Does God exist? Is there anyone ‘out there?’ Is God for Real? For years as an atheist, my answer to these questions was ‘no – there is no God.’ But like so many others I have had to reconsider the evidence. When we consider the vast expanse of our universe, do our individual lives really matter? Is there any purpose to our lives, or are we simply drifting through life wondering where meaning will come from? What is the evidence for the existence of God and what does that mean for you and the people you care about?
As an atheist in my teens through to my mid-twenties, I didn’t really think a lot about the future. I was living in the here and now, and I knew I had to grab all I could get out of this life because this is all there is, right? Or so I thought. I met a Christian at work who would occasionally share things he’d read in the Bible, but I wasn’t interested. I had everything I needed. Religion was for weak people. This was my attitude for years. But then to my surprise, I had an encounter with God and began exploring the validity of the Bible and the various evidences for the existence of God.
A couple of hundred years ago it became fashionable to doubt the validity of God and the Bible in the academic world. Questions were raised, and though those questions have been answered, doubts still remain today. As a result, people today are considered naive if they believe in God or take the Bible seriously. ‘Where is the evidence,’ they say. Ironically, so many today believe in a material explanation of the universe with no room for God, (a view I used to share), but without making a closer examination of the evidence for themselves. We can sometimes be guilty of assuming positions without convincing evidence, whilst at the same time accusing others of the same. This is how I once behaved.
You see, I don’t believe in blind faith – and interestingly enough, neither does the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible expects us to trust Him based on the evidence He has already provided. That evidence is abundant and comes in many forms – the design of the natural world, evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible, corroborating evidence from other historical sources, archaeological evidence, the evidence of fulfilled prophecy, and the evidence of millions of people whose lives have been changed by the God of the Bible. The Bible itself encourages us to have answers for those who ask us a reason for the faith that we hold, 1Peter 3:15.
I am not suggesting that believers have all the answers - and let’s face it, no human does - but I am saying that God has provided enough evidence upon which to base a rational, reasonable faith in God.
However, evidence isn’t everything. Humans have demonstrated time and again that you can provide all the evidence you want and people may still choose to ignore the evidence and do what they want to do, or in this case, believe what they want to believe. I think I was like that when I was younger. Because, if there was a God, then there were going to be consequences. It meant I was accountable to someone for my thoughts, words and actions. But there was another side to God that I was less aware of. And that was the merciful, forgiving nature of God. The Bible reveals that God has paid an enormous price in order to take responsibility for my sins and mistakes. Rather than leaving me feeling guilt, shame and worthlessness, God has provided me with freedom, confidence and dignity. God promises us a more abundant life in the here and now, as well as the hope of eternity in the life to come. All this for choosing to have faith in God.
Whilst I speak regularly on a variety of different evidences for the existence of the God of the Bible, the greatest evidence for me is internal – its personal. Romans 8:16 tells us that ‘the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.’ In other words, there is an internal witness that believers experience, which is a living connection with God that even surpasses the other lines of evidence already mentioned.
Do you really want to know if God is for real? Do you want to know what is true and what is not? The God of the Bible says we can know truth, if we are willing to search for it with all our heart. We have a choice – there will always be room for doubt – nothing forces us to believe - but we can choose to give God a chance. Faith is a choice.
So, are you open? Are you willing to give God a chance to reveal Himself to you? He May do this through a variety of means – supernatural, natural, circumstances, people, music, the testimony of scripture, to name a few. Or why not begin reading the Bible, the very book God gave us to discover Him and His will? Why not begin at the New Testament book of Mark and allow God to speak to you through His word? You may be surprised where it leads you.
Peter Watts - International speaker on phylosophy, global trends and spirituality
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