The following is a report on the practical applications of Frank Harber's upcoming book, Prove It!: Answering Life’s Most Important Question, (B & H Publishing Group, 2006).
Of all the questions people will ever consider, the most important one by far is whether or not God exists. You can make an eternal difference in their lives by helping them consider the evidence. While it’s not possible for human beings to absolutely prove anything, it is possible to build a case for God’s existence that would hold up to the legal standard – proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Here’s how you can prove God’s existence beyond a reasonable doubt:
* Explain how innate desires point to God. Point out that all humans have innate desires (natural desires experienced by everyone who has ever lived), such as to breathe, sleep, eat, acquire knowledge, socialize with other people, and experience beauty. Mention that there is a way for people to fulfill every innate desire they have. For example, if you want to sleep, you can easily satisfy that need. Realize that, since every innate desire compares to a real object, the innate desire that all people have to live forever must correspond to something that will fulfill that desire. Explain how the desire for eternity can motivate people to look beyond the temporary circumstances of this world and discover God, who enables those who trust in Him to live forever.
* Explain how conscience whispers His presence. Discuss how a sense of right and wrong (a conscience) is hardwired into all human beings. Recognize that the conscience has to come from somewhere. Understand that just as computers can’t program themselves but must be directed by programmers, people must be guided by something greater than themselves. Talk about how the conscience can’t reliably come from nature, the individual, or society. Explain how that points to a moral God who created the conscience to protect us and help us grow by affirming us when we do well and alarming us when we do something wrong.
* Explain how God’s existence is a matter of common consent. Show that, throughout history, the majority of the world’s population has maintained a belief in God’s existence. Seriously consider whether it’s possible that so many people in all times and places could have been wrong; realize that delusion on such an enormous scale is untenable. Point out that it makes the most sense to conclude that humans are hardwired to believe in God.
* Explain how cosmology show’s God’s handiwork. Talk about scientific evidence that shows how the universe was designed by an all-powerful, all-intelligent being. Discuss how science has confirmed biblical facts about the universe, such as how it is expanding and finite. Consider clues that demonstrate how the universe was not just designed, but also designed to actually benefit humankind by a being who has good intentions toward people. Point out how the cosmos displays the glory of the One who designed it.
* Explain how design is no accident. Consider the amazing complexity of all matter. Discuss evidence of design uncovered by discoveries in scientific areas such as genetics, biology, anatomy, physiology, botany, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy. Point out that, despite many attempts, humans can’t create – only God can bring something into existence from nothing. Talk about the lack of evidence in the fossil record to support evolution, and the many holes that have been found in Charles Darwin’s theory since he first proposed it. Recognize that, just as a watch can’t simply appear without having been made by a watchmaker, living creatures couldn’t have just appeared without having been designed.
* Explain how every effect has a cause. Discuss the reality that something can’t come from nothing – it must have had a cause. Understand that since science has determined the universe is not infinitely old, it must have had a beginning, and therefore, a cause. Talk about how time, space, and matter were caused, and consider how doing so would require more than just a mechanical cause like a chemical reaction. Consider how such an act would require a volitional cause, and how it’s logical that a higher being – God – created the universe for a purpose.
* Explain the evidence from contingency. Point out that everything in this world is dependent on (contingent on) other things to function. Consider how the whole world couldn’t have come about gradually because so many different components depend on each other. Show that it makes no more sense to argue that contingent things (such as hydrogen atoms) created the universe than it does to suggest that your arm made your body. Recognize that, in order for humans (who are contingent beings) to exist, there had to be a being who is not contingent and who is responsible for bringing all contingent beings into existence. Show how that points toward an eternal God.
* Explain how miracles display God’s work. Understand that if evidence indicates any miracles have taken place in the course of history – and plenty have – then God must exist, because He is the only one who could break natural laws to cause a miracle. Consider how all creatures must live within the bounds of natural laws, but God (the Creator) is beyond them and able to change them if He chooses to do so. Talk about miracles you’ve either experienced or heard about, and how they show God at work in the world.
* Explain that consciousness delivers a wake-up call to believe. Consider the lack of evidence that anything conscious can be derived from something that is not conscious. Discuss how science hasn’t been able to answer the question of how humans’ and animals’ brains – mere masses of organic matter – became conscious. Realize that, since atoms are not conscious, consciousness needed to somehow become introduced into the cosmic system. Talk about how a conscious being like God must have thought of and created consciousness.
* Explain how betting on God makes sense. Recognize that if you bet that God exists and you’re right, the payoff is enormously rewarding – eternal life with Him. Then consider what would happen if you bet that God exists, but He isn’t there – you would simply have lived a good life filled with peace. But realize that if you bet against God, the downside risk is enormous – you could spend eternity in torment, apart from Him. Discuss how it makes the most sense to choose belief in God, especially in face of all the evidence in His favor.
Adapted from Prove It!: Answering Life’s Most Important Question, copyright 2006 by Frank Harber. Published by B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tn., www.BHPublishinggroup.com.
Formerly an atheist, Frank Harber converted to Christ after doing an historical investigation meant to disprove Christianity. He serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Colleyville, Tx., and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Tx. Since he came to faith, he has evangelized more than 2 million people worldwide. He also hosts the radio program The Real Life. He and his wife, Becky, live in Fort Worth, Tx., and are the parents of twins.