Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 9, 2011
Is there sufficient evidence to believe that God exists?
A certain rabbi was kind enough to let me bring a group of young people to visit him in his synagogue. As their pastor I wanted them to learn firsthand about their Jewish heritage. The rabbi spoke about Jewish faith and traditions and asked if there were any questions.
One young man asked, “What do you think about Jesus?”
The rabbi had obviously anticipated the question. With no hesitation he replied candidly, though graciously, “We believe Jesus was a good man and one of God’s prophets. But we would have to see more evidence in order to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.” (Silently I prayed that we who are Christians might be evidence that Jesus is truly the Savior of the world.)
Evidence is important. Many criminals are not brought to justice because the prosecution has insufficient evidence. Sometimes a jury will acquit a defendant who is obviously guilt for lack of compelling evidence. This is indeed one of the strengths of our American system of jurisprudence. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.” Thus the evidence must leave no doubt in the minds of jurors.
If I tell you that I believe in God, you have a right to ask me what evidence convinces me that God exists. I do believe in the existence of God so allow me to tell you about the compelling evidence behind my faith in God. You must decide whether or not my evidence is sufficient.
Jesus is the strongest evidence that proves God exists. The birth of Jesus is much more than a Bible story. No reasonable person refutes the birth of Jesus or that he lived and died on a cross as a young man. These are indisputable facts of history.
After the death of Jesus hundreds of people, and soon thousands, began to believe that God had resurrected Jesus from the dead, and that he was the long awaited Messiah. They believed that Jesus was alive. They believed this so strongly that they were willing to die rather than renounce their faith in him.
that for a moment. The rabbi said he believed Jesus was “a good man.” Mull this
over. Abraham Lincoln was a good man. But since his assassination
there have been no reports that
As a child in Sunday School I was taught that Jesus was my Friend, the Good Shepherd and the Light of the World. My teachers convinced me that Jesus was powerful and compassionate. I learned to admire Jesus. Later as a young man I embraced the idea that God is like Jesus, that Jesus put a face on God, and that the finest thing I could do with my life would be to become a disciple of Jesus.
To do that with integrity I was told that I had to allow Jesus to become Lord, or Master, of my whole life. This led me to feel a hunger in my heart to “know” Jesus personally so I accepted the invitation to invite Jesus into my heart. That was of course an act of faith but it was also the beginning of what I call my journey with Jesus, the living Christ. And though Jesus did not seem so “real” in my heart at first, he has become the greatest reality of my life.
Though I cannot prove the existence of Jesus as a living reality, I know beyond reasonable doubt that he actually lives in my heart. I realize that words like “real in my heart” may seem nebulous or spiritually vague and cause some to brand me as simplistic. Nonetheless I can testify that Jesus has become more real to me than bread and water for he truly is Living Bread and Living Water, as the Bible says. Jesus is more real to me than anything I can see, touch, hear or feel. In a nutshell, Jesus is everything. He is reality. Nothing matters more than knowing, loving, and serving him.
For sixty years I have been married to a woman who also believes that Jesus lives “in her heart.” And I must say the evidence, which I live with daily, validates her claim. There are things about my wife than it takes Jesus to explain. Only Jesus could generate the forgiving love and generous support that she offers me daily. I have never known a more unselfish person – and I blame that on Jesus! Only Jesus could have changed her from the young woman I married into the authentic follower of Jesus that she is today.
There is actually all around us evidence that compels us to believe that God exists. The dependable, unchanging laws of the universe are evidence. The incredible beauty of creation – babies, birds, flowers and butterflies – invites us to believe in a benevolent Creator. But for me Jesus is the most compelling evidence. He was born. He lived. He died. He was raised from the dead. He is alive. He is among us. He lives in the hearts of all who believe.
Is there sufficient evidence to believe that God exists? I believe there is. Jesus is sufficient evidence to believe that God exists and that he is like Jesus. When our son died we sang at his funeral an old gospel song: “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; when I am sad, to him I go; no other one can cheer me so.”
That says it all. That was enough that day and it is enough today. + + +