But the Bible Is Not Necessary for Knowing That God Exists

What about people who do not read the Bible? Can they obtain any knowledge of God? Can they know anything about his laws? Yes, without the Bible some knowledge of God is possible, even if it is not absolutely certain knowledge.

People can obtain a knowledge that God exists and a knowledge of some of his attributes simply from observation of themselves and the world around them. David says, "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). To look at the sky is to see evidence of the infinite power, wisdom, and even beauty of God; it is to observe a majestic witness to the glory of God. Similarly, Barnabas and Paul tell the Greek inhabitants of Lystra about the living God who made the heavens and the earth: "In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave himself without witness for he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:16-17). Rains and fruitful seasons, food produced from the earth, and gladness in people's hearts, all bear witness to the fact that their Creator is a God of mercy, of love, and even of joy. These evidences of God are all around us in creation to be seen by those who are willing to see them.

that we have from Scripture becomes greater in proportion to our certainty about the God-breathed character and clarity of Scripture.

Yet from a theological standpoint, if we begin with an agreement that Scripture is God-breathed and that we do understand its teachings (at least its major teachings) correctly, then it is appropriate to say that the knowledge we attain from Scripture is more certain than any other knowledge we have.

6 5. See pp. 122-23 for definitions of general revelation and special revelation.

Even those who by their wickedness suppress the truth cannot avoid the evidences of God's existence and nature in the created order:

For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. (Rom. 1:19-21)

Here Paul says not only that creation gives evidence of God's existence and character, but also that even wicked men recognize that evidence. What can be known about God is "plain to them" and in fact "they knew God" (apparently, they knew who he was), but "they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him." This passage allows us to say that all persons, even the most wicked, have some internal knowledge or perception that God exists and that he is a powerful Creator. This knowledge is seen "in the things that have been made," a phrase that refers to all creation. Yet it is probably in seeing mankind created in the image of God—that is, in seeing both themselves and other people—that even wicked persons see the greatest evidence of God's existence and nature.7

Thus, even without the Bible, all persons who have ever lived have had evidence in creation that God exists, that he is the Creator and they are creatures, and have also had some evidence of his character. As a result, they themselves have known something about God from this evidence (even though this is never said to be a knowledge that is able to bring them to salvation).

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