Is the Purpose of the Bible to Prove God’s Existence?
by Eric Chabot
Note: For all that think I am begging the question by starting with the Bible, you can read the other posts on this site that deal with the reliability of the Bible/God’s existence outside the Bible.
The Bible and God’s Existence
Anyone who has read the Bible knows that the Bible presupposes God’s existence. In other words, the Bible’s sole purpose is not to “prove” God’s existence. For that matter, when it comes to talking about God’s existence, I have dropped the word “proof” from my vocabulary. I find that the word “proof” conveys the need to provide some sort of infallible, mathematical proof (2+2=4..etc..) for God’s existence. This is silly and unnecessary. One of the best solutions to handling the issue of evidence and arguments for God’s existence is to utilize what is called inference to the best explanation. But that is a topic for another post.
The skeptical issue in our culture mostly enters into the religious dialogue in the following way: “In the case of God, who isn’t some physical object but a divine being, what kind of evidence should we expect to find? There is a tendency to forget that the Bible stresses that sin can dampen the cognitive faculties that God has given us to find Him. Therefore, sin has damaging consequences on the knowing process (Is. 6:9-10; Zech. 7:11-12; Matt. 13:10-13). Christianity, Judaism, Islam, are all theistic faiths in contrast to pantheism (all is God), polytheism (many gods), and atheism (without God). In this article, we are referring to the theistic God of the Bible. In a classical apologetic argument, the cosmological (including both the horizontal and vertical cosmological argument) give a general outline that point to theistic God of the Bible.
Biblically speaking, God can’t be reduced to an argument or a proposition. And God is not just an abstract idea. This doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t demonstrate any evidential arguments for God. Jesus continually appeals to His “works” as proof of His Messiahship (John 7:3, 21; 9:3, 4; 10:25, 32, 37, 38, 14:10, 11, 12, 15:24). These Scriptures appeal to the individual works of Jesus. The miracles “bear witness’” that He is the Messiah. And remember that the Apostles utilized an evidential model by appealing to prophecy and the resurrection as the basis for the evidence of Jesus’ Messiahship (Acts 2:14-32-39; 3:6-16, 4:8-14; 17:1-4; 26:26; 1 Cor. 15:1-8).
Since I am married, I can give an analogy: I don’t know what my wife expects of me unless she communicates. Otherwise, I am in the dark. That is why we must not forget that the acceptance of revelation is of fundamental importance to the Christian faith. The word “revelation” comes from the Greek word ” apokalupsis” which means “an “uncovering,” or “unveiling.” Therefore, the God of the Bible is capable of communicating/giving a revelation to mankind through a specific medium. One of the most important themes of the Bible is that since God is free and personal, that he acts on behalf of those whom he loves, and that his actions includes already within history, a partial disclosure of his nature, attributes, and intensions. (1)
So what are some of the ways people knew that the God of Israel existed in antiquity? By the way, these mediums are still used by God today…
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