I was wondering if there's a difference in usage between 神様がいる and 神様がある. In both cases, I mean specifically the meaning "There is a God", either as a statement of the kind "God exists", or as in "There is a God on the top of that mountain."
Both instances are very common results on Google. However, I've been told by two Japanese that, in this case, "神様がいる" is the only correct form, since God is considered to be an animate entity. Also, one of them suggested that the structure "神様がある" could be used to mean "'to have' a God" (similar to "僕は姉がある"), though it might sound a bit unnatural. Additionally, some results are similar to "神様が、 ある日何々を言った…", but my guess is that they make up less than half of the total for ~がある.
So, if only 神様がいる is correct, how can one account for the many examples employing ~がある?