Belief in God
Belief in the existence of God is practically as widespread as the race, although it is often found in perverted and grotesque form and overlaid with superstitious ideas. This position has been challenged by some who contend that there are some races absolutely devoid of the idea of God. But Jevons, an expert on the subject of races and comparative religions, says that this view, “as every anthropologist knows, has gone to the limbo of dead controversies … all agree that there are no races however crude, which are destitute of all idea of religion.” Even if the exceptions could be proven we know that the exception does not disprove the rule. For example, if there could be produced some human beings entirely destitute of all feelings of humanity and compassion, that would not prove that man was essentially an unfeeling creature. The presence of blind men in the world does not prove that man is not a seeing creature. In the words of William Evans, “the fact that some nations do not have the multiplication table does not do violence to arithmetic.”
How did this universal belief originate?
Most atheists seem to imagine that a group of clever theologians met in secret session, invented the idea of God and then presented it to the people. But the theologians did not invent God any more than the astronomers invented stars, or the botanists flowers. To be sure, the ancients had wrong ideas about the heavenly bodies, but that did not disprove the existence of heavenly bodies. And if mankind has held distorted ideas about God, it implies that there was a God about whom they could have wrong ideas.
Where Did This Belief Come From?
This universal knowledge did not necessarily come through reasoning for there are reasoning men who deny God’s existence. But it is evident that the same God who made Nature with its beauties and wonders made man capable of looking through Nature and seeing its Creator. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” Rom. 1: 19, 20. God did not make the world without leaving hints, suggestions and tell-tale evidence of His handiwork. But “when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Sin marred their vision, they lost sight of God, and instead of seeing God through the creature they ignored Him and worshiped the creature; and so began idolatry. But even this proved that man was a worshiping creature who must have some object to worship.
What does the universal belief in God prove?
That man’s nature is so constituted as to understand and appreciate that idea. As one writer has expressed it: “Man is incurably religious.” This deep-seated belief has produced “religion,” which in its broadest meaning includes: (1) The acceptance of the fact of the existence of a Being over and above the forces of nature. (2) A feeling of dependence upon God as controlling man’s destiny, this feeling of dependence being awakened by the thought of his own weakness and littleness and the mightiness of the universe. (3) The conviction that friendly intercourse can be effected and that in this union he will find security and happiness. Thus we see that man is naturally constituted to believe in God’s existence, to trust in His goodness and to worship in His presence. This “religious sense” is not found in the lower creatures. For example, it would be vain to attempt to teach religion to the highest type of ape. But the lowest type of man may be taught about God. And why? The animal lacks a religious nature— is not made in God’s image; man has a religious nature and must have some object to worship.
Adapted from Pearlman, Myer (2012-03-29). Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible