Today’s post, continuing our series on the existence of and belief in God comes from Paul at LDSFriends.com. [This post has been edited from the original. We’ve shortened it to provide some snippets, but you can find the entire post at LDSFriends.com]
Find more posts where Mormon bloggers testify of the existence of God and how they have come to know Him.
Paul first addresses a basic question: “Does God Exist?
There are several ways to arrive to an affirmative answer to this question. One approach is a philosophical method.
Alma, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, wrote, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).
The stars, the moon, the rhythm of ocean tides, and much more evidence of “earthly balance and order did not happen by simple chance—truly “All things denote there is a God.”
…When we look at the earth and out into the universe we see creation, design, art, and order. It is not difficult to see that if all things temporal are associated to a creator, designer, artist, and order-er, that behind this incredibly complex universe that all things eternal would also have a marvelous Creator, Designer, Artist, and Order-er.
But then Paul takes it beyond just the philosophical, for ” just because we can deduce that God exists doesn’t mean He cares.” An artist could very well despise one of his creations. “Therefore,” Paul continues, “it is more important to not only know God exist, but to also know He loves and cares for us.”
You’ll need to read the whole post to see how Paul develops this next thread of thought, but he uses multiple scriptures to illustrate how
Having a knowledge of God requires us to know His promises and to prove the validity of them. The apostle Paul teaches in Hebrews 11:1 that, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The last part of this verse is particularly important “…the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is not just a philophical belief, but a principle of action.
It is not enough for us to know if there is a God. Simple logic can give us a shallow assurance that there is. However, to have a certainty of God’s existence we must know whether His promises can stand the scrutiny of our obedience. If we do this we will quickly learn that “…he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers” (Alma 37:17).
Read the full post by Paul here.
What actions have you taken to come to know there is a God?
Ugh, the watchmaker fallacy.
I believe in God and TCOJCOLDS but I side with Hume and Darwin on this one.
I see no reason that order or complexity or purposefulness logically necessitate a creator. Chaos theory, feedback systems, natural selection, economic markets, fractals, cellular automata all provide a different perspective.
It is interesting that you refer to the Intelligent Design theory as the watchmaker fallacy. There are some strong arguments (as with all philosophical debates) for Intelligent Design, particularly with concerns to LDS theology. Richard Sherlock offers the most provocative, in my opinion, and is worth a read: http://awe.sm/5VkFp.
However, you missed the whole point of my article if we are arguing philosophically about the existence of God. I even state in my conclusion: “Simple logic can give us [only] a shallow assurance of His reality.”
To know the true existence of God we must test His promises. In so doing, we can discover for ourselves whether these promises are fulfilled through our obedience (which I coin as enlightened obedience).
To me, this is the only way to discover both facts: 1) God indeed does exist, and 2) He loves us infinitely. I do think the Intelligent Design theory is a decent argument in building a simplistic foundation for the possibility of a God. However, for me, Enlightened Obedience provides a more full approach to discovering God and His eternal truths.
Paul, by watchmaker fallacy I don’t mean the intelligent design theory but rather the claim that observed order/complexity etc necessitate intelligent design. Simply, order does not imply a creator.
I’ll checkout the Sherlock article.
Personally I find the Book of Mormon to be the most interesting and convincing of all intellectual cases for belief in God.
In re-skimming this article I noticed this:
“that behind this incredibly complex universe that all things eternal would also have a marvelous Creator, Designer, Artist, and Order-er.” I was going to argue that the infinite regress of eternally progressing individuals is a counter example, but the infinite series may be more an intellectual concept than a physical entity. Then I wanted to argue that intelligences (the on-shaky-doctrinal-footing pre-spirit versions) weren’t created, but D&C 93:29-30 “placed” sounds like ordered so perhaps this statement does hold if the “and” is changed to “or.”
I like how Alma includes the order within nature as part of a whole that testifies of God, and I get the sense that Paul is describing it as part of a whole.
“ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
But that order is also in addition to the testimonies of others, the scriptures, words of prophets, and, as Paul mentioned, personal experience testing the promises of God. It’s as we live according to His word and seek Him out that we can come to know He exists.
But when you do know that, it’s awfully hard to look at the order and beauty in nature and see it as anything else but pure evidence of God. I was reminded of this over the weekend as we drove to see the fall leaves in our local mountain ranges. It was nothing short of sacred to me.
Scott, I’m interested to hear more about your thoughts on how the Book of Mormon is “the most interesting and convincing of all intellectual cases for belief in God.”