Some people claim that God does not exist because they cannot see Him. Research methodology which includes deductive methods (quantitative/measurement approach with hypothesis) and inductive methods (qualitative/exploratory approach with premise) are used to collect the evidence that shows that God exists even though He is unable to be seen.
The deductive method involves making a hypothesis to test whether a theory is true or not. If all null hypotheses of a theory have been rejected, we can prove that the theory is true or part of reality. By using external evidence to prove internal reality, the deductive method can be used to reject null hypotheses surrounding a theory by utilization of large-to-small, outside-in, and narrowing down processes with external validity (evidence). This results in the narrowing down the number of null hypotheses available to reject the theory.
There are several procedures and steps involved in deductive research (quantitative research):
- Search a belief or theory to test. A possible theory to test may be something such as the following: God created the world.
- Formulate a null hypothesis. An example of a null hypothesis for the theory in Step 1 may be the following: The creatures of the world were made randomly and without consistent concepts, purposes and designs.
- Collect data to test the null hypothesis. To test the null hypothesis in Step 2, one may collect data about the physiological systems of all animals and plants to reject this null hypothesis.
- Analyze the results to determine if 95% of data rejects or supports the hypothesis.
This deductive research approach can be used to create hypotheses that testify God’s existence.
Null Hypothesis 1: If all creatures were not designed very delicately, systematically, and sophistically, there must not have been an intelligent designer or creator (God).
Data from Bible author:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
Data from Scientists:
Conclusion: The null hypothesis that the creatures of the world were made randomly and without consistent concepts, purposes and designs is rejected. In addition, the alternative hypothesis is accepted.
Null Hypothesis 2: If the entire universe is not organized in a systematic way, there must be not a creator or God who designed the universe.
Data from Bible author:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1
Data from Astrology scientists:
Conclusion: The organization of the universe and all of its stars and constellations rejects the null hypothesis that the universe was created by random chance in a random fashion.
Blind spot for deductive method: One cannot know for sure that the intelligent design is by the Christian God or the gods of other religions.
The inductive method involves making a premise to create a new theory or new perspective. This approach requires one to believe in something first and use this belief or perspective to see everything in the world and allows one to make sense of the world. It uses internal frameworks or beliefs first and then makes everything fit into this framework. Inductive method involves establishing the truth from an inside-out, small-to-large perspective with internal validity (evidence).
There are several procedures and steps involved in inductive research (qualitative research):
- Explore a belief or theory. An example may be the following: God might exist.
- Formulate a premise question. An example of a premise question for the theory in Step 1 may be the following: Do you approve God’s existence?
- Collect and expand the data pool with resources from various opinions and information. For the example, this step may involve collecting information from interviews, focus groups, observations and all relative documents, including the Bible.
- Set grouping criteria or factors. Groups for the example may include groups such as God’s Nature (Cognitive), God’s Attitudes/Motives (Affection), and God’s Behaviors.
- Check the frequencies on each grouping criteria and determine what will be the most important grouping criteria. For the above example, the most important grouping criteria will involve defining God’s existence.
For example, researchers ask the following question to a focus group: “Do you believe in the existence of God and if so, tell me why you say so?”
Premise: Christians already have the belief in the Bible and its premises, so they will generally provide all the connections on how things or events turned out to be good or miraculous at God’s will. Similar to an empty photo frame, everything that has happened can be interpreted and fitted into this frame with rationality.
When asked about the existence of God, all twelve prophets proclaimed that God uses them as messengers to convey His messages. Once we group all of their testimonials, we can portray what God looks like and come to a conclusion about God’s existence and his different unique traits (factors).
Qualitative research is all about using an inductive approach with premise questions to group people’s opinions into different factors. Quantitative methods on the other hand use survey instruments to set up a limited number of answers in the hypothesis first to measure people’s attitudes and perceptions.
Blind spot for Inductive Method: You first have to believe in Biblical context and use this context to rationalize the events in the world. We call it faith.
Although he may be invisible, God has the power to interact with human life, and people with research mindsets to utilize deductive and inductive reasoning can feel His existence and impacts on their lives.