Does God Exist - Part 2
How do we know anything exists? Science and math might suggest that it must be observable, perceivable using the human senses and mental powers. Science uses experimentation to measure and specify the properties of a thing or phenomenon. Mathematics is an integral tool of science to predict and specify. However, many times after science and math have been exercised about a thing or phenomenon, the result is written up as a theory, not as an absolute fact--theory of relativity, theory of black holes in space, theory of evolution. Many theories are discarded years later as the tools of science and math advance.
So are science and math the singular, “official” human way of knowing that something exists? Is “knowing” that something exists necessarily dependent upon being able to “specify” with science that something exists? Did people “know” that the force of gravity existed back in the Dark Ages before modern science had defined it by experimentation and mathematical equation? It was observable and perceivable long before science even existed. Before they had a precisely defined understanding of mass, they understood the difference between a falling leaf and a falling apple when it hit them on the head.
Most of us are not scientists or mathematicians, but we don’t let that stop us from determining if something exists or not, is real or not. Stephen Jay Gould is quoted as saying in 1981, “Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome.”
We use our life experience, our senses (observation) and our mental powers (thinking, analysis, conceptualization), although not foolproof. We also look to the science, as we can understand it, to add, detract, weigh-in on our conclusion (also not foolproof). This is why we strongly believe in the existence of electricity, even though we can’t see it flowing through the wires. It’s assuring that science can precisely prescribe electricity, but by our own experience and perception we are sure it exists. Even though many scientists have made a compelling case for the existence of Black Holes in space, probably most of us have no firm commitment to their existence.
Throughout the history of humanity, the firm belief in the existence of God has been pervasive. Why is that? Because humans have long used their life experience, unique powers of observation, perception, thinking and concluded that there is a God. And if we know there is a God, do we not then know why we have these unique powers?
See if you recognize the process at work in this “God discovery” story. It’s the beginning of a story entitled, Looking at God for the First Time by Brad Cole at GodsCharacter.com.
A man with no preconceived notions about the nature of God picks up his Bible for the first time. In his occupation as a physician, he has slowly developed a growing sense for the apparent design of the human body. For most of his life, he had dismissed the notion of a God. The seed was planted, however, during medical school when trying to comprehend the billions of complex pathways in the brain, all of which must work together in perfect harmony to perform the simplest task. It seemed inconceivable to him that such a complex system could have gradually evolved. And, as the years went on, his appreciation grew for many other beautiful and intricately organized systems not only in medicine, but in nature as he watched the symmetry and beauty in both the sky and flower. And as a parent, he marveled as his own children effortlessly grew from a speck on an ultrasound, to a fully developed person, and with their own independent and creative thoughts.
He finally concluded that God must exist. But from that conviction, almost immediately there arose a cascade of questions. What is God really like? He obviously has the ability to create in such a beautiful way, but why is there also so much pain and suffering? Is God interested in me personally, or does He just create and then move on? These and many other thoughts occupy his mind as he flips through the pages of the Bible. As luck would have it, he began reading the book of John, the words of the first chapter having struck a chord of interest. The claims which were made seemed too incredible. John strongly implies that this man Jesus, who he refers to as “the Word,” is the Creator and fully God, “…and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
So does God exist? Doesn’t it make sense that if God does exist, you should be able to use your own, maybe even God given, powers to determine this? The answers to other Big God Questions found in this web site may be helpful. For instance, “Did God create humans?”