The first evidence for the existence of God is something that David mentioned three thousand years ago in Psalm 19.
“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the Earth, and their words to all the world….” (New Living Translation)
David says that the heavens (the stars) testify to the fact that there is a Creator.
Friend, have you ever walked outside on a clear, dark night, away from the city lights, and looked up to the heavens and been in awe of the beauty of the stars? Abraham Lincoln said:
I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon Earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say that there is no God. [Source]
I agree. And this is the first line of evidence I’d like to discuss with you for a few minutes…
Philosophers and thinkers down through the centuries have concluded that there are really only three different possibilities to explain its existence.
A. It has always been.
No need for God. The universe has always been around.
B. It created itself.
Again, no need for God. It brought itself into existence.
C. It was created by an immaterial creative agent—God.
Let’s walk through these options and consider which is the most reasonable to believe.
The first option, that the universe has always been (or is eternal), has been utterly rejected by the scientific community. Why? The scientific evidence against an eternal universe has demolished this theory. It’s not a group of pastors who scratched option A off the list. No. The scientific community scratched option A off the list. Why? Astronomers are pointing to the discoveries of:
• the background radiation echo
• the second law of thermodynamics
• the motion of the galaxies
…all of which have led them to conclude that the universe had a beginning.
Stephen Hawking, the renowned late astronomer from Cambridge University, agreed that this is the consensus. He said, “Almost everyone believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning.” [Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time, The Isaac Newton Institute Series of Lectures (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 20.]
That’s interesting. This is in perfect harmony with what the Bible says (in the very first verse!)…
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Bible makes it clear that the universe actually had a beginning, exactly like the scientific community has finally discovered—more than 3,000 years after Moses penned those words. They could have known this a lot sooner had they read the Bible.
Arno Penzias, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for discovering evidence (the background radiation echo) that the universe had a beginning, agrees that the scientific data lines right up with the Bible. He said:
The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole. –Arno Penzias
[Interview by Malcolm Browne, “Clues to the Universe’s Origin Expected,” The New York Times, March 12, 1978, p. 1]
Well, because the universe had a beginning, that rules out option A doesn’t it?—that the universe has just always been. Very well, that leaves us with two options to explain the existence of the universe. Let’s talk about option B for a moment.
B. It created itself.
C. It was created by God.
This option, that the universe created itself, is fraught with problems. The idea that anything could create itself is absurd. For it would have to exist and not exist at the same time. Friends, that’s irrational. For something to create itself, it would have to be before it was. Well, this violates an ironclad law of knowledge: the law of non-contradiction.
The law of non-contradiction states: A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship.
For example, you can’t be at church right now and not at church right now. You are either HERE or NOT HERE. So then, it’s absurd to suggest that the universe existed (A) and didn’t exist (non-A) at the same time.
But that is precisely what would be required for the universe to have created itself. So surely, the universe did not create itself. And yet, this is what leading atheist thinkers believe. How did the universe create itself? Well, many of them have concluded, like Richard Dawkins, that…
“The universe evolved literally out of nothing.”
[Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale (2005), p. 613.
Nothing! Stephen Hawking said the same thing, that the universe came from:
[Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design (2012), p. 180.
These men, considered by some to be two of the brightest atheists of our time, say, ‘Once there was nothing. And that nothingness turned itself into all the billions of galaxies, stars, and planets making up the entire universe.’
Surely you don’t believe this. Friends, it seems patently obvious to me that nothing cannot do something. Nothing cannot see, smell, act, think, let alone create something.
Can you imagine turning on the news and hearing the newscaster say: “Nothing caught doing something on film! Tune in at 11:00 and see the footage!”
Why do you laugh? Because it doesn’t happen. It can’t happen. And it never has happened!
So, there are three options for the existence of the universe…
A. It has always been.
B. It created itself.
C. It was created by God.
Options A and B can be thrown out purely on scientific and philosophical grounds. And so we conclude (almost by default!) that option C (that God created the universe) is the most reasonable option. And I’ll continue to strengthen my case as we move along.
SKEPTIC: “Now hold on a second here Charlie. The first law of thermodynamics states that: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So your theistic view, this idea that God created all the energy and matter in the universe, runs contrary to a widely accepted scientific law!”
ME: This has become a popular objection some atheists bring up when the origin of the universe is discussed. Well, there are a couple of problems with this conclusion that I’d like to briefly point out.
First, those who raise this objection have a misunderstanding of the first law of thermodynamics. A more accurate definition of the law is:
As far as we have observed, the actual amount of energy in an isolated system [like our universe] remains constant despite internal changes.
Friends, the First Law of Thermodynamics in no way rules out a creator of an isolated system like our universe. According to the Bible God exists outside the universe He created. So, at the time of creation, He wasn’t bound by laws that did not even exist. There wasn’t a sign up in the universe that said, “Sorry, Energy levels must remain the same. No creating!” No.
Prior to Genesis 1:1, there was no universe to put a sign up in. There was no first law of thermodynamics. God is the creator of the laws that are at work inside the universe He created. So, it’s a mistake to conclude (as many atheists have) that the first law of thermodynamics somehow rules out a creator of the universe.
ME: “Nobody made God. Unlike the finite physical universe that demands a creator, God does not need a creator. Why? Because God is eternal (He’s always existed) and He is immaterial (He’s a Spirit); He’s not made up of physical parts that need assembly.
The Bible affirms this in multiple places. For example, Psalm 90:2, written by Moses says, “Even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” God is eternal.
In John 4:24, Jesus said that “God is spirit.”
So, putting those two truths together, God is an eternal spirit. And because that is the case, He does not need a creator. But the physical universe falls into an entirely different category. As the scientific discoveries have shown, it has not always existed. And anything that begins to exist, requires a cause or maker. Things don’t just pop into existence all on their own. Nothing does not produce something.”
SKEPTIC: “You Christians really believe that God has always existed?”
ME: “Well, before you scoff at the fact that God has always existed, keep this in mind: something or someone must have always existed. Do you realize that?”
SKEPTIC: “Why do you think that?”
ME: “Well, think through this with me: If nothing cannot produce something, and yet something exists (e.g., the universe), then a creative agent must have always existed. Why? In order to bring that which exists into being. Think of it this way:
1. If there ever was a time that absolutely nothing existed, nothing would exist now.
2. Something exists now.
3. Therefore, there was never a time that absolutely nothing existed.
So, we have no problem believing that God is the One who always existed. And because that is the case, the answer to the question Who made God? is no one. God is eternal and does not need a maker. The universe though is not eternal and therefore does require a maker.
SKEPTIC: “Well Charlie, I still think it’s foolish to believe in something you can’t see.”
ME: “I don’t. Have you ever seen your thoughts?”
ME: “But do they really exist?”
ME: “Have you ever seen gravity?
ME: “Do you believe gravity is real?”
SKEPTIC: “Of course.”
ME: “When you see a painting, do you need to see the painter to conclude a painter exists?
ME: Well, I believe the same is true with the universe and God. You don’t need to see God in order to conclude He exists. The universe all on its own is compelling evidence God exists.
The second reason you can be confident God exists is…
2. THE CONDITIONS FOR LIFE
The more scientists study the universe, the more they discover that conditions in the universe appear to have been extremely fine-tuned (designed) to permit life. Numerous conditions have been identified that have to have just the right values (in other words, they need to be “tuned” to just the right degree) for any kind of conceivable physical life to exist in the universe. If any of these conditions were to change even a little, the universe would be hostile to life and incapable of supporting it. This conclusion is not something that Christian scientists have concocted. This is something that is being acknowledged by scientists of every persuasion.Stephen Hawking for example (a man who certainly does not consider himself a Christian) said:
The universe and the laws of physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn’t combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn’t form the heavier elements, or the universe would collapse before life could develop, and so on. [Austin American-Statesman, October 19, 1997]
When he speaks of “40 physical qualities” that appear to have been specifically designed to permit life, he’s talking about…
• The force of gravity (if it was much stronger everything would collapse; if it were much weaker everything would drift apart)
• The speed of light and the mass of an electron (if the speed of light or the mass of an electron were even slightly different there would be no planet capable of supporting human life)
• The force that binds subatomic particles (such as neutrons and protons) together within the nuclei of atoms (if the force were stronger or weaker by more than about one percent, the universe would be either all hydrogen or have no hydrogen at all)
• The energy levels in carbon atoms (just right for life to exist; change them a little and the universe would be incapable of supporting life)
When it comes to these kinds of conditions, Dr. Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, states that if any of these constants “was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, by one part in a million million…there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.” [August 2006 interview with Salon.com]
SKEPTIC: “Well, maybe the universe just ended up this way by chance! You know, after it sprang into existence from nothing, on accident.”
I don’t think so. Donald Page of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Science calculated the odds against our universe randomly taking a form suitable for life as:
One in 10,000,000,000124
One in ten billion to the 124th power!
[Dietrick E. Thompsen, “The Quantum Universe: A Zero-Point Fluctuation?” Science News, August 3, 1985, 73]
I’m not sure how far along you got in your mathematics studies in high school or college, but I think you could agree with me that these are such astronomical odds, it is safe to say that the universe did not end up with these finely-tuned conditions apart from an incredibly intelligent and powerful designer. And that’s what many cosmologists and physicists are concluding today: Something supernatural appears to be going on behind the scenes.
The renowned cosmologist Fred Hoyle said,
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology…”
[Fred Hoyle, “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” Engineering & Science, November 1981, p. 12, online source]
Well, this conclusion (that God may be behind it all) of course does not sit well with atheists who are committed to a godless universe. So where do they run? How do they explain the fine-tuning of the universe? They do acknowledge that what appears to be “fine tuning” exists. So what do they do with it? Well, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, and other prominent atheists seek to explain away the fine-tuning of the universe with a hypothesis straight out of science fiction called “The Multiverse.”
The multiverse? What’s that?
Their “multiverse” hypothesis says there might be trillions of universes (thus the term “multi-verse”) and that somewhere in this gigantic mix of universes a finely-tuned universe will appear by chance alone. And we humans just happen to live in that finely-tuned universe. (So, “There’s no need to believe in God!” they say. ‘Our universe ended up like this by chance!’).
Well friends, this is a desperate theory atheists have come up with. What evidence is there for a multiverse (universes outside our own)? There is none. There is not a shred of evidence for even one universe outside our own, let alone trillions of universes. I find it ironic that atheists regularly tout their interest in observational evidence but when faced with the observational evidence of the universe’s fine-tuning, they retreat to a hypothesis that has no observational evidence to support it. None! And even if their multiverse theory was correct and there are trillions of universes, that still doesn’t end the debate over the existence of God. For the question would remain:
How did those universes come into existence?
Nothing does not produce something.
I think the multiverse theory actually makes the atheist’s dilemma more difficult. For, if the multiverse theory were true, “nothing” not only made one universe, nothing made a lot of universes.
Well, we reject the notion that nothing can make even one universe, let alone trillions of universes. Remember, nothing cannot do anything! It can’t even create an ant, let alone a planet or stars. So the multiverse theory does nothing to undermine or weaken our case that the incredible fine tuning of the universe is indeed compelling evidence for the existence of God.
3. THE COMPLEXITY OF LIFE
Let’s imagine for a few minutes that you have decided to go on a two week cruise to Tahiti, compliments of your boss. Sound nice? Well, it seemed like a good idea but unfortunately someone forgot to check the weather report and much to your horror, the largest storm the Southern Hemisphere has ever seen capsizes your cruise liner and sends you and the others out into the middle of the Pacific Ocean for a night.
You awake to find yourself shipwrecked on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. As you walk around the island with one of the other survivors, you begin to wonder if there might be any intelligent life on the island that may be able to help you get home. As you’re walking along the shore you spot an arrowhead lying in the sand. What do you think the chances are that human life might exist on the island? Pretty good, right? It might not be the friendliest bunch. It may be a tribe of headhunters. But much to your surprise, the other person who survived the shipwreck with you, says, “Let’s not get too excited about going home anytime soon. Perhaps over billions of years the wind and the waves and the rising and falling of the tides just happened to form a rock that looks like an arrowhead.”
Finding that hard to believe, you agree to remain open-minded and continue searching. Another mile down the beach, you discover what appears to be a canoe anchored up on the shoreline. Now you’re convinced that some sort of intelligent life must exist on the island! But just in time to dampen your enthusiasm, your new friend and fellow shipwreck survivor suggests that: “Perhaps millions of years of storms and waves just shaped a pile of driftwood into what appears to be a well designed canoe-shaped boat.”
Okay. Now, finding the statement about the canoe even harder to believe than the comments about the arrowhead, you agree to continue looking. A hundred yards down the beach you encounter what appears to be writing in the sand. The letters spell out the simple word “Welcome.” The headhunters are glad you’ve come. You look over at your new friend (almost cringing to hear his thoughts) only to hear him say, “Perhaps the wind and the waves just formed that sequence of letters.”
Ha! We laugh at these hypothetical responses because we know that just about everyone on the face of the planet would conclude that the arrowhead, canoe, and a few letters in the sand were surely designed by some intelligent life form.
Why? Here’s why:
DESIGN IS NOT HARD TO RECOGNIZE.
We see an arrowhead. We recognize design. We see a canoe: Design. We see a few letters in the sand: Design. Well, everywhere we look on our planet we find amazingly complex life forms that are millions of times more complex than arrowheads, canoes, or a few letters in the sand. This amazing complexity that permeates all of life is another reason why more and more scientists are concluding an intelligent designer must exist.
Now as you’ve probably seen on social media, there are atheists out there touting the supposed fact that “nearly all scientists in the world are atheists.” They’ve restated this popular talking point so often, I think a lot of people believe them! Well it’s not true. In reality, fewer than 30% of practicing scientists are atheists. And about 40% of professional natural scientists are practicing Christians, and many others are theists of other kinds. Jews, Muslims, and so on. [SOURCE: Jeffrey Burton Russell, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Exposing Myths About Christianity, 147]
And one of the underlying factors influencing these scientists’ decisions to believe in a creator is the amazing complexity they have seen in living organisms. Take for example, the human body. You don’t have to look far to find evidence for intelligent design. You can look in the mirror.
The human body has an amazingly complex:
• Nervous system
• Cardiovascular system
• Reproductive capability
• Skeletal system
• Muscle system
• Digestive system
• Ability to heal itself
• And fight off diseases
…just to mention a few marvels related to the body. I have a very hard time believing male and female human bodies came into existence by some mindless process, apart from an incredibly intelligent designer.
You could leave the barren side of a mountain exposed to…
• The forces of nature
• And millions of years of time
…and you would never get a Mt. Rushmore, let alone a living, breathing human being. Why? It takes intelligence. You need intelligent intervention. (It took 400 intelligent workers fourteen years (1927-1941) to carve those four faces. And George and Abe just stare at you. They don’t talk. They don’t smile. They don’t do anything. How much more intelligence would it take to create a living breathing human being? Good question.)
As Dr. Norman Geisler points out, it would take great intelligence to create a robot that operates like a human, and it would take even greater intelligence to create a real human being.
No one alive today would believe that the faces of Mt. Rushmore came about by millions of years of…
• And undirected random acts.
And yet atheists believe that real-life human beings with…
• 206 bones
• 640 muscles
• and hearts that beat over 100,000 times a day
…are the product of a mindless, random series of accidents and mutations (mutations that have never been shown to add any information to the human genetic code). Well, I don’t have enough faith to believe that.
Consider the human brain. Scientists tell us that the human brain, weighing in with its 100 billion neurons at about three pounds, is a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans and that it holds enough information to fill some twenty million books. [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1985, p. 230]
Is it possible that this “machine more wonderful than any devised by humans” came into being from nothing, by nothing, and then evolved via some mindless, random series of accidents, as evolutionists believe? I don’t have enough faith to believe that.
Consider the heart. The heart, a muscle about the size of a man’s fist, contracts and forces blood through 60,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries in your body. Every hour it pumps about 75 gallons of blood totaling more than 50,000 gallons every month. [http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_how_the_heart_works/article.htm]
To help you ponder how astonishing that is, consider this: the average backyard pool holds about 15,000 gallons of water. But your heart pumps more than three times that amount–– 50,000 gallons of blood––a month.
A good question to ask your friends who believe evolution brought all this about, is…
What do you think evolved first? Hearts, blood or veins?
ME: All right. What did they do? What did they pump?
ATHEIST: Maybe blood evolved first.
ME: All right. What did it do? Where did it go? How did it get there?
ATHEIST: Well, maybe veins evolved first.
ME: All right. What did they do? What did they carry? What were they connected to?
ATHEIST: I don’t like this question.
Yes, this is a dilemma for the atheist.
Consider the human eye. The eye is composed of more than two million working parts. [J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff, The God Conversation, p. 1]
The eye is a ball with:
• A lens on one side
• A light sensitive retina made up of rods and cones inside the other
• The lens itself has a sturdy protective covering called a cornea
• and sits over an iris designed to protect the eye from excessive light
• The eye contains an amazing watery substance that is replaced every four hours
• Tear glands continuously flush the outside clean
• Tears bring oxygen to the cornea, carry chemicals that kill bacteria and proteins to coat the eyes, wash the eyes, and move debris toward a lower drain, or lacrimal duct
• An eyelid sweeps secretions over the cornea to keep it moist
• Eyelashes protect it from dust
• And extraordinarily fine-tuned muscles are attached to the eye that move the eye and aid its ability to quickly focus on objects [Adapted from Hank Hanegraaff, Fatal Flaws, 2003, p. 43 and Geoffrey Simmons, What Darwin Didn’t Know, 2004, p. 283]
Consider a single cell in your body. In Darwin’s day, cells appeared to be little unsophisticated globs of jello, mysterious little parts of life that no one could see into.
But now that we have the ability to peer into cells with electron microscopes, we see that life down at the cellular level is immeasurably more complex than Darwin ever dreamed.
Speaking about the cell, Dr. Walter Bradley, a respected scientist and author of The Mystery of Life’s Origin, says: “A one-cell organism is more complicated than anything we’ve been able to recreate through supercomputers.” [Interview with Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, 2000, p. 98]
According to Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, widely regarded as the greatest chemist of the twentieth century, just one living cell in the human body is, “more complex than New York city.” [Cited in Dave Hunt, In Defense of the Faith, 1996, p. 22].
I don’t know if you have been to New York city, but it is an enormous, complex place!—8 million people scurrying about every direction, hundreds of skyscrapers, thousands of taxis, subways everywhere, boats going up and down the river, planes landing 24 hours a day. Very complex.
Now imagine packing that kind of complexity into a single cell (a thousandth of an inch in diameter) inside your body. That’s just incredible! And to add to that, your body is comprised of thousands of different kinds of cells totaling more than: 37,000,000,000,000 (37 trillion) in number. And your body makes millions of new cells every second and they all work together!
How do they all work together? How do they know what to do, where to go, what organs to produce, what color hair to produce, what to do when you cut yourself? Ahhh, it’s the DNA in the cell. The six feet of coiled up DNA in every one of your cells contains a staggering amount of detailed complex information and instruction that tells each cell how to function, where to go, what to do.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, said this about DNA: “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” [Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, 1996, p. 228]
Do you know how much intelligence went into designing Microsoft software? Not as much as Apple, but Bill Gates says that what’s going on in DNA is far more advanced than any software Microsoft has ever created. Where did this staggering amount of complex, detailed information and instruction in a cell’s DNA come from? Computer programs do not write themselves. A programmer is always involved. Even if you provide lots of time, a computer program cannot write itself.
Someone shouted out to me once, “I get viruses all the time when I leave my computer on.”
Well, even computer viruses are designed by someone. And the same is true with the complex information stored in DNA. Where did it come from?
SKEPTIC: Non-directed natural causes?
I don’t think so. The British molecular biologist Francis Crick, one of the two scientists who discovered DNA, having observed the complexity of DNA, estimated that the odds that intelligent life exists on the Earth as the result of non-directed processes to be around:
(That’s one in ten to the two billionth power.)
[Mike Licona, “Answering Lenny Flank’s Article Against Intelligent Design” online here]
Now of course you’re free to believe life came about by non-directed natural causes. I wouldn’t bet against God’s existence with such overwhelming odds.
Can you imagine going into a Casino and there’s the chance to win a lifetime of free drinks at the Casino, so you wonder, “Shall I place a bet?” So you ask one of the employees, “What are my odds of winning?” (You want to be careful because the cost to play is a whopping $1,000,000). “Well,” the dealer says, “The odds of winning are 1 in 10 to the two billionth power.” Wow. You take a step back and need to think about this (for about half a second). Friend, would you play that game? Would you throw down a million dollars to play in a game that only gives you a one in ten to the 2 billionth power to win? I think not. You’d be a fool to do so, especially with such a measly prize (I don’t drink, so the prize seems awful actually). And yet, some people are doing that very thing. They’re hoping there’s no God. They’re gambling on it. And they’re not risking a million dollars; they’re risking something worth even more—their souls! For the microscopic chance they could be right (that there’s no intelligence behind the existence of intelligent life) they are foolishly risking their souls. If that’s you friend, come to your senses! Place your bets more wisely. Place your faith in God. You can be very confident that He exists. The math is hugely on your side.
Up until 2004, Antony Flew was widely considered the world’s most influential atheistic philosopher, author, and debater. This Oxford professor dedicated 50 years of his life to writing about and defending atheism. He wrote more than thirty books on the topic. He was seen as an intellectual giant in the atheistic community. But something changed. In December of 2004 news came out that Antony Flew had abandoned his atheism after concluding God must exist. What changed his mind?
Antony Flew said:
I now believe there is a God…I now think it [the evidence] does point to a creative Intelligence almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together. [Antony Flew, There Is A God, How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 2007, p. 1, 75]
What an astounding turn around and admission! The title of Antony Flew’s last book? There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
Antony Flew is not alone in abandoning atheism and naturalistic explanations for the complexity of life.
Hundreds of Ph.D. scientists, from prestigious universities like…
• U.C. Berkeley
…are expressing their skepticism of Darwinism today. You can see their names and the institutions they are from at: DissentFromDarwin.org
The next time a professor makes your son or daughter feel like a fool for questioning Darwinism, you might go to this website and print out the list of more than 800 Ph.D. scientists and give it to him and assure him that he is standing in good company. You might also remind him or her that many of the most brilliant scientists to have ever lived, men like Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal, and Albert Einstein all believed in God’s existence.
If arrowheads, canoes and simple messages in the sand point to an intelligent designer, even more we are justified in believing that the complexity in living organisms points to an intelligent designer.
The word “canon” is a word that simply means “standard.” And so, the canon of Scripture simply refers to the standard collection of books that make up the Bible. Of course, over and over the authors of the Bible claim to be recording events and writing words God guided them to write. And as you know, the Bible reveals to us very plainly that God exists, what He is like, and what His will is for our lives
SKEPTIC: “This doesn’t necessarily mean the Bible is true.”
You’re right. But don’t misunderstand the Christian position. We’re not asking people to believe what the Bible says about God, just “because it says so.” We want people to believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible to be trustworthy. I’m talking about
• Its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
• The Bible’s amazing internal harmony
• The Bible’s incredible scientific accuracy and foresight
• Thousands of archaeological discoveries
• Numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by ancient extrabiblical historical sources
• And so on
Many who doubt the existence of God have reassured themselves with the thought, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us.” Well, I’m sympathetic toward that kind of thinking. But, the Bible assures us that if He were to do that in all His glory, while we were in our sinful fallen condition, we would not live through the experience (1 Timothy 6:15-16; Exodus 33:20; John 1:18). But what if the God spoken of in the Old Testament was to veil His glory and appear to mankind in the form of a man, someone mankind could really relate with? What kind of a man would God be?
I think it’s reasonable to assume that if God became a man, He would live a holy life; His words would be the most insightful, encouraging, piercing, impactful words ever spoken. And I think it’s reasonable to expect that He would perform a variety of different miracles not only as a demonstration of His love but to authenticate who He was.
Hmmm…Has anyone ever walked the Earth who claimed to be God, who lived an absolutely holy life, performed numerous miracles, and whose words were unarguably the most insightful, influential words ever spoken?
Maybe Muhammad? No. He never claimed to be God. He never performed any miracles. And he struggled with sin, as even he acknowledged.
What about Buddha? No. He clearly denied being God.
Of all the people who have ever lived, only Jesus Christ claimed to be God, lived a holy life, performed numerous miracles, and spoke words that have impacted the world like no one else’s.
When someone says, “If God wanted us to believe in Him, He would appear to us,” I like to point out to them that is something God has already done.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was God in human flesh (Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 2:9; John 20:28) and Jesus Himself made that clear in verses like John 5:18 and John 8:58.
SKEPTIC: “Well, that doesn’t mean that He was God. Anybody could make the claim.”
He’s right. Anybody could make the claim. And Jesus knew that. So Jesus didn’t just claim to be God, He proved that He was God by doing things only God can do:
• He opened the eyes of the blind
• He healed the lame
• He raised the dead
• He walked on water
• He lived a sinless life
• He rose from the grave three days after He was put to death
• And forty days later, He ascended visibly into Heaven
These are just a few of the miracles the disciples recorded for us in the New Testament that help substantiate Jesus’ claims to deity.
SKEPTIC: “Hold on here a second Charlie! That doesn’t mean that what the disciples said about Him was actually true. They might have just made up the whole story about Jesus.”
Well, we know that the disciples certainly did not invent Jesus. Why’s that? More than 30 non-biblical sources mention Jesus within 150 years of His life—including the Roman historians Suetonius, Cornelius Tacitus, Flavius Josephus and the Jewish Talmud.
SKEPTIC: “Well, Jesus’ disciples might have just made up the stories about His miracles.”
Well, I’m not sure what their motivation would have been for doing that. Liars lie to get out of trouble or gain some type of advantage or benefit. But what the early Christians said about Jesus, didn’t get them out of trouble or result in any kind of benefit. The things they said and wrote about Jesus got them in trouble. What they received was rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks! That, to me, is compelling evidence these men were telling the truth about Jesus.
So in addition to…
1. The Cosmos
2. The Conditions for Life
3. The Complexity of Life
4. The Canon of Scripture
…we have a fifth reason you can be confident God exists:
5. Christ Jesus
Friends, this evidence from cosmology, biology, philosophy, history, and the Bible is a reminder that there is a God! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you haven’t followed after cleverly devised fables. Your faith isn’t grounded in wishful thinking. Your faith is grounded in the truth. There is good evidence that the God of the Bible is actually there (see my article “Can We Trust the Bible?”). What good news this is!
You’re not the result of some gigantic cosmic accident. You’re not some conglomeration of cells wandering around without meaning on a random planet in a purposeless universe. You’re not the result of millions of years of evolution and mutations. No. You are one of God’s creations. He formed you in your mother’s womb. The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that God has a purpose for your existence. Do you know that? God loves you! And He desires to have a close, personal relationship with you.
Do you have that kind of a relationship with God? You can.
Two thousand years ago Jesus (God in the flesh) died on that cruel wooden Roman cross to take the punishment for your sins so that you could be forgiven, saved from eternity in Hell, and come to experience the greatest relationship you’ll ever know:
Knowing God personally, not only in this life
but throughout eternity.
Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and today He is offering mankind the “free gift” (Rom. 6:23) of salvation and everlasting life for those who will turn from their sins and place their faith in Him.
I exhort you friend to do that if you never have. A day of judgment is coming. You can stand before God still in your sins or forgiven. Standing before God still in your sins will result in condemnation and eternity in Hell. Being forgiven will result in everlasting life in paradise. The choice is yours. The ball is in your court. God made the first move. Now it’s your turn. Place your faith in Jesus.
Click here for steps to peace with God.
CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
is the founder of the ABR Apologetics Ministry, a popular guest teacher at churches and conferences in the United States and internationally, and the author of several books and DVDs, some of which include:
• The Bible’s Scientific Accuracy and Foresight
• Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
• One Minute Answers to Skeptics
• Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
• Evidence for God
• The Case for Christianity
• Answering Atheists
• The Case for the Resurrection
• If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?
• Homosexuality and the Bible: Answering Objections to the Biblical View
• Teaching and Preaching God’s Word
• Apologetics Quotes
WOULD YOU LIKE CHARLIE TO SPEAK AT YOUR CHURCH?
Charlie frequently speaks, free of charge, at churches, conferences, retreats, etc. If you are a pastor and would like to inquire about him speaking at your church or event, please contact ABR here and let us know the date(s) you'd be interested in, and someone will email you back shortly.