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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What Must God Do to Prove His Existence?


Yesterday, I said that many atheists claim they would believe in God if he would only provide better proof for His existence; however the reality is that they probably wouldn't. There is always a way of dismissing any type of evidence; one may claim that the evidence could be doctored ("photoshopped" is the convenient claim today) or dismissed in any number of ways. I'm pretty confident of my assertion, because of what I didn't talk about in that post, the fact that God has already provided some very good evidence of His existence which continues to be rejected by the atheists.

This blog has looked at different evidences for God in the past. We've discussed the beginning of the universe, its fine-tuning, how God is a necessary being, the existence of minds, and other evidences. However, what if God was to present us with a miracle like Jesus did when raising Lazarus? Or what if God was to appear to the skeptic directly and immediately and say, "Look! I exist!" Would the skeptic believe? Let us assume for the sake of argument that this skeptic does believe. He or she says, "The evidence is now incontrovertible; God exists." Ok, but what happens next? One would expect that the witness to such a revelation would not only change one's mind but also motivate that person to tell someone else about such a remarkable experience. In fact, I can't see how such a belief-changing experience could be kept to oneself. That former skeptic would be grabbing everyone who would listen and proclaim that, finally after all these millennia, God has indeed shown Himself to be real.

But when our skeptic relays this experience to friends and family, then what? Should they say, "Well, that may be what you have seen, but since I didn't have the same experience I won't believe until God reveals Himself to me directly, too!" According to such a criterion of proof, God would need to reveal Himself to all those our skeptic tried to convince, regardless of whether they may believe or not. What about the next day or a week later when life returns to normal and the skeptic begins to doubt whether the whole thing was real or perhaps the result of too many nerves, too little sleep, or an overindulgence of alcohol? Is God obligated to do it again and again?

One can quickly see that demanding God to provide incontrovertible evidence quickly devolves God from the ruler of the universe to someone who must constantly answer to the demands for proof by His creation. It not only makes no sense, but no God worthy of worship would stoop to such demands. It assaults His dignity. The fact is that God did provide real evidence to skeptics; Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus who at the time had a singular goal of wiping out anyone who extolled the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Saul testified over and over of Jesus' direct appearance and His rising from the dead. The Jews rejected his testimony when he told them and skeptics today continue to reject his testimony. Yet, his conversion is compelling and the historical evidence supports Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Whether Paul was talking with you face to face or you're reading his direct testimony contained in his correspondence (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 especially), it becomes too easy to be skeptical for skepticism's sake.

Think of it another way. God sacrificed His only Son for the sake of man's salvation. This is the greatest sacrifice and act of love anyone could ever perform. Jesus was then raised from the dead, testifying that He really was the Son of God and He did have the power over death and hell. To respond like Bertrand Russell did and say "Sir, why did you not give me better evidence" is insulting beyond measure. God does not exist to appease the whim of man. God's hiddenness is a sign of His holiness and transcendence.

We do have plenty of evidence for God's existence and not just Paul's testimony. We have multiple accounts from antiquity of Jesus' resurrection. We have the testimony of nature. We have the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled. For those who choose to reject it, I doubt that any evidence would ever be enough.

7 comments:

  1. Suppose you prayed every day for some simple thing, like for rain to fall during a drought, or for your crippled daughter to walk again, or for a criminal to come forward and confess, or for someone to offer you a job. Suppose God granted such requests immediately and fully. He would only have to do that maybe once a week, and then you'd know that prayer works! It would be common sense that prayer works, and you'd be stupid to deny it.

    Maybe Christians are praying for the wrong things. Are you praying for something vague and indiscernible? Are you praying for things that are likely to happen eventually anyway? You'll never get clear evidence for God's power unless you pray for some kind of quite specific miracle.

    Miracles must happen fairly often in order for God's existence to be common sense. I'm not talking about the so-called miracle of a child's birth or a gorgeous sunset. It's got to be something like water turning to wine - not 2,000 years ago in some far-off land, but right here and now. About once a week or so.

    Certainly I don't expect God to perform such feats for me, since I don't even have faith the size of a mustard seed, but you guys should definitely be moving mountains, at least now and then. And you certainly don't have to do it just to prove something for me, but I'm sure you know in your heart whether you can move a mountain. Surely you know it in your heart, right?

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  2. RE: "We do have plenty of evidence for God's existence and not just Paul's testimony. We have multiple accounts from antiquity of Jesus' resurrection. We have the testimony of nature. We have the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled. For those who choose to reject it, I doubt that any evidence would ever be enough."

    1. There are no accounts for the resurrection other than the gospels, which academics even admit were anonymously written. In other words, the Gospel of Mark was very likely not written by Mark at all.

    2. There is no 'testimony of nature.' If you think things are just so amazing they have to be designed by a god, then that's the logical fallacy called "appeal to personal incredulity." See this for more info: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ .

    3. Bible prophecies? The most famous FAILED prophecy of all is "the soon return of Christ." He's about 2,000 years too late. Are you going to wait another 1,000 or 10,000 years?

    You don't really have good evidence, just logical fallacies and bad premises.

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  3. Perhaps he just needs a better wifi connection or a cable channel. One would think an omnipotent being, who, judging by the bible, is so full of himself, (kinda Trump like), would insist on a world wide audience. There's T.V. screens everywhere on the planet, most of us have them in the palm of our hand. So, why does this god of yours not reveal himself?
    Your bible is no proof. There are written records, older records, that speak of different gods. Where are they?
    Bronze age campfire stories trying to explain the mysteries of life. We know more now than then, and your god of the gaps grows smaller.

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    Replies
    1. Your assumption (reading into the Bible) that the Creator of this wonderful universe about which we are learning more every day, is full of Himself(?) is faulty. If anything, compared to the power and intelligence shown by the universe itself, just condescending to reveal Himself to one of his creatures (humankind) at all, shows greater humility than any human making all kinds of arrogant judgements on his character.

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  4. Richard,

    Perhaps you should read the article again. You've not made any arguments against it in your comment, you've simply restated the objection that I have answered above.

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  5. If Neil deGrasse Tyson can say, "The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." Then why are we insisting God, the creator of the universe, should make sense for us?

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    Replies
    1. It's a good question, Ken.

      Delete

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