When someone says, “Give me evidence for God,” what do they actually mean?
What evidence would make the existence of God irrefutable? If a glowing man came to this person in a vision saying, “I am the Lord and Savior of the world,” would that prove it? Or would she think it only a hallucination? What if she were told of someone living now, today, who experienced a miracle unexplainable by science. Would that do it? Maybe not one, but two miracles? Three? A hundred?
When a person asks for evidence for God, I don’t know that the person asking even knows what they mean by “evidence.” Because there is evidence for God. It’s just not always the kind the skeptic is looking for. It can be enough for one person and not enough for another. The proof is a mix of the scientific, historical, and psychological, but maybe not in the right sort of cocktail the person is looking for.
Another problem with proving God is that some people have preconceived notions of how God ought to be if he existed. For example, some think if there was a God, he should just show himself to everyone. Others think if this God is good, there should be no evil in the world. So because God doesn’t show up in the way they think he should, God doesn’t exist.
But what if in the grand scheme of things, to be a good God he needs to allow evil to exist – at least for a time? What if a wise God wouldn’t just show up at everyone’s door? Maybe he tried, and it backfired on him – which is basically the story of the Old Testament.
I’d ask that anyone who reads the rest of this post first really consider those two questions first. 1. What would it honestly take for you to believe in God? 2. Are you already putting up arbitrary walls to that belief?
Evidence in the World
Science is a tricky proof to use for God. Some discoveries make it seem like there must be a God. Others make him look irrelevant. And the scales are always changing, so I hold these proofs with a grain of salt.
Take Evolution, for example. When Darwin first came up with the theory, it explained a lot, and whole fields of science have flourished under this theory. But it cut against the basic idea that God simply spoke things into being. If life can simply fumble it’s way over billions of years to the complex organisms we see today, then what need is there for God?
But as more scientists have studied and probed the inner workings of everything from the atom to the universe and everything in between, the more astounding and improbable it seems to us now that there be any life at all in the universe, even with Evolution. The universe, even our very planet, seems fine-tuned for life.
You would think we would see aliens all over the place if life was even a little bit likely, but we’ve found this planet to be the only one that isn’t dead. And how not dead it is! Oh, the complexity of literally everything! The Cambrian Explosion is itself a kind of miracle. Our planet is in just the right orbit around the sun, with just the right moon circling us, and just the right sized large planet to keep asteroids and comets from pummeling into our atmosphere. We are terribly, unbelievably, astonishingly lucky to be alive. It seems providential.
So many have come to believe it is so. For centuries, in various ways and for various reasons, people have looked at the world around them and thought, “There must be some intelligent being or beings that made all this.” Everything is just too perfect. Everything is just too right.
Evidence in Ourselves
Some point to the variety of religions in the world and think it proof that God is a hoax. We all disagree on the details, so it must not be true. That’s one way to see it.
Another way to see it, though, is to see belief in God as an instinct we all have. And more than that, the idea of there being a God or gods is almost always linked to the idea that to please this divinity, we must be good people here on earth. Consider Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism to name a few that stress the need for people to live rightly on earth to gain favor with the divine. Atheism is the anomaly.
So maybe our bent towards religion is just superstition, or maybe, as I believe, it is an instinct like the desire for food or sex. The desire itself is a kind of proof. We hunger because there is real food in the world to be eaten. We lust because there is actually someone out there we can be with. We desire God because God is truly there to be found.
I get that some feel this is too far a leap. I would agree if I was the only person in all of history to think of it. But I’m not. Not by a long shot. There are few things more fundamental to the human experience than spirituality.
My belief in God doesn’t rest entirely on these two points, but it starts here.
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