Are there good reasons to believe in a God? And good reasons not to do it? Is God within our reach at all? If God exists, he is of course quite independent of whether we believe in him or not. Us denying Gods existence does not invalidate the possible reality of it. And a believe in God is not in itself a proof that he is real either.
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament announces the work of his hands … There is no speech, it sounds no words and no voice can be heard. But the message goes over all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19, 2-5
Is it possible to confirm or disprove the existence of God? Is it likely for us to make contact with him whatsoever? The philosophical direction called deism envisioned God as a remote creator who after the creation moment let the world go on by itself and the laws of nature. Having created He did he care nothing to address what happened to the creation. With this viewpoint you’ll avoid some hard questions about evil and suffering, but other questions arise. In general, we of course can not determine how God think, but why should he take the trouble of creating something if he had not the slightest interest in how things were going afterwards?
If we assume an possible god of creation most likely is interested in us and the rest of creation, the next question could be is he interacting with his creation today? Is there traces of a god in nature? Has he made available some channels between us and himself? Deism say no to this questions. He is completely absent and unavailable. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that after the first apostles of Jesus, God was absent for mankind until Jehovah’s Witnesses occurred. But these two mindset is based on an arbitrary postulate (= randomly chosen position) about remoteness and passivity of creation. (Jehovah’s Witnesses view will also be contradictory to how their own scriptures descripe Gods nature but that is another discussion.) For me it seem more logical for a god to want contact with creation. Moreover, to me it seem to be things both in nature and in ourself that points to a something outside creation.
The pursuit of a god can get us to wonder where this idea comes from. Moreover, one would have thought a God would have created inspired of something in his nature. To put it this way: Since I’m interested in astronomy, it is more likely for me to write articles about planets than anteaters! It seem propable to find some clues about the nature of god from from looking at his creation.
The quest for God
Where does it all come from?
If we accept God would have wanted to contact us and / or have would have left traces in creation, it’s possoble to examine futher from using our own senses! Then we can begin to ask what’s the origin of our existence? Where does the universe come from? There are many varieties of big-bang theory, multiverse models, theory of life’s evolution, and even Hawkins model with imaginary time. But these do not give – even as hard a couple of them try – good answers to what caused the chain reaction that make you currently reading this. What is the first reason why the series of things started? The world has not always been as it is so how did it begin? Was it created or did it develop from something else? If it was created, what created it? And if evolved, what did it evolve from? And how did it it start in the first place? What started the running of time 13,82 billion years ago? Many think this so-called cosmological argument to be an evidence that there must be a Creator God behind it all. Something must have started the universe. And for those who believe in the multiverse the question still remain the same: What started it all? Since laws of nature follow cause and effect, we pherhaps need to look for something beyond the limitations of nature, a god creating the Cosmos.
How did life begin?
Life is reproducing itself making new life. We have not yet, despite persistent efforts under optimal laboratory experiments, managed to create life from dead matter. Can it be that matter through randomness and chance created life? The mathematical chance of this is very small.
The atheist must accept some tenets for our origin: That matter and forces of nature have always existed (and “always” as an infinite past is really a highly questionable concept), and that they suddenly began to react in a way that created the big bang and then later that randomly created life. If you choose to believe in a a planned creation instead, it can be viewed as a spontaneous, planned creation of life out of nothing or more as a planned prosess or cosmic evolution leading to the dawn of man. This lead to the existence of a purposeful and not random control behind our existence. It both point to a consciousness that wanted life in the world, a god.
Arguments against a god
Can I believe in something I don’t see?
Some refuse to believe in God because they have never seen or heard him. But there are many things in this world we can’t grasp with the naked eye. If there is a god who created the universe, he is in some way outside the cosmos. He is not part of our bubble of spacetime, although he can “enter” it. Any creator is not bound by time or the laws of nature as we are, after all it is he who created them. Scientific evidence is based on our senses and methods to investigate our world. The problem scientificly studying god, is that a god necessarily have to be qualitatively different from his created world. Although there probably are some similarities as mentioned earlier. We have no good tool in science for researching on God as he’s not part of nature. We can’t measure a mothers love for her child using a ruler as well, as it’s designed to measure other things.
What about the bad things in the world?
Many say “I can not believe when I look at all the horrible deeds Christians have done throughout history!” Although the fruits of a belief-system is significant, it might be harsh to condemn a religion because of bad Apples. Had the gospel preached that when embracing Christianity we stop being sinners, this had been a stronger accusation. But the Bible teach that because of our sinful nature we need Jesus for salvation.
With all the evil affecting innocent people in this world, many – including the Christian ranks – feel the urge to shout with Jesus disciples when there were storms at sea: “Master, are you indifferent to that we perish?” The questions about evil and suffering is baffling. 1. Cor 13, 12 say we will never fully be able to grasp it before our veil is taken away by death. Olaf Müller said about this: “One can try to defend God through scholastic philosophy in which we can reason evil is due a shortage on a perfection that belongs to a substance of a being. Now God can not create a shortage. Only we humans can do unperfect things. Thus the suffering is due to us and not God.” Even if this can be true enough, it’s still a scant consolation for a girl suffering incest that it is her father’s evil that’s behind, and that God’s not indifferent. For why do God give us so much freedom, when we are so mean to each other?
If we believe the creator god care about his creation, then it seem evident that we can do deeds against Gods will. But why don’t God intervene? In christian theology this is deeply rooted in the belief he has given us free will and stewardship over the earth and each other. Had we been given free will to do just exactly what God want, it wouldn’t bee real freedom. But why has not God created us with free will, when he knew we would abuse it? One could argue from the following: For us to be able to really love, we must have freedom. A robot can’t love. Some have thought about this from a more philosophical angle: Made things, but only made things, is dependeable as part of it’s being. However God is totally independent of anything but himself. Had he changed his plan uf creating us in His image with intellect and free will, that would have made him dependent on us. Which according to his nature is impossible. (This argument also has weaknesses with them that I should not touch here.) Anyway: Should we settle for something like this answer? Absolutely not! Philosophy or cold logic can’t give good answers to the pain and despair we encounter in the world. For those believing in christianity the Bible have something more to adress this questions:
1) There are powers at work on Earth who oppose God’s will. We have a choise to go against God.
2) God has given us wisdom to do good to one another and a mission to create a good world. (Imagine how much had been different if we instead of military spending had used the same Resources on Research, education and health care!)
3) God hates suffering and evil. Because of God’s pure love and holiness, he can’t tolerate evil.
4) God sent His Son into the world to overcome sin and death and save us into a heaven where suffering should not exist more.