Why Certainty Isn’t Necessary for Belief in God

Have you ever heard someone say, “Why doesn’t God just show himself so people can believe?” People want certainty when it comes to matters of religion. But when it comes to other areas of our lives, do we really live as though we expect certainty? Not really. I believe we live our lives in confidence. Think about it. When you make plans for the future, are you sure they will materialize? Not one of us can be certain. But we can be confident. If we want to see how much money is in our bank account, we look online. This gives us confidence that we have a certain amount of money in our bank account. We don’t go to the bank everyday and ask them to stack all our money on the counter so we can count it in order to know how much is there. We live our lives by reasonable confidence. Not by certainty. So why would we expect certainty in matters of religion?

In a court of law, direct evidence is not always available. Eyewitnesses may have died, making a direct testimony impossible. Circumstantial evidence may be all that is left to point to a verdict. Author and apologist, Jim Warner Wallace tells us in Cold Case Christianity, that “circumstantial evidence (indirect evidence) does not prove something on its own, but points us in the right direction by proving something related to the question at hand.”[1] When direct evidence is not available, it is possible to collect enough circumstantial evidence to come to a truthful conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt. Wallace reminds us that, “Juries make decisions about the guilt of suspects in cases that are completely circumstantial every day.”[2] In fact, all of his cold-case homicides have been successfully prosecuted with nothing but circumstantial evidence.

There are good arguments for the existence of God that point to Him and make it reasonable to believe that He exists. In fact the arguments for God’s existence are more plausible than the arguments against His existence.

The Cosmological argument tells us that everything that began to exist has a cause. Scientists have concluded that the universe had a beginning. Therefore the universe had a cause. The cause would have to be something outside of space and time since matter can’t create itself. The creator would have to be an uncaused cause or we would end up in an infinite regress looking backward for the cause. Naturalists say the universe came into existence by itself. When was the last time you saw anything come into existence by itself? It takes more faith to believe in creation without God than creation with Him.

Further, the Teleological (fine-tuning) argument shows us how the universe was fine-tuned to support the existence of life. There are laws of physics in our universe that are just right to sustain life. Even the size of our planet is just right. Wallace argues that, “If the size of the earth were altered slightly, life would not be possible on the planet. If the planet were too small, it would lose heat. If it were too big, it would have too much water.”[3] Our planet has to be fine-tuned to sustain our life. This is no coincidence.

Finally, the moral argument contends for God. Each one of us has an objective moral law written on our hearts. We all know that murder, rape and torture are wrong. Everyone on the planet knows this. Objective truth exists. We know that certain things are right and others are wrong. Since every moral law needs a moral lawgiver, there must be a transcendent moral lawgiver, and God is the best explanation for that. In fact, I would say that the existence of evil proves that God exists. If we know that evil exists, then there must be good in the world to which we would compare it. If good exists, then God exists. Otherwise where else would one get their standard of right and wrong, their moral compass? It couldn’t come from man because that standard would change depending on whom you ask.

These are just three of the most prominent circumstantial arguments for the existence of God. None of them give us direct evidence for God by making it possible to see Him. But we can be confident because of this circumstantial evidence that points to God, making belief in Him reasonable. We see Him in His creation all around us. This is the confidence that Christians live by.

Therefore, it is not necessary to be certain that God exists, in order to believe that He does.

            [1] Jim Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates The Claims Of The Gospels, (Colorado Springs, Co., David C. Cook, 2013) 55

            [2] Jim Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity, 55

            [3] Ibid. 63

5 responses to “Why Certainty Isn’t Necessary for Belief in God

  1. I’ve thought the same thing for years – “People want certainty when it comes to matters of religion” – but we don’t require the same certainty or proof with it comes to many other important parts of our lives. You articulated it well Claudia, thank you.

    1. It’s on my “About” page at the bottom right under my photo. There’s a tab you can click on that says, “subscribe.”

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