By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
It is often suggested by the skeptic, that only if they could see a miracle, then they would believe in God. The implication is that there needs to be some sort of empirical verification of God in order for one to be justified in believing in God. At first glance, this seems like a reasonable request. However, when one reflects upon the biblical data, we find very quickly throughout the Old Testament that the observing of miracles is not that which transforms the heart. Indeed, after having watched countless debates between Christians and atheists, when asked: If the stars rearranged themselves so as to read: “This is God, believe in me” would you believe in God? The skeptic often retorts, “No!” It could be the case that my senses are deceiving me. Or perhaps there is a logical and natural explanation that is currently unknown to us now but will later be verified scientifically. Whether you believe it or not, skeptics have indeed responded in this fashion to such hypotheticals. So, it is evident that the issue is not simply that one needs miracles in order to believe. As we can see, throughout the history of Israel, when God acted miraculously on their behalf, those acts were met by momentary obedience and trust, which later slipped into idolatry and unbelief.
The problem for the skeptic is not that they simply need to see miracles in order to believe. Rather, the evidence sufficient for them to believe and be held responsible for their unbelief has already been given. As Romans chapter 1 has taught us, “that what can be known of God has been made known to them, because God has shown it to them through what has been made, such that they are without excuse.” We need to continually remind ourselves that the issue has never been one of empirical verification, but the suppression of the truth that “all men” have; namely, that God exists, and we are responsible to him. The knowledge of God is made evident to everyone such that they are without excuse, or as the Greek suggests in Romans 1, “they are without an apologetic” (Without a defense). Because man suppresses the truth in their unrighteousness, there is a motivation to turn a blind eye to the evidence of God all around them and within them.
The tendency in Christian apologetics is to appeal to the unusual features of the Christian faith to demonstrate its truth. That is to say, that many Christian apologists appeal to the “miraculous” (unusual features) in order to show that God has acted in history and so demands that people believe in him. While this approach is legitimate, it always must be done within the backdrop of the knowledge of God that all men already have around them and within them. So, such appeals to the “unusual features” of the Christian faith is utilized to unmask the knowledge of God they already have but are suppressing. However, the evidence for God is so inescapable that the unbeliever is not justified in his rejection of God simply because he has not witnessed and empirically verified God’s existence through the examination of miraculous events. The existence of God is established both through the miraculous and the mundane. EVERYTHING is evidence for God’s existence; it is for this reason that the unbeliever is literally “without an apologetic” or defense of his own unbelief and denial. When the unbeliever tries to escape his responsibility before his maker by suggesting that he has never seen a miracle, he seeks to hide in the comforting arms of regularity and natural law. Indeed, he appeals often to regularity and natural law to argue against the possibility or believability of the miraculous. He runs to the reliability of the mundane to fight against the reality of the miraculous. However, as I have mentioned already, both the miraculous and mundane irrefutably and inescapably evidences the very God the skeptic is trying to run away from. What the apologist must do is to point out that the skeptic does not need a miracle to know that God exists, for indeed, the skeptic knows that God exists, and this knowledge is made evident even in the skeptic’s denial.
In rationally denying the existence of God, the unbeliever is presupposing rationality and the laws of logic. However, only the Christian worldview can ground such immaterial, universal, invariant, and immutable laws of thought such as the laws of logic. The skeptic, while denying the existence of the immaterial features of reality, must presuppose the very immaterial features he rejects. For the laws of logic are not material but are necessarily required to rationally affirm or deny anything whatsoever. Since this is the case, in order to rationally affirm or deny even the mundane within human experience, one must presuppose the universal, immutable, invariant laws of logic. Such universal conceptual laws do not fit within a worldview perspective in which all of reality is reduced to matter in motion. Lastly, since the laws of logic are conceptual and universally binding, then it seems to clearly follow that those universal conceptual laws of thought which are required even to express both affirmations and denials of anything, must reflect a universal mind. Of course, the universal mind of which these universal conceptual laws reflect is the mind of the very God the skeptic denies with his mouth but must presuppose to even utter a rational sentence. Hence, the sentence: God does not exist, presupposes God just as much as the sentence: God does exist! God is even required and presupposed when the agnostic expresses the sentence: I don’t know if God exists!
The existence of God is known by all men such that they are without excuse. Furthermore, the skeptic cannot escape the revelation of this God since the existence of such a God is the necessary precondition for any affirmation or denial of any proposition. This entails that not only is the existence of God demonstrated by appeals to the miraculous, but the existence of God is demonstrated even in uttering rationally coherent sentences in affirmation or denial of his existence. Indeed, one does not require miracles in order to be justified in believing in God, rather, we are justified in believing in God since without him, one cannot rationally affirm or deny anything.