Recently while driving to my hometown (a 6 hour drive), I listened to podcasts of debates between prominent Christian and Atheist authors/speakers and it got my gears turning. I’ve been involved in many debates and the big question “Can you prove God exists” often comes up along the way. Eventually the Christian is stumped and the Atheist thinks they’ve solved one of man kinds most ancient mysteries. But I wonder, is the question correct to begin with? Can the God of the universe be proven like some science experiment of theory?
Is God something to be proven or experienced?
The real proof, if any, of the living God of the Bible resides in the believers life. But can you bring your personal stories, testimonies, and experiences to a debate and argue them with a determined atheist as proof for God? Probably not. Sadly, it’s just not always effective using your experiences to try and convince others when, if they had the same experience, they would not be arguing with you. For the Christian your testimony is the best evidence they have on a personal level towards God. Sharing your testimony and stories of what God has done can change lives but to those who’ve already made up their mind it can be difficult.
I believe God is too big to be proven by the finite methods we conceive. Why are we so obsessed with proving everything in this manner anyway? Is our culture that stuck to what they can only see, feel, and grasp with out little brains? I believe God is not interested in our scientific acknowledgment of Him, He’s interested in our relational interaction with Him. If life were about religion, than maybe He would allow us to just find Him outside of relationship and the chase would be over (I have a feeling this would make Him less God and us less interested). But life with God is more than religion, it’s a relationship. He asks us to chase after Him, to seek, knock, and ask. Like a lover that wants to be pursued and romanced. That’s my God, not one that can be simply reduced to an intellectual check box. I often wonder, what kind of evidence does the atheist expect to receive? What would suffice to prove God and would it make them change their lifestyle towards God? Likely not, understanding something does not bring lifestyle changes. I was raised in church, I’ve seen this time and time again.
So if you believe in God (and hopefully you do much more than merely believe) the next time you are challenged to prove God answer them with another question “First, can you prove happiness?” “Well if I do something that makes me happy then yea, just do something you enjoy” the unbeliever may counter. “So, you can’t observe happiness under a microscope or do some kind of physical test that would reveal or isolate happiness for observation?” To which the educated reply would be “No” (and sorry, observing electrical signals in the brain is not conclusive evidence of happiness).
I believe it’s the same with God, first of all He’s bigger than and outside of science (He invented science!) but my main point is that God is to be experienced with a life of love, faith, and surrender. And that’s what the non believer especially the intellectual atheist needs to understand – you have to experience Him for yourself. When your spiritual eyes are opened by becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) everything changes.
Now, imagine if God allowed us to find some conclusive evidence of His existence or presence (a true God particle or an EM wavelength) would this help or hurt mankind? I once read a short story where God had actually been proven by hard science but the outcome was not as we would expect. The entire world had embraced the God of Christianity solely on fact, there was no more need for faith. In time peoples relationship with God dropped to nothing as people finally had the carnal answer they were looking for and eventually forgot about God all together. With God it’s never been about knowing more or being able to find Him at a distance. We are to draw close and the only way for that to happen is through faith and through the work of Jesus Christ.