The Doctrine of Existence

THREE WAYS GOD DECLARES HIS EXISTENCE

So how does the Bible declare God’s existence? Here are three themes woven throughout the Scriptures that bind the biblical story together:

1. God Declares His Existence Through His Creation

The existence of God is preached to us through the most visible work of his powerful hands: The physical world around us. You don’t have to travel very far from where you are right now—in fact, you don’t have to travel at all—to see and experience the amazing, multi-faceted glories of the physical world in which you live.

The more you take time to use your senses, the more locations you visit, or the more you try to understand how things operate and how created things interconnect and depend on one another, the more blown away you become. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something even more amazing surprises you.

The Bible is very clear that all of these physical glories are intentionally designed to point you to God (see Psalm 19 and Romans 1). All of the things you can taste, touch, smell and see are designed not only to persuade you of God’s existence, but to blow you away with his glory.

The wonders of creation that scientists are just scratching the surface of understanding are a daily argument for the astounding wisdom, power and glory of the One who created each of those wonders.

2. God Declares His Existence Through His Providence

There’s a way in which the biblical story has only three fundamental elements to it:

  1. God tells you what he is going to do (Prophecy).
  2. Then he tells how he did it (Narrative).
  3. Finally he interprets what he has done (Doctrine).

Now the only way the biblical story can move in this way is if the God behind the story has absolute control over every location, event, person and thing. There isn’t any luck, fate or chance. There are no fortunate moments where uncontrolled circumstances intersect and result in something positive.

If you study not only biblical history but the move of human history in general, you won’t be confronted with the theology of chance but rather with the theology of God’s providence. Of course, from street level it can often look like chaos reigns, with fate and chance interspersed, but from the helicopter level you’re confronted with a story that moves according to the will of someone greater than any of us, no matter how great or powerful we may be (see Daniel 4:34-35).

3. God Declares His Existence Through His Grace

There’s no explanation for the blessings we all experience, even in this broken world, other than the fact that there exists a God of awesome and generous grace. He graces us with his patience, he graces us with his provision, he graces us with strength, he graces us with wisdom, he graces us with moral awareness, he graces us with mercy, and the list could go on and on.

His grace is not only seen in his willingness to let his justice tarry for another day so that we would all have another opportunity to confess our rebellion and run to his mercy (see 2 Peter 3:9), but it’s also seen in what we experience every day (see Matthew 5:43-45). We don’t deserve the warmth of the sun, the life-giving rain, the luxurious taste of a good meal, the sweetness of a human kiss, the awesome beauty of a mountain range, the sound of well-crafted music, the ability to paint beauty onto a canvas or write an engaging story, or to harness a bacteria and make it work for good.

These all exist and bless our lives because behind life exists a God of amazing grace. You just can’t live one single day of your life without being blessed by his grace in some form.

WHY WE DON’T BELIEVE GOD EXISTS

If God works to make his existence so obvious, why don’t more people acknowledge it? It’s in answering this that we’re confronted with one of the most tragic effects of sinIt blinds our eyes and hardens our hearts.

Sin enables us to look at the glories of creation and not see God. Sin sometimes causes us to be blindly willful and other times causes us to be willfully blind. Sometimes we look and don’t see what we were meant to see and other times we look and refuse to acknowledge what we see (see Romans 1:18-32).

Not only are we blind, but we’re blind to our blindness! We tell ourselves that we see, know and understand when we don’t see clearly, when we don’t know deeply, and when we don’t interpret well. So if you’re able to see the obvious and understand it in a way that alters how you think about yourself and how you live your life, you can rest assured that the grace of God has visited you.

It takes eye-opening grace to see, accept and understand the core declaration of the Bible: that God exists and rules in power, holiness, wisdom and grace. Knowing God begins with the operation of his grace and our acknowledgment that we need it. Without that grace, there’s no argument powerful enough to convince you of his existence. Without that grace, we’re left to look at a glorious display and not see the One of glory who created and controls it.

May we never grow to take the miracle of that grace for granted!

This resource is from Paul Tripp Ministries. For additional resources, visit www.paultripp.com. Used with permission.

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Paul David Tripp
Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. This vision has led Paul to write many books on Christian living and travel around the world speaking and teaching. Paul's driving passion is to help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks with practical hope into all the things people face in this broken world. Paul and his wife Luella reside Philadelphia. They are the parents of four grown children.

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