“I don’t believe in God, or religion, or any of that stuff because there’s no evidence for it!”
How many times have you heard that one?
Well, that’s about all the introduction that today’s post needs. Here are five powerful pieces of evidence to believe in the Christian God.
1. Irreducible complexity in nature
Michael Behe, in his 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box defined irreducible complexity this way:
“a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”
Think of a mouse trap. If you took any part of it away, it would stop working. Literally every piece of the mouse trap is crucial to the function of the mouse trap.
Therefore, that mouse trap is useless, unless it comes exactly the way that it is, fully formed, as is. The only way you can possibly do that is by building it.
In other words, the mouse trap is irreducibly complex. Many, many structures in the biological world are just like this, irreducibly complex. That is, they are delicate systems that will cease to function if you change them in any significant way.
Aside from the fact that this strongly implies that these structures are designed with a purpose, what it demonstrates is that they have to be fully formed, as they are.
The question is then, how could such structures possibly evolve?
The answer is they couldn’t. This isn’t complicated stuff people. Evolution has no answer to the problem of irreducible complexity in nature. Not for want of trying I have to say. Consider a piece in 2005 which claims this:
“growing phylogenetic evidence citing as many as 40 independent origins of evolution of the eye has collapsed the irreducible complexity of the visual organ”
However, it’s really important to understand that this is just a sweeping claim with no empirical basis (no observational evidence). The first and most important term in the above phrase is “phylogenetic“. A phylogenetic tree is a theorised reconstruction of the ancestry of a group of organisms or biological systems. In human language it is a completely theoretical construction of an evolutionary tree that tries to explain the evolutionary history of a group of living things (which, for the record, assumes evolution is true).
A phylogenetic tree is by definition purely theoretical.
A couple of things I am certain of:
- There are absolutely no systematic, functional, stepwise examples that show how the human eye (for example) has evolved in a step-wise fashion from either some ‘simpler’ organ, or even from some other organ that had a different function
- Even if you could demonstrate point 1, it still would not prove that it actually happened in nature
The fact is irreducible complexity is everywhere, absolutely everywhere. The evolutionist (eventually) needs to be able to demonstrate, at least in theory, how utterly every solitary example of irreducible complexity can have formed in some step-wise fashion, whether it is from less functional predecessors, or from some organ which originally served a different function. Which is something that, despite the grandiose claims, has not been demonstrated for a single one.
Irreducible complexity is one of the most enduring and powerful arguments for Intelligent Design in nature. It does not prove that God created the world in six days, but it is perhaps some of the most compelling evidence God created the world, and life did not evolve.
2. The moral argument for God
- There are objective moral facts.
- God provides the best explanation of the existence of objective moral facts.
- Therefore, (probably) God exists.
The moral argument for God – Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy
Rape is wrong. It is not a matter of opinion. Nobody just decided one day that rape was wrong, and then everyone believed it. Even if there were no humans on earth, it would still be wrong. The very concept of rape is morally wrong.
It is just true. Just like 1 + 1 = 2.
Even if there are people in the world who think rape is OK, that doesn’t mean it is. It’s a universal, objective moral law. Those who accept it are moral, those who don’t are immoral.
This is what is meant by ‘objective’. It’s not something we get to decide, it’s just a fundamental truth of the universe. There is such a thing as objective moral facts.
That’s it in a nutshell. The only real response to the moral argument for God is to deny objective moral facts and say that humans decide morality.
The most common candidates are:
- The Government
- Social consensus (a democracy)
- Minimising harm (utilitarianism)
The problem with each of these is that, first of all, whether it’s the Government, or the populous, or an Emperor, they all rely on human wisdom to decide what’s right and wrong.
I think we can all agree that this is, at best, a dangerous way to think.
Look, it’s really convenient to be an atheist, and to live in a peaceful, democratic society with freedom and law and justice and have the right to say that you think that humans decide on morality. However, it does not take a lot of deep thinking to realise how quickly the situation could get out of hand if this were actually true.
Whilst humans can be remarkably altruistic (because they’re made in the image of God), they can also be notoriously selfish (because they are sinners). Slavery was once legal in America (it’s still legal and practised in many other places in the world today). Ritual human sacrifice was commonplace in many ancient societies (like the Aztecs). Abortion is legal today in most of the west… it is literally legal to kill a child in the womb, in the peaceful, enlightened, modern Western Civilisation, and most people in the West think this OK.
Even if you could say that morality is defined by people, you then have to show why any one person needs to obey the moral rules of everyone else. Even if we ‘evolved’ morality, that does not mean we have to act morally. There’s no ultimate reason why, there’s only reasons of convenience… but then all that means is we should be moral when it suits us, and we can be completely immoral if we know we can get away with it (which is exactly how many people behave).
The fact is that the majority of humans know deep down that there are some things which are just morally wrong. It’s not because ‘everyone says so’ or because ‘the Government says so’. Even when people do immoral things, most of the time they know they’re doing the wrong thing, but they do it anyway.
More importantly, is that there really only needs to be one single example of a perfectly objective moral fact. There are many more than one, but one is all you need.
If there is even one thing which we can agree is inexcusable, then it’s enough to say this:
If there is at least one, undeniably objective moral value, then based on the moral argument given above, it follows that God (probably) exists.
Make no mistake, many people in the world want morality to be subjective, but it isn’t. Morality is objective, there is a moral law that is higher than human authority, and this is extremely strong evidence that God (the moral law maker) exists.
3. The facts of History Surrounding Jesus Christ
The five points here are concrete historical fact. Challenged only by a small minority of scholars (because there’s always a few isn’t there?).
I) The death of Christ
Christ was crucified under the rule of Roman Governor of Jerusalem Pontius Pilate. He was crucified by Romans, who would’ve taken His place if they didn’t kill Him. His legs were not broken because the men saw that He was definitely, absolutely stone cold dead.
There is no record of a single individual in Roman history who survived a crucifixion, except possibly one special case (hint: it was not Jesus Christ).
Roman Soldiers would have been killed in the place of their victims, if their victims did not die.
II) The empty tomb
After Christ was crucified, His body was taken by Jewish member of the Sanhedrin Joseph of Arimathea and buried in an expensive tomb. As soon as He was buried the Romans were ordered to roll and enormous stone in front of the tomb and stand guard.
Three days later the tomb was found empty and the stone had been rolled away. So evident is this fact that the Jewish leaders paid enormous bribes to the soldiers to lie and tell people the body had been stolen by Jesus followers.
III) The resurrection appearances
Well over 500 hundred individuals claimed to have seen the risen Christ fully alive and well over a period of 40 or so days following His crucifixion.
Many of these occasions were large groups of people altogether witnessing Him, speaking to him, touching him, watching Him eat food and all sorts of other things.
Even those who initially didn’t believe it was Jesus were convinced by Him after talking to Him and seeing Him prove to them who He was.
Feel free to off-handedly explain over 500 resurrection appearances as ‘hallucinations’ if you like but… yeeeeeeah…
IV) The conversion of James and Paul
If it’s not enough that hundreds of Christ’s followers testified to having seen the risen Christ in the flesh after He was crucified, consider also these two men.
Paul was a Christian persecutor. When Stephen, the first apostle of Christ to be martyred, was martyred Paul said this was a ‘good thing’! (wow). He was on a mission to Damascus to arrest and hopefully kill even more Christians when He encountered the risen Jesus Christ himself, and instantly converted to Christianity (because when Christ appears to you in a blinding white light… that’s what happens) to become one its most powerful and effective missionaries.
Paul eventually died believing Jesus was God, in fact he died because he believed Jesus Christ was God…
James was Jesus Christ’s half-brother (same mum, different dad, because y’know… Son of God)
James was originally a skeptic of Jesus Christ (wouldn’t you be skeptical if you’re brother said He was God?). James too saw the risen Christ and also converted to Christianity, and also died believing and defending its truth.
The point here is… if you were alive, and saw Christ killed with your own eyes… then you would not die for Christianity unless you also saw Jesus Christ alive again, after His death.
This is not the same as being indoctrinated from birth under pressure and rough treatment in order to become a suicide bomber or something like that.
If you absolutely knew for certain that Christ was not God, then you absolutely do not put yourself in danger, or risk death, telling the world that He was God.
V) The explosion of Christianity despite intense persecution
The four above points converge on a stunning truth. Christianity exploded in the first century, like one of those fire works that pops, then pops again, then makes little sparkles and crackly noises as it falls down out of the sky.
On the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached in front of all the people in Jerusalem, thousands of them became Christians that very day. The apostles told them that Christ had risen from the dead and He was God and that they (the apostles) had seen Him with their own eyes.
From here Christianity spread like wildfire, mostly through the efforts of Paul of Tarsus, and then eventually when Christianity was institutionalised by Emperor Constantine.
When you consider the fact that, during certain periods, Christians were being systematically persecuted and subjugated by the Governing powers, makes this all the more incredible. No one became a Christian unless they were absolutely convinced and transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, because they knew what was going to happen when they did… no one.
But Christianity grew.
The persecution was unbearable, but the evidence was undeniable. – your’s truly
4. The Bible
The Bible is 66 books, Authored by over 40 individuals.
These individuals came from a large variety of professions, cultural environments, physical locations, time periods, economic conditions etc.
Moses was the adopted son of a princess, who turned runaway, turned prophet, turned freedom fighter, turned leader of Israel. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible (except that little bit at the end where someone wrote about his death).
David was the greatest King in Israel’s (and possibly the world’s) history. He was a fierce and blood thirsty warrior, musician, King, songwriter… and adulterer and murderer. He wrote over half of the Psalms.
Luke was probably a non-Jew, he was a doctor and historian who wrote one the highest quality pieces of historical/biographical scholarship in all antiquity – the Gospel of Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.
Paul was a well-educated Jewish religious leader who saw the risen Christ and converted to Christianity halfway through a campaign to systematically hunt down, arrest and kill as many Christians as possible. Paul wrote over half of the New Testament, and the second half of the book of Acts is almost completely focussed on his missionary journeys.
The Bible was written over a period of at least 4000 years, much of it by individuals who would never have seen any of the other books that are in the Bible for themselves.
Despite this it never contradicts itself (though some try to argue that it does). The Bible has a consistent theme regarding who God is (the all-powerful sovereign creator), and His plan (the salvation of humanity from its own mistakes) and interaction with the world and His people the Israelites (through direct revelation, miracles, scripture and his literally taking bodily form on earth to bear the burden of the sins of the world).
The Bible contains absolutely stunning examples of future knowledge of the world. Popular examples include foreknowledge of the fall of the Babylonian empire, foreknowledge of the rise of the Greek, Roman and Persian empires, all of the events foretelling Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, and many others.
The Bible has a very convincing, simple(ish), generalisable, believable explanation for pretty much the whole world:
- How we came to be – God created us, from nothing
- Why we came to be – To worship, honour and give glory to almighty God
- Why the world is such a shit-hole – Because we rebelled against God and broke His perfect law
- What our purpose is – To reconcile ourselves to God through faith in Jesus Christ, and tell others to do the same
- What the future holds – Good news for believers, bad news for non-believers
- What’s good – God
- What’s bad – Sin and evil and satan
- History – The Bible is true history
- Science – Science is not in conflict with the Bible
And ton’s of other stuff. The Bible makes sense of creation, it makes sense of the human condition, it gives us a hope and a purpose.
The Bible is unparalleled in its historical reliability. It is considered the primary authority surrounding the life and events during and after the time of Christ.
It has been very reliably transmitted over thousands of years to the point where virtually all of the errors it contains are knowable, and trivial (they don’t significantly alter the meaning of the text).
Note: As older and older texts get found (like the dead sea scrolls) historians can compare recent copies with ancient ones, and when they do they find stunning consistency in the biblical texts. It is simply irrational to deny the historical reliability of the Bible, especially the New Testament.
There is nothing like the Bible, anywhere else in all of the literature in all of history from the earliest ancient empires until now.
5. Salvation’s Transforming Power
Ok I left this one till last because I do personally consider it subordinate to the other points above, in the context of evidence for God, but it still matters. It matters enough to be on this list.
Shortly after giving my life to Christ, I remember one day very clearly. In a moment of clarity, which was almost instantaneous, I went from being a daily pornography consumer, to just thinking to myself “man this is really bad I can’t look at this stuff”… I’ve never looked at any of it since, not once.
Some might call that miraculous. Maybe it was maybe it wasn’t. But there is no doubt that it was because I chose Jesus Christ, and said no my impulses.
There are many, many other stories much more impressive than mine.
The book of Acts – the conversion of Paul
When I ask people why they believe in God and they respond with something like “because I feel it is true in my heart” then I’m usually quick to respond that this is just as valid for anyone who has ever believed in any other god for the same reason.
If the only reason you believe is because it ‘feels true’, then what difference really is there between you and a buddhist, or Hindu or a Muslim? Many of them would say the same thing.
Christianity is the only religion where the life changing power of Jesus Christ can also be corroborated by the 4 points raised above this one. Your transforming testimony is validated by insurmountable evidence that God is real, and the Bible is His Word.
Jesus Christ can transform a believer’s life and turn anyone completely around. He can convict you of all sin, forgive you of all sin, save you from sin, and change your heart completely. More importantly though is that He does so because He really exists and really is the one true God. We know He really exists because of all the other evidence including (but definitely not limited to):
- the eye witnesses to the resurrection
- the blatantly obvious evidence of ‘irreducible complexity’ and design in nature, so much so that we are “without excuse”
- the existence of our own conscience, a testament that objective morals truly exist.
Well that’s it for another post.
Thanks so much for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed it. Of course remember if you liked this and want to learn more about the truth of God’s Word and be “ready to give a defense”, then make sure you subscribe to my mailing list and of course, if you know someone in particular who could benefit from anything you’ve read today, then make sure you tell them about this post.
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