Do you remember the part of the bible where God insists that Christians go out and prove to people that he exists?
I hope not because that part doesn’t exist.
It’s common for me to encounter people that demand “prove that God exists!”
When I tell them that I cannot, the retort is often a satisfied “that’s because you can’t!”
Exactly! Now I think we’re on the same page.
God does not require that I prove he exist for the simple reason that he has not given any Christian that kind of power.
Since many people think the bible is a book written by uneducated shepherds, let’s put our 21st century education to the test and see what is required of Christians.
After all, failing basic comprehension of such an ancient book sure would be embarrassing, especially since we live in such an advanced and enlightened time and culture.
Biblical Premise #1: Everyone Knows God Exists
Even if a person doesn’t believe the bible, that does not change the goal and mission of Christians, which has never been to prove that God exists.
Indeed, scripture makes the claim that we all know God exists by default.
That includes people:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19-20 ESV
It also includes the demons:
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19 ESV
It’s kind of a given that the Angels and the living creatures acknowledge God exists so that’s everyone that exists right there.
So if everyone that exists already knows God exists, sounds like us Christians can take a weight off with regard to proving God exists and indeed, we can!
Biblical Premise #2: Christians Need Only Testify About Jesus And Welcome Those Who Recieve Our Testimony
Go therefore and prove God exists? Nope!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
If people join the Christian family, we teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded. If people don’t join, then they won’t be interested in doing much that Jesus commanded.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 ESV
Testifying to the nations doesn’t mean they need to accept the testimony. After all, Jesus himself testified as God’s faithful witness, was largely rejected by his home town and turned over for execution by his own nation.
““The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”” Luke 10:16 ESV
““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-20 ESV
Jesus makes it clear that the Christian witness will be rejected, so clearly there is no onus to prove God exists when we are promised both rejection and persecution for our testimony.
We claim to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, testifying that we have encountered him: believe it or not. We can’t prove it and we don’t have to, we only have to make our witness known.
Biblical Premise #3: Biblical Faith Is Not So Much About Believing God Exists But Rather About Recognising, Loving And Honouring Him
Remember the verse from about about the demons?
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19 ESV
They believe God exists and they have seen him – they just don’t like him. Yet, they love sin:
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”” John 3:18-21 ESV
This was my own experience – I loved my sin and I hated God. In his mercy, God convicted me of my guilt before him and I received his forgiveness for sin. I became a new man who, while still prone to the temptation of sin in my flesh, actually desired to please God through obedience.
“Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’” John 15:23-25 ESV
I may not have known God before I met him but I knew about him. You could tell because I had a vicious hatred of him, of talking about God, and of Christians especially amongst the religions of the world.
I did not like to hear that I was under God’s condemnation for sin and without repentance, I could not receive salvation. That’s exactly why I loved naturalistic atheism – it made God disappear, at least in my mind.
And like Jesus stated in the verse above, my hatred of him was without cause. I had never been mistreated by a Christian nor did I really know any Christians other than through casual associations.
In summary, the Christian does not try to convince the world that God exists but rather testifies that turning to God in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved from the judgment to come. Furthermore, the kingdom of God has already arrived in part but will soon come in fullness, replacing the kingdoms of humanity permanently.
Biblical Premise #4: God Will Give Everyone Proof, Ready Or Not
Our testimony is that Jesus is coming back to reign as king over the nations.
When this happens, the leaders of the nations will make war against him but will be swiftly and deftly defeated.
Our witness can be ignored for now but the time is coming when God will send his son in power and glory:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-21 ESV
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 2:1-12 ESV
“On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.” Isaiah 24:21-23 ESV
““Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:29-31, 36-51 ESV
There’s no pressure to convince anyone that God exists or that this will all happen but we ignore the warning at our own peril, Christian or no.
Simply, Christians can’t prove Gods existence and we have never been required to by God, only by those who demand the impossible. However, we should always be ready to explain our hope in Christ Jesus and at a certain point in history, our confident hope will be vindicated.
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV