How Can I Hope in God if I Don't Believe
God Made the Heavens and the Earth
What Proof is There Of God's Existence?
Luke 19:10 tells us that, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”…this is the heart and soul of the gospel message. The gospel message of Christ and the Bible in general, can be explained using “general revelation” as evidence of the truths that are proclaimed in God’s “specific revelation” of the Bible. I believe that we are surrounded by the testimony of God both internally and externally. This testimony supports discussion of the “truths” declared in the Bible.
Let’s first look at the definition of “general revelation”. Revelation is defined as, “God's disclosure of Himself and His will to His creatures”. The word general is defined as, “not specific or definite”. What we are dealing with is a broad-based disclosure of God. How has God disclosed himself to humankind and in a manner available throughout all time, to all of humanity, in a broad way?
In all of creation, from the beginning of time God has revealed himself to us. In Romans 1:20 Paul states, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse". What is it about this creation that reveals God to us?
We can start with the sky which is “clearly seen” by everyone. Proverbs 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. The beauty of the dawn breaking as the sun rises and explodes into light that saturates the sky; the silent witness of a billion stars burning from ages and eons ago, twinkling in a blanket of ebony; the ominous dark clouds that gather as thunderstorms crackle with lightning, saturating the earth with rain; the soft frozen snowflakes that fall silently from above; the violent power of winds ripping through the air, carrying away everything in its wake- all of these reveal a power that is greater than anything humankind can imagine. Jude 1:25 says, “to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”. The heavens indeed declare glory, majesty, power, and authority over the all the elements of the skies….of which we can attribute to God.
The earth joins in the testimony. Hebrews 1:10 tells us, “You laid the foundations of the earth”. The earth, comprised of hills and valleys, mountains, caverns, and caves, along with rock, sediment, stones, and sand. These all make up the foundation on which God created and laid everything else. All eyes can see and observe the foundations of the earth.
The creatures of the earth also give witness. God has created each kind of creature according to its own kind, “All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another” (1 Cor. 15:13). Each creation is unique in its design…not only in species but also in variety, reproduction, and form. God gave minute detail and attention to each and every aspect of his creatures. He even tells us to watch them and learn from them.
“Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Ants are common insects and occur all around the world. They are known to work together in community and, according to National Geographic, are “enthusiastically social”. They are governed by one leader, the queen whose sole job is reproduction. They all work for the good of the colony as they “forage for food, care for the queen's offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties”. From the greatest whale to the smallest insect, God has designed, planned, orchestrated, and cared for each living thing. We can all observe the ways of the ant and glimpse the attributes of God…his design for order and plan for community and harmony with others.
God’s attributes are likewise apparent in our emotional reaction to his creation. Psalms 92:4 tells us, “For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what you have done, I will sing for joy at the works of your hands”. When we see God’s works we have joy. Look out at luminescent rainbow after a rain shower and you can sense the joy in your heart. The Psalms are full of exclamations of joy, praise, and honor to God for the works of his hands.
So we have seen that in nature, in the creation of God’s hands, there is evidence of a majestic and powerful God. This evidence is not only in creation and the creatures, but in humankind also. We are creative beings, created in the image of a creative God. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. Just as God is our creator, the creative spirit of God resides in mankind.
For what child has never played in the mud, forming and making creations by their own hands? This creativity grows and can become works of art, seen throughout the ages in any group of people. We see creative expression in pottery, furniture, clothing, jewelry, homes, roadways, cities and the like. In Exodus 35:35 these creative abilities of mankind are attributed as coming from God as, “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers”. Not only is humankind a creative being, she/he is an emotional being too just as the creator is.
The Bible speaks of God’s emotions and personal attributes, in Exodus 34:6, “"The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth”. And, again in Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”. What man, woman, or child doesn’t desire love and is filled with joy when it is found? What country does not cry out for peace in times of war? What anger does man have at injustice inflicted against those he loves? What parent wouldn’t want goodness bestowed on their children? Who has never seen the patience of a mother as she encourages a child to walk? And at the end of his years, what man cannot look at his wife’s time worn hands and face and not be grateful for the faithfulness of sixty years of love? God’s attributes are displayed in man’s actions, thus reflecting God’s image.
We have seen the heavens and the earth declare the glory of the Lord. We have witnessed the creation as evidence of a detailed and orderly God. We have proclaimed the personal attributes of God the creator and have seen humans reflecting those characteristics. But above and beyond all of these things is the very conscience dwelling in all of us that bears witness within our own hearts and minds that there is a God. Romans 2:14-16 tells us:
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
As creation declares the reality of God…our own hearts quietly bear witness to his truth. In all of these things, each one bears out that humankind is surrounded by testimonies of God, the God of the Scriptures. And he will meet all who seek him as told in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”.
The gospel of God is all around us. His laws are in our hearts. We only need to take the warning from Psalms 32:9, “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Anyone who has ever ridden a horse or a mule can attest to this truth. It is only our stubborn heart that causes us to choose to ignore the general revelation that surrounds us daily…always and for all time…and in doing so, we miss the Gospel message Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”. So how does all of this help us to explain what was lost? And why it needs to be found?
In Genesis we are told that God created man and woman and put them in a garden. In this garden, they had communion with God. They knew no shame, they were innocent of evil. But through deception and pride, Adam and Eve did what they were told not to do, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:15). We are all inflicted with this death from the sin of Adam. But “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God gave his Son to redeem us from death and corruption.
This death can be seen in general revelation also. Our world no longer is a pristine and beautiful place. It too has been corrupted and seeks to be redeemed, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).
In our world we see the decline and alteration of the earth. Our waters are polluted; species are dying off; the ozone layer is in trouble; weather patterns are changing causing famine in some areas from a lack of rain, while destroying others with too much rain; global warming is a concern, the icecaps are melting; for each disease we conquer, new ones seem to take their place. Even the universe itself is in danger.
In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled, When galaxies collide, fate of Earth dims, experts say. It is reported that our galaxy will at some point in the future collide with another galaxy:
The galactic collision won't happen for a few billion years, but when it does, the entire solar system will be expelled from its current place in the bright galactic "suburbs" into the galactic boondocks, where there will be far fewer stars to guide sailors and to inspire the romantic. Never again will the night skies be as pretty as they are now (Davidson, 2007).
The Bible states that “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). Creation will not only testify, but will shout.
All of these things seem to be ominous to the casual observer of general revelation. However, the good news…the Gospel message…is the finale of this story… “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:27-28). He came to save what was lost…if we only will believe.
General revelation points us to the entire story of creation and redemption, from the time of Adam, to the time when Christ returns. General revelation, especially to someone in the twenty first century, gives great evidence of the truth in the Bible. And as science advances and life continues to change, it seems that general revelation is coming ever closer to the specific revelation of truth in God’s word as the world waits in eager expectation for God’s children to be revealed.
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