How Do I Know God Really Exists?

Date: October 17, 2022

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

“I’m an atheist; I don’t need any religion to help me,” were the words of a young pilot as he brushed off the chaplain’s invitation to attend chapel.  The chaplain, however, held more than a half-dozen degrees including several from Oxford.  Not to be turned aside so easily, J. Edwin Orr asked, “Could I ask you a couple of questions?” Thinking this would be easy, the pilot said, “Sure, go ahead and shoot.”

“First,” asked Orr, “do you happen to know everything?”

“Of course not.”  Trying to impress the chaplain he explained that even Einstein said that all scientists were on the fringe of knowledge as a whole, and humbly he added, “I’ll admit that I am on the fringe of the fringe.”

“Good,” added Orr knowing that he had won the first round.

“Now the second question is this.  Is it conceivable that God could exist outside all that you happen to know?”  The pilot hesitated.  Orr continued, “How much do you know, in relation to total knowledge—10%?”

“Ten percent!” exclaimed the pilot, “less than one percent!”  “Well, said Orr, “let’s say just one percent.  Is it possible that God could exist outside your one percent of knowledge?”

“Yes,” acknowledged the pilot.  Then said Orr, who himself had debated some of the world’s outstanding agnostics and atheists, “You are a most remarkable atheist then.  A few minutes ago you stated that there was no God, and now you say that it is possible that there is one.”

Edwin Orr wasn’t interested in simply winning an argument, but he did want to make a point: Only those who possess a knowledge of all the truth in the world could be absolutely certain that God does not exist, and no one has that knowledge.  Is atheism growing in our world today?  Studies indicate that it is not.  In fact, the number of youth today who believe in God—at least in a generic, general sort of way—is greater than the number a generation ago.

To believe in God is one thing.  To have a relationship with Him is entirely another matter.  Albert Einstein believed in God, but he contended that it was impossible for man to know Him.  If Einstein meant to fully comprehend Him, to understand How He thinks, and be on His wavelength, few would debate that premise, myself included.  But to say that one cannot know God not only denies the testimonies of millions of people but also refutes the truth of the incarnation as God took upon Himself the weakness of humanity, was born at Bethlehem and walked among us for three years.

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” said Jesus to a skeptical Philip.  The prologue of John’s Gospel uses a term of Christ’s saying that he is the eikon (to use the Greek word) or the express image of the Father.

You can win a battle but lose the war.  But understanding that there is a void, an emptiness within the heart of every person which can never be fully met apart from that belief, helps you to realize that your friend may be far more impressed by your personal life than he is by your persuasion.

What has God done in your life that would make someone else want to buy into your faith?  Perhaps that is the greater question and issue.  Robert Ingersoll, one of the most vocal atheists of the 19th century, had a Christian aunt who lived the life before him.  In the preface to one of his books, he commented that if all Christians had lived as she did, this book would never have been written.

But God should never be judged by the lives of those who embrace His existence.  Rather, let God be judged on His own merit.  Yes, let God be God. But, find out who He really is.

Resource reading: John 14:1-14.