I wrote last week about Why God Won’t Go Away. There I touched very briefly on some of the developments in science over the last few decades which have strengthened the ‘God hypothesis’. Let’s say the arguments for a divine being’s existence are sound, and that the scientific evidence really does point to God as so how many claim. So what? What existential difference does it make to you and to me that such a divine being exists? But most of all, how does it substantiate Christianity in any way?
The first angle I want to take with this is not at all existential but is still quite important. Clearly, the scientific evidence and philosophical arguments for God’s existence deal a large blow to atheism. It goes much further, though. The scientific evidence for the universe having a temporal beginning at the Big Bang is pretty convincing. Combine this evidence with some very powerful philosophical arguments against an infinite regress of temporal events and it seems to me like the case against a past-eternal universe is insurmountable. This actually has huge implications. This would mean that Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, most forms of New Ageism and all forms of pantheism are false, since they are all completely predicated on an eternal universe. I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty significant! The only options left are one of the monotheistic religions or deism. Of course the point still stands that none of this proves Christianity to be true, but the first words of the Bible that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” have been thoroughly vindicated.
Yet this still doesn’t necessarily seem to effect the way I should live, or the human condition in general. If this God could just as likely be a distant, detached and disinterested deity then how does this affect me? Well, to be honest it doesn’t. However, it does have some important implications for Jesus’ claims and miracles, which certainly does affect the human condition. Let me explain.
If there is no God, then no matter what the evidence might point towards, Jesus simply cannot have risen from the dead. The chances of him being ‘medically’ dead and then three days later rising again are reduced to nothing. Literally none. Zero. Zilch. Yet if there is a God who miraculously created the universe, fine-tuned the initial conditions for intelligent life and intervened to seed the world with life, then suddenly Jesus rising again is a genuine possibility. If there is good evidence that might lead us to think that he rose from the dead, then that is most likely what happened! It’s now an imperative to investigate this Jesus and see what all the fuss is about.
Is this Creator one of those lonely, impersonal gods, or is God a tri-unity of Father, Son and Spirit, three persons who are in an eternal relationship with each other of mutual love and self-giving? Has he stayed away at a safe distance or has he been willing to come to earth, take the form a human being and live like one of us? Has he suffered excruciating pain in order to reconcile us-his enemies- to him, or has he been a selfish loner, completely uninterested in any kind of relationship?
Or think about it another way. If the evidence has established the existence of an incredibly powerful, immaterial and timeless deity, then it seems unclear at best how we would be able to know him. He would be unlike anything in the universe. C.S. Lewis made this point himself, using the analogy of Hamlet. Now the character of Hamlet has no comprehension of Shakespeare, and any philosophizing he might do still doesn’t even get him close to getting to know Shakespeare on a personal level. For that, Lewis argues, Shakespeare would have to write himself into the story and take the form of a character. So it is with Jesus. We can only know God on a personal level and to the fullest extent because he wrote himself into the human story as the man Jesus. The Bible calls Jesus the image of the invisible God in one of my all time favourite little passages. It’s worth checking out, right here.
Friends, these are the questions that must be answered in light of the evidence for God. So whilst the scientific evidence doesn’t establish Christianity, it certainly does rule out most of the other options. The evidence means that it is vital that we look deeper. And looking deeper does not come at a huge cost. With so many options ruled out by the evidence, there are only a few contenders. Of those few, only one God exists has actually made himself known to us by living like one of us, living among us and living for us. Even Islam doesn’t claim to allow for a personal knowledge of God, only to know what his abstract Will is. It’s time to come to know the God who wants to know you, and who was willing to pay the price: even death on a cross.