Thursday, January 17, 2008

On the Existence of God

Is there a God? Some say yes and some say no. I suppose that those are the only possible answers to the question of God's existence. I respect each person's right to believe as his or her conscience dictates. I'd like to discuss, though, for a bit what the natural conclusions are of belief either way.

What if there isn't a God? What would that mean for us individually and collectively? Individually it means that I have no accountability for my thoughts, words, or actions to any power higher than man-made governments. I can think, say, and do anything that I want within the limits of established law. That sounds nice, doesn't it?

But if there isn't a God then there surely isn't any Supreme Law. If that be the case then there is no clear right or wrong answer to any question. That would mean that murder is only wrong because some majority said so. If there is no God then there isn't any inherent sanctity to life, not even human life. Why should humankind make such meddlesome laws and then dogmatically enforce them on everyone? If my prosperity in this life is dependent on my own personal strength and killing someone is the best means of securing greater prosperity, then far be it from any man-made government whose laws are arbitrarily set and artificially imposed to keep me from prospering.

Doesn't that sound horrible? But that is exactly the scenario that we would find ourselves in collectively if there really isn't a God. Society would crumble around us. Every man, woman, and child could fare in life only according to the "management of the creature"; everyone would prosper according to their genius, and conquer according to their strength; and whatever we did would be no crime (Alma 30:17). Utter chaos would reign for a short while and then tyrant after tyrant would rule the masses in grinding cruelty.

If there is no God life would surely have much greater suffering than we currently see in this world. But if there is no God, then what happens when we die? We would cease to exist. Our individual personalities would be annihilated. Our present sociality would vanish. There would be no continuation of families or friendships. All would end to forever be forgotten.

Let's look at the other side of the coin. What if God does exist, then what? By definition God would have to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever present. God would have a Supreme Law by which all Creation is governed. If there is a God and a Supreme Law, then there is a clear right and wrong answer to every question. If there is a God then humankind would know, because not knowing of God is almost, if not as bad as there not being a God. If humankind knew of God then that could have only come by direct manifestation of God to humankind. If that is so then earthly governments are in imitation of the Government of God (to the extent that man-made governments fail they are not inspired of God). That being the case then moral law is not arbitrary and artificial, and everyone is ultimately accountable to God. If every person individually feels accountable to God then that will reflect in everyone's thoughts, words, and deeds. What follows is the possibility of peace in this life. Furthermore, if there is a God, an afterlife suddenly enters into the picture. And so the line of logic flows.

Belief in God doesn't seem so bad after all, does it? While many deride the existence of God and insult those who believe in Him there are many more who are silently hoping that there is a God. I know that God does exist. I know this through the only established means by which such knowledge can be obtained: revelation--by the still small voice of the Holy Ghost, which is a topic for another post.

You can know too that God exists. Pray to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you and He will. But remember, if you ask for such knowledge and you get it, then what naturally follows is obedience to God's laws, a discussion of which also must be saved for another post.

1 comment:

Mom Hall said...

Nate,
I have read through all of your writings up through Samoa #8 and have discovered you are one cool son-in-law!
I forwarded your blog to my day. He really likes this kind of stuff so I am hoping he will read and respond.
Mom Hall