For those of you who believe in Jesus, who have trusted Jesus and who love Jesus, we hope that as we unpack these tricky questions, it will help you to be able to have great, respectful and intelligent conversations with your friends.
And if you don’t really know if you believe in God, if you aren’t quite sure, then I hope that this will give you clarity to see that belief in God is grounded on more than just a good vibe or feeling, but that faith in Jesus is actually solid.
It’s not about letting your brain go out the window, because God invites us to use our brain and minds to think about Him.
In other words, belief in Jesus isn’t illogical or foolish, and, contrary to what some say, there is evidence for God.
And the first question to look at, is a very basic one that really sets the rest of them in place and that’s the question of is God real?
God and Santa
Philosopher Daniel Dennett says this, “The … God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight – that God is like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could believe in.”
Lots of people have this same kind of view. God is to be lumped with Santa. He’s a nice thought for a child, but really, any one knows that it’s foolish to believe when you grow up because the evidence says otherwise.
Evidence. That’s a key thought.
I want you to think about what it would take for God to make you believe in Him? What would be enough?
Give it a thought.
Now, before we go any further, let’s all agree that the amount of evidence if going to be different for each of us.
Someone might say, “I want to see God write in the sky.” Or “to appear in front of me right now”. Or another may say, enough evidence for me is that I’m alive. Each of us will be at different places on the evidence for God path. And that’s okay.
And, just to make it more complicated, if you actually don’t want to believe in a God, then all I say, will land on deaf ears. God will always remain hidden if you simply don’t want to believe in God.
Which leads us to ask the questions, why wouldn’t a loving God make himself known to us more? It makes sense that he would, wouldn’t it? Like, really known, really obviously.
Another Philosopher, this time, one who believes in God said this.
When God comes into relationship with people “He unites himself with them in the depths of their soul and makes them incapable of having any other end but him.”
You either have this kind of intimate personal encounter with God, or you don’t have him at all. God has revealed Himself to us, yet, many of us don’t like the way He’s done it. His finger prints are all over creation, and there is enough certainty for us to see and know that God does exist, if we look at the evidence.
Evidence Is Silent
So, imagine that I tell you there is something behind this door. Figure it out. Well, someone says, it’s a plate of spaghetti. The other, a small horse.
Both assumptions are simply based on nothing. You have no evidence for either of them.
But, let’s say we start to investigate the door a little more. As we do, we find red marks on the door. Ah, that could be spaghetti sauce. Or, the horse could have cut its leg getting in.
So, we keep looking and we find a few hairs. Horse hairs. Or, perhaps the one who put the spaghetti there had long hair and a few pieces fell off as they walked through.
Or, you smell something, there’s definitely an odor coming from behind the door. Ah! It’s a horse, it smells like grass and horse things. Yet, it’s got this herby essence to it – it could be the smell of a great pasta sauce. (I first read this door analogy from Natasha Crain, all credit goes to her!)
This is what I’m getting at: Evidence doesn’t say anything, it needs to be interpreted. We can all look at the same evidence and arrive at a different collusion. It doesn’t mean the evidence is wrong, it just what evidence is.
And because evidence needs to be interpreted, there will always be different interpretations because we are all different.
So, let’s look at 2 pieces of evidence that can show God exists.
So let’s say that his basketball appears in your backyard. You go out and it’s sitting in the middle of the yard. How did it get there? Well, you can’t ask the ball, it’s not going to speak.
Thousands of options are possible:
A plane carrying the Adelaide 36ers was flying overhead and the ball fell out from that, landing in your space.
Your cousin came around late at night and put it there.
A bird got it caught in their feet and it dropped down right there.
Your neighbour, who you know plays basketball in their yard, must have thrown it over the fence.
In the same way that this ball doesn’t verbalize where it came from, so the universe doesn’t verbalize how it came to be.
We have to ask the question, did something or someone make it, or, has it always existed. As we look at the evidence for the universe, as we look at the stars and sky, planets, moon and the nature of this world like weather patterns, oxygen and molecules that form our bodies, what do you think? Always existed or created?
Typically, most scientists will say that the universe is expanding and that implies that it had a beginning.
So, the evidence suggests that the stuff we have, life, space, it all began at a point.
That’s the evidence. What do you do with it?
Well, if, we take the thought God exists and that God being, God, is in fact, timeless, the creator, changeless, immaterial and enormously powerful, then it would be fitting to ascribe God as always existing and he was the one who began the universe.
So, the fact that the universe had a beginning is evidence for God.
Let’s consider us. Where did we come from? Is there evidence to suggest that we were designed creatively and with purpose and intent? Or, are we a product of carefully crafted chemical explosions and collisions?
Well, the more you plunge into the depths of how our bodies work and the complexity of them – when you do biology you’ll see this in more detail – the evidence for how we are put together can point to an intelligent designer.
Again, we could say that God made us. Putting all the bits and pieces needed for life together to form humans and each piece, each atom, is a carefully crafted.
So, same evidence, just a different conclusion about it.
Same, Same. But Different.
What I hope you can see, is that both an atheist and a Christian like me, we are looking at the same pieces of evidence in our bodies, in space and as we explore our galaxy.
Some say that God didn’t do this or that and that he can’t.
I would say, I see how creative and wonderful God is the deeper I explore all of this. Same evidence, just a different conclusion.
What this means is that a Christian isn’t blindly ignoring reality. A Christians isn’t saying God is like Santa Clause. A Christian would say God did. An atheist would say, God didn’t.
Finally, when we start to look for God, the search leads us to a very personal experience. The evidence is a great start; but, it must lead us to examine ourselves. Because, if God exists, then it must have a profoundly important impact on our life.
The Centre of It All
See, the deeper we think about go, the more we ask, search and think, the more we begin to narrow in and centre on this.
This is M51. 23 Million lights years from earth. The further and further than people peer into space, the more we see and at the very centre of Galaxy M51 is this beautiful formation of a Cross.
And this is a little bit like our search for God. At the centre of all our searching, we begin to see and hear about a Cross of wood that Jesus died on.
The Christian would then say all the evidence points to this: That “we can only know God well when we know our own sin.”
Coming face to face with God makes us feel more wretched than we could ever dare hope, but, because of the Cross, we find that we are more love than we can imagine.
Jesus is the way to know God. He invites us, He sends us the friend request.
It’s up to us to accept.