How Does Anyone Know God Exists? (Revised)

(Paperback - Sep 2003)
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This revised edition of Tough Questions, designed for use in any small group setting, is ideal for use in seeker small groups. Based on more than five years of field-tested feedback, extensive improvements make this best-selling series easier to use and more appealing than ever for both participants and group leaders. The Tough Questions Series How can an all-powerful God allow suffering? Is Jesus really the only way to God? Why should I trust the Bible? Tough questions. Reasonable questions. The kinds of challenging questions you, or someone you know may be asking, that are worth taking time to explore. In six sessions designed to get small groups thinking and interacting, each guide in the Tough Questions series deals frankly with objections commonly raised about Christianity. You ll engage in the kind of spirited dialog that shows the Christian faith can stand up to scrutiny. HOW DOES ANYONE KNOW GOD EXISTS? Is Anybody Out There? How Can Anyone Be Sure God Exists? What Is God Really Like? How Can Rational People Believe in Miracles? Does God Care What Happens to Me? How Can a Person Get to Know God?"


  • SKU: 9780310245025
  • UPC: 025986245023
  • SKU10: 0310245028
  • Title: How Does Anyone Know God Exists?
  • Series: Tough Questions
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Date Published: Sep 2003
  • Edition Description: Revised
  • Pages: 80
  • Age Range: 18 - UP
  • Grade Level: College Freshman thru Up
  • Weight lbs: 0.27
  • Dimensions: 8.96" L x 6.28" W x 0.18" H
  • Features: Price on Product, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Subject: Christian Theology - Apologetics

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One


Is Anybody Out There?

In the Beginning-God?

Wouldn't it be great to know for sure about the existence of God?

For centuries, great minds-philosophers, theologians, and scientists-have argued various positions, hoping to settle the issue of whether or not God exists. Even today the topic is debated as intensely as ever. Sincere, intelligent people remain on all sides of the issue.

Why do some people seem so certain, while others remain skeptical? Where do you stand? If you believe he exists, how do you know? And if he doesn't, why are so many people convinced he does?

Most of us in this culture grew up hearing about God-as well as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy. Many of us said bedtime prayers. We hoped God would give us a new bike if we were good. Or we feared God's anger after stealing something from the drugstore.

Surrounded by such input since childhood, we have been ingrained with the idea of a "higher power." In fact, many people accept God as reality without even questioning. Yet as we get older, we outgrow childish dreams and fantasies. Once we learn the truth about the Easter Bunny, what do we do with God? Maybe he's the product of wishful thinking, too. Is there any evidence available for the existence of God? Or maybe we shouldn't look for evidence-is God offended by people who need reasons for believing?

Often, people who have suffered greatly have the hardest time believing in God. Or at least they have trouble believing in the goodness of God. Norman Mailer, author of The Gospel According to the Son, shared this perspective: "If God is all good, then he is not all powerful. If God is all powerful, then he is not all good. I am a disbeliever in the omnipotence of God because of the Holocaust. But for thirty-five years or so, I have been believing that he is doing the best he can" (Time, May 5, 1997). Mailer is not an atheist, he's an angry-theist. The God of his childhood didn't fit into his adult world, so he had to redefine God-or abandon him.

What do you believe about the existence of God? How can you be sure? Is belief in God intellectual suicide? Tough questions . but worth taking the time to find answers. The purpose of these sessions is to guide you through a path of thoughtful contemplation about the existence of God and to invite you to explore and discuss all the options.


1. Think back to your childhood. What did you believe about God during those years? Describe a few ways your views have changed since then.

2. What are some factors that have influenced your current beliefs about God?

STRAIGHT TALK Positions About God

If you were to hit the streets, survey in hand, what do you think people would say about the existence of God? Certainly you would find a wide variety of answers. Here's a summary of the positions people take with respect to the existence of God:

The atheist says no god or gods exist at all. "The universe happened by chance; there is no ultimate designer."

The agnostic says it is not possible to know if there is a god or not. "God may exist, but no one can know for sure."

The deist says God created the universe but has left it alone ever since. "God set the world in motion like a windup toy and does not get involved."

The theist says God exists and is involved with creation. "God is not only out there, he cares about his creation and desires to have a continuing active participation in it."

The polytheist says many gods exist. "You have a god, I have a god, and there are many gods out there."

The pantheist says that God exists in and through everything in the universe and is one with the universe. "God is part of everything; he is in the trees, in me, in you-even in that survey you're carrying."

3. Which of the previous positions about God represents the most common belief among people you know? Which view is least popular among your friends and acquaintances? Give reasons for your answers.

4. How convinced are your friends and acquaintances that their views and beliefs about God are accurate? What do you think determines the level of confidence they have?

5. How do you think most people decide what they're going to believe about God? On what do you think they base their beliefs about God?

6. Which of the views of God listed makes the most sense to you? Why?

7. On a scale from one to ten (one represents low confidence and ten represents high confidence), how certain are you that your view is based on actual evidence rather than opinion?

8. What might help to increase the level of confidence you have in what you believe about God? Explain.


9. Frequently, we place our trust (that's what faith means) in people or things, even though we cannot know for sure they are trustworthy-such as when we board an airplane. What other specific examples can you give of "everyday faith"?

10. During those times when absolute proof is impossible (there is no guarantee a plane will arrive safely), what factors help you determine whether you'll place your trust in something?


Blind Faith

Belief in God does require faith, but it does not require blind faith. You do not have to toss reason and intelligence out the window to accept the existence of God. Concluding that God exists can be a reasonable faith decision.

11. Since it is possible to doubt anything-and therefore impossible to prove absolutely the existence of God (or anything else)-what factors would help you get to reasonable certainty concerning God's existence?


With this session you're beginning a journey. Keep in mind that you do not need to feel pressured to "say the right thing" at any point during these discussions. You're taking the time to do this work because you're looking for answers and because you're willing to be honest about your doubts and uncertainties. Others in your group would also benefit from hearing about what you'll be learning. So use these sessions profitably-ask the tough questions, think "outside the box," and learn from what others in your group have to say. But stay authentic about where you are in your journey.

To help you identify your progress more clearly, throughout this guide you will have opportunities to indicate where you are in your spiritual journey. As you gain more spiritual insights, you may find yourself reconsidering your opinions from session to session. The important thing is for you to be completely truthful about what you believe-or don't believe-right now.

12. Check the statement(s) below that best describes your position at this point. Share your selection with the rest of the group and give reasons for your response.

____ There's nothing I can see that would change my opinion. I'm pretty sure there is no God-at least not the way Christians describe him.

____ My beliefs may have been formed more by what others have taught me and not by what I really think.

____ I think God exists, but I'm not sure I have solid reasons to back that up.

____ I'm pretty sure God exists, but I don't know what impact that has on my life.

____ Actually, this is an important topic. It's good to finally have a place to address questions like these.

____ I believe God exists, and I'm hoping to learn more to understand him better.

____ I believe God exists, but a personal opinion of this nature should be kept private.

____ Write your own brief phrase here: ______ ____________________________________ ____________________________________

Scripture for Further Study

* Genesis 1

* Job 38-41 * Psalm 14:1

* Psalm 19

* Isaiah 40

* Acts 17:11-12

* Romans 1:18-32

* 1 John 1



Also in "Tough Questions" Series

What Difference Does Jesus Make? (Revised) [Paperback] (Sep 2003) $9.99