by Matt Slick
In my many discussions with atheists, I am frequently challenged to prove God exists. I can do it. I think the cosmological and transcendental arguments are proof enough, but proof is different than persuasion. Atheists just can’t, or should I say won’t, believe God exists.
They can’t find God because first of all, they aren’t looking; and second they want to avoid him. If you don’t believe me, do a test. Find an atheist chat room on the Net and offer any evidence for God you can think of. Then sit back and count the milliseconds before that evidence is attacked. You’ll notice that the longer you defend your evidence, the more fervent will be the attacks on it and, inevitably, on you. Be prepared for some mockery and ridicule. You’ll be told you’re stupid, an idiot, and that you believe in mythology. They’ve got it all figured out, but don’t worry. Their insults are just a bunch of words. Anyway, atheists make it impossible to prove God exists when they have their eyes closed, their fingers in their ears, and they’re calling you names.
Tthat is exactly what we Christians should expect. After all, the Bible tells us in Romans one that’s what will happen. Unfortunately for atheists, God isn’t found under a microscope, in front of a telescope, behind an X-ray machine, or in a sock drawer. God doesn’t bow to the arrogant whims of atheists who demand he show himself to satisfy their criteria. Instead, God is a real person, a really big and powerful person (in a celestial form, that is) who isn’t in the habit of snapping to attention when summoned by the disparaging remarks of mere mortals. The Bible says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble," (James 4:6). Atheists need to rethink their approach and shift their criteria to look for a person--not a thing. They should realize that attacking someone doesn’t encourage a relationship. In fact, it's common sense that when you attack someone, mock his character, dare him to do what you want, and insult his person, he will withdraw from you.
Let me reiterate. God, the same as any person, is not in the habit of answering the patronizing challenges of the proud. Yet, atheists treat God as though he were some kind of thing, some object to be judged, some celestial phenomena to be measured in their lab. They want to get their hands on him to dissect him, interrogate him, and satisfy their own requirements to which God should submit. Sorry, atheists, it doesn’t work that way. I mean, how can any atheist ever expect to find God with such demanding attitudes? Oh wait, I almost forgot. They don’t want to find him, so they construct excuses and ridiculous expectations to keep themselves secure in their anti-God delusion.
At this point, I’m reminded of doubting Thomas. He didn’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. He wanted something better than rumor. He wanted cold hard facts. He was a show-me kind of guy in an ancient lab coat, who wasn’t going to be taken in by wacko, emotionally unstable Jesus-followers. Here’s the account.
“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe," (John 20:24-25).
Now you’d think that Jesus would refuse Thomas’ request. But amazingly, Jesus provided what Thomas asked for.
“And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28).
Now depending on Thomas’ presuppositions, he could interpret the evidence in different ways. Maybe it was all an elaborate hoax, and that Jesus hadn’t really died but was plotting with the Jews to overthrow Roman oppression. Perhaps he was looking at the hitherto unknown twin brother of Jesus. On the other hand, maybe the man standing before him was really a holographic projection from the future. Or, it could have been that Thomas was suffering from post-traumatic-crucifixion-of-my-savior disorder. Still, there Jesus was standing right in front of him, and it was time for Thomas to make a choice.
But, I have to ask. Why did Jesus appear and grant Thomas’ request? Maybe it was because Jesus simply chose to. Or, it could be that his testimony was needed to verify for others that Jesus had risen. Perhaps it was to address future skeptics. Or, maybe it’s a little of each. Who knows for sure since we are dealing with the person of Christ and not the predictable result of flipping on a light switch.
So, why did Thomas believe? Was it because there was sufficient evidence on which to make a logical decision of faith? That sounds reasonable. After all, Thomas saw Jesus right there in front of him. He saw the holes in his hands and the wound in his side. You think that’d be enough, but maybe not. Maybe there is something more to the story. You see, it appears Thomas needed a little help. Notice, that Jesus said something very interesting after showing Thomas the facts. Actually, it was a command. Jesus said, “be not unbelieving, but believing,” (v. 27). Jesus commanded that Thomas believe after he saw the facts. Thomas obeyed and believed.
Now, what would an atheist have done?