The debate over whether we can prove God’s existence rages on, as evidenced by this post by Frank Viola, and the subsequent discussion in the Comments.
The following is a guest post written by The Rev. Dr. Gordon Moyes A.C. that, in my opinion, presents some very convincing “proofs” with which any open-minded seeker after Truth must contend. *the original article can be found here.
One of the marks of contemporary intellectual pursuit is that we Westerners hold as absolute, nothing. Everything is relative, such only to how I feel about it. All authority systems are struck down or merely tolerated. The post-modernism of our era has left us without any authority or certainty. Belief is in everything or nothing. Those who stand for nothing, end up falling for anything.
I find [Christian] faith includes ten irrefutable proofs about Jesus. They are a good starting point for anyone interested in the [basis] of our faith.
1.The Fact That Jesus Christ Changes Lives
No one remains the same after hearing the account of a person who once despised the ways of God, but who is now living a chaste and effective life following the way of Jesus Christ. The testimony of the persecuting Saul who was converted on the Damascus Rd into the crusading Paul caused people to say “the man who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Gal 1:23). You cannot argue against the changed life.
So in turn the dissolute Augustine was changed into the greatest logical and moral mind of the next thousand years. So the foppish Francis of Assisi was changed into the great church reformer and servant of the poor. So the meticulous legally minded Catholic monk Martin Luther became the Protestant proclaimer of God’s grace through faith rather than of works.
So the frightened failure of an Anglican missionary John Wesley became the unbelievably successful evangelist who civilised Britain’s social conscience. So President Nixon’s convicted White House hatchet-man Charles Colson was converted to become the great servant of prisoners and penal reformer of the twentieth century.
2. The Fact Of Jesus’ Great Spiritual Insight
The testimony is that the best of mankind’s great spiritual thinkers do but echo the teachings of Jesus. No one has ever surpassed Him in His understanding of God or human nature, and where they have differed from Him they are the poorer. The greatest of spiritual insight simply stands beside Pilate, who then says humbly, “Behold the man!” (Jn 19: 5)
3. The Fact Of The Existence Of The Church
Testimony to Jesus Christ lies in the existence of the Church. One of the world’s most enduring institutions with two billion members today came into being overthrowing the mightiest Empire ever and every persecutor since from Nero to Joseph Stalin, from Saladin to Mao Tse Tung.
They all have gone to their graves with the Church stronger than before, irrefutable testimony to Jesus Christ.
4. The Fact Of The Date On Our Calendar
Testimony to Jesus Christ lies in the date on our calendar. Some superhuman power took the normal march of time and broke it into two, so that everything that happened before his birth is referred to as B.C., Before Christ, and everything since as A.D., Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. Others have tried to do that and failed. Only the power of Jesus Christ has prevailed. When the world pauses every Sunday from work it is a silent testimony to the day of His resurrection, as the year is a testimony to His birth.
Others have tried to do that and failed. The Romans tried to date everything from the foundation of Rome; the Jews from the date of creation; the Muslims from Muhammad’s flight from Mecca; the Chinese from Emperor Huang-Ti; and countless dictators from their ascension to power. But all have failed.
Only the power of Jesus Christ has prevailed, irrefutable testimony to His person. When the world pauses every Sunday from work it is a silent testimony to the day of His resurrection as the year is a testimony to His birth.
These testimonies: from changed lives; spiritual insight; the existence of the church; to the very day and date on our calendar are powerful in their effect, separately and cumulatively.
But the apostle John saw deeper testimonies to Jesus. John recounts accurately a powerful address that Jesus directed toward some religious leaders who had questioned His authority and activities. The situation was tense. Jesus was confronted by angry religious leaders who disputed His right to heal a man on the Sabbath. They did not want to believe in Jesus. They were bitter, rejecting, negative, disbelieving critics! They were “all the more determined to kill Jesus for not only had He broken the Sabbath law, but He had said that God was His own Father and in this way had made Himself equal with God” (Jn 5:18).
They did not want to accept the testimony about Jesus. Jesus does not testify on His own behalf, for under the Law that was prohibited. “If I testify on my own behalf what I say is not accepted as real proof” (Jn 5:31). There was a need for external evidence, a supportive witness, an independent confirmation, a tangible verification. So Jesus mentions four testimonies to Himself:
5. The Fact Of The Testimony Of God The Father (Jn 5:30-32, 37-38)
He starts with the testimony of God the Father. “There is Someone else who testifies on my behalf and I know what He says about Me is true” (Jn 5:32). This was the voice of God heard by Jesus at His baptism: “This is my own dear Son with whom I am pleased” (Mt 4:17). For Jesus Himself that testimony was irrefutable. “The Father who sent me, also testifies on my behalf. You have never heard His voice or seen His face, and you do not keep His message in your hearts, for you do not believe in the One whom He sent” (Jn 5:37-38).
6. The Fact Of The Testimony Of John The Baptist (Jn 5:33-35)
John the Baptist was the man of God who turned all of Jerusalem toward God. He had baptised Jesus, and recognised Jesus as the Hope of Israel. Jesus pointed to John and said: “John is the one to whom you sent your messengers and He spoke on behalf of the truth” (Jn 5:33). They had recognised John to be a prophet of God, speaking of baptism for the remission of sin, but they refused to accept John’s testimony to Jesus: “There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! [...] I have seen it and I tell you that He is the Son of God” (Jn 1:29-34).
John had spoken the truth about Jesus, but they did not accept his uncomfortable truths. John’s testimony was clear and could open their eyes to what God was doing. “It is not that I must have a man’s witness; I say this only in order that you may be saved” (Jn 5:34).
John paid a heavy price for his testimony. Jesus says: “John was like a lamp, burning and shining, and you were willing for a while to enjoy his light” (Jn 5:35). Jesus spoke in the past tense: “John was like a lamp, burning and shining”. John was already silenced in prison, perhaps already beheaded. But his shining testimony had been made. There was a price for testimony: the burning lamp had been extinguished.
7. The Fact Of The Testimony Of The Deeds Of Jesus (Jn 5:36)
Jesus spoke of another testimony to Himself: “But I have a witness on my behalf which is even greater than the witness that John gave: what I do, that is, the deeds my Father gave me to do, these speak on my behalf and show that the Father has sent me” (Jn 5:36). Jesus contrasted Himself with the religious leaders: “But I have a witness”. Jesus was referring to His miracles. John always quoted Jesus referring to His miracles as “signs”
His deeds show to all their divine origin and point to Jesus as God’s son. “The deeds my Father gave me to do, these speak on my behalf and show that the Father has sent me” (Jn 5:36).
That was the meaning behind the first miracle at the wedding at Cana of Galilee: those who knew the water had been turned into wine believed in Jesus as the one who could give new life. The miracle was a sign or testimony to Jesus. So with the healing of the government official’s son who begged Jesus to make the boy well and then discovered that back in Capernaum the boy had recovered at the very hour Jesus had spoken. That was a testimony to Jesus who had the power that transcended time and space.
That was the meaning of the healing of the cripple at the Pool of Bethesda. The miracle was obvious. It was a testimony to Jesus. Eleven times Jesus referred to his miracles as signs from God. “The deeds My Father gave Me to do, these speak on My behalf and show that the Father has sent Me” (Jn 5:36).
8. The Fact Of The Testimony Of The Scriptures (Jn 5:39-47)
The fourth testimony cut at the very heart of the main source of pride for those religious leaders: the scriptures they studied were a testimony to Him. “You study the scriptures because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very scriptures speak about me! Yet you are not willing to come to me in order to have life!” (Jn 5:39-40)
They studied the scriptures but they had not caught the message of life they contained. They knew the scriptures possessed the power to lead a person to eternal life, but they had not caught the message of life they contained. They could tell how many verses there were in every book of the Old Testament, how many letters in every book, which verses had all the letters of the alphabet, which verse was the middle one in every book, and so on.
Yet in learning all this useless information they had missed the main message. They had missed the testimony to the coming Messiah to be born in Bethlehem, of a virgin, whose name would be Jesus and who would save His people from their sins. They missed it!
How like liberal theologians today who can give the most detailed information of the usage of words in the first century, who can describe the variations in the New Testament text, who can demythologise the text and who can make a computer analysis of Paul’s conjunctions, but who miss the testimony of the scriptures to Jesus as both Lord and Saviour!
Jesus could also say of them: “You study the scriptures because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very scriptures speak about Me! Yet you are not willing to come to Me in order to have life!” (Jn 5:39-40)
That was especially true of the testimony of the greatest writer of scripture, the incomparable leader and lawgiver Moses. He bore witness to Jesus and the Jewish leaders stood condemned before God for their refusal to believe in Jesus. “Do not think however that I am the one who will accuse you to My Father. Moses, in whom you have put your hope is the very one who will accuse you. If you had really believed Moses, you would have believed Me, because he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?” (Jn 5:45-57)
His logic is inescapable. If they were only to catch the meaning of the scriptures, they would see the scriptures bearing irrefutable testimony to Jesus as God’s Son.
9. The Fact Of The Impact Of The Holy Spirit
This is the special testimony given only to Christians: the testimony of the Holy Spirit. As He was to say to the disciples in the Upper Room just before his death: “The Helper will come – the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God and who comes from the Father. I will send Him to you from the Father and He will speak about Me” (Jn 15:26).
10. The Fact Of Your Own Empirical Experience
Try Jesus for yourself.
Jesus concluded His teachings about the four testimonies and He did so with deep sadness. It permeated His comment: “Yet you are not willing to come to Me in order to have life” (Jn 5:40). Negative, resistant, incredulous people refuse the testimony of God to His Son Jesus Christ. The testimony is irrefutable!
It is there in personal testimony, in the insight of spiritual giants, in the existence of the Church, in the evidence of Sunday, in the date on our calendar, in the impact of the early Church. But most of all it is in the testimony of God the Father to His Son Jesus Christ, in the testimony of John the Baptist, of the miraculous deeds of Jesus, of the testimony of the scriptures and especially of Moses who pointed to His coming. The two great subjective tests are to discover the power of Jesus Christ through His Spirit within you and in inviting Jesus Christ into your life to change you!
Jesus invites you to believe in Him. He invites you with, “come to Me in order to have life” (Jn 5:40). Why not believe and come and find life?