Monday, May 19, 2008

What Proof Do You Have?

A facebook note by a girl from my high school asking evidence for God's existence. Ophelia says, "I might as well know before I check into hell." Check in? My dear, I'd like to tell her. Without God, you're probably already there... Okay, yes I realize there are many flaws in that statement.

A little thread from this discussion:

George Beadle (Biologist): "Is it any less awe-inspiring to conceive of a universe created of hydrogen with the capacity to evolve into man, than it is to accept the Creation of man as man?"
I don't think you'll prove or disprove anything from an evolutionary perspective... Though we may dig deeper into regressive causes, there is no way to escape the irrationality of an impersonal original cause.
As you put it, "one will keeping looking for answers until a reasonable conclusion is reached" and you know... Several rational minds have found such a satisfactory answer in God's existence.

And yet, so have they found answers in God's non-existence. :) To each his own, I say. (To each his own? No absolute truth? *shudder*)

Sure... Both reasonable conviction of God's existence and of His non-existence require a leap of faith. I guess your rationale is respectable, but just please consider a little bit of what we've agreed on the next time you reduce belief in God to folly, a crutch, for the uneducated and simple-minded.
The answer of His existence might never be evident and acceptable for all...
Perhaps a creator-God so far above our ways, with thoughts that are not our thoughts, or in your words "far, far superior, intelligent" really does "just completely overshadow" what our minds can conceive. What are created beings to know their creator, as though a puppet should understand the intricacies (or even the existence) of the marionette, or a lump of clay its potter!

I don't think I was trying to get across that belief in God is something horrendous; though I myself disagree with the idea that there is a deity, I do respect others' beliefs. Besides, I know where you're coming from. Not long ago, just half a year, I was a pious believer.
I haven't had to offer "proof" (is there such a thing for this matter the way we understand the word?) on many occasions. Probably because I rarely take the opportunity to share or defend my faith. I definitely know that it is tiny, and that I am most often not articulate enough, not sure enough, not consistent enough in my actions... Though if I really sought to promulgate the power of God and the sufficiency of that message in itself and not the wisdom of men (i.e. my eloquence, logic, morality)... Well, nevermind that's like saying if I had more faith I would be more faithful.

My friend tells her, "I wouldn't really worry about it, Ophelia; your time can be better spent on other things." Really, Ally J? Here's your shoutout, since you're like 1 of 3 people who read this thing. While the question of God's existence might never be exhausted no matter how much time is spent in pursuit of the answer... I can think of no worthier pursuit. What can matter until you at least consider the verity of God? If you decide He is false, a creation of man, then yes, anything you spend your time on would be more important. And of course if indeed that He is creator is true, He is of infinite importance, He is life itself. I already know you disagree. Thanks for your lovely comments here... They are always welcome, no matter how scathing (I'm inviting your dissent, homie... jump on it).

What proof do you have that God exists?


  1. sure esther, i'll indulge you with a comment since you pointed us all out one by one.

    it's possible to prove god exists or does not exist in the way that most people think about "proving" something since we can't like... "repeat" the existence of God.

    but i think that most atheist i know don't take their views on god's nonexistence far enough. often they pride themselves on being logical and empirical but they don't consider some of the more ridiculous consequences of living in a world without god.

    there are many philosophical consequences but the kicker for me is that without God, there can be no real morality. philosophers through the ages have tried to create a system of morality without god and have failed... i would not be able to say w/ any solid grounding that killing innocent children is wrong or that rape is wrong.

    tho people have a lot of problems w/ pascal's wager, i think its a very valid question to think about. sometimes i think people live with one answer while they say another. (the last sentence works both ways)

  2. proof?
    if we had proof then would it still be called faith?
    but for me... the proof lies in the depth and extent of my depravity - because that i know all too well. then in light of that, to have so much goodness around me (none of which i deserve, mind you) ... that tells me that there's gotta be something ELSE.
    dont know if i'm making much sense... might be the drugs talking =P

  3. To briefly respond to the first line of the comment by xsylns, faith and certainty are not mutually exclusive. Hebrews 11:1 - Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

    In the early church, and all the way up to the Puritans, the intellectual pursuit of God was absolutely necessary. God was proven (or attempted to be proven), and no one thought that God couldn't be proven. It's only with the modern claims of "disproving" God (science) that people have backpedaled and made the claims of faith not involving proof, conceding the entire field of battle.

    As for the original post, E, you're right on the money that this is a question of monumental importance. Our answer to the question of God, His character, His responses, is determinative of the life we live. To even say that we can deal with the question later presupposes a God who will excuse that type of behavior.

    If you're looking for a solid apologetic for God, I would highly recommend Apologetics to the Glory of God by John Frame (his treatment of evil is better done by an appendix which he prints, rebuking him for avoiding the true answer. What a humble guy to do something like that in his own book!)

    And I'm sure you've heard it before, but Vincent Cheung is still my goto guy for apologetics. There's a confidence about the Christian message that we all need.

    God's weakness is greater than man's strength, and God's foolishness is greater than man's wisdom.

    We stand upon the Rock that is Christ, and from there we will be immovable and invincible. So says the Lord, and so we believe.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  4. I believe Yi and Visraant had the best comments in the thread, and I feel bad for not following my own advice since I posted on the note three times. However, since you're asking for some dissent...

    Your clay/marionette analogy isn't really applicable since neither clay nor marionettes have senses that can gather information about the outside world. Humans do have senses, however, and we can add new senses by making tools (i.e. we can make something that can observe UV radiation).

    As for your reply: I don't disagree, if we're talking about someone who believes in God. However, for agnostics, there comes a point when you realize that you can never find out the answer, so it's a waste of time to keep considering the question.

  5. Looks like it's been a month since you made this post. I just kept putting it off and thought about it once in a while but never sat myself down to type out a response. You know how bad I am with doing things in a timely manner, especially when it comes to writing something =P

    Well.. I guess there are different ways that I would answer this question depending on who's asking.

    I could try to describe the complexity of nature and how it points to a creator. I don't really know that much in the realm of science. I've also heard arguments based on the mathematical improbability (or impossibility) that the universe formed through random events. For me, I'd rather not base my belief in God on chance, but those statistics still give me a sense of wonder and admiration for the Great Architect.

    I could tell them of how Christ is the fulfillment of every need and desire in life. He is my only comfort, the completion of my joy, the object of my worship (I need to worship!). I could also point to my sinfulness, and how the propitiatory work of Christ uniquely provides a satisfactory solution. Sometimes I like to share my personal testimony and the ways that God has blessed me (ultimately with Himself!)

    For a more solid, logical "proof" I would go toward the presuppositional route that Mickey points out a lot of good resources on. A biblical understanding of the triune God is the only indestructible foundation for all knowledge. I believe that the bible is God's revealed truth, and as such it attests to its own authority (there is no higher authority to appeal to! And yea, it's circular, but that doesn't mean it's not true. Show me something that isn't circular, or better yet, prove to me that anything that is circular is necessarily false.) And I guess depending on who's asking the question I would show that every other foundation for belief is either inconsistent or illogical, or if true, necessitates the bible to be true.

    In practice, an argument with someone who refuses to believe the Bible as the foundation for truth could last indefinitely since they can invent an unlimited amount of false assertions. I guess there's a difference between providing a proof for something that is true and convincing somebody of the truth.

    I like Mickey's reference to 1 Cor. 1:25. The whole first 2 chapters in 1 Corinthians really says a lot about what it takes to convince somebody of the truth. In essence, God is the one who opens minds and hearts, the glory belongs to Him. If it weren't for his grace, we too would scoff at the foolishness of the cross and we would miss out on the devastating beauty of the gospel!

    Hmm.. so what if I direct the question to myself: why do I believe that God exists?
    Well, I actually didn't need "proof" to believe that God exists. I knew that God existed as far back as I can remember. It's kinda like why I didn't need proof to believe that food exists. I've been hungry all my life. (I'm actually hungry right now...that's probably why I thought of that analogy. It probably doesn't make any sense. =P) As I studied the Word and grew in my understanding of it, I became convinced of the things that I mentioned earlier. Somewhere in there, God opened my eyes to how much he deserved my total worship, my depravity and inability to give him the glory that he deserves, and the grace and mercy and joy and love that I found at the foot of the cross. Of course I placed my faith in Christ! I guess it's hard for me to understand where other people are coming from who think God (or what you think of him) is inconsequential unless he can be "proved".

    Over the weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to study 1 John with Mickey. What an encouragement to be devoted to loving my brothers and sisters! May we who claim to know the Father walk in a manner worthy of the calling. May we not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. May we pray for the lost, knowing that he hears us and that he is faithful.