by Matt Slick
Why believe in God? People can have different reasons for believing in God. But ultimately we ought to believe in God because he is worthy of worship, adoration, and it's the right thing to do. Just as we ought to believe that 2+2 = 4, we ought to believe that God exists, because it is true. We know that the truth that 2+2 = 4 is something that is self-evident and we ought to believe it. Likewise, according to the Bible, we know that God exists and we ought to believe in him.
Romans 1:19–20, "because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
There are many who would deny such truth. They do so to their own demise. We exist because we were caused to exist. We did not bring ourselves into existence and it is impossible for the universe to have brought itself into existence. The cause of the universe must have been before the universe and have had sufficient capacity to bring it into existence. That which brought the universe into existence was either personal or it was not personal. In other words, it was either alive or not alive. But, if the cause of the universe was impersonal then it would have always needed to possess the necessary and sufficient conditions to cause the universe to exist. But if that is the case, then it would have automatically brought the universe into existence because no decision would be necessary; the result would have been automatic. But if it were to automatically have brought the universe into existence, it would have done it an infinitely long time ago since that which precedes the universe must be "infinitely old." This would mean the universe is infinitely old. But since the universe is not infinitely old, then the impersonal cause of the universe does not work. The only other option left to us is the personal cause. The personal cause of the universe is God. (For more information on this argument please see the article The Cosmological Argument) Therefore, we ought to believe in God's existence.
The Bible as well as logic implies God's existence. Besides, what have you got to lose? Think about it. If God exists then wouldn't it be wise to seek him out? But if he does not exist then you ought not seek him. But, then,how would you know whether he exists or does not? to simply throw your hands up in the air and say you don't know and then do nothing is, logically speaking, to abandon seeking him when the only options are he either exists or does not exist: it's 50-50. Besides, without God everything becomes subjective and is based on personal preferences. But personal preferences don't make things true.
What happens to us after we die?
Then there's the consideration of what happens to us after we die. Do you want to take the chance of damnation, of judgment for what you've done here on earth? If God exists and we encounter him in the afterlife, it would make a lot of sense to be ready for that encounter. Common sense would tell us to be prepared and not risk eternity on an apathetic, "I won't worry about it."
In the Bible Jesus told us to be prepared for the afterlife. He said there was a coming judgment and that we better make sure we escape it. Jesus, who fulfilled prophecy, who claimed to be God in flesh, and who died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later, told us such things as...
- Matthew 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
- Mark 9:47, “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,"
- John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
I think one of the ways to show that should believe in God is based on morality. We all have a sense of right and wrong. Basically, we want justice as well as mercy. We want righteousness as well as love. We want a balance between doing what is right according to the law and also showing compassion to those who need it. The fact is that we have different degrees of moral certitude that we want to balance with love and kindness.
This means that we all must appeal to a standard of righteousness that is not subjective. After all, if I think something is good and you think it is bad,. then who's to say which is correct? Our subjective preferences don't make something right or wrong. Yet, we recognize that the theft is wrong, that murder is wrong, that rape is wrong, etc. But why? Why are they inherently wrong? Is it because they harm people? But why is that wrong? Just saying it is wrong doesn't make it so. This is problematic.
Instead, to justify right and wrong, we naturally appeal to a sense of universal moral truth. But, moral truth is a concept. You don't go to the store and buy a jar of moral truth and rub it on your skin to be a better person. Moral truth is an abstraction. In other words, it occurs in the mind. But when we appeal to how things ought to be everywhere such as saying is always wrong for anyone to torture babies to death merely for one's personal pleasure, we are appealing to universal moral truth. But a universal moral truth is not dependent upon ourselves; otherwise, it isn't a universally necessary truth. So, to recognize such moral truths is to recognize that they exist outside of ourselves. But because moral truth is an abstraction which requires a mind, to appeal to universal moral truths is to presuppose a universal mind. So, we ought to believe in God because we believe in universal moral truths. Without him, we can't justify their existence.
I could offer a lot of reasons to believe in God, but ultimately they must be satisfying to you. But let me leave you with this.
Above I spoke about morality. We all have that sense of right and wrong. What happens when you look inward? Do you feel that you're a good person? Do you feel that your sincerity and right attitudes are good enough should you find out that God actually exists and you face Him? We have all done things like lying, stealing, been arrogant, etc. No one is immune from moral failings. So, in light of that, do you want to risk eternity as you enter into the presence of the infinitely holy God and carry into His presence all of your past failures only to hope that his mercy upon you will manifest?
What a risk that is!
Jesus said that he alone was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Only through him can all what we have done wrong be forgiven. We know there are universal moral truths which implies a universal moral truth giver. But moral truths also imply universal justice and justice requires punishment. Are you morally wrong? If so, then you know you ought to face justice.
Consider Jesus who can take all your sins, all your failures, all your injustices and make them go away. Trust in him and ask him to forgive you. Seek Him. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins.