“Is there Proof God Actually Exists?” is the “Big Question” we looked at this past weekend (message starts around 39:00). I had an opportunity to share some of my thoughts on that question, but as we alluded to during the message, there are more reasons to believe in God than we had time to discuss (I posted some additional pointers to the existence of God as part of the “Explore God” series in this blog post last year). In this post I want to explore some of other reasons that not only point to the existence of God, but show the evidence of God outweighs the evidence that He does not exist and also to remind us that both those who say God exists and those who say He does not exist but provide evidence to justify their claim and, ultimately, combine both reason and faith.
Nature’s Regular Patterns
One of the interesting things I have discovered over the years is that key scientific principles can’t be scientifically proven. What I mean is that science is based on the principle that there are “laws” of nature and that things that happen today will happen again tomorrow if the circumstances are the same. If this was not the case, we could never conduct scientific experiments. Philosopher David Hume and others have noted that there is no scientific basis for this — it is just the way things are. In The Reason for God, Tim Keller notes, “To put it another way, science cannot prove the continued regularity of nature, it can only take it by faith” (p. 136). I think this is important for two reasons. First of all, it raises the question, “Why is this the case?” Again, I think it points to a creator, some sort of designer who made the world operate a certain way (in fact, this Christian belief has often been viewed as laying a foundation for scientific inquiry). Second, it shows that all people live by faith and have certain beliefs that cannot be proven; it is not science vs. faith, but rather what are the basic principles on which we base all of our beliefs.
Can You Trust Your Senses?
Some people say that they will only believe what they can see. However, this raises the question of why you can even trust that. Many will remember the 1999 movie The Matrix, in which people are living in a simulated reality — what they see and feel is not real! This concept was not really an original idea but an old philosophical discussion in terms of what you can know for sure and proving that the only thing you can really be certain about is that you exist. There is a possibility that the world we live in is a dream or fake reality; we can’t necessarily prove otherwise.
In addition, some of us have had experiences in which our senses do deceive ourselves, so should we always trust them? Some scientists (including Richard Dawkins) have made the point that false beliefs could, at times, serve some sort of “evolutionary advantage,” which would seem to invalidate any sort of idea that we can/should trust our senses. Some evolutionary theorists will try to say that the belief in God is only present in people because it serves as some sort of advantage for them to survive, but if this is the case, could not the same be said for the belief that we can trust our senses?
You might say, “I have good reasons to believe this is real and to trust my senses,” but this would be a faith statement based upon some sort of evidence and argumentation. Again, we all operate from some basic beliefs.
Not “Proving” but Showing There is Reason and It is Rational
These ideas that I have added to the conversation about God’s existence I think also remind us of what we should think about when we are asked to “prove” the existence of God. All we can do is provide reasons for why belief in God is rational – that there are reasons to believe in the existence of God (it is not a blind leap of faith). Of course, in providing these reasons we want to show why we think it is more rational to believe in God than not to believe in God. The ideas that God exists or does not exist are “acts of faith” in that there is no single way to prove or disprove the existence of God; we all combine faith and reason for our beliefs. People who believe in God should be able to explain the reasons why, and those who do not believe in God should be able to explain why not. At times, people seem to think that the burden of proof is on the Christian or theist, but it would seem that both are at the same starting point and need to come up with reasons in terms of which belief is more reasonable and also more likely — does God exist, or doesn’t He?
This is a question most of us wrestle with at some point in our lives, and we should not be ashamed to admit that. But at the end of the day, it seems there are good reasons to believe in God and also more and better reasons to believe in the existence of God, with belief in God making more sense of the world we see around us. If the God of the Bible exists, then we would expect to see the sort of world in which we live – both in terms of the design, but also in terms of the fact that this world seems broken and in need of a solution and that no human can solve, yet we still are longing for this.
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