Who is the Christian God? This is a very important question, because, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, eternal life is found in knowing Him.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:3, ESV
Therefore, the primary goal of Christianity is not to attempt to please God with our deeds, or reach Him through some technique or system, but to know Him in an experiential way. In other words, Christianity is not about human beings–our thoughts, our ways–but about the only true God. It is paramount that we have a real relationship with Him. He created us to have fellowship with Him.
In fact, one can sometimes determine whether an individual is close to God by what s/he thinks and says about God. No one knows everything about God–He is infinite and we are finite. However, God has revealed Himself to mankind in several ways. If we hear someone say something about Him that seems to contradict His revealed nature, this may actually be a sign that they do not know God.
First of all, God has revealed Himself clearly in His creation. He is the one who created the universe and everything in it, and He created everything in such a way that it all points to Him. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:18-23, ESV
According to the Apostle, God’s existence is so obvious that humans actually have to suppress the truth in order to deny Him. He wrote that God has clearly shown Himself to everyone, and even the invisible attributes of His power and nature can be rationally understood simply by observing His creation. However, humanity’s natural state is hostility toward God because of sin, so many people have chosen to make up their own ideas about God. Whether they have invented idolatrous false gods, or denied a supernatural creator entirely, they exchanged the glory of the only true God for the natural world around them.
The non-Christian might reasonably ask, “How has this God revealed Himself in the natural world, which He supposedly created? Why should I believe in the Christian God, rather than the Muslim god, or the Hindu gods, or even the old Pagan gods? Why should I believe in God at all?”
First of all, we need to realize that something must have always been for there to be anything existing now. Nothing comes from nothing. Either the natural world has always been here or something outside nature preceeded it and caused its existence. According to the best scientific evidence we have, all space, time, and matter exploded into existence from a singularity approximately 13 billion years ago in the event commonly known as the Big Bang. Unless we are to believe the magical notion that the universe began to exist without a cause and everything came from nothing, the best explanation is that something outside space, time, and matter caused the physical universe to exist.
Whatever this cause was it was supernatural–that is, outside the natural world. It was spaceless, because it created space. It was timeless, because it created time. It was immaterial, because it created matter.
This cause must have been powerful, because it created out of nothing. It must have been intelligent, because the laws of nature are orderly and pecise. It must have been personal, because it chose to create space, time, and matter (impersonal forces cannot choose to do anything).
A supernatural, powerful, intelligent, personal being is a much closer description to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob than the Hindu Brahman or the Pagan Thor. Granted, it could also describe the Muslim god rather than the Christian God. God has revealed himself in other ways that point to Christianity rather than Islam, but I will explore this in a future post. The point of this post is to show how the observable universe reveals God’s power and nature.
I mentioned that the orderly nature of the universe reveals God’s intelligence. Skeptics balk at the idea of a finely-tuned universe. However, it is more likely that the complex and specified nature of the universe originated from an intelligent mind, rather than an unguided process. I will write about the evidence for intelligent design in the next post.