I’ve been really struggling of late with the existence of God and the evidence for it. I’m at the point where it makes sense that in the philosophical world, the arguments for God’s existence are convincing, but in the real world where regular things happen and things are so modern, it seems hard to embrace that above it all there is a God, let alone a God who wants to be involved with our lives. If there is a God who is sovereign and ordains everything that comes to pass, why is it that He feels so separate from our everyday experience?
Hi @Abi.re. These are excellent questions and you are not alone with your doubts. For me, your questions show why the coming of Jesus into our world is so critical. We would be left with the very questions you ask, and no answers, if Jesus had not come. But he did come. He is an actual, historical figure. He is God in the flesh who lived in the same world you and I live in, but with a significance difference: “I have overcome the world,” Jesus said. Jesus is our assurance, our guarantee, that there is a God who knows and loves us.
So much could be said, and I’m sure others will also answer, but remember what Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).
As many of the writers in scripture advise, hold on to the confidence of your faith. God will vindicate it.
I would say part of an answer can be found in asking the question why we feel separate from anyone? We do not spend time with them. I don’t mean for that answer to sound in anyway dismissive. I can sympathize with your position. I have been there many times myself. I often find I get to inside my head desiring to know about God. I often need to temper myself and spend time knowing Him. Time in prayer, meditation, quite time, reading for relationship rather than for study.
In today’s technological age we lose this sense of genuine connection. Everything is so busy and harried and loud. There is all this background. And this can interfere, if we are not careful, with our felt relationship with God. At least that is what it has been for me.
I would recommend going through the Daily Examen. It is a Jesuit prayer and many of my friends and myself have found it helpful in dealing with this exact situation. It forces to sit and reflect, to search for God in your day. You would be amazed at how often you can see God if you take the time to look.
This is the difference between walking in the woods and sitting in the woods. If you walk through the woods it often seems like nothing is going on in there. One, you are moving too fast to notice anything and two the noise you makes causes all the little things to pause. However, if you sit a spell, you will begin to see movement, changes in the light, little things you didn’t notice before, especially if you were standing up. If you make a habit of sitting in the woods you will begin to notice growth and changes and seasons.
Interesting article alert:
I hope this is helpful and if I missed anything please let me know.
@Abi.re That is a terrific question! If we read an excerpt from Acts, we see that God has arranged all things that men and women might reach out for Him. The Bible makes it clear that because of their sin people push the knowledge of God out of their mind. It is not as if God is distant - He is very near each of us.
The fact that our modern world is more technologically sophisticated than the world of Bible times does not change the fundamental nature of the human heart. We can harness the power of electricity and magnetism, but we have not been able to conquer the sinful nature of humans. Only Jesus can do that.
I’ve included some additional thoughts below I hope you find helpful
Acts 17:24-28 - “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
- The Scripture is clear that humans are by nature alienated from God by their sin and evil desires. It is only in Christ that we draw near and are able to experience the presence of God in our daily lives in a real and moving way.
- it is God’s Spirit who gives us a sense of closeness to God - Romans 8:16 - “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” The way that we experience God is to walk in the Spirit (see Chip Ingram teaching below).
- God gives enough light for the righteous to find Him, but also is hidden enough that those who want to reject Him are able - God does not force Himself on us (see Pascal below)
Only in Christ Can we Draw Near to God
The Scripture is clear that humans are by nature alienated from God by their sin and evil desires. It is only in Christ that we draw near and are able to experience the presence of God in our daily lives in a real and moving way.
Colossians 1:21-23 - Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
Romans 1:28 - Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Romans 8:5-9 - Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.
One thought that may help is from Pascal’s Pensees. In “Christianity for Modern Pagans” Peter Kreeft examines Pascal’s work. One argument Pascal makes is that God gives exactly enough light for the righteous to find Him and for the wicked to reject Him.
"He gives exactly the right amount of light. If He gave less, even the righteous would be unable to find Him, and their will would be thwarted. If He gave more, even the wicked would find Him, against their will. Thus He respects and fulfills the will of all.
If He gave more light, the righteous would not learn humility, for they would know too much. If He gave less light, the wicked would not be responsible for their wickedness, for they would know too little."
Sermons from Tim Keller
Chip Ingram - Be Filled with the Spirit
@Abi.re Not sure if music is your thing, but spending time in worship thanking Christ for what He has done and praying for others always helps me draw near to God. Here are some songs I like
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question! I’ll definitely take a look at the resources you recommended!
I love music! Thank you for sharing. I also appreciated your response to my question, especially in regards to our human nature.
@Abi.re Great! Praying that you would experience the presence and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus as you seek His face.
Great questions Abijah!
Tim Keller, said that God is never not involved in our lives if we are his children. He is always present. It doesn’t mean that when we had a bad day, God doesn’t hear us.
He is the same God in our modern day as well as in Biblical ancient times.
What has separate us from him or why we feel swparated from him might be helpful questions to ask ourselves.
Offen I find that distractions of modern living have obscured my vision of God.
There were Idols which I placed above God. By idols, I mean things that have taken priority.
Hope this helps.
I agree with @SeanO, when I minister to and pray for others I do feel God’s presence. I suppose that is where He wants us to be, serving others.
To just give a simple answer it’s a big YES. All the excellent responces given are all we need to see that He is involved whether we see, feel, Him or not.
As a young man full of hurts I was alone by choice, a nomad if you will. I fell into a lifestyle of misery and failure for 20 years. When Jesus revealed Himself to me I pushed Him Away. Today however after 28 years with Christ I am a different man but still at times feel alone. I feel Him more naturally when I am doing what He did. Yesterday I met a Navy vet and He shared some of his story and as he began I could see the pain. As we talked one year ago he made a Christ commitment, he was 59. I say this because I cherish, treasure those times and bring them to remembrance as a weapon to combat the enemies lies that evidence of God does not exist. For me in our post modern thinking world factual tangible evidence is important. Praying for you as your journey ends in this valley.
Love in Christ
It helps me to approach the question of GOD’s presence from a conclusion. It changes the scope and depth of my questions. GOD’s existence does not need to be proven to me, my ability to see, hear, and recognize His presence requires constant management. That GOD is a “far-gone” reality is the standard. What blocks my path from knowing this simple truth?
It depends on many variables. I am human. People I seek to trust are too human. Human knowledge fluxes with such regularity that it never expands beyond the current best guess. And then there is that human factor again.
It can be frustrating to try and apply definition to who and where GOD is, using human abilities. I get why without faith it is impossible to please Him. I know why prayer and study is a required tool for living.
If I am willing to grant confidence to the knowledge of other “dirt-scratchers/humans,” then most certainly I will cling to the tried and proven existence of GOD. Experiences and gained knowledge that has outpaced my living and grown my soul and mind beyond the initial encounter. Time will not allow me to be too detailed in this venue. But there is great joy in sharing with others the many ways the Lord has touched my life with His favor.
This causes my questioning to be resolved via my willingness to learn of the Lord. What I have learned so far, takes my breath away. What I continue to learn makes the journey so exciting.
Hi Abrí, I believe that the fact that deep inside you know that God is real is enough to understand that He wants a relationship with, you want o know how real He is, all you have to do is ask Him to come to you and live in you, ask Him to forgive you of any doubt or sin and start in a wonderful relationship with Him. As you get to know Him by prayer and relationship, you will feel His presence more and more in your life. Surrender yourself completely to Him and believe that He is real, and He himself will reveal Himself to you.
Trust me, I’ve gone through a lot and after my encounter with Him, nobody can contradict the fact that I feel His presence, but it involved surrendering.
I hope this was helpful for you.
God bless you!