Last night, I said that we’d be discussing various topics on the doctrine of God. Note of course that nothing I say here will be exhaustive. If you want something in-depth on the topic, I recommend getting a good Systematic Theology. I have read both Geisler’s and Erickson’s and I can recommend both of them. What I plan to do is just touch on the surface.
I was pondering this last night though and trying to decide of the distinctions in the doctrine of God. I have this in mind also because I am in constant debates online and one of them right now is on God’s revelation. The question of “Why hasn’t he made himself clear?” I find this to be an odd question though as some people will say that they can doubt his existence.
This might sound like a shock to you, but I think you can doubt the obvious.
We owe a lot to Rene Descartes. Unfortunately, it’s not good. There’s a reason his work, “A Discourse of Method,” is included as one of the books that screwed up the world. (The list comes from Benjamin Wiker’s book “10 Books that Screwed Up The World And Five Others That Didn’t Help.” My roommate gave me that book for my birthday and I consider it a very important book everyone should read.)
Descartes gave us the idea of doubting everything to find what was true and if it could be doubted, then it wouldn’t be clung to. His end was that he couldn’t doubt he was doubting so he based everything on “I think, therefore I am.” (What happens when you’re asleep or unconscious and not thinking?) Great. Now the idea of what we can rely on is based all on our subjective experience starting with us.
Descartes even had doubt of the existence of the material world. Now I would say the existence of the material world is obvious and I think most of you would also. There are people who will say they doubt it. What do you say? This is the kind of place where one of my professors says “Well if they doubt reality, it’s best to just go out for pizza then because if reality won’t convince them, what will?”
To me, the existence of God is obvious. In fact, this is the way it is for most of the world. Most people now and throughout history have believed that this world isn’t all that there is. They have been theists of some sort. Now someone might say “They haven’t been Christians though have they?” To this, I must answer, “No, they haven’t.”
As if that was ever the point….
No one is saying by the idea that God’s existence is obvious that that means everyone has always known that the Triune God has or will reveal himself in Jesus Christ. (Will for those B.C. people) What is being said is that people have believed that there is something more than what they see with their own eyes.
The question then is, what are they doing with this idea? Are they willing to follow the idea and seek for the truth instead of settling for worldviews they might hold and realize that they are false? Could it be that there are many people out there who haven’t yet got to hear the gospel but realize the worldview around them is false and are crying out for something real? I believe that those who are such will get the gospel be it by a missionary or some supernatural means. If not, it could be many will arrive in glory one day and look in the face of Christ and say “It was you I was seeking all along was it?”
Of course, I question how many of them that can be so I definitely fully endorse missionary action to bring the gospel to as many people as possible.
This is the first question that must be answered though in our discussions. THAT God is. I’m not even going into the nature of the God that is there. It could be Plato’s demiurge that was a finite god now for all I care. The only point to establish is that there is something out there beyond us. What that something is, as who will come later, is a question for another blog.