the rebuilding of a city, well before the time that it was destroyed. Finally, God predicted an event that no reasonable person could have expected to happen. This was not like predicting that the sun would rise tomorrow. The thing that God wrote down, which He would accomplish through Cyrus, was a thing unheard of in history. Who could have imagined that any king would voluntarily release a nation of slaves from captivity? Yet, God made the long shot prediction that even the very king named Cyrus would act so out of character. Nearer the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy, God raised Cyrus to be one of the most powerful kings that the world has ever known. Then God stirred the spirit of Cyrus, whose heart God held in His hand, to release a nation of slaves. The King of kings was in control of it all. The God of the Bible ruled over this king on the earth, just like He had said He would nearly two centuries before. What a God! What a book!
Let us evaluate the Bible, as it relates to science. The Bible is not a science book. Yet where it speaks of science, it speaks correctly. Ponder the words: It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. (Isa 40:22) Why did Isaiah say the circle of the earth, when men of his day very probably still considered the earth to be flat? Why did Isaiah particularly say that God stretcheth out the heavens, even using a verb tense that indicated an ongoing process? If Isaiah had been speaking of God stretching out the heavens in creation, he should have said that God stretched out the heavens. Yet instead of saying that God stretched out the heavens, Isaiah said that God stretcheth out the heavens, indicating that God not only did stretch out the heavens in creation, but that he is also still stretching out the heavens. Isaiah might have gazed at the stars, but he was not a modern day physicist. Isaiah could not have known of an ever expanding universe. Yet the God, who told Isaiah how to say what he said, knew all about it. Wow! God did write the book! It is a book beyond the capabilities of man.
The archeologist’s spade continues to prove the Bible to be an accurate book. From the Dead Sea scrolls, to the writings of the ancient Hittites, to the way the walls of Jericho fell, to the pyramids and tombs of Egypt, to the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah, to the tetrarchs of Rome, every dig just adds more evidence to the Bible’s historical accuracy.
So the Bible itself proves that it could only have been written by revelation from the real God. The Bible establishes itself to be God-inspired by its multitudes of prophecies that time has proved to be true, by its multitudes of statements that science has proved to be true, and by its historical accuracy that archeology has proved to be true. The Bible not only proves itself to be God-inspired, it even declares itself to be thus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God. (2Tim 3:16) The Bible claims its very words to be God’s words. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2Pe 1:21)
Beyond the Bible proving itself to be true, and declaring itself to be true, as a final point as to the authenticity of the Bible, Jesus said of God’s word: Thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17) A scoffer might say, “So what, who is this Jesus?” This Jesus said of Himself: I am the truth. All He said was truth. All He did was truth. He is the one who repeatedly stated that He would rise from the grave after three days. If you had been there and heard Jesus say such a thing, you might have laughed Him to scorn, that is until He really did it. Then you would have been assured that you could count on what this man said to be the truth. So since the Bible itself proves itself to be truth, and since the Bible itself declares itself to be truth, and since Jesus (who is truth) proclaimed the Bible to be truth, then we can surely trust the Bible concerning who the real God is. Our answer, as to who the real God is, can be found in the book of truth, even the book that must have been written by revelations originating from the real God.
So after a long side road of proofs as to where to find our answer, we finally come to the conclusion that we can trust God’s book to tell us the truth about who the real God is. It should be easy now. Let us find our answer. Ah, here is what God says about Himself. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1Jn 5:7)
What does that say? These three are one. Is this who the real God is? How can that be? What does that mean? Left to himself, and in his deepest thinking, man could never have envisioned the God described in these words. A three in one God could only be known by revelation. Revealed truth is stranger than imagination! In man’s craziest dreams, he would never have described God as three persons being one. Moreover, the idea of a three in one God is not just beyond the possibilities of imagination. It is also beyond the possibilities of comprehension. In man’s deepest intellect, he will never understand God, as three persons being one. So we thought we had it all figured out. Well we do have it figured out as to where to find the answers, but when we begin to look, we learn that the answer is bigger than our thinking.
Now add to that confusion the idea that the man named Jesus is as much God, as God is God. How can the Creator of man be made of a woman? How can the giver of life be born of a womb? How can Sovereignty sigh? How can Eternity die? How can this man be God? How can this thing be? The Biblical concept of a three in one God (and entwined in that concept, the idea of a God/man Jesus Christ) has caused much confusion throughout the history of the world, and even throughout the history of the church. Men have hated the idea, misunderstood it, and rejected it from the beginning. It was the accusation for which Jesus was crucified. It is an idea that has split churches since the time of Christ. It has ever been, and still is, a concept that is impossible for a natural mind to fully grasp.
So who is God? There is no more difficult task in nature than to attempt to comprehend God. The scriptures are clear that He is past our finding out. His ways are past our ways, and He is past our understanding. He has revealed much about Himself in His word, but as finite creatures, we cannot even understand what He has revealed. Yet we do not have to be able to understand all about God in order to believe in Him. God has given His children the gift of faith, so that we are enabled to believe that He is, and that He is who He is said to be. We are told that He is one. We are told that He is three. We may not be able to understand this, much less explain it. Yet by God’s gift of faith, we can believe it, and we can praise God for who He is.
As a final practical thought, if the Bible is ‘thus saith the Lord’, and proves itself to be the real book of the real God, then we should make the Bible our only rule of faith and practice. God gave us His Bible. God has preserved it for us. We should not try to change it, or even question it. We simply need to believe the Bible and put its teachings into practice.