The God who is Obvious

For centuries Christians and other religious people have come up with arguments about the existence of God.  When I was in bible college I had to try and grasp the “ontological argument” and other such head spinning ideas.  I don’t doubt that scholars have some profound things to say on this subject, but the bible regards all of those arguments as redundant. The bible simply says,

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.  Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:18-20, NLT)

Did you see the second sentence there?  God has made his existence obvious.  These are remarkable claims.  Paul here says that God’s existence need not be proved – it is obvious.  End of story.  Now Paul was a highly accomplished scholar.  If you asked him for reasoned philosophical ideas about the existence of God he could have come up with some good things.  But he doesn’t see the need.  He simply says that God is obvious, and he is obvious because of the world that he has created.

You might think that Paul did not have the benefit of modern science – what did Paul know of relativity, the Big Bang, evolution, the Hubble telescope, etc.  It was obvious to Paul that God exists but it does not look so obvious this side of Einstein, Darwin and Stephen Hawking.

Yet it is still obvious.  Let’s assume that everything that modern science says is true.  (Granted how far science has come in the last 100 years who knows where our understanding will be 100 years from now, but leave that aside.)  Why was there a Big Bang?  That is a question that science cannot answer.  All that science can do is say what has happened since the Big Bang, what laws this universe seems to abide by.  It cannot explain how the universe came into being.  That issue remains out of science’s grasp.  There remains one obvious explanation – a creator.

For Paul God’s obviousness extends to at least two aspects of his character – his “eternal power and divine nature”.   He doesn’t give us detail about those two things but the implication is clear from the surrounding sentences.  I think that he is saying that God’s perfection is obvious, and by it our imperfection is obvious as well.

What’s more, for Paul God’s obviousness has consequences.  He says that it leaves all of those who have seen his obviousness “without excuse”.  He goes on, in the following chapters, to explain that the problem of sin has reached to everyone.  There is not a person alive who has avoided it until God sent his Son.  The death of Jesus a  opens a way to conquer the sin problem, and for those that receive his forgiveness there is freedom.

Sounds like a good solution to me.

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