The mystery of God’s existence has been a crucial element of many religious studies and traditions. Who is God? What is God? Where is God? To effectively discuss the existence of God, it is necessary to illustrate the notion of faith. People of faith believe that God does exist, and that relationship with God gives meaning to their lives. Others who are skeptical point to God as an obsolete hope of an ignorant human race. People today live in a world distinguished by sophisticated technology in which modern science has been a strong agent in questioning the existence of God.
Although many cannot articulate their reasons for believing in the existence of God, their faith is nonetheless definite and true. An individual’s faith in God is drawn through their personal experiences and the experiences of the community to which they belong. Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century theologian, used his experiences of the world to develop his proofs of the existence of God. His five proofs, which depend on natural reason, include a belief that there exists a Necessary Being who cannot be said not to exist, and apart from whom no other being would be real. Furthermore, Aquinas asserted that there exists an Intelligent One who designs and directs all things, and apart from whom the meaningful structure and ordered process of the universe would not be possible. Peter L. Berger, a modern sociologist, approaches the existence of God by suggesting empirical evidence from within an individual which he collectively refers to as Signals of Transcendence. Berger points out that we, as individuals, have an inclination to call for ultimate order; a trust that everything will be “alright.” This, in itself, is a belief of something beyond “natural” reality.
On the other hand, philosophers such as Ludwig Feuerbach contended that God was merely a projection of our own nature to explain phenomenon. Karl Marx declared that religion was “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless circumstances. It is the opium of the people.” Moreover, science has provided for a scientific framework to explain questionable aspects of our lives; Copernicius discovered that the sun simply did not travel around the earth, Isaac Newton’s reflection on gravity explained many mysteries of the universe, and Charles Darwin’s evidence of evolution questioned the literal acceptance of the bible’s creation story. Science has forced believers to focus on God’s apparent absence in the world. Consequently, many theologians have moved away from religious presuppositions about God, shifting their attention from God to humanity, from revelation to the world.
So, in light of the above, “if I can’t see God, how do I know God exists?” Well, it is a matter of faith. No one person can make another believe or not believe. The existence of a personal God cannot simply be proven by reason alone, however, those that possess the gift of faith treasure it deeply. Others seek to define a God who is part of their lives, one who touches human emotions and human minds; an approach that focuses on human existence rather than existence of a superior being. A theologian has said it best; “..the choice belongs to each one of us. It is our response to life, and upon this very response, we structure our reality and find the meaning of life.”