Recently, I got into a Twitter battle with an atheist who had somehow gotten hold of a statement about God that I had tweeted. She immediately objected to my perspective, challenging me to prove that God even exists. With my mind racing, and realizing I was limited to 140 characters on Twitter, I replied back with what I thought to be a witty and insightful response. I said, “I’ll prove that God exists when someone proves that he doesn’t.” It didn’t work. She wasn’t impressed. And we went at it for over an hour on Twitter. 140 characters versus 140 characters. It was epic.
After giving that situation some thought, I started to ask myself, “What is the best way to prove the existence of God?” Usually when the question, “Can you prove God exists?”, is asked, people go the scientific route. They start with the Cosmological Argument (every effect has a beginning cause), then maybe the Teliological Argument (Intelligent Design) and/or the Ontological Argument (“a priori” – if one can conceive of God then he must exist).
On many levels these are good, but again they don’t get to the heart of the issue. So then, what answer gets us to the heart of the issue when someone asks, “Can you prove that God exists?” The answer should almost always be this: “I believe that God exists because he has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ.” Bam!
Why is this the best way? Because ultimately (missionally), we are not trying to get people to believe in a deistic God, or some metaphysical being who is intelligent enough to create everything from nothing. To be honest, most of us shouldn’t even try to prove that God exists from areas that we can’t explain very well (like the arguments stated above). But we can prove that God exists in the way that he wants us to: By his self-revelation in Jesus Christ. In doing this, we get to the heart of the matter of what, or better who, people must believe in. In other words, if we’re going to use a method that ends with “ological,” more often than not, it should be Christological.
So what does it look like? For starters, we must establish that Jesus is God. John 1:1-4. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
We see that the Word was there in the beginning, that it was with God, and in fact was God. Then we see that this Word was a He (vs.2), not to mention that this He/Word is responsible for all creation (vs.3). So the inevitable question becomes who is the “He” that is also called the Word in the beginning of John?
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Word became flesh is important here because it makes the “He” a human being. And we also see that this” He” was a Son. Now someone might say that this doesn’t prove that Jesus was God (is, to be exact), or that he thought he was God (these are slow pitch softballs I’m throwing at you, though they are still often used to denounce Jesus’ divinity). To that, you return to the Scriptures. There are plenty of verses to use in the gospels, I’m just staying in the gospel of John.
John 10:30-33: “’I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.'”
We see here that even the men who hated Jesus believed that he believed he was God. Fundamentally, this is why they wanted him to be crucified. Jesus’ claim to be God was so obvious that his enemies almost killed him with stones for saying it.
Next we must establish that Jesus taught that people should believe in him. There’s a number of passages to choose from but I’ll use John 3 because it is so well known.
John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
In this situation I’m not trying to give the whole gospel story necessarily. I just want to establish that God exists and that Jesus proves it. But to make it personal, I want them to know that he wants them to believe in Him.
It is a monumental task to prove that God exists, and that he created the world, when much of the data proving it relies on faith (Hebrews 11:3, 6). And while no method is foolproof, you can already see that this argument does what some of the scientific ones do not. You still have to cross the bridge of faith in Christ even if the person agrees with one or all of the 3 “ological” arguments listed above. But, by proving God’s existence through Jesus (the Christological method), it can provide the proof that they really need to begin to see that God does exist.