Man recognizes the existence of God by intuition or innate knowledge. This means that the fact of God’s existence is self-evident to a degree that attempted proofs are unnatural to the mind, and therefore uncalled for. Those facts which are received by intuition are more evident than others. Men do not ask for proofs of their own existence nor of the existence of material things which they recognize by their senses. Though God is unseen as to His person, His existence and immanence are so evident that men generally require no proofs of the fact of His being. However, man’s innate conceptions of God are greatly strengthened by the contemplation of His works in creation, preservation, and providence. So, also, man’s thoughts of God are enlarged by tradition, or those accumulated impressions which are passed from father to son; but the knowledge of God is perfected when due consideration is given to that complete revelation which He has given of Himself in the Scriptures of Truth.
The ancient philosophers were deprived of any knowledge of the Bible revelation, and there are those, also, who through prejudice or unbelief will not receive the testimony of God. Both of these classes of men are of necessity left to mere speculation regarding the person of God and His creation. The theorizings of men throughout the ages have resulted in certain systems of philosophy: (1) Polytheism, with its many gods; (2) Hylozoism, which suggests that God Himself is that life principle which is found in all creation; (3) Materialism, which contends that matter is self-functioning, and toward this theory all modern evolution tends; and (4) Pantheism with its claim that matter is God and God is matter, that God is impersonal and therefore coeternal with matter.
The arguments of men by which they have attempted to prove the existence of God apart from the Scriptures are also in four classes: (1) Ontological, which contends that God must exist because men universally believe that He exists; (2) Cosmological, which contends that every effect must have its sufficient cause and therefore the universe must have a Creator; (3) Teleological, which contends that every design must have its designer, and therefore the whole creation must have a designer; and (4) Anthropological, which contends that the very existence
of man as a living person is assurance that there is a living God.
The child of God turns from these human arguments to the divine revelation with a sense of relief; for in the Word of God he discovers complete and satisfying revelations concerning God and His creation. In the Scriptures there are, however, certain distinctions to be noted: