Definition: The Supreme Being, whose distinctive name is Jehovah. The Hebrew language uses terms for “God” that convey the idea of strength, also of majesty, dignity, and excellence. In contrast to the true God, there are false gods. Some of these have set themselves up as gods; others have been made objects of worship by those who serve them.
Are there sound reasons for believing in God?
Ps. 19:1: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling.”
Ps. 104:24: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”
Rom. 1:20: “His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made.”
New Scientist magazine said: “The lay view persists—of scientists having ‘disproved’ religion. It is a view that commonly expects scientists to be nonbelievers; that Darwin put the last nails in God’s coffin; and that a succession of scientific and technological innovations since have ruled out the possibility of any resurrection. It is a view that is wildly wrong.”—May 26, 1977, p. 478.
A member of the French Academy of Sciences stated: “Natural order was not invented by the human mind or set up by certain perceptive powers. . . . The existence of order presupposes the existence of organizing intelligence. Such intelligence can be none other than God’s.”—Dieu existe? Oui (Paris, 1979), Christian Chabanis, quoting Pierre-Paul Grassé, p. 94.
Scientists have identified over 100 chemical elements. Their atomic structure displays an intricate mathematical interrelationship of the elements. The periodic table points to obvious design. Such amazing design could not possibly be accidental, a product of chance.
Illustration: When we see a camera, a radio, or a computer, we readily acknowledge that it must have been produced by an intelligent designer. Would it be reasonable, then, to say that far more complex things—the eye, the ear, and the human brain—did not originate with an intelligent Designer?
Does the existence of wickedness and of suffering prove that there is no God?
Consider examples: Does the fact that knives have been used to murder prove that no one designed them? Is the use of jet aircraft to drop bombs in time of war evidence that they had no designer? Or is it rather the use to which these are being put that is causing grief to mankind?
Is it not true that much disease is a result of man’s own poor living habits and his spoiling of the environment for himself and others? Are not the wars fought by humans a major cause of human suffering? Is it not also true that, while millions suffer from lack of food, there is more than enough in other lands, so that one of the underlying problems is human greed? All these things give evidence, not that there is no God, but that humans are sadly misusing their God-given abilities and the earth itself.
Does God really care what happens to us humans?
Yes, indeed! Consider the evidence: The Bible tells us that God gave man a perfect start. (Gen. 1:27, 31; Deut. 32:4) Man’s continued enjoyment of God’s favor, however, depended on obedience to his Maker. (Gen. 2:16, 17) If man was obedient, he would continue to enjoy perfect human life—no sickness, no suffering, no death. The Creator would provide man with needed guidance and would use His power to safeguard mankind against any calamity. But man rejected God’s guidance; he chose the course of self-rule. In trying to do something for which he was never designed, he has brought calamity upon himself. (Jer. 10:23; Eccl. 8:9; Rom. 5:12) Yet, over the centuries God has been patiently seeking out those who, because of love for him and his ways, are willing to serve him. He sets before them the opportunity to enjoy all the blessings of which they have been deprived because of man’s imperfections and misrule. (Rev. 21:3-5) The provision God made by means of his Son to redeem humans from sin and death is a marvelous evidence of God’s great love for mankind. (John 3:16) God has also set an appointed time when he will destroy those who ruin the earth and will cause lovers of righteousness to enjoy life in harmony with his own original purpose.—Rev. 11:18; Ps. 37:10, 11; see also the main headings “Suffering” and “Wickedness.”
Is God a real person?
Heb. 9:24: “Christ entered . . . into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”
John 4:24: “God is a Spirit.”
John 7:28: “He that sent me is real,” said Jesus.
1 Cor. 15:44: “If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one.”
Does God have feelings of the sort that we associate with living people?
John 16:27: “The Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me and have believed that I came out as the Father’s representative.”
Isa. 63:9: “During all their distress it was distressing to him. . . . In his love and in his compassion he himself repurchased them.”
1 Tim. 1:11: “The happy God.”
Did God have a beginning?
Ps. 90:2: “Before the mountains themselves were born, or you proceeded to bring forth as with labor pains the earth and the productive land, even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.”
Is that reasonable? Our minds cannot fully comprehend it. But that is not a sound reason for rejecting it. Consider examples: (1) Time. No one can point to a certain moment as the beginning of time. And it is a fact that, even though our lives end, time does not. We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend. Rather, we regulate our lives by it. (2) Space. Astronomers find no beginning or end to space. The farther they probe into the universe, the more there is. They do not reject what the evidence shows; many refer to space as being infinite. The same principle applies to the existence of God.
Other examples: (1) Astronomers tell us that the heat of the sun at its core is 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000° C.). Do we reject that idea because we cannot fully comprehend such intense heat? (2) They tell us that the size of our Milky Way is so great that a beam of light traveling at over 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec) would require 100,000 years to cross it. Do our minds really comprehend such a distance? Yet we accept it because scientific evidence supports it.
Which is more reasonable—that the universe is the product of a living, intelligent Creator? or that it must have arisen simply by chance from a nonliving source without intelligent direction? Some persons adopt the latter viewpoint because to believe otherwise would mean that they would have to acknowledge the existence of a Creator whose qualities they cannot fully comprehend. But it is well known that scientists do not fully comprehend the functioning of the genes that are within living cells and that determine how these cells will grow. Nor do they fully understand the functioning of the human brain. Yet, who would deny that these exist? Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe, with all its intricate design and stupendous size?
Is it important to use God’s name?
Rom. 10:13: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”
Ezek. 39:6: “People will have to know that I am Jehovah.”
Jesus said to his Father: “I have made your name known to them [his true followers] and will make it known.”—John 17:26.
See also pages 196, 197, under “Jehovah.”
Is it important which God we serve, as long as we have some religion?
1 Cor. 10:20: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God.”
2 Cor. 4:4: “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (Here the Devil is referred to as a “god.” See 1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9.)
Matt. 7:22, 23: “Many will say to me [Jesus Christ] in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Even professing to be a Christian is not a guarantee that we are acceptably serving the true God.)
If Jehovah is “the only true God,” what kind of “God” is Jesus?
Jesus himself referred to his Father as “the only true God.” (John 17:3) Jehovah himself said: “Besides me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6) The apostle Paul wrote that, to true Christians, “there is . . . one God the Father.” (1 Cor. 8:5, 6) So Jehovah is unique; no one else shares his position. Jehovah stands in utter contrast to all such objects of worship as idols, deified humans, and Satan. All these are false gods.
Jesus is spoken of in the Scriptures as “a god,” even as “Mighty God.” (John 1:1; Isa. 9:6) But nowhere is he spoken of as being Almighty, as Jehovah is. (Gen. 17:1) Jesus is said to be “the reflection of [God’s] glory,” but the Father is the Source of that glory. (Heb. 1:3) Jesus in no way seeks the position of his Father. He said: “It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.” (Luke 4:8) He exists “in God’s form,” and the Father has commanded that “in the name of Jesus every knee should bend,” but this is all done “to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:5-11; see also pages 212-216.
If Someone Says—
‘I don’t believe in God’
You might reply: ‘Have you always felt that way? . . . Before you came to that conclusion, did you examine some body of evidence that you found to be persuasive?’ Then perhaps add: ‘This is a subject that greatly interests me and I have given it considerable thought. Some points that I found to be very helpful were these: . . . (On page 145, see the subheading “Are there sound reasons for believing in God?” also see pages 84-86, under “Creation.”)’
Or you could say: ‘Do you mean that you do not believe that there is a Creator, or is it that you have seen so much hypocrisy in the churches that you have no faith in what they teach?’ If it is the latter, you might add: ‘There is a great difference between the churches of Christendom and true Christianity. It is true that Christendom has oppressed people, but Christianity has not. Christendom has waged war, but Christianity has not. Christendom has failed to provide proper moral direction, but Christianity has not. God’s Word, the Bible, does not support Christendom. On the contrary, it condemns Christendom.’
Another possibility: ‘I have had interesting conversations with others who felt as you do. Some of them said that they just could not reconcile belief in God with all the suffering and wickedness in the world. Is that how you feel? (If so, use some of the material on pages 146, 147, under the subheading “Does the existence of wickedness and of suffering prove that there is no God?”)’
‘I believe only what I can see, and I have never seen God’
You might reply: ‘That view is quite common nowadays. And there is a reason for it. We live in a society that emphasizes material possessions. But you are a person who likes to be realistic, aren’t you?’ Then perhaps add: (1) ‘Are there some things that we cannot see with our eyes but that we believe exist because there are sound reasons to do so? What about the air we breathe? We may feel it when there is a breeze. We can tell that it fills our lungs, even though we do not see it. Because we see the effects, there is good reason to believe in it, isn’t that so?’ (2) ‘And we cannot see gravity. But when we drop something we see evidence that gravity is at work. Nor do we see odors, but our nose picks them up. We cannot see sound waves, but our ears detect them. So we believe in things we cannot see—provided there is good reason to do so, isn’t that right?’ (3) ‘Well, is there evidence that an invisible God really exists? (Use material on pages 145, 146, under the subheading “Are there sound reasons for believing in God?”)’
‘I have my own concept of God’
You might reply: ‘I’m glad to hear that you are a person who has given this matter some thought and that you believe in God. May I ask, What is your concept of God?’ Then perhaps add: ‘I am sure you appreciate that it is important to make certain that whatever we believe is in harmony with what God himself says. May I share with you just one thought from the Bible on this matter? (Ps. 83:18)’