Has God Given Enough Evidence for Rational Faith?
As a college student, I explored significant doubts I had about my faith. It bothered me that God didn’t make His existence more obvious. In fact, one skeptic made me wonder: Why doesn’t God write “Jesus Saves” on the moon or “Made by God” on each cell?
After carefully examining the evidence, however, I became convinced that God has made himself known (Rom. 1:18–21; 2:14, 15). He has not made Himself known exhaustively, but He has sufficiently. Consider three prominent arguments for the existence of God:
· THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: Both scientific and philosophical reasons help us conclude that the universe, at some point, had a beginning. Given that something can’t begin to exist without a cause, the cause must be outside the universe. Since matter, time, and energy simultaneously came into existence at a finite point in the past, the cause is plausibly timeless, immaterial, intelligent, powerful, and personal. Simply put, the beginning of the universe points to a Beginner.
· THE FINE-TUNING OF THE LAWS OF PHYSICS: The laws of physics that govern the universe are exquisitely fine-tuned for the emergence and sustenance of human life. The slightest changes in any number of physical constants would make our universe inhospitable. The most compelling and reliable explanation for why the universe is so precisely fine- tuned is that an Intelligent Mind made it that way. Simply put, the fine-tuning of the universe points to a Fine-Tuner.
· THE MORAL ARGUMENT: This argument reasons that since objective moral values exist, so must God. If God does not exist, then moral values are ultimately subjective and nonbinding. Yet we know objective moral values are real. Therefore, since moral values do exist, God must as well. Simply put, the existence of moral values points to a universal Moral Lawgiver.
Much more could be said about these arguments. My father and I go into depth on each one of these (and more) in the updated Evidence that Demands A Verdict. And we also explore the historical evidence for the deity of Christ and his resurrection. There is evidence for those who want to consider it.
So, then, why doesn’t God make his existence more evident? Why didn’t God write “Jesus Saves” with the stars? This troubled me until I realized that it’s an absurd request. After all, what language would God write it in? Hebrew? Arabic? English? And if he wrote it in a particular language, wouldn’t all the illiterate people throughout history object? What about all the blind people? Clearly the request for God to write “Jesus Saves” in the stars wouldn’t actually fix the supposed problem.
Remember: God is not interested in proving His existence, but in knowing mankind personally (John 17:1-5). As counterintuitive as it may seem, there is no reason to believe that if God were to make His existence more manifest that more people would repent of their sin enter into a saving relationship with Him.
God revealed Himself tirelessly in the Old Testament by sending plagues to Egypt, parting the Red Sea, and destroying the enemies of Israel. Sadly, this didn’t produce lasting heart-change in the people. They continually rebelled and followed other gods.
And even in the New Testament, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, the religious leaders want to kill Lazarus and run Jesus out of town. Therefore, even if God blazoned “Jesus Saves” in the stars, we would have little reason to believe this would generate lasting faith.
God is not interested in merely proving His existence. But for those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, God has made Himself known. He has offered sufficient evidence for rational faith. The question is—Will we trust Him?
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.