Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask
- Monday, October 18, 2010
A Personal Response
But that's not to say we don't experience God in other ways. If you are one of his true followers, you have experienced him on a personal level, and I trust you sense his presence and work in your life on at least a periodic basis. I know that years ago in my own life I felt God's touch on me in numerous ways, leading up to the point at which I put my trust in Christ. Some of those "touches" were wake-up calls in which he showed me the dead-end path my life was on, convicted me of sins, and revealed that I was made for much greater purposes than I was experiencing at the time.
Then, when I finally gave in to what I'm confident was the Holy Spirit drawing me to trust and follow Christ, I sensed his forgiveness and his acceptance as God's newly adopted son. That squared with what I later read in Romans 8:15-16, where Paul says, "You received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.' For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children."
And since that time I often know, in hard-to-explain and internal ways, that God is prompting me to speak to a person, send an encouraging note, challenge a wayward brother in the faith, or pray for someone in need. And occasionally I sense him guiding me in bigger life decisions regarding my work, ministry involvements, moves to new locales, and so forth. These leadings don't come every day, but there's a marked pattern of them in my life—they've had a huge influence in my overall direction and impact.
I share some of these details to show that one of the ways I know God is real and active in our world is that he's real and active in my life, and I'm guessing you'd say the same thing if you're a committed Christian. If so, then that's a natural part of our answer to people who ask us this question about God's existence. We know he exists because he's our friend! He has forgiven us and turned our lives around, and he speaks to us, guides us, redirects us, and rebukes us when we need it (see Heb. 12:5-12)—always acting out of love for us and what's best for our lives. So one point we can make is our humble acknowledgment of his presence and activity in our daily experience.
Our testimony alone can have a powerful influence on others, especially those who know us well and are therefore inclined to trust what we say. It can also influence those who have seen clear evidence of God's work in us—they can't see him, but they can see what he's done in our lives.
Experience is hard to argue with. That's why the apostle Paul often appealed to it, as did other biblical writers. He said to his skeptical listeners in Acts 26:12-16, for example, "One day I was on such a mission to Damascus. . . . A light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me. . . . I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? . . . I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness.'" Paul went on from there and gave further details, but it's clear that his account of God's activity in his life made an impact. Agrippa, one of his listeners, interrupted and asked him, "Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?" (v. 28). To which Paul, the consummate evangelist, winsomely replied, "Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am" (v. 29).
Telling others about God's activity in our lives can be a powerful tool, but many people will not be convinced by that alone. They might conclude that you're sincere—but that you're mistaking coincidences in your life for supernatural interventions. And some people may even question your sincerity. So let's explore some other ways we can point to the effects of the invisible God in our world by using examples that everyone can access. For the rest of this chapter we'll look at three of the best examples of evidence for God's existence that we can share with our friends: two that are scientific and one that is more philosophical in nature. (Note that other powerful kinds of evidence could be given to support belief in the Christian God, including those from history, archaeology, and the records of prophecies and miracles preserved in the Bible. I do so in my book Choosing Your Faith . . . In a World of Spiritual Options,1 where I present twenty arguments for the Christian faith. Some of that information will come out naturally as we address the other questions in this book.)
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