DOES GOD EXIST? By Dele Ilesanmi, PhD

Pastor Dele Ilesanmi(PhD)

No doubt, the question of God’s existence is the most important question of human philosophy. This is philosophically theological though, we cannot confine the understanding of God into a philosophical and theological discourse. God is beyond what we can understand within the purview of academic discourse. Perhaps, hence, the question is often asked and answers are given, yet people still ask the same question ad infinitum. Probably the answers given are not adequate. No doubt, the answers to be given here will be longer than the question asked. After all, question is derived from ignorance and answer is derived from knowledge. It is very easy for me to answer this question straight away that God exists. But that will be shallow to the scholars. Hence, this question is reconstructed thus: How can we know that God exist? Therefore, this piece is set to explain or prove the existence of God.

God is too great for us to fully understand. That may be the major reason for people to ask the question: Does God exists ad infinitum. That does not mean we cannot understand Him. Indeed, this God has no beginning and He has no end. There is no place where His presence is not felt. His knowledge transcends all other beings. He is distinct from and transcendent to all His creatures. This is a mystery. Defining Him, therefore, means limiting Him. He is very difficult to define because it is impossible to perfectly define what you do not know its beginning and ending. No man knows the beginning of God; man is mortal and limited in knowledge and wisdom. Thus, man is incapable of defining his Creator. This is because no one can fathom His mysteries; no one can probe the limit of His Almightiness (NIV, Job 11:7). Besides, He is the Creator of heaven and the earth and no one can fathom His understanding, or rather there is no searching of His understanding ( Isa.40:28). Therefore, this write-up is not set to define God but can only attempt to describe Him.

The Bible presents the description of God as He has revealed Himself. God is personal (Exo.3:13-15; 6:3; Isa.42:8); God is spiritual (John 4:24); and God is holy and you cannot compare Him to any being (Isa.40:25). What is more, God’s attributes distinguish Him from other beings. Metaphysically, God is self-existent, external, and unchanging; intellectually, our God is omniscient, faithful, and wise; ethically, this God is holy, righteous, and loving; emotionally, God detests evil, He is long-suffering, and is, indeed, compassionate; existentially speaking, our God is free, authentic, and omnipotent; and rationally, God is transcendent in being, immanent universally in providential activity, and immanent with His people in redemptive activity ( Lewis G.R in Horton, David(ed.)et al. pp98-117, 2006).

How can we then know that God exists? This question can be answered in two parts. First, we should know that everyone has an “inner consciousness of God”. And, second, the Holy Scripture and nature itself are evidence of His existence. Besides, there are four traditional proofs about the existence of God or what I can call four theophilogical arguments about the existence of God. These are: cosmological, teleological, ontological, and moral arguments. The cosmological argument proves God to be the cosmic Designer; the teleological says that God designs the universe with a purpose and that He is an intelligent God; the ontological argument concludes that there is no being greater than God that can be conceived, which can be said to be in existence; while the moral arguments explains that God is a moral God, He is the Judge in whom all will give account to, who will finally judge the whole world. Every man is accountable to this God. Thus He exists.

Beyond these arguments, all people understand that they are God’s creatures and He is their Creator. Paul, the apostle, says “… they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened”(Rom.1:21). What to know about God has been made known to us already and this is very plain (Rom.1:19). Thus whosoever denies the existence of God is only willfully rejecting the truth that he knows. It means that such a person is a fool (Psalms14:1; 53:1).

With the benefit of hindsight, to know that God exists is crystal clear. Indeed, the revelation of God to man does not completely exhaust His being and activity. Although to some He is arguably incomprehensible, no man can absolutely fathom Him (Deut.29:29; Job 36:26; Isa.40:28). He cannot be comprehended but can only be apprehended. Sancy says “Finitude cannot comprehend infinity, nor human thought patterns, which are associated with the created environment, completely grasp the transcendent realm of God” (Horton, op.cit.pp88). Robert says on the basis of this limitation of human reasoning, some strains of mystical theology have denied of knowing God. For example, modern rationalism has argued for the “unknowability” of God. No wonder the fool denies the existence of God (Psalm 14:1).

There are theistic proofs that God exists as mentioned above. The cosmological, teleological, ontological, and moral arguments point to one thing: God’s existence. However, we can also identify three major ways in which we can know that God exists. According to Arlie J.H, the priori approach argues that from a conception of God as being so perfect that His non-existence is inconceivable. He says that a posteriori approach gives evidence from the world, from observable, empirical universe, insisting that God is necessary to explain certain features of cosmos because He is the Creator. The last approach is the existential approach, which asserts that the direct experience of God is by way of personal revelation (Horton, et al. op,cit.pp 348-356).

With the benefit of hindsight, therefore, does God exist? Yes, He does.

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