Last week, a conversation with a friend at work turned towards her grand-kids, the state of a crumbling world, moral decay, and rising violence and troubles on every side. Questions come up when you talk of things like these. She was genuinely concerned about the kind of world her kids and grand-kids will face in the near future. How would she protect them? How would she prepare them?
I know of an answer….but…
“I don’t believe in God. I believe in a higher power of sorts, but I don’t believe in God, ” she confided.
Oh, how I ached for her! She knows I’m a Christian, that I believe in God…which is probably why she volunteered that information before I even had a chance to share what I knew.
I know there’s a God! But…in the back of my mind, the silent voice of my thoughts asked, “How do you know that there’s a God? How would you tell someone who didn’t believe in a God…that He exists?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer that one…and it nagged me for the next few days. I just knew that there is a God…but I never thought about how I knew.
You see, some believe in God because of logical conclusions. There are those who are much smarter than I am who’ve tried to logically conclude (and try to prove to others logically) that God exists…from a mathematical and statistical standpoint, to logical rationalization and reasoning (although this last link from Stephen Hawking just talks more on the just how probable is it for intelligent life to come about on its own at random, sustain itself from things that keep decaying, and then even consider its place in the universe). There are those who encourage you to look around you and see for yourself, scientifically, the different systems in place that provide evidence of an Intelligent Creator. Even I have thought that if…
- for every great movie that you see…there’s a brilliant director, talented writers, skilled producers
- for every great book and story you read…a brilliant author,
- for every great meal you eat…a talented cook,
- for every technological, architectural, engineering marvel…a designer,
- a witty, thoughtful, humorous blog post…a writer to match,
- every song….a composer,
then, who am I…or who is anyone…to say that these also do not have an Intelligent Creator behind them:
- DNA and how it’s made, how it works, and how all living things have it.
- the human body and all its various systems working together–nervous, digestive, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, a defense system, a healing system, a creative system–all fitting in a biological-chemical-electrical host that’s capable of physical, mental, emotional activity.
- how the system of the atom, the simple biological cell, the earth-moon system, the solar system, the galaxy system all have similarities in operation, motion, and even appearance.
- the idea of propagation and unique individuals emerging from the combination of two beings.
- how plants give off oxygen that we need, and other living things give off carbon dioxide that they need, not to mention other cycles like the food chain, water cycle, the seasons, the cycle of life.
Of course, that’s not all, but how many of us really take the time to observe these things? Despite all the data and information we consume about the world around us, do we really take time to think through it all and ask, “well, how does God fit into all of this?” Yes, there are some of us who do…but I’d say most do not. Most just go about their day, not really caring to know.
Logical conclusions are just that…Conclusions. Reasonable conclusions aren’t hard proof. Short of seeing God yourself, concluding that, “because these things exist, there must be a God” doesn’t always translate to “I know there is a God.” They just help firm up the idea that there’s gotta be a God. (Seeing God is something not to be toyed with; it has a responsibility tied to it.) Unfortunately, those who can be convinced through logic can also be “un-convinced” through the very same logic.
How do I know that there’s a God?
The answer came to me…in a silly “A-ha!” moment.
I try to pray to God every morning. I believe in God, so I pray. (Now, mind you, “saying your prayers” isn’t the same thing as “praying”. One is just a recitation of your thoughts or some set of words…which tends to become repetitious and unfeeling, while the latter is actually communicating what’s in your heart and mind to someone else that you can’t see…like talking on a phone.) One morning, as I prayed, I asked, “How can I help someone know that You exist?”
The question then entered my mind, “How do you know that I exist?”
I knelt there for a few moments with that question in mind, unsure of how to really answer it. Then more thoughts came to my mind, as if God was trying to help me see what the answer was:
- He answers you when you pray to Him.
- He puts people and circumstances (help) in your path when you need it.
- He puts you in other people’s paths that need your help.
- He answers your questions whenever you ask Him.
- He teaches you and shows you things in your mind while you’re praying. I had to agree with that thought when it came to my mind because things make better sense after I get an explanation and clarification from Him. It’s like being in a mini classroom, in the privacy of my mind, with a private tutor by my side. And who wouldn’t want God to be your tutor?
- He gives you ideas that you don’t usually think of.
- We converse whenever I pray to Him. It’s an actual back and forth conversation.
- Whenever I pray for another person, in secret, I can see whenever my requests are answered because of the changes they make…in public…without their knowing that I prayed for them.
- Whenever I’m troubled, He comforts me and gives me assurances in my mind (reason) and in my heart (feeling)…and in my spirit.
In all this, I had my question answered. How do I know that God exists?
He answers me!..whenever I pray…sincerely, with a true desire to know, and the intent to do something with it. (Funny how an answer to my prayer was the very answer to my question! A-HA!)
Yup. Simple as that: There’s someone on the “other side” that not only answers me, but knows the thoughts and intents of my heart, knows the feelings and fears that I don’t tell anyone else, and knows how to address my issues in such a way that I’m willing to confront them and deal with them. Yes, there is a God…and He’s our Father in the real-est, literal sense…not some metaphysical, symbolic, vague sense. And He answers me when I talk to Him. I may not always like some of the answers I get, but that’s usually because I doubt myself and my ability to do what I need to do. It’s called “being human.” It’s not a problem with Him. He knows better than I do. I just need to trust Him and do what I need to do to fulfill whatever He’s requesting or suggesting that I do.
The Great Mystery of God
The great mystery of God isn’t really whether or not He exists. Rather, it is “am I willing to find out for myself that He’ll answer me.” If you really want to know if He exists…and you truly want to do something about that relationship with Him once you do find out….then…ask Him yourself! He’ll make Himself known to you if you really want it. He won’t answer if you’re just intellectually curious or if you feel like you have to but don’t really want that relationship with Him. He wants that relationship with each one of us…and He doesn’t want us to just toss it aside flippantly. He loves us too much to let us just throw away our relationship with Him.
For each one of us, the great mystery of God is not about the existence of His Being….but the existence of our relationship with Him. What are we willing to give up…to know Him?
If you really want to know Him, then just ask Him. Seek Him, and you’ll find Him. He’ll tell you Himself.
Then, you will know….as I know…
God exists….for you.
–The LDS Lamplighter
Alma 22:18 O God, … if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee…