What if God is part of an elaborate story we’ve created to comfort ourselves in the face of mortality? This is an important question, isn’t it? Because if indeed the existence of God (and everything else that is foundational to Christianity) is something we have made up, then all we do and think as Christians is an imaginary game and we are to be pitied. So how is that we can know that God is real and not a figment of our imagination? Well, I will be the first to admit that I cannot prove him to be real in some modern scientific sense. But I also think that a person is equally pressed and probably more so to prove that God is not real.
When it comes to God many ask for certainty; they want proof. But that is not the way we act in much of life. Before you sat in the chair you are sitting in today you did not demand proof that it would hold you up. Or perhaps you are married. Did you demand proof that your spouse would always love you? If you did, I would like to know how that happened! No, rarely in our daily lives (even in our biggest decisions) do we demand proof. Instead what we do is connect the dots of observation and experience, and once there is enough data that is sufficiently lined up, we accept things often with so much confidence that we are willing to risk our lives based on our conclusions, even if indeed we can't prove them to be true.
Now when I connect the dots of what is around me, I have great confidence that there is a God. For example, when I look at the universe and our place in it, I recognize that there are a number of constants such as the speed of light, gravitational pull, and nuclear forces that all must stay in very narrow bandwidths for life to exist. Even Stephen Hawking, the great physicist who is hardly a Christian, has said when looking at these constants that “The odds against a universe like ours emerging…are enormous.” He goes on to write, “I think there are clearly religious implications.”
Or take, for example, the existence of a sense of justice, the longing for love, and the concern over our own mortality that can be found in all of humanity in every generation. I suppose I could conclude that each of these are only the result of some DNA-imprint. These feelings of anger I have towards a mother who drowns her children or the love I have for the woman we are about to marry or the tears I shed when someone dies are nothing more than an impersonal chemical reactions. But for me, the existence of these human commonalities points to something beyond. Just as hunger gives an indication that food exists and sleepiness indicates that sleep exists and the desire to know and be known indicates true friendship exists, so it makes sense to me to connect the dots by saying that my hunger for justice, my longing for love, and my desire to keep on living exist because there is a God who satisfies them all.
Even my disdain of evil and all the bad that goes on in the world leads me to the conclusion that there is a righteous God who cares about what is happening in the world. You see, if there is no God--if we are but by-products of some eternal cosmic soup--then there is no such thing as objective good and evil that demands our allegiance. The napalming of children, the raping of women, and the slavery of men mean nothing. They are but part of the evolutionary course. No doubt, we wonder where God is when there is evil, but for me the only way to make sense of why I even wonder is to believe that there is a God who does not like what he sees and has built that same disdain within me.
None of the examples I have given prove there is a God or that we haven’t made up the whole God story as some sort of cathartic exercise to ease the finality of death. As I said in the beginning I don’t think that there is a way for us to prove it. But as far as I am concerned the dots line up so well they have given me great confidence in the reality of God and the hope he gives for life everlasting.