21st August 2011

God And The Tooth Fairy

God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV UK)

Some atheists propose that belief in God is no different from believing in the tooth fairy, Peter Pan, Santa Claus or unicorns. I see, however, a great difference between believing in God and believing in such childhood fantasies as the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

For one thing, once children mature into adulthood, they don’t continue to believe in them. On their own, children grow to see them as imaginary. Another difference is that no adult suddenly starts believing in them. But that is not true of belief in God. Many people who have never before believed in God do come to faith as adults.

●    C. S. Lewis, the Oxford professor and world-famous author, attended the Anglican Church as a child, but became an atheist. Later in adulthood, after more experience in life, he began to believe in God and wrote several enduring bestsellers defending and explaining Christianity.
●    The popular author, Lee Strobel, abandoned atheism as an adult, eventually authoring such books such as The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for Easter.
The well-known geneticist, Francis Collins, a winner of a prize for his work on the Human Genome project, came to believe in God as an adult.
●    Alister McGrath left atheism and became a world-class theologian.
●    Not long ago a leading atheist philosopher in his 80s, Anthony Flew, began believing in God.
●    And every day countless other adults we have never heard of start believing in God. That cannot be said of the tooth fairy, Peter Pan, Santa Claus, or unicorns.

So whatever might be said about belief in God, it’s certainly not the same as believing in the tooth fairy, Peter Pan, Santa Claus or unicorns. Adults choose to believe in God because they believe God has met them in ways that defy conventional explanation. Their experience is real, regardless of human limitations in expressing or measuring it.

The truth is, God is neither discoverable nor measurable by human beings. But God does reveal himself to humanity, and he does it perfectly in Jesus Christ. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” Jesus said.

The evidence of God’s existence is in a transformed heart, a heart aligned with Jesus, turned outward in love for others instead of inward toward selfish personal indulgence. That’s a heart of faith, the faith Hebrews 11:1 calls, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

When an atheist becomes a believer, there are no scientific instruments or arguments to explain it. There is simply a new life, a life that bursts out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light. I like to think there are two kinds of atheists: those who have become believers, and those who yet will.

Heavenly Father, everything in this world of ours is set against belief in you. And yet acceptance of you and acknowledgement of your existence is the only way that makes sense. As the father of the child cried, so cry we: “Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.” In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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