When I was a kid, one of my favorite games was Clue. You might have played it. The idea was to gather up the CLUES so that you could figure out who murdered the victim. Was it Mr. Green in the library with the candlestick? Or was it Miss Scarlet in the Kitchen with the knife.
I want to run through what you might think of as clues that point to God, but more importantly, I want to get to the best clue for believing in God. It’s as close as your heart. We’ll start with this: What are some clues that point toward God?
Clue 1: The universe exists.
Then the universe had a beginning. It was not, and then it was.
Now here’s why that idea points to something like God. Everything that has a beginning has a cause. Nothing just magically pops into being. That’s a clue of God right there, isn’t it?
What’s the alternative? The alternative is that something can come from nothing
For the atheist, the existence of the Big Bang is what might be thought of as an inconvenient truth. Something or someone had to begin the universe. I believe that someone is God.
“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made”—Romans 1:20
So the existence of the universe is a clue for believing, but it’s not the best one.
Clue 2: The universe supports life.
Tim Keller calls “The Cosmic Welcome Mat.” Now The Cosmic Welcome Mat refers to an oddity about our universe that physicists, secular or religious, have come to call the anthropic principle. The anthropic principle is that it seems that the universe was made to sustain human life.
There are a striking number of conditions in biology and physics that would have to be just right for life to arise from the universe.
Clue 3: We have a hunger for meaning.
This fact that we hunger for meaning—for worth—does not prove that meaning exists. But we have a hunger for food. It would be a very strange world if no such thing as food existed. We have a thirst for water. It would be a very strange world if no such thing as water existed. We have an appetite for sex. It would be a very strange universe if no such thing as sexual activity existed. We have a hunger for meaning. It strikes me that it would be strange to have a hunger for meaning in a meaningless universe. So a hunger for meaning is a clue to believe, but it’s not the best clue.
Clue 4: We believe there is a moral standard.
C.S. Lewis wrote wonderfully about arguing in his book Mere Christianity. When people are arguing, you almost never here them say, “Do what I want because I’m stronger and I can make you do it.” When we argue we actually say things like, “But it’s not fair. But it’s not right. But it’s not just.” In other words, when we argue we betray the truth that we believe there is a moral standard, and it exists quite independently of our own preferences.
If there is an “ought’ from which we argue, where do we get this “ought”? Paul says, “They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them”— Romans 2:15 (NIV).
The fact that our knowing right and wrong is baked into our universe is a very powerful clue for believing in God, but it is not the clue reason.
Clue 5: The explosion of the early church
Another clue that points to God is what we might call the second Big Bang: the explosion of the early church in the first century. How do you account for the explosion of the early church? There were many messianic movements in Israel around Jesus’ time. In every case, the would-be messiahs were executed by Rome, and that was the end of the movement. Yet as a matter of historical reality, a massive community of a radically different nature springs up virtually overnight. How do you account for that? How did a group of deeply monotheistic Jews come to worship a human being as divine virtually overnight? How did Christianity explode so rapidly with such power as to overtake the Roman Empire in such a short period of time?
Virtually all the disciples and early leaders in the early church died for their faith that Jesus was the Messiah, and that he rose from the dead. People simply do not die for what they know to be a lie. They might try to profit from a lie. They don’t sacrifice their lives for it. So the explosion of the early church is a powerful clue to believe in God, but it’s not the best clue.
Clue 6 (the best Clue): Jesus shines through into our world.
The best reason to believe in God’s existence—the main reason—is not an argument; it’s a Person. I don’t have a better way of putting it than this: Jesus comes shining through in strange places and unexpected ways.
It happened one day to a murderous, self-righteous Pharisee named Saul; to a scandalized, isolated tax collector named Zacchaeus; to a humiliated lawyer named Charles Colson; to a humble, little activist named Mother Teresa; to a little boy named Dallas Willard, who lost his mother when he was two years old; to a janitor with Tourette syndrome named Carman. Jesus comes shining through. In places of enormous human despair, gloom, and loneliness, through the unmatched beauty of Jesus’ life, through the unrivaled brilliance of his teaching, the Man on the Cross calls out for us to join him once more. The Man of Sorrows meets people in their tears in ways no one else can. In the strangest places and most unexpected ways, the best reason to believe in God has a face and a name. Jesus comes shining through.
Impact of Jesus
How do you explain the impact of Jesus’ life on this world? Sometimes he comes through Christianity; sometimes he comes in spite of Christianity.
When we think of Christians, we often think of a religion or a subculture or organizations or certain beliefs, but knowing Jesus is entering into the reality of an interactive relationship with a living God. Anyone can have this. Having an actual relationship with Jesus begins with humbling yourself. This is what God said through the prophet Isaiah:
“But this is the One to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit who trembles at my Word”—Isaiah 66:2
How have you humbled yourself because you believe God exists?
To listen to the whole message click here.