The Existence of God – Part 1

Yesterday my family and I began reading the second part of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994), The Doctrine of God,” in our after breakfast Bible reading time. We read the first two of the four sections in Chapter 9, “The Existence of God.” They give two answers to the question of how we know that God exists: all people have an inner sense of God, and evidence of His existence can be seen in the Bible and in nature.

Grudem cites Romans 1:21, “they knew God” (ESV; all Bible quotations are from the ESV), in support of his claim that all people have an inner sense of God. However I understand the passage to refer back to 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” If it does, then the knowing of 1:21 comes from what can be seen of God in what He has made rather than from an inner sense of Him.

However Grudem also cites Psalm 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God,'” and Psalm 10:3-4, “For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God,'” in support of the claim. They indicate that it is irrelationality and self-centeredness that cause people to deny God, implying that God’s existence should be evident to them, possibly from the inner sense of Him that Grudem claims we have.

Certainly evidence of God’s existence can be seen in the Bible. It doesn’t try to show that He does, instead assuming that He does and recording His actions and words. However if we believe that the Bible is true, we can know from its record of God’s actions and words not only that He exists but also a lot about Him.

And just as surely evidence of God’s existence can be seen in nature. I’ve already quoted a Bible passage, Romans 1:20, that refers to that evidence. A couple others are:
– “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).
– “In past generations he [God] allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:16-17).

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