Has God Given Enough Evidence for Rational Faith?

As a college student, I explored significant doubts I had about my faith. It bothered me that God didn’t make His existence more obvious. In fact, one skeptic made me wonder: Why doesn’t God write “Jesus Saves” on the moon or “Made by God” on each cell?

After carefully examining the evidence, however, I became convinced that God has made himself known (Rom. 1:18–21; 2:14, 15). He has not made Himself known exhaustively, but He has sufficiently. Consider three prominent arguments for the existence of God:

·      THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: Both scientific and philosophical reasons help us conclude that the universe, at some point, had a beginning. Given that something can’t begin to exist without a cause, the cause must be outside the universe. Since matter, time, and energy simultaneously came into existence at a finite point in the past, the cause is plausibly timeless, immaterial, intelligent, powerful, and personal. Simply put, the beginning of the universe points to a Beginner.

·      THE FINE-TUNING OF THE LAWS OF PHYSICS: The laws of physics that govern the universe are exquisitely fine-tuned for the emergence and sustenance of human life. The slightest changes in any number of physical constants would make our universe inhospitable. The most compelling and reliable explanation for why the universe is so precisely fine- tuned is that an Intelligent Mind made it that way. Simply put, the fine-tuning of the universe points to a Fine-Tuner.

·      THE MORAL ARGUMENT: This argument reasons that since objective moral values exist, so must God. If God does not exist, then moral values are ultimately subjective and nonbinding. Yet we know objective moral values are real. Therefore, since moral values do exist, God must as well. Simply put, the existence of moral values points to a universal Moral Lawgiver.

Much more could be said about these arguments. My father and I go into depth on each one of these (and more) in the updated Evidence that Demands A Verdict. And we also explore the historical evidence for the deity of Christ and his resurrection. There is evidence for those who want to consider it.

So, then, why doesn’t God make his existence more evident? Why didn’t God write “Jesus Saves” with the stars? This troubled me until I realized that it’s an absurd request. After all, what language would God write it in? Hebrew? Arabic? English? And if he wrote it in a particular language, wouldn’t all the illiterate people throughout history object? What about all the blind people? Clearly the request for God to write “Jesus Saves” in the stars wouldn’t actually fix the supposed problem.

Remember: God is not interested in proving His existence, but in knowing mankind personally (John 17:1-5). As counterintuitive as it may seem, there is no reason to believe that if God were to make His existence more manifest that more people would repent of their sin enter into a saving relationship with Him.

God revealed Himself tirelessly in the Old Testament by sending plagues to Egypt, parting the Red Sea, and destroying the enemies of Israel. Sadly, this didn’t produce lasting heart-change in the people. They continually rebelled and followed other gods.

And even in the New Testament, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, the religious leaders want to kill Lazarus and run Jesus out of town. Therefore, even if God blazoned “Jesus Saves” in the stars, we would have little reason to believe this would generate lasting faith.

God is not interested in merely proving His existence. But for those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, God has made Himself known. He has offered sufficient evidence for rational faith. The question is—Will we trust Him?

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Sean is an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. He is the Resident Scholar for Summit California. Sean still teaches one high school Bible class, which helps him have exceptional insight into the prevailing culture so he can impart his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors and parents alike. In 2008, he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Association of Christian Schools International awarded Exemplary Status to his apologetics training. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot School of Theology with a master’s degree in theology and another in philosophy. He earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies in 2014 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Backyard Skeptics, Cru, Youth Specialties, Hume Lake Christian Camps, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Family Life Today, Point of View, Stand to Reason, Common Sense Atheism and the Hugh Hewitt Show. Sean has been quoted in many publications, including the New York Times. Sean is the author, co-author or editor of over 18 books including The Fate of the Apostles (Routledge, 2015); A New Kind of Apologist (Harvest House, 2016); The Beauty of Intolerance (Barbour, 2016); Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, with John Stonestreet (Baker, 2014); Is God Just a Human Invention? with Jonathan Morrow; and Understanding Intelligent Design, with William A. Dembski. Sean has also written multiple books with his father, Josh McDowell, including The Unshakable Truth, More Than A Carpenter and an update for Evidence that Demands a Verdict (2017). Sean is the general editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also written for YouthWorker Journal, Decision Magazine and the Christian Research Journal. Follow the dialogue with Sean as he blogs regularly at seanmcdowell.org. In April 2000, Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. They have three children and live in San Juan Capistrano. Sean played college basketball at Biola and was captain his senior year on a team that went 30-7.

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