I am hoping that I might be able to sneak this post into the second God or Not carnival at the last minute. Entries are officially closed but a nice email might do the trick!
Can we provide proof to our friends and fellow bloggers of Gods existance? Should we even try? The debates go on for centuries and there is no resolution. But when all is said or done, is there really enough evidence on either side to prove or disprove God?
I will never forget the student who joined us on an Alpha course once and said he joined as an atheist and left as an agnostic. I had a lot of sympathy with him in many ways. The problem is we are trying to line up a set of proofs for something we cannot see. We can speak about the complexity of nature, the sense of purpose in history, the persistance of the church, the presense of miracles, and all the other arguments from ontology, psychology and philosophy. One has to ask at the end of the day what do any of these arguments actually prove on either side?
The harsh fact is that from a purely intellectual point of view, I no more have proof that God exists than my atheist friend has proof that he doesnt.
What do we fall back on then? This is really going to annoy some of my non-charismatic readers and may provide fuel for the great Christian Blog Charismatic debate that is brewing but I am increasingly convinced that it is ones personal experience of God that makes the difference.
For me I believe in God essentially because I have experienced him and seen him do things in my life and the lives of others. Some extreme cessationists would probably agree with our athiest bloggers that I am probably nuts to talk of God in this way. I mean, its almost like hes actually real and active today…. like he’s a real person?
I absolutely believe that if we are to claim there is a God, we ought to have an answer both intellectually and experientially to the question: “well where is he then?”. Ultimately though, as a good “reformed charismatic” I really believe in the following two portions of scripture:
The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor 4:4)And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:1-8)
What is the practical results of all this? Well, it means that whilst I will engage in good debate with the rest of them, my hope for non-christian friends and bloggers is not that I will intellectually pursuade them. Rather, I am praying that God may experientially reveal himself to them and grant them the recovery of site and the new life that their spirtually blind and dead hearts need.
For those reading this posts who do not yet believe in God, I have a couple of questions. Firstly, if God were to categorically prove his existence to you, would you then be willing to follow him? Secondly, if the answer to the first question is “yes of course!” then have you asked him “if he is there” to show himself to you in some way. Let me challenge you to pray a prayer something like this:
God, if you are real I need to know about it. Life can be pretty meaningless without you, but I just havent seen any evidence for your existence that has convinced me. This prayer is my request to you to make things a bit easier for me down here- let me know you are real if you are real, and I will follow you. I recognise that I have spent my life living my own way, and if you are real from now on I would like to live your way.
I dare any atheist to pray a prayer like that, genuinely from the heart and let us know the consequences……..