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Doctrine of God
The Existence of God

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God's Existence As An Axiom
Godís existence is the first presupposition of theology. If it were not, and one could prove Godís existence, belief would have little to do with faith. And, while many today view faith as a weakness to be frowned upon, it is worthwhile noting that any discipline of science begins with basic assumptions or postulates, as even the natural scientist must assume certain facts, like the theologian. (Can you imagine if it were not assumed that the law of gravity would continue to operate continuously? That would eliminate half of the theories and formulae of physics. Yet, there is nothing in natural science to prove that this law will always be so.) The Declaration of Independence demonstrates that in the case of government, morality, and human rights the same is true, "We hold these truths to be self-evident." The founding fathers of the United States did not offer proofs or reasoning for the formulation of American rights and freedoms. Theology works in a similar fashion. The basic assumption of theology is that God exists.

The collection of writings found in the bible are equally content making this assumption, as in the very first verse it is stated: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In the entire 66 books that follow from Moses and the Prophets to Paul and the Apostles, there is not a single "proof" for the existence of God. Yet, all of these writers were focused on testifying of God and proclaiming his gospel in Christ. In fact, there are numerous calls in scripture to believing in God by faith, such as Heb. 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (emphasis added). Seeking God without acknowledging first that he exists will yield no fruit.

God's Existence as Knowledge
While Godís existence cannot be proved by scientific methods, man knows that God exists. The semen religionis (religious seed) is within all men, as evidenced by the presence of religions in just about every corner and language of the world. Man was created as a religious creature with the cognitito Dei insita (implanted knowledge of God) woven within every fabric of his being, whether he consciously acknowledges that or not. This innate knowledge of Godís existence is similar to the moral sense of right and wrong that one has regarding the sin of murder, for example. That it is wrong to take the life of an innocent man is evident to all. It is not dependent upon the opinion of the majority of society. In fact, even if a local society in the far reaches of Africa believes murder is ok, it remains wrong in the most absolute sense. So it is with Godís existence - God exists and men know it.

The bible itself teaches that a basic knowledge of Godís existence is within all, even "atheists":
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom. 1:18-21).
Paul is teaching in Romans 1 that there is no such thing as an honest atheist, since even he knows of God, although he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. This is why the Psalmist is able to exclaim that only the "fool" says in his heart that there is no God (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). The "atheist" is without excuse, because what may be known of God is inherent to his very being. God has shown it to all by revealing his nature and attributes by things that can be seen and understood (See also Ps. 19:1-4; Acts 14:17; Rom. 2:14-16). It is as Wayne Grudem notes: "every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass, every star in the sky, and every other part of creation all cry out continuously, 'God made me! God made me! God made me!'" (Systematic Theology, 9:B).

Certainly, this is not to imply that one can glean into the depths of creation and come out with a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ or thereafter instantly repeat the Westminster Confession of Faith. However, the rudimentary truths of God, his basic qualities (his goodness, his love, his beauty, etc...) and his very existence are known clearly by all. In the words of John Calvin, "From this we conclude that it is not a doctrine [the existence of God] that must first be learned in school, but one of which each of us is a master from his motherís womb and which nature itself permits no one to forget, although many strive with every nerve to this end" (Institutes, 1:3:3, Battles translation; cf. Beveridge translation.).

God's Existence Naturally Denied
Finally, in the above scriptures and discussion it is clear that although man knows innately of Godís existence, he will (apart from the grace of God) sinfully corrupt this knowledge by 1) denying that God exists; or, 2) worshipping falsely under one of the many non-Christian world religions. This is always the fruit of an anthropological rather than theological search for God. If one is to know the One, True, and Holy Creator God, then he must learn from him and his Word.

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