So, I was teaching my ten-year old grandson, Alexander, a history lesson today. Alex has an analytical, inquisitive mind. That’s an understatement! We were discussing the first Penal Colony established in New South Wales by Great Britain in 1788 which eventually became Sidney, Australia.
I could see a similar solution someone might propose to deal with overcrowding in prisons someday in the future. There’s potential for penal colonies in the lava tubes on Mars or Jupiter’s “Veiny Eyeball’ moon Europa that is spewing water into space.
So, from there Alex gets to the heart of it. “Grandma, how do you know?” His eyeballs were twinkling. You know the look. I could feel it coming. His brain was on another path. I tried to redirect him back on the history lesson but to no avail. He asked again. “How do you know? How do you know there was an Adam and Eve?” Then he smiled. “How do you know there is a God?”
I have been a mother and a grandma for a while now. I am not easily tricked. I answered by continuing the lesson on penal colonies as being a truly bizarre solution to overcrowded jails. Then we continued to discuss the development of other seaport cities.
However, Alexander, it’s time to answer your question.
Yes, Alexander. There is a God!
Mankind has always had the need to worship something higher than himself. Every culture has some internal desire to connect with God. Why? Think about it. All our physical needs are met by things that exist in reality. For example, we get hungry – there is food. We get thirsty – there is water. We need oxygen to breathe – oxygen exists in the air. Since this is true in the physical, it is also true in the spiritual.
Look at what happened in Russia. After decades of domination by atheistic communism and the persecution of believers, the Russian people are hungry for God and the government welcomes Christians into the country to teach Christianity in their schools. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new bill into law that makes religious education mandatory for all schools in the country.
95% of the American population still believe that God exists, according to a recent Gallup poll. And American’s interest in God and spirituality is on the rise, not declining. The recent events in our country have made people’s interest in God even greater. This is a proof for God in that it tells us that we were made for God, and he has planted a desire for him in our hearts. The Bible says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:24-28).
So how do we respond when someone tells us they don’t believe in God? I want to offer some points that may help us better defend our faith.
The design of the world with its order and complexity point toward a Creator. The design indicates a Designer. This is referred to as the Cosmological Proof. God’s fingerprint is on the cosmos. Since the overall purpose of the world resulted in life and the world is full of good, we would say that this resembles the God of the Bible. Since there is such a strong resemblance, we claim that it is, in fact, the God of the Bible. Here is how the Bible describes it: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Just as a watch leads us to conclude there was a watch-maker, and a book implies an author, when we observe the wonders of human existence we’re led to conclude that life is no random accident. If you find a pencil in your yard, it would be ridiculous to say, “O my gosh, look at how this tree branch has evolved into a perfect cylinder with lead going through the middle of it, and even an eraser on the end!” No, you recognize by its design that it has been made by an intelligent being.
We also have what is called the Teleological Proof. God reveals Himself in nature. The majesty and wonder of the great outdoors points to the One who made the heavens and the earth. The debate over Intelligent Design stresses that the complexity of human life points to an intentional cause. If the world began with a “Big Bang”, there was a “Big Banger”. Psalm 19 proclaims, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Many scientists state the origin of life occurring by accident is mathematically impossible. In a 1991 article in Scientific American, Sir Francis Crick writes, “The origin of life appears to be miraculous, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going.” Francis Crick was a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist. He co-authored with James Watson the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule.
God is speaking to us every day through the sun, moon and stars. He is showing himself in the wonder of nature; a bird in flight, the beauty and fragrance of a flower, the magnificence of a tree, the grandeur of a mountain. Nature exists in perfect balance. Who or what keeps it in balance? The advancement of science has been possible because the nature of the world is so predictable. If the world was chaotic and unpredictable, scientific experiments would be meaningless.
There is not one proof that I have ever read of God not existing. On the contrary, we have an inner awareness of God. Paul points out in Romans 1 that an awareness of God is inherent in people; it’s part of our wiring, our programming: “What may be known about God is plain to the world, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (19-20).
Scientists have written about the “faith-gene”, how we appear to be genetically “hardwired” for belief. Implanted within us is a sense of God, that we are not alone in the universe, but that life has meaning because God made us for a purpose, a “Master Plan”. Every culture has a concept of God which gives life order and meaning.
We also have an awareness of morality, an inner sense of right and wrong. We possess a conscience. Mark Twain stated that, “Man is the only animal who blushes…and needs to.” We may not always agree over moral issues but we are aware of a standard and try to live morally correct. This supposes One who has set in place the concept of morality, a holy God.
It has been pointed out that if there is no God, then life is meaningless, our existence is an accident that ends at death, and it doesn’t matter how anyone lives; we can make our own arbitrary rules. Although cultures differ on points of morality, for the most part all people have a fairly uniform sense of right and wrong. We can “recognize the same Law running through them all” (Lewis).
We see the evidence of God, not only in our biology, but in our ability to think. Our ability to invent automobiles, to compose symphonies, to create art masterpieces, to write literature, to form governments, all point to a higher intelligence that has enabled us to develop into a civilization. Our creativity and achievements, our capacity to love are a reflection of God’s nature. This is called the Anthropological Proof. God’s character is reflected in mankind. Unlike the plant and animal world, we are not only alive, we have the power of reason, abstract thought, and self-awareness. We can think in conceptual terms and communicate our ideas with language. We do not just exist, we have emotion, the ability to experience love and joy. We can make free and independent choices. We understand the difference between right and wrong. This is what the Bible means when it says we were created in the image of God.
Ultimately, it is faith which finally convinces us of the reality of God. We believe that we are here because God desires to love us and be loved by us. We are capable of loving God.
Some skeptics reject the notion of God because they’d rather not be accountable to Him. They’d prefer to be free to live however they wish. They don’t want some Higher Power interfering with their lives. We will all stand before God someday, and answer for our choices. It’s been said that, “A true atheist is one who is willing to face the full consequences of what it means to say there is no God” (Buechner). C.S. Lewis stated that human history unfolds “the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
Our belief in God yields everlasting results. In John’s Gospel, we’re told, “This is the way to eternal life–to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent to earth” (17:3).
So, Alexander, we’re not on our own in a meaningless world; we’re not alone in the universe. We are restless till we find our rest in God (Augustine). He made us to know Him, and we can.