Can the existence of God be proved? No.
These things are unknowable in this life. Beyond death all will be plain. Until then everyone has the same evidence in front of them, and we try to make the best sense of it that we can. Christians very often reach a point of settled conviction within themselves that there is a God, which is entirely satisfying to them even when others disagree.
Throughout history people have tried to find a way of being sure that God exists. The ideas have not changed for a thousand years. However, they get expressed in new ways each century.
The first is an idea about whether the universe has a designer. Imagine yourself walking through a bleak, empty desert. You stumble upon two things. First you see a rock. When you look at it you think, ‘That rock is there because of a series of random circumstances over the course of time.’ Next you see an i-Phone. When you see that you think to yourself, ‘Somebody designed and made that mobile phone.’ Is the universe more like the rock or the i-Phone? Those who think the cosmos is more like an i-Phone lean toward believing there is a God.
Historically people looking for proof have also thought hard about the universal awareness of morality. Those who find this a persuasive argument for the existence of God believe that our sense of right and wrong must come from an ultimate objective source of justice. After all, the atoms from which we come have no morality of their own. People of faith call that ultimate source of justice ‘God’.
A third idea is called ‘the cosmological argument’. Everything that happens is caused by something. So a chain of events must lead back to a ‘first cause’ that set it all going. Obviously people do not have to call that first cause God. Scientists researching the origins of matter, for example, call it the Big Bang. But Christians believe that even the Big Bang had something that caused it, and use that as evidence for their belief in God.
Everyone knows that the sky is blue. However, on some occasions a sunset in the sky takes one’s breath away. There is nothing magical about a sunset. It is a natural phenomenon caused by circumstances that have the scientific name Rayleigh Scattering. What is not known is why a sunset makes a person think, ‘Ah, that is so beautiful!’ no matter how often he or she sees one. That sense of wonder, a Christian would suggest, is where God is making himself known.
What the Bible says about it
An extract from the Bible:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Where to find it:
About these words:
Written three thousand years ago, this poem is about how everything we need to be sure about God’s existence is evident in the universe.
And they said…
Woody Allen, from Love and Death:
If only God would give me some sign. If he would just speak to me once. Anything. One sentence. Two words. If he would just cough.
Marcus Mumford, frontman of Mumford & Sons, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine:
The word Christian conjures up all these religious images I don’t really like … My spiritual journey is a work in progress, [but I have] never doubted the existence of God.
Emma Donoghue, author of the bestselling ‘Room’:
I am religious. But it is the most embarrassing subject to talk about in detail. You sound pompous or confused as soon as you open your mouth. I don’t know how to defend it in rational terms, but that’s how my world turns.
Tinie Tempah, rapper:
I definitely believe in God. I pray as much as possible. I think it’s imperative to have faith or religion, because it’s good to have morals, to be kind to others.
Russell Brand, comedian and actor:
I think God exists beyond the current reach of science, that one day our fast-evolving minds will know God empirically as they do now only intuitively. That the mystical will become physical.
Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection:
The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. But whether this is an argument of real value I have never been able to decide.
Douglas Hedley, reader in metaphysics, Clare College, Cambridge:
Do values such as truth, beauty and goodness emerge out of a contingent and meaningless substrate? Or do these values reflect a transcendent domain from which this world has emerged? I incline to the latter, and this is a major reason for my belief in God.
Victoria Coren, broadcaster and poker player:
I interviewed the comedian Miranda Hart recently. She told me she believes in God but was nervous of being quoted in it.
‘It’s scary to say you’re pro-God,’ she said. ‘Those clever atheists are terrifying.’
‘Oh nonsense,’ I said. ‘Let them tell you it’s stupid to believe in something you can’t explain. Then ask them how an iPad works.’