Answering the Question “Which God Exists?”

By Robin Schumacher

A favorite tactic of various atheists and skeptics who struggle to supply valid rebuttals against the arguments that a creator God exists is to ask the question, “OK, so tell me which god exists? Odin? Thor? Allah? There are countless gods to choose from so why I should I believe in the one you’re talking about?”

Putting aside the normal acerbic tone that typically accompanies the question, it’s actually a very valid matter to discuss. Is there a reasonable way to determine what kind of supernatural deity or deities really exist?

That Eternal ‘Something’

The reason that you and I along with everything else that we know exists is simply because something has always existed. In the end, the believer in God and the atheist are really just arguing over the identity of that “something.” Whatever it is, it is eternal (it has always existed) and necessary (if it didn’t exist, nothing else would).

Notice that I refer to something vs. somethings. Why can’t we have more than one eternal thing (e.g. multiple gods)?

While the explanation can be long and involved, the most succinct way to put it is because all multiplicity implies a prior singularity; all division a preceding unity. Whether you tackle the issue scientifically or philosophically the same conclusion results.

The issue of whether that eternal something is the universe or a supernatural creator won’t be discussed here as I have dealt with that debate elsewhere. [1] Instead, the matter at hand is how to determine not if a creator exists, but what kind of creator exists.

Revelations of God

Coming to a knowledge of what kind of deity exists can be accomplished in a couple of different ways. The first is by the deity simply communicating and interacting with its creation. This is called “Special Revelation”, with Christians firmly believing that God has done this by personally interacting with certain individuals down through history, delivering a written account of Himself and His deeds in the Bible, and through the incarnation of Jesus Christ whereby God became Man (John 1:1-3, 14). Of course, skeptics point to other supposed special revelations of God that purportedly came to Muhammad and others.

A second way of gaining knowledge about the eternal deity that brought everything into being is through what is commonly called “General Revelation” or “Natural Theology,” which bases its understanding of what kind of deity exists on the effects that deity has caused. Regarding this path, the great theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote, “From every effect the existence of its proper cause can be demonstrated…if the effect exists, the cause must pre-exist. Hence the existence of God…can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us.” [2]

Make no mistake, this is no god of the gaps that posits Thor for lightening, but rather it is a method that seeks to understand the essence or nature of something based on what it has delivered or caused. As an example, if I don’t have love within the nature of my being, I can’t produce or give love to anything else.

Using this approach, what do we learn about the deity that caused the existence of everything?

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Answering the Question “Which God Exists?”