The Definition of God

If by definition we mean a single statement that includes all that is in a subject, then it is not possible to define God. The hardship in defining God is that God can only be defined in terms common to human life and experience. Because of this, we are unable to fathom, let alone explain, God, who exists outside our domain – a domain that is bound by time, space, and matter. In our attempt to define God, we resort to terms that are usually anthropomorphic in nature. We can see this throughout scripture. The writers speak of His hands (Isaiah 65:2; Hebrews 10), His Feet (Genensis 3:8; Psalm 8:6), His eyes (1 Kings 8:29; 2 Chronicles 16:9), His ears (Nehemiah 1:6; Psalm 34:15), His arm (Exodus 6:6; Psalm 89:13), His face (Exodus 33:20), and His back (Exodus 33:23). This is done because the finite mind of man has no other way to comprehend the infinite essence of God, than to attribute human characteristics to Him. It is Paul’s conviction in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, that for now we only know in part. Then, when Christ returns and we are finally freed from this body and world, when we are sanctified in His presence, we will know Him in full. Therefore a conclusive statement that defines God cannot be given, but through reasoning of the facts given to us by scripture; through the study of His Attributes, His Decrees, His Works, and even His names, we can begin to develop, in part, an understanding of God.

The Existence of God

There have been many arguments to prove the existence of God over the centuries. The most popular are the Cosmological, Teleological, and the Anthropological arguments. None of these arguments alone can prove the existence of God, but combined their evidence is overwhelming.

1 The Cosmological Argument (Hebrews 3:4)

The Cosmological argument simply stated is nothing comes from nothing. Every thing that is has a beginning, and a force that has caused it to come into being. This argument is based on three natural principles: 1- Every effect has a cause; 2- Every cause is something that exists; and 3- Nothing can produce itself, or as sometimes stated ‘ex nihilo, nihil fit’ (out of nothing, nothing can arise). The first thing that must be established in this argument is what is a ‘Cause’. A cause is something that has an existence. This cannot be contested because something that does not exist, cannot act, therefore the cause would not have an effect. If it were the opposite then we would be saying that nothing is able to produce something. This contradicts the fundament principle of existence ‘ex nihilo, nihil fit’. Next, we need to discuss that a ‘Cause’ must have a power, which is greater than the prior state of the effect. Meaning it must have a power sufficient to cause the current state of the effect. Here’s an example. I have a car that currently has no dents. The current state of my car is, therefore, without dents. If I wanted to change (for some reason unknown to me), the current state of my car from ‘without dents’ to ‘with dents’, I would have to find something with enough power to cause a dent. Not everything can cause a dent in my car. Only objects that can produce more power than the current state of my car can cause a dent. If I were to throw a feather at my car, no matter how hard I threw; it would not cause a dent. Why, because the feather, when thrown, does not produce enough power to overcome the strength of the metal, which forms the side of my car. But if I were to throw a bowling ball at the side of my car (again for some reason unknown to me), it would create a very big dent. Why? Because the Bowling ball when thrown has a power greater then the current state of my car. So how does this argument help prove the existence of God. Simple. If there was nothing and then there was something, then something greater than nothing had to cause it. Again, if there was nothing, then there were the heavens and the earth, mankind, love, grace, and good. Then something greater than the heavens and the earth, mankind, love, grace, and good had to have caused it to come into being; and what else could that something be if not God?

2 The Teleological Argument (Psalm 19:1)

The Teleological argument simply stated is ‘if there is found order and useful arrangement, then there is an intelligent and thoughtful designer behind the cause’. It cannot be disputed when looking at the universe that it has an order and a useful purpose. In other words the order of the universe is to preserve life. If the order of the universe were off even by a little life on earth would cease to exist. Dr. Walter Bradley, Professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University, gives three pillars to the teleological argument. He says: “Evidence for design comes from three sources: (1) the simple mathematical form that nature takes; (2) the coincidence that the universal constants are exactly what they need to be to support life of any type on this planet; and (3) the coincidence that the initial conditions in many different situations are also critical and happen to have been exactly what they needed to be for the universe and life to come into being”. Astrophysicist Paul Davies in his book Superforce (1984) says this regarding Evidence for Design: “The equations of physics have in them incredible simplicity, elegance, and beauty. That in itself is sufficient to prove to me that there must be a God who is responsible for these laws and responsible for the universe”. And John Wheeler, Princeton University professor of physics (Reader’s Digest, Sept., 1986) said “Slight variations in physical laws such as gravity or electromagnetism would make life impossible . . . the necessity to produce life lies at the center of the universe’s whole machinery and design”, and Even The well known atheist J.L. Mackie (Miracle of Theism, p.141) said “There is only one actual universe, with a unique set of basic materials and physical constants, and it is therefore surprising that the elements of this unique set-up are just right for life when they might easily have been wrong. This is not made less surprising by the fact that if it had not been so, no one would have been here to be surprised. We can properly envision and consider alternative possibilities which do not include our being there to experience them.” So what does this argument prove? It proves that the conditions on earth that support life are unique in all the universe as we know it, and that unique and delicate condition could only have come together from the hands of a master craftsman. Moreover, if we already proved that nothing comes from nothing, then that master craftsman needs to be God.

3 The Anthropological Argument

The Anthropological is sometimes called the Moral argument simply stated is ‘every man has a sense of right and wrong, then there must be a standard that we are comparing our actions by”. Hoeksema presents the argument like this: “Every man has a sense of obligation, of what is right and wrong, together with an undeniable feeling of responsibility to do what is right and a sense of self-condemnation when he commits what is evil… This presupposes that there is a speaker, and moreover, one that is Lord and Sovereign.” Paul hints at this argument in Romans 1:19-32. So what does this argument prove? It shows that if there is a law written in our hearts then there must be a lawgiver.