The existence of God has been the subject of debate for hundreds of years. The fact that the number of non-church goers, skeptics, and atheists is on the rise is not surprising. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The natural tendency of the human heart is to blindfold itself when it comes to God. If we can eliminate God then there is no accountability as to how we live; no one to judge us in the end; and no one but ourselves to determine our eternal fate. Yes, the human mind is happy to be blinded to the existence of God.
The rise of empiricism has only accelerated the denial of God’s existence. For the empiricist, only that which can be experienced by the human senses is real or factual. Many today believe that because God cannot be seen with the human eye or heard with the human ear, He cannot be placed in the realm of fact. Rather, something like God must be placed in the category of value. Fact and value have been split today into separate categories and only that which is factual is considered truth. If I can see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it, I can call it factual or truth. But if I cannot experience it with my human senses, then it is relegated to the realm of mere value.
There used to be a time when you could get into a good old-fashioned argument or debate with people about God. Public debates on creation versus evolution were common. D. L. Moody once spoke to a group of over a thousand atheists at their request. People were interested in “the facts” and then would wrestle with those facts as to their beliefs.
Today, it is difficult to have a discussion with many people about God because they have taken Him out of the realm of fact and placed Him in the category of value. They do not have a problem with you believing in God as a value for your life, but consider it wrong for you to push something non-factual on to them. This is why God has been removed from the public school classrooms and public prayers. The name Jesus Christ is banned from public conversations and labeled politically incorrect because He is simply a “value” rather than a “fact.” All God talk is “non-sensical” and thus non-factual and untruthful according to the skeptic.
So is God a matter of fact or simply a matter of a person’s values? Much of what we believe about God is indeed a matter of faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). But I would contend that while God honors our faith, He has also provided empirical facts upon which to base our faith.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, “…they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). In John chapter one we learn of the deity of Jesus Christ—He was indeed God according to verses one through three: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” This Word (Jesus Christ) according to verse fourteen “…was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” When God announced to the world that Jesus Christ was His Son and the Saviour of the world, He did it with an audible voice. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
At the foundation of the Christian faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, 1 Corinthians fifteen tells us we are without hope. In fact, our entire set of beliefs is a hoax without the resurrection! “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain…For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14–17).
As Paul presents the argument that Christ is truly risen from the dead, he does so with empirical facts. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:3–8). Over and over, Paul points to the empirical evidence to prove the resurrection which forms the foundation of our faith.
The book of 1 John is a marvelous little epistle which contains much instruction for the child of God today. For hundreds of years now, God’s people have benefited from the instruction given under inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the human writer John. The Apostle may have wondered if anyone twenty-one centuries later would believe what he was writing. So the Spirit of God inspired him to write from the basis of empirical facts in his introduction. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled of the Word of life: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1–4).
Our culture relegates God to the realm of value, but He is indeed a matter of fact! He is found by those who seek Him. Look around. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalms 19:1-4). Look in the Bible, “... thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Look within, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” (Romans 1:19). Yes, God is a matter of fact! Only a fool says and believes otherwise (Psalms 14:1).