Can You See God?
Have you ever asked yourself whether or not Christianity is reliable? Or whether the world was created by God or is a product of a pure, random evolution? Or whether the Bible is trustworthy and Jesus really existed? And if God really exists, why can’t you see him more clearly? If asked any of these questions, you are not alone. According to recent surveys taken by Barna Research Group and USA Today , between 70-75% of the youth that attended church while growing up, leave the church after high school because they do not find any persuasive answers to these questions. College professors are five times more likely to identify themselves as atheists than the general public so many Christian students find themselves completely unprepared and unequipped to respond to anti-Christian critiques and the intellectual skepticism that confront them. Couple that with the growing, worldly temptations that a young person faces today, and an immature and rebellious heart, and you can understand why so many choose to put God on the back burner and give in to living according to Hollywood’s and Silicon Valley’s standards.
It’s true that Christianity is primarily a religion that deals with people’s hearts and emotions (Matt. 7:16-18 speaks about the two different types of trees; one representing the good, regenerated and fruitful heart and the other one the evil, natural and fruitless heart) but Christianity is also a religion that deals with our minds. We are called to search for the truth and to love God with all our mind (Matt. 22:37). As a young man, I dealt with the same intellectual questions about Christianity and I want to provide you with evidence that I found helpful in keeping my mind fully committed to the Lord. In this article, I will discuss how we can see God through creation, human cravings, human conscience, the canon of the Bible, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and the Christian experience.
1) The evidence from Creation – Ravi Zacharias, a famous apologist, once said that if you had the chance to go on the moon to explore undiscovered territories, what would you think if you came across a McDonald’s flag? You would not think that it got there by chance. Nor would you try to find theories to prove that the flag was the product of a billion years process that started from nothing. Most likely you would think that someone put that flag there, someone who in fact really loves Big Macs and is advertising to aliens, should they exist, that they should indeed try McDonalds sometime soon.
Why is it that when scientists look at this extremely complex and perfectly tuned Universe that they say we are a product of … randomness? The following are examples that question this absurdity and prove the brilliancy of God in creating this world. P. W. Davies, a British physicist concluded that the “odds against the initial conditions being suitable for the formation of stars – a necessity for planets and thus life – is one followed by at least a thousand billion billion zeroes”.
Dr. Hugh Ross, who is an expert in astronomy, offers a list of 35 facts and reasons for the fine-tuning of the Universe. One of these facts is that “unless the number of electrons is equivalent to the number of protons to an accuracy of one part in 1037 (that’s 10 followed by 37 zeros) or better, electromagnetic forces in the Universe would have so overcome gravitational forces that galaxies, stars, and planets never would have formed.”  To try to visualize how incredibly sensitive the balance of one part of 1037, Ross give the following analogy:
Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles… Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a million other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billion piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out the dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037. And this is only one of the parameters that is so delicately balanced to allow life to form.
Furthermore, when discussing the complexity of the human body and our DNA, Francis Collins, who was the head of the Human Genome Project (the guys that try to identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA and determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA!!) states that “no serious scientist would currently claim that a naturalistic explanation [=life from nowhere] for the origin of life is at hand.”
These examples are just few of the myriad of accounts from scientists who acknowledge what the Bible actually states very clearly: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1). Just look closely at the cycles of nature, the complexity of created beings and of our own human bodies and you will recognize that only a magnificent, all-knowing God could be capable of something like this. When you realize that everything that surrounds you is purposely designed to remind you of God’s creativity and his care for you, your life and actions should always humbly portray gratitude and thankfulness towards him.
2) The Cravings of human beings – On Mars Hill, the apostle Paul began his presentation of the Gospel to the Greek philosophers with the acknowledgement that they were worshipers and believers of divine, supernatural beings (gods), except that they were false gods (Acts 17). Now, where does religion and the desire to worship a supernatural being originate? Even on the most remote islands, humans are worshiping idols. Why?? Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and philosopher said that: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the creator.”
Richard Dawkins, a famous biologist and philosopher from Oxford, and other atheist scientists, try on the other hand to explain this craving of human beings to believe in God, by arguing that this concept originated with the first human beings whose children began asking questions about the origins of the world. Thus, because they didn’t have the technology and the modern explanations that we have, they came up with these mythical stories about some supernatural beings that created the universe and the things in it. “Falling in love” with that deity is a kind of “misfiring of certain data-processing’ areas of the brain,” affirms Dawkins. In other words, a simple explanation that was meant to keep intrigued children quiet, backfired and it evolved over years in a myriad of religions and supernatural myths. Dawkins’ explanations, which stem from his naturalistic materialistic worldview (a view of life that believes that the universe is a product of a pure evolution of matter, with no other external interferences), would suffice if we had not mentioned few of the plethora of examples that describe the fine-tuning of the Universe and the created world.
Furthermore, even though humans have a lot in common with the other created beings (hunger, thirst, growth, procreation), our souls seem to share much with the divine. The Bible affirms that we have been created in God’s image and He has set eternity [the divine realm] in the hearts of men (Eccl. 3:11). I had for example, numerous profound soul chats with my childhood dog, Picky, but he never seemed very interested in what I was saying and I never got more from him than a wagging of his tale. It’s true that some animals have good instincts and some very basic sort of understanding, and even design capabilities (dogs trained to guide blind people, birds who build their nests, or bees that design hives), but in fact these are not comparable to the creativity and the complexity of human capabilities. A Christian thinker stated on this issue that even though these animals have these amazing capabilities of building things, the product of their work is always the same – “no bird branches out and builds a three-bedroomed nest with lounge, kitchen and utility room! It’s always the same design.”
Consider also other different areas of life where human beings prove their ultimate superiority to any created beings, confirming the fact that we are uniquely, God-like, created beings. Think about how human beings impacted and created all sorts of art, music, culture, types of literature, philosophy, medicine, technology, mathematics, communications and so on and so on. How can someone reasonably affirm that we are just a product of nothingness, an evolved species that are just barely different than the other beings? The Bible gives the human being the dignity and the most meaningful explanation for the origin of mankind and our purpose in this world.
3) The human Conscience – how would you react if you learned that in Ethiopia there are a few remote tribes who sacrifice some of their newborns as an offering to their gods (I just read about this in a recent article)? Would you be consternated and appalled or would you be indifferent and thankful for the freedom of choice? I assume that most of you would be angry and upset and you would even consider doing something to stop this atrocity. But why? Who says that what they are doing is wrong? I bet that if you would ask any of the parents that I just described, they would tell you that this is the right thing to do in their community. Who are you to tell them that they are wrong? What is your final authority? At the end of the day, you are an imperfect human being who does not hold the absolute truth. Who decides what is ultimately right or wrong? Some of you might argue that our natural instinct plays that role. Some examples of this would be a woman who is ready to jump in front of a car to save her child, or a husband who is ready to risk his life so that he could rescue his wife from drowning.
Thus, the ethical laws that guide us are based on our instincts: if your instinct says that killing is wrong than you should abide to it. If it says that is right, than do it. However, if you follow this type of argument than how do you explain the multitude of instances when you don’t follow your instinct? Well, I have a petty example for you. We have a 2 year-old daughter who loves to wake us up at 7 o’clock in the morning. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a morning person at all. My instinct has always told me that 7 a.m. is the best time to let my body have its climactic rest. Even though Sofia calls for her mom most mornings, and even though my instinct tells me that I shouldn’t confuse our daughter by having “Tati” show up in her room when she specifically called for her mom, I know that my wife would love for me to ignore my instinct and show some sacrificial love. So, many times I do just that because I know that this is right and loving towards my wife. Hence, always following your instincts does not mean that you are doing the right thing.
Some of you might believe that society as a whole decides what is right or wrong, but this too is a very weak argument. Just think about the German society before and during the World War II. Most of them were brainwashed into the Nazi thinking. They thought that it was right for them to exterminate millions of Jews and people with handicaps! Hence, societies are formed by flawed and fallen human beings and nobody can guarantee that their moral laws are right and reasonable.
The Bible clearly states that God has the ultimate authority in deciding right and wrong, and this displayed both in His Word and on our consciences. In Romans 1:20-21 Paul states:
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
4) The Canon of the Scriptures – the Bible is the most reliable document in the whole world and in the entire history of humankind. If you ask any historian or scholar, even one who is not a Christian, what the most reliable document is in history, he will answer the Bible. This amazing document was written by 40 different men from all walks of life (shepherds, doctors, fishermen, prophets) throughout 1500 years. There are also an amazing amount of prophecies that were fulfilled throughout its writings and many miracles that nobody can explain. Just a few examples: Isaiah, who lived around 700 B.C., made a prophesy about a future king named Cyrus, who would rule Assyria and would free the Israelites from their exile in Babylon. 250 years later a guy named Cyrus came along, who did not know the God of Israel but who read about Daniel in the history books in Babylon and freed the Israelites from captivity. Another example is Isaiah 53, in which Isaiah describes very specific sufferings of the future Messiah, a description that seems perfectly similar to the sufferings of Jesus. Many critics thought that Isaiah couldn’t write this because it was such an accurate description of Jesus’ death. They argued that it had to be written by someone that witnessed His death, and then went and inserted their testimony in the book of Isaiah so that it would seem old. The surprise came however in the 1950’s when a bunch of ancient manuscripts (called the Dead Sea Scrolls, because they were found near the Dead Sea in Middle East) were discovered, among which they found a copy of Isaiah, that contained chapter 53, which was dated 200 years before Christ!!!
5) The life and ministry of Christ Jesus– Christianity exists because of Jesus Christ and because of his teachings, his life, his miracles and his fulfillments of the Old Testament prophecies. Both the internal evidences (the New Testament) and the external evidences (accounts made by non-Christian historians: Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, to mention just few) overwhelmingly support the existence of Jesus as a real person, who actually taught the things presented in the Gospels.
Furthermore, there are over 300 prophecies made in the Old Testament about the coming of Messiah, that Jesus fulfilled in his lifetime: from his birth in Bethlehem, to his death and resurrection. These prophecies about Christ were given in the Old Testament, many of which he couldn’t orchestrate by himself, for example: to be born in Bethlehem, to not have his bones crushed on the cross, or the fact that the soldiers played dice on his shirt. The chances that someone would fulfill even 8 prophecies about himself in a lifetime are 10 to the power 17 (that means 10 followed by 17 zeros!!!). Jesus proved without question to be the expected Messiah.
His message though was more than that. He claimed that He was God and his disciples came to believe it. He did not want people to believe that He was a mere teacher. He proved that He was more than that through His sinless life and resurrection: He is God. Otherwise, how can you explain the incomprehensible way in which His life affected human history? Here is how one writer describes Jesus’ impact on human history:
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family, he never went to college. He never put his foot inside a major city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself…. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away, one of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth – his coat. When he was dead he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings who ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this planet as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
Furthermore, Jesus did not just fulfill prophecies, healed people and brought along a revolutionary message, but He brought life, hope and final victory against death and its devastating effects over this universe. Through Christ’s perfect life and His death as a substitutionary atonement for the sinners who believe in Him, He made it possible for human beings to reach what they were meant to be when God created us in the first place: perfection and ultimate glorification.
6) The Christian Experience – Christianity has had the biggest moral impact on the world since its inception. There are entire societies (the American one included) that were impacted by Christian values and influence. People like Paul that were totally oblivious to the Gospel and Christ, had complete transformations. How can you explain that? Would you say that all Christians are fools? Doctors, Nobel-prize winners, academicians, scholars, lawyers, presidents of countries who became Christians and who whole-heartedly follow Him, are they all fools?
A great theologian, by the name of Dr. Harry Ironside was challenged one time to debate with an agnostic (a person who claims that there is a divine being somewhere in the Universe, but he does not believe that this being can be identified) on the issue of “Agnosticism versus Christianity”. Dr. Ironside agreed on one condition: that the agnostic first provided evidence that agnosticism was beneficial enough to defend. Dr. Ironside challenged the agnostic to bring one man and one woman who were trapped in a degraded life (crimes, prostitution, drunkenness, etc.) and prove that both of these people had been rescued from their miserable lives through embracing the philosophy of agnosticism. Dr. Ironside brought 100 men and women to the debate who had been rescued through believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The skeptic withdrew his challenge to debate Dr. Ironside.
The message of the Gospel saves and transforms people broken by sin, bringing life, hope and purpose to those who believe. The millions of lives transformed by its message throughout the world, throughout the centuries (Christ’s church), is the palpable proof that God is real. Also, only a God who is love, the God of the Bible, can be the reason why so many are ready to love their enemies to the point of death. Who else gives his life for his enemy besides the Christian who is obedient to what His Creator commanded and modeled?
If you are interested in reading more about these topics, here are some books you might enjoy: Lee Strobel – A Case for Christ, A Case for Faith, A Case for a Creator; William Lane Craig – A Reasonable Faith; Josh McDowell – Evidences that Demand a Verdict; Ken Ham – The New Answers Book; Phil Johnson – Darwin on Trial; Norman Geisler – Why I am a Christian; Timothy Keller – A Reason for God;
If you have any questions regarding Christianity and its reliability, feel free to write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
 http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/147-most-twentysomethings-put-christianity-on-the-shelf-following-spiritually-active-teen-years and http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20070807/d_churchdropout07.art.htm .
 P.C.W. Davies, Other Worlds (London: Dent, 1980), 160-161 quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 77.
 Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos (Colorado Spring, CO: NavPress, 2001), 150, 154-157.
 Ibid., 150 (emphasis mine).
 Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2006), 92.
 Andrew Christofides, Evidence for God – Seven Reasons to Believe in the Existence of God (Leominster, NZ: Day One Publications, 2010), 38. Some of the ideas presented throughout this book have their inception in this great booklet.
 A story related in Don Batten, Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, Carl Wieland, eds., The Revised & Expanded Answers Book (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2000), 19-20.