Atheists and agnostics often pose this question: ‘How Can I Know Which God Is Real?’ That is, there are so many competing claims about God/gods, from the whole spectrum of religions through to the belief that there is no God/gods. How can one possibly know which, if any, is true?
Let me give you the Biblical answer. To begin I must define what we mean by ‘know’ in this context. This is important, for even here we can use ‘know’ in more than one sense.
First, the ‘know’ I don’t mean. That is the knowledge the Bible says we all have that there is a God, the creator of all. The Bible says the heavens declare His glory, that ‘what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.’ Romans 1:19,20. One may deny that knowledge, suppress it so that it no longer disturbs, but it remains in the inner being.
Now, the ‘know’ I do mean. It is the conscious understanding that something is real. That the kettle in my hand is real and I’m going to fill it with water to make tea. I don’t need to speculate about its reality. So too with the certainty we can have about God.
The question again: How Can I Know Which God Is Real?
The Biblical answer: You must seek for Him, and He will make Himself known to you:
Acts 17: 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
There you are, that’s how you can know God is real. But let me warn you, that knowledge is absolutely useless, if you do not put it to use!
That knowledge will not be enough to make you a Christian. Yes, it will be enough to convince you – but unless you act on it, you will go to hell as surely as the atheist. You will return to suppressing the light, forever hardened in your rebellion:
Hebrews 6: 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
To be made a Christian, the truth about God that you have found must be embraced. The whole point of seeking and finding God is to be reconciled to Him. Our blindness and alienation from Him are due to our sin, a rebellion to His rule that is ingrained in our hearts and practiced in our lives.
That’s why God says we must repent, come to Him in sorrow for our sin against Him and trust His Son as our Saviour. Christ died for the sins of all who will come to Him, and rose again to bring them to be with Him forever. That Day is coming when we all, reconciled and rebels, will stand before His judgment throne. If you truly know Him, you will have nothing to fear – but if you don’t, you will stand before God in your own sins, and be punished accordingly.
Ian Major, December 3, 2015.