“If God exists why doesn’t he prove it?” It’s one of the big apologetic questions and we’ve touched on it a little as we’ve looked at the question “Who is God?”
I wanted to share a few more jotted thoughts on the question here and particularly on the question of evidence.Christians believe in an infinite, personal, creator God. We believe that God is known through revelation. We sometimes refer to these foundational beliefs as presuppositions. Everyone starts with presuppositions and those foundational beliefs will shape our world view and will affect how we assess and understand the evidence put in front of us.
What sort of evidence would you expect for an infinite, personal, creator God?
– If God is real – He himself will produce the evidence -that’s one of the reasons why we say that we need revelation
– We would expect evidence that reflects his character -that he is infinite, good, a person
Creation as evidence
The Bible says that creation itself is one way that God speaks, shows up, provides evidence
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.”
“18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
The evidence is presented -a vast, ordered, beautiful Universe. Note, it is vast and seemingly unmeasurable but not infinite, it stretches back in time but is not eternal. It points us outwards to the one who is eternal and infinite.
The debate/dispute over this evidence
There are other explanations for the existence of the Universe – most notably that it has evolved without God’s involvement.
All presuppositions/foundational beliefs have to give an account for infinity and eternity. There are a few people who suggest that the Universe itself is infinite and eternal -but generally speaking it is accepted that there was some form of start point.
Nb this is a response that all Christians are likely to agree with
There are two other responses
Response 2 – Old Earth Creationists
- That bearing in mind the initial response above, an evolutionary account does not necessarily contradict the Biblical account of Creation -God can work through evolutionary process but actually the existence of a personal God best explains evolutionary processes
You can find out more about this approach in
God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, John C. Lennox, Lion UK, Updated edition (September 2009)
God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, John C. Lennox, Lion UK, 1st edition (1 September 2011)
Science and Religion, Unnatural Enemies, Kirsten Birkett, Matthias Media (1997)
Response 3 – Young Earth Creationism
Argues that a young dating of the earth with creation having taken place over 7 24 hour days provides the best explanation for why we are here.
NB – This is my personal view
To investigate this position and review how Young Earth Creationists understand and interpret the evidence start with https://answersingenesis.org/
God’s Providence as evidence
Under God’s providence we include God acting and speaking in history in order to sustain his creation, have a relationship with people, protect and care for his people, judge sin.
So primarily the evidence is concerned with the Bible as a reliable historical record of God’s acts. This will include things like supporting data including the histories stories and beliefs of other peoples around the world independent of the Bible
For example the vast number of ancient “Flood myths” from all around the World. Now some of them may have a common source -e.g. the Mesopotamian stories may have spread around the Middlea and Near East and into India and some flood stories are possible derivations of the Biblical account brought by missionaries. However there are other flood accounts that appear to have developed quite independently such as the South American ones. Such accounts suggest a common historical memory across humanity.
Then there are a variety of tablets and murals with inscriptions and pictures describing and depicting people and events also described in the Bible.
The Tel Dan Stele -an inscription referencing the House of David
-The Memeptah Stele -Egyptian with the first known reference to Israel (circa 1209 BC)
– The Mesha Stele – Moabite describing battles with the house of Omri (Circa 850 BC)
– The Lachish Relief (C 700 BC) -portrays the Assyrian siege of Lachish in Judea
There are also the overall discoveries of large scale archaeological excavations such as that at Jericho where the discoveries match the description of the City’s fall found in Joshua – see e.g. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/search.aspx?q=jericho&comment=true for a variety of articles
To find out more about the archaeological evidence relating to the Old Testament check out http://www.biblearchaeology.org/
See also On the Reliability of the Old Testament, KA Kitchen, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids (2003)
Jesus as evidence
In the New Testament, Jesus himself is presented as the one who reveals God.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God… So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation”
The answer to the question “If God exists why doesn’t he show up and prove it” is seen most fully in Jesus. In Jesus, God shows up. He heals the sick, raises the dead, casts out demons. Ultimately it is seen in his death and resurrection. The ultimate evidence not just for god’s existence but his character – The God who is Love is seen at Calvary.
There are external references to Jesus and Christianity in other external works such as Tacitus and Josephus but the primary source of information is the New Testamenr.
Can the New Testament be trusted as reliable? Does it provide us with eye witness accounts of what Jesus did and said?
JAT Robinson, Redating the New Testament provides a helpful and insightful argument for why the books of the NT would have been written and in circulation prior to AD 70 (or within the lifetime of Jesus and his contemporaries).
NT Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, SPCK – provides a helpful discussion of why the resurrection accounts are trustworthy
FF Bruce, The New Testament Documents, Are the reliable? And Craig Blomberg, The historical Reliability of the New Testament are books which look at the historical credibility of the Gospels, Epistles and Revelation.
When discussing the existence of God, the truth claims of Christianity and whether Jesus really lived, died and rose again, we have a sizeable body of evidence that has been examined, scrutinised and challenged over the years. I have personally found that the evidence holds good. I have found that the God of the bible is real, trustworthy and worthy of worship.
 Psalm 19:1-2
 Romans 1: 18-20.
 John 1:1-14
 John 14:6-7
 Colossians 1:15