I have just finished listening to a talk in which Bertrand Russell, the atheistic philosopher and commentator in the last century, was asked what he would say if he found himself standing before the God in whom he did not believe. Bertrand answered: ‘I would say to him that I needed more evidence’. Just how much evidence is there for the existence of God as revealed in the Gospels and the person of Jesus Christ?
We can point to the miracle of creation itself, not just in its beauty, extraordinary precision and detail, which speaks of a loving creator, but the scientific improbability of it all happening randomly by chance which speaks of design and purpose.
We can point to conscience which helps us to distinguish between right and wrong, make emotional responses and act intuitively. We are more than just physical beings, with the ability to feel, sense and be moved in our response to the world around us.
We can point to the historicity of the Gospels as reliable documents – acknowledged by secular historians as being more reliable than any other form of historical writing. We can point to the evidence for the life and resurrection of Jesus: the flow of blood and water confirming death, the historical evidence for the life and death of Jesus, the immediate rise of the Christian faith, the continued growth of the church to now being 2.2 billion – roughly a third of the population.
Most of all, we can point to our own experience of our ongoing personal relationship with Jesus. Our own testimony and walk of faith. There is rather more evidence than we might care to imagine. Perhaps a more important question is: Do we really want there to be a God in the first place. Another well-known atheist, Richard Dawkins, in a different debate made the point that he did not want there to be a world defined by God – it would not fit his construct and would require a response.
Therein lies the difference between a Russell or a Dawkins and Job. Job has spent the last 39 chapters asking for evidence of God’s goodness, love and purpose in his suffering. But Job is willing for there to exist a sovereign, loving God and all too happy to surrender. Here, he is happily silenced into faith.. Not everyone is willing to cede control to a greater power and that perhaps is why they remain an atheist.
Pray for those you know who are atheists to see the evidence and have faith.