Does God Really Exist?
Michael Ross offers tips for answering skeptics who doubt the existence of God.
THE ISSUE: Can we know for sure that God really exists?
WHAT SKEPTICS SAY: It's foolish to believe in an invisible, impersonal God without empirical proof that He exists.
WHAT CHRISTIANS SAY: God's existence can't be proved. (At least scientifically.) Yet the weight of evidence not only makes it possible to believe in God's existence—it makes it very hard to ignore. The Holy Bible, as well as the accounts of reliable men and women through the ages, testify to the reality of God.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: "You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you" (Nehemiah 9:6).
EVIDENCE VS. PROOF
While Christians can't give skeptics empirical proof of God's existence, we also can't prove the existence of some of our heavenly Father's more famous human creations—people like C.S. Lewis, George Washington or King Tut. Photographs, dollar bills and ancient artwork provide evidence that these humans existed—but not proof. Evidence points to fact. Proof asserts a fact irrefutably.
On the other hand, we can put a droplet of blood under a microscope and, through observation, give irrefutable proof (what scientists call empirical proof) of the identity of this fluid. We can even match it to a specific human or animal.
But we can't give empirical proof that C.S. Lewis, George Washington or King Tut ever existed. However, the weight of historical evidence indicates that they did exist.
GOD IS WHO HE IS
The same is true of God. In fact, evidence exists in the records of all world civilizations. From prehistoric times, the idea of God has existed in the mind of humanity. Perhaps that's because, as author Bob Hostetler points out, "The idea of a Supreme Being who made the world makes sense. The concept of God is what scientists call a highly convenient hypothesis."
In other words, the concept of God fits—almost as if our minds have a feel for God. So much so, in fact, that when people reject God, they invariably substitute something else.
So, what should Christians say to a skeptic?
I doubt that all the arm-twisting or eloquent speeches can convince a nonbelieving friend that all of creation belongs to God. (In fact, arm-twisting and eloquent speeches aren't exactly God's style.) Transforming a hardened heart is actually the work of God himself. Besides, proving His existence isn't as important as telling the world what you know of His awesome nature:
- God is the sovereign Lord of Scripture who speaks to men through His Word, acts in His creation and in history, and involves Himself in the lives of His people.
- God is the Shepherd who guides (Genesis 48:15), the Lord who provides (Genesis 22:8), the Voice who brings peace during life's storms (Judges 6:24), the Physician who heals the sick (Exodus 15:26), and the Banner that guides the soldier (Exodus 17:8-16).
- God is the Alpha and the Omega, "the beginning and the end" (Revelation 1:8).
- God is Immanuel, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14).
- God is our Father (Isaiah 9:6).
- God is holy (1 Samuel 2:2).
- God is love (1 John 4:16).
- God Is (Exodus 3:14).
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