“I dont believe in any religion. Its all made up. Religion is an organized thing by human beings to convince other people to follow a way of speaking to God. I think Gods in everybody, and you have to be in touch with yourself and your god within you.” (Mark Burnett, television producer of Survivor and The Apprentice). This has been the conclusion of some people: there is no God but God is simply a fixture of mans imagination. How is the human race supposed to know if there is a God? Is there a way that God has revealed himself to all people so we can know that he does exist or if he is merely a figment of imagination?
General Revelation of God
Creation declares the existence of God
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
God has revealed himself through general revelation. The creation alone reveals to all people that there is a higher being than ourselves. This idea is not the invention of man but is built so people could use logic and reason to understand someone must have put this world into being. Humans could not create all that is around us. Therefore, there is something greater than ourselves that put the creation here.
I am not sure why this can be such a problem to some people. There are so many things in this world that we enjoy. We have never personally met the creator of these things, but know these things were made by the intelligence and power in the object. For example, you have never personally met the designer of your vehicle. How do you know that someone designed your vehicle? How do we not know that a random explosion took place in a junkyard and a SUV appeared from the smoke?
There are two reasons we know someone designed our vehicles and are not products of random explosions. First, explosions are destructive, not creative. An explosion in a junkyard will not create a car but will create a mess of junk. Second, we know someone designed our vehicles because there is intelligence built into the car. Turn the key and the vehicle starts. Press a pedal and the vehicle goes. There is order, arrangement, and power found in a car that lets us know there is an intelligent creator, though we have never seen or met the creator.
God has declared that we can know he exists in the same fashion. I do not need to see God to know he is exists just as much as I do not need to see the designer of my minivan to know that a designer exists. The work reveals there is a creator. Thus, the psalmist says that the heavens and skies declare the existence of God and his glory.
Creation is intended to have people seek God
Acts 17:24-28 says, “(24) 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 hands. (25) And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. (26) From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. (27) God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (28) For in him we live and move and have our being.”
In his speech to the Athenians, Paul declares the purpose of the visible creation. God created all of this so that we would seek after him, reach out for him, and find him. I think it is interesting that Paul said the exact opposite of what Mark Burnett said. Mr. Burnett says that God is the creation of mans own imagination and that God is in every person. Paul said that people are creation of Gods imagination and purpose. Further, Paul said that every person lives, moves, and exists in God. People are the work of God. God is not the work of people.
The whole creation exists so that we would know with certainty and confidence that there is a God. The world is God revealing himself to all people. This is the very reason why Paul said “men are without excuse” about knowing the existence of God. Every piece of creation clearly shows an unseen God. Since we can look around and know God exists and the purpose of creation was for all people to seek after God, how are we to know what God wants from us? Since we can know there is a God, it is important for us to find out what the one who created us wants from us. General revelation cannot tell us Gods will. We cannot look out into the stars and know what God wants. We cannot look within ourselves and know Gods will. God had to specifically reveal to people what he wants from us all. In the next article, we will consider how God has revealed his will to all people.