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How Do I Know That God Exists?

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 5, 2008

How Do I Know That God Exists?
Written by Rev. H.T. Burke

Part I

We know God exists through the things He has made. “Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, God’s eternal power and divinity have become visible, recognized through the things He has made.” (Rom. 1:20) Often the reason people reject God’s existence is not based on logic, but on emotion. They do not want to believe in God because this would mean they have to keep His commandments. St. Augustine says: “He who denies the existence of God, has some reason for wishing that God did not exist.” Natural revelation is the knowledge of God we learn through nature and reason. We can know God exists through reason; not directly, but indirectly – through God’s creation. The scripture says: “From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen.” (Wis. 13:1-9) A hunter in the forest was once asked how he knew there is a God. He said, “In the same way I know by footprints on the forest floor that a bear or deer has passed by, so too can I see from the marks on the world the fingerprints of God.” If there was a Big Bang, who caused it? Every cause has an effect, and there cannot be a limitless number of limited causes. Ultimately there must be an uncaused cause. If we have a line of dominoes and they fall down, something must have moved the first one. God is the uncaused cause, the unmoved mover.
Here is a poem I wrote in the seminary that reflects God’s image in creation.

The Parable of Nature

I see His eyes in the stars, and His face in the flower.
I behold His beauty in the sunset, and His golden hair in the wheat of the field.
I hear the Almighty’s voice in the thunder, and sense His anger in the storm.
Observe the Lord’s tears in the rain, and share His cheer in the sunshower.
Envision His arm in the lightning, and His finger in the eclipse.
One can feel His breath in the wind, and His sweat in the ocean spray.
Notice His shoulders in the hills, His footprints in the valleys.
We understand His depth in the ocean, and heights of divinity in the heavens.
I touch His solidity in the firmness of the rocks.
I can taste divine sweetness in the fruit of the tree and vine.
I smell His aroma in the flowers and the pines.
In the clouds we picture the heavenly clothing and the supreme colors in autumn leaves.
I behold the Lord’s throne in the mountains and His staff in the trees.
I see the Heavenly Father’s robe in the northern lights, and His belt in the rainbow.
One can recognize divine purity in the sparkling ice, and the riches of divinity in the earth’s minerals.
Consider the stillness of the almighty in the eye of a hurricane, or His majestic speed in the tornado.
Men encounter His moods in the seasons, and His mystery in the light of the moon.
I detect the passing of the Lord’s spirit in the twilight, and the coming of His justice with the dawn.
I discern the secrets of the Lord’s salvation in the seed, which dies to become new life.
Nature is but a parable, and creation is a great teacher of God.
The universe is a visible witness to His invisible reality.
Men know God’s wisdom by the order of creation, and I know God’s love because He shares His beauty with His image – man.

Part II

Argument from Design: A Catholic and an atheist worked together at a car factory. The Catholic said: “Isn’t it great that our new car came together by accident?” The atheist protested, “What do you mean, accident? There are many years of research, design, computers and craftsmanship built into that car.” The Catholic said: “Then by what logic do you conclude that the universe, which is much more advanced, is an accident?” The Intelligence of the design points to the intelligence of the designer – namely God. (Theological Argument)

Argument from Dependency: Everything that exists must have either come from itself, or from something else. Since all things we see in nature are not self-causing beings, there must ultimately be a Being which depends only upon itself. (Cosmological Argument).

Argument from Conscience: Everyone who uses reason recognizes there is a universal moral law. It is good to do some things, such as feed the poor, and bad to do others, such as kill the innocent. This moral law we recognize but did not create. It points to a Creator of moral law, known as the Law-giver.
There was a man who was an atheist, and his main reason against God’s existence was that the world was so cruel and unjust. But, he later realized that his sense of justice was based on a universal principle. If he recognized a wrong, then there must be a right. If he argued that all reality was senseless, he had to admit one part, his moral ideal, was sensible. Why then did this one part, his sense of justice, make sense, but the rest of the world didn’t? If life had no meaning, then he would never have discovered it. We can only recognize darkness because we know light. (Moral Argument)

Pascal’s Wager: This is the gambler’s argument for God. If there were only two lottery tickets left, one of which was a certain winner, and you had the option to buy one, would it be a wise investment to spend one dollar to win a million with 50-50 odds? Isn’t it better to risk losing a dollar? We are all committed to place a bet on whether God exists or not. If we choose not to believe in God, then we place our bet on lesser odds. If God does not exist, we will never know we made a mistake. If God does exist, and we act against Him, then we will lose eternal happiness. Whatever we have to give up for our belief in God, we know to be a temporary thing anyway. We will lose these things forever either way. However, if we gamble our life on God’s non-existence and He does turn out to exist, we have given up an eternal thing and lost Heaven forever. The safer bet is on God’s existence, the odds are in favor of God. Isn’t it better to risk losing a dollar (some of this world’s pleasures) for the chance to win a million (Eternal Paradise)? (Pragmatic Argument)

The Purpose of Life Argument: Life does not have a sufficient purpose worthy of the dignity of man except with God. Only with God’s existence does life make sense. Without God life is absurd and has no sufficient purpose or meaning. This is why suicides abound among those who reject God; it is only in the deep purpose of God that man can find the true and adequate reason to live. (Existentialist Argument)

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