Burden of Proof: Does God Exist?
Often the debate between the Theist and the Atheist revolves around proving whether or not God exists. The fact is that there is no irrefutable evidence to support either claim. In fact, Bertrand Russell the famed Philosopher, Mathematician and Atheist stated “I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God” (Russell 85). In agreement with Russell, I would also include that there is not a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is a God. In fact I am more convinced that God, in his brilliance, has set it up that way. The more we study God, as he is presented within the Bible, the more it becomes clear that he is not interested in presenting undeniable proof of his existence. We see evidence that if man is unwilling to believe in God then God is unwilling to reveal himself to man. In regarding non-belief, consider the response Jesus gave in his parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus when he said,
If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead. (Luke 16:31, ESV)
In saying “Moses and the Prophets” Jesus was appealing to the scriptures as provision enough for evidence. In the same reasoning against non-belief, the Apostle Paul appeals to creation in saying,
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. (Romans 1:20, ESV)
In short, we have all of creation to observe and conclude that there is a God. Additionally this God has revealed himself to us within the Bible and even identified himself specifically in Jesus Christ.
The question then becomes why would God set it up this way? Why not just prove himself if he really exists and put the argument to rest? The answer is found in the philosophy of love. If God gave irrefutable proof of himself we would be forced to believe. We would not have an option to deny his existence and therefore we would have no reason to trust, or more commonly stated ‘have faith’. Ultimately we could never know if we really loved him. We would be nothing more than servants to a creator when what he really wants are children who love him. Not because they are forced but because they want to, as children who recognize him in all the evidence before them and decisively choose to trust him with their life and their love.
There is a burden of proof in the argument but it is not in proving whether or not God exists. It is whether there is enough evidence that makes it logical to believe that God exists. God trusts that our logical reasoning of the evidence surrounding us will lead to the conclusion that things were created by a supreme being and not just a result of random chance. Christianity is a theistic worldview founded on factual evidence that concludes there is a supernatural deity and that the Bible is the most reliable testimony to reveal the identity of that deity as Jesus Christ.
Russell, Bertrand, and Al Seckel. Bertrand Russell on God and Religion. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1986. Print.