Is There a God?
We can't prove or disprove the existence of God. How can we even know if there is a God? The Curiosity Collective includes perspectives from authors, pastors, theologians, and thought leaders from around the world on whether or not there is a God.
Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection
- What makes it easy to believe in God? What makes it hard to believe in God?
- What role—if any—did God play in your family when you were growing up? How does your upbringing impact your beliefs now?
So it has, it has been amazing to be married to a physicist. One of the things that Catherine has said to me that I think is so striking, is we now know, for example, that there are these cosmological constants, these ways that the universe is tuned. Um... And, and it's, it's things— it's, it's these numbers that the physicists have to plug into their equations to get everything to work. For example, there's a constant relating to gravity— How, how strongly do things attract each other? Um— and you set that just a little bit differently, and the universe never gets stars, uh, and then never gets planets, because stars form, obviously, by gravity, and the universe just quickly collapses in on itself. Or if it's set the other way— if the dial is turned just too far the other way— it expands endlessly, and you never get the coalescing of matter that you get in the, in the galaxies, and, and in stars, and then in planets, and then eventually our planet. So the fact that these things are tuned, and there are, there's a doz— at least a dozen of these constants that have to be, the dial has to be set exactly right or you never get life of any kind on a planet like Earth. Uh... and scientists have realized, we have no idea why they're set the way they're set. I think when you start discovering those just givens of the universe— like, it just is this way, it didn't have to be this way, but it is this way— it leaves you much more open to the possibility that it is this way because someone, someone chose it to be this way.
I have a couple of sons that are the loves of my life, and it's fascinating how peek-a-boo is fun to them, from the very beginning. Uh... it seems there's something about being hidden and then something being revealed. I, I don't know if I can, you know, sum it up scientifically, but it is fascinating to me that in all of our hearts, seems to be this desire to, uh, to find out what's really going on.
I look at, uh— you, you go to the zoo— what animals do people want to see? They, they want to see the bears, and the, and the, the, the lions, and the tigers, uh... You know, in, in my country, uh, sharks are a big deal— sharks and whales. People want to be in a place where they're reminded of the fact that they are not the greatest or most important thing in the world. I mean, why are people drawn to mountains or to, to, to ocean vistas or to, to raging rivers or canyons? Uh, there is a yearning within the human psyche to be freed from the folly of imagining that the human experience is the highest or the greatest experience that there can be. We can't bear the idea that we are it, that this is as good as it gets, that, that the human experience is the highest evolution possible. Uh, we have to believe that there's something greater, something beyond, something more important to us.
I've, I've traveled around the world. I've been to about 24 different countries. I've spoken to people from every religious background. Um, I've, I've talked to people who grew up in 70 years of atheistic communism. And you know what is shocking, is that even in that environment, the majority of people, when you get them alone, uh, and you ask them, they say, "You know, deep down, I've always believed there must be a God, or a higher power, or someone up there who, who gave me life, who, who has purpose for my life." And, and you think about that. Like, why is that so common to humanity? Um, there's gotta be some reason, and, and doesn't it make sense that, that that's, like, this homing device in every human, pointing us back to the very source of life?
I think I have had some experiences in life that give me confidence to know there is a God. Some of it was the time I spent with my grandmother when I was very young. Sometimes I'd be in the house with her, and just, you know, just be the two us, and she might sing a hymn from church, or she might pray. And as a little girl— I don't know how else to explain it, except to say— I could, I could feel something when she would sing that way, that there was something very real and spiritual happening. You know, even though I was a little girl, I, I sort of felt like I'm looking in on something happening between my grandmother and God, maybe. And as I got older, you know, sometimes I'd be in a church service, and I might have that same feeling that I remember having sitting in my grandmother's house. But I think it's just been a lot of those experiences over time that sort of have lumped together to say to me, This is how I know that God is real.
If you actually think it through, the idea that, let's say, "Okay, there's no God. Um... we just got here by accident. You know, we, we evolved out of the primordial soup over billions of years, totally, totally accidentally. God didn't guide that 'cause he doesn't exist. So we're here." So, you have— it logically follows that life has no meaning. Now people go, "Okay, well, no, life has no meaning." If you think about that, it is so bleak and horrifying that most people would know that can't be. The love that you feel for people in your life, that you have felt, according to the— if there's no God, then that love means nothing. It's not even love, it's just a chemical reaction designed to perpetuate the species, totally by accident.
All of us, all of us when we look at the world today long for a better world. I mean, we look at the events that happen on the news. When we see bombs go off in the middle of crowds, when we see children being abducted and then put into the slave trade, all of us have something in us that— we look at that— we know that's not right, and we yearn for a better world. There isn't something evolutionary about, uh, that. It, it doesn't necessarily help, uh, my survival to seek someone else's good. But it's there. It's implanted in all of us, and if we pay attention to that, uh, I think we get a sense of the heartbeat of God.
I, I remember when my first, my first son was born, and, uh, when I was growing up, I couldn't wait to be a father, and I couldn't wait to be a husband. Uh... So, so now I've got the wife, and we've married, you know. We were going on seven years at the time, and then, uh, we find out she's pregnant, and we've got our son. He's coming into the world, and, and I remember, uh, when that, that little guy came out, and he looked like he was 85 years old, and he looked— he had crazy amounts of hair, even on his forehead, and he wasn't terribly cute, in all honesty, from the, the first time that he came out. He has since grown into a, a beautiful, uh, young man, but, but when I saw him... I mean, explain it. Explain the connection, explain the love, explain the awe. Um... for, for me, I, I go back to— I go back to, God is love. Not that he has love, but is love, and any friends of mine that, that have experienced love, they, they've experienced that, that, that presence, that joy, that, that hope. Uh... I think it's all just a, you know, little, little sign, just telling us that there's something more here, there's something more.
I, I think I realized that if there is a God, then I can't prove Him nor can I disprove Him with science. That, that, that if anything, God would have to prove Himself to us. God would have to overcome this enormous ontological gap that exists between us and Him, and actually reveal Himself to us in a way that makes sense.
A lot of it is just that experience, that sort of trying and seeing, and that when we want to know more about God, He wants us to know more about Him too, and I think He meets us where we are in that way.