“If God is real, why doesn’t He show Himself to me?” “Where is the evidence of God’s existence?” “I need proof of God—where’s the proof?” We’ve all heard those questions—or perhaps more precisely, objections—before. But we should never be intimidated by them. Rather, we ought to follow the pattern Scripture lays out.
The Bible presupposes, rather than proves, God’s existence. Scripture says this about God in Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were born, or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” That is a classic doctrinal affirmation about God. It tells us that God is the only God: “You are God.” It tells us that God is the eternal God: “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” It tells us that God is the Creator God: “You gave birth to the earth and the world.”
As Christians we accept one foundational truth—God. Then everything else makes sense. An atheist denies God and has to accept incredible explanations for everything else. It takes more faith to deny God than to believe in Him.
Theologians give several arguments for the existence of God. Logic can’t prove God’s existence, but it clearly shows us that there is more reason to believe in God than there is not to believe in Him.
One logical reason to accept the existence of God is the teleological argument. That comes from the Greek word teleos, which means “perfect result,” “end,” or “finish.” Something that is completed and perfected shows evidence of a maker. Design implies a designer. Take your watch apart and put all the pieces in your pocket. You will shake your leg a long time before you will ever hear the watch tick. When something works, someone made it work. If you see a piano, you don’t assume that an elephant ran into a tree where someone was sitting on a branch playing a harp, and all the ivory, wood, and strings fell together and became a piano. The teleological argument says that the order in the universe is evidence that a supreme intelligence, God, created it.
A second argument for God is the aesthetic argument. It claims that because there is beauty and truth there has to be, somewhere in the universe, a standard on which beauty and truth are based.
The volitional argument says that because the human creature faces a myriad of choices and has the ability to make willful decisions, there must be somewhere an infinite will, and the world must be the expression of that will.
The moral argument says that the very fact we know there is right and wrong suggests the necessity of an absolute standard. If anything is right and anything is wrong, somewhere there is Someone who determines which is which.
The cosmological argument is the argument of cause and effect. It concludes that someone made the universe because every effect must be traceable to a cause. The cause of infinity must be infinite. The cause of endless time must be eternal. The cause of power must be omnipotent. The cause of limitless space must be omnipresent. The cause of knowledge must be omniscient. The cause of personality must be personal. The cause of feeling must be emotional. The cause of will must be volitional. The cause of ethical values must be moral. The cause of spiritual values must be spiritual. The cause of beauty must be aesthetic. The cause of righteousness must be holy. The cause of justice must be just. The cause of love must be loving. The cause of life must be living.
But, according to the apostle Paul, all of those arguments merely serve to reinforce what the unbelieving sinner already knows.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18–20)
Even apart from His written revelation, that which is known about God is evident within even pagan Gentiles, for God made it evident to them. The Lord testifies through Paul that His outward, visible manifestation of Himself is universally known by man. It is evident within them as well as without them. All men have evidence of God, and what their physical senses can perceive of Him their inner senses can understand. The Philistines both saw and acknowledged God’s power, as did the Canaanites, the Egyptians, and every other people who have lived on earth. The rebels who built the tower of Babel both saw and acknowledged God’s greatness, as did the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. All men know something and understand something of the reality and the truth of God. They are responsible for a proper response to that revelation. Any wrong response is “without excuse.”
Paul also specifies the content of God’s self-revelation that He makes known to all mankind. Since the creation of the world, God has made His invisible attributes visible. The particular attributes that man can perceive in part through his natural senses are God’s “eternal power” and His “divine nature.” God’s eternal power refers to His never-failing omnipotence, which is reflected in the awesome creation which that power both brought into being and sustains. God’s divine nature of kindness and graciousness is reflected, as Paul told the Lystrans, in the “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).
The noted theologian Charles Hodge testified, “God therefore has never left himself without a witness. His existence and perfections have ever been so manifested that his rational creatures are bound to acknowledge and worship him as the true and only God”  Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983 reprint), 37.
God’s natural revelation of Himself is not obscure or selective, observable only by a few perceptive souls who are specially gifted. His revelation of Himself through creation can be seen clearly by everyone, being understood through what has been made. Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 say, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Only a fool would reject the proof he already inherently knows.
But simply acknowledging the existence of a supreme being is not enough. Einstein acknowledged a cosmic force in the universe but thought God was unknowable. He thought of God as a floating cosmic battery, a sort of great electrical current that discharged one day, and the universe resulted. A popular self–help organization tells its members, “You have to have a relationship with God as you perceive Him to be.” That is folly. How you perceive God to be apart from the revelation of Him in Scripture has nothing to do with how He is in reality.
(Adapted from Worship and The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 1–8)