Last week I began a new series going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. This week’s question is ‘How does it appear that there is a God?’
Firstly we know there is a God because the knowledge is inside us. Paul says ‘The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them’ (Romans 1:18-19).
Secondly we know that there is a God because of God’s works which are displayed around us in creation. Psalm 19 says: ‘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 display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world’ (Psalm 19:1-4).
Thirdly we know there is a God because he has spoken to us in his word. Paul encourages his young disciple Timothy ‘you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’ (2 Timothy 3:15). The Bible is the word of God and what is in it is able to make us all wise about who God is and how we can trust in his Son.
Fourthly the Holy Spirit reveals God to us. Paul quotes from Isaiah: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9). However he doesn’t leave it there. Paul says ‘but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). By the Holy Spirit we can know God.
Thus all people, including non-Christians, know God exists because God has made his existence plain to them. The problem is that they suppress this truth and refuse to believe the evidence. We all need the Holy Spirit to bring us to repent of our unbelief and ask for forgiveness through Christ’s death for not believing in God as we should.