“The sense of wonder, awe, and mystery does not give us a knowledge of God. It
only leads to a plane where the question about God becomes an inescapable concern, to a situation in which we discover that we can neither place our anxiety in the
safe deposit of opinions nor delegate to others the urgent task of answering the
Such ultimate concern is an act of worship, an act of acknowledging in the most
intense manner the supremacy of the issue. It is not an act of choice, something
that we can for ever ignore. It is the manifestation of a fundamental fact of human
existence, the fact of worship.
Every one of us is bound to have an ultimate object of worship, yet he is free to
chose the object of his worship. He cannot live without it; it may be either a ficti-
tious or a real object, God or an idol.
It is a characteristic inversion to speak of the “problem of God.” At stake in the
discussion about the problem of God is the problem of man. Man is the problem.
His physical and mental reality is beyond dispute; his meaning, his spiritual rele-
vance, is a question that cries for an answer. And worship is an answer. For
worship is an act of man’s relating himself to ultimate meaning. Unless man is
capable of entering a relation to ultimate meaning, worship is an illusion. And if
worship is meaningless, human existence is an absurdity.
Since our concern with the question about God is an act of worship, and since
worship posits the realness of its object, our very concern involves by implication
the acceptance of His realness.
Just as supreme worship of an ultimate object is indigenous to human existence,
so is explicit denial of the realness of an ultimate object absurd. Let man proclaim
his denial over a loud-speaker that would bring his voice to the Milky Way a hun-
dred million light-years from now and how ludicrous he would be.
There can be no honest denial of the existence of God. There can only be faith or
the honest confession of inability to believe—or arrogance. Man could maintain in-
ability to believe or suspend his judgment, if he were not driven by the pressure of
existence into a situation in which he must decide between yes and no; in which he
must decide what or whom to worship. He is driven toward some sort of affir-
mation. In whatever decision he makes he implicitly accepts either the realness of
God or the absurdity of denying Him.
Understanding God is not attained by calling into session all arguments for and
against Him, in order to debate whether He is a reality or a figment of the mind.
God cannot be sensed as a second thought, as an explanation of the origin of the
universe. He is either the first and the last, or just another concept.
Speculation does not precede faith. The antecedents of faith are the premise of
wonder and the premise of praise. Worship of God precedes affirmation of His
realness. We praise before we prove. We respond before we question.
Proofs for the existence of God may add strength to our belief; they do not gen-
erate it. Human existence implies the realness of God. There is a certainty without
knowledge in the depth of our being that accounts for our asking the ultimate
question, a preconceptual certainty that lies beyond all formulation or verbal-