I couldn’t have been more surprised by something I heard coming from the backseat of our Dodge Caravan last Friday night. As the sun crept behind the Pennsylvania mountains, my four-year-old son, Carter, cried out, “It’s getting dark, and I’m afraid of the dark, Daddy! The monsters are coming out!”
At that moment, I was relieved my son couldn’t see my face in the rear-view mirror, because it was all I could do to keep from laughing.
“I will be delighted to debate you, but I have one condition. I’ll be here tomorrow with 100 people whose lives were once wretched — but now have been delivered by the grace of God.”
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Monsters. My first thought was to wonder which kids television show had planted this idea in his mind. But then, like a good dad, I relieved my son’s fears by telling him there is no such thing as monsters. Instead, I explained the truth: God made everything — including the darkness — and even when it is dark God still watches over us.
Later that evening, when darkness reigned supreme and the monsters were a no-show, I couldn’t help but spot the irony in our conversation. When Carter mentioned monsters, I snickered at his childish understanding and spent the next few minutes explaining God’s existence. But how many millions of secular people today secretly hide a smile when they hear someone mention the existence of God? “A Supreme Being? Really? You can’t be serious!”
If it were possible, how many atheists would like to take me on a car ride, where they would explain that just like monsters in the darkness, God is just a figment of my imagination?
I am willing to admit one striking similarity between Carter’s magical monsters and my glorious God: Both are invisible to the human eye. But that is surely where the similarities end.
While there is no reasonable evidence to prove the existence of monsters, there are some remarkable proofs that demonstrate the existence of a mighty God who lives and loves. So how do I know with an unshakable certainty that God really exists?
1.) Because the universe is here. If you walked into your kitchen and spotted a fresh pot of dark-roast coffee brewing on the countertop, what would you conclude about how it got there? Did that pot of coffee magically burst into existence? Of course not — someone must have prepared it.
Common sense tells us every effect has a cause. Something can’t come from nothing, so if something is here, then something else must have caused it. The universe is here — and it is amazing. Therefore, the best logical conclusion is that this incredible universe was caused by a truly incredible God. He is the first and greatest cause (Gen. 1:1).
2.) Because the world overflows with design. Millions of consumers love Apple because its products feature stunning designs. Pick up the latest iPhone, and you cannot deny the remarkable engineering behind it.
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In the same way, the world overflows with undeniable evidence of design: the consistency of gravity, the cycle of seasons, the optics of the human eye, the pumping power of the human heart, the genetic information in DNA. All of these realities point to a magnificent Designer, namely God.
3.) Because all humans understand right and wrong. As a father of six children, I have broken up many fights between toddlers yearning for the same toy. But what is truly fascinating is how even the youngest children have an instinctive understanding of right and wrong.
When a boy pushes his sister into the dirt and steals her doll, no one has to teach her that wrong has been committed. She senses it, and cries to Dad for justice. In the same way, every human being has an innate understanding of good and evil. Humans know that murder, rape, and robbery are wrong — regardless of culture or education. Since this “law of morality” exists in the conscience of every person (Rom. 2:14-15), there must be a good Lawgiver who implanted it there. That Lawgiver is God.
4.) Because millions have been transformed. Years ago, Harry Ironside was preaching in San Francisco when a heckler shouted, “All you’re saying is a lie! And I challenge you to debate me tomorrow.”
Ironside replied, “I will be delighted to debate you, but I have one condition. I’ll be here tomorrow with 100 people, whose lives were once wretched — but now have been delivered by the grace of God. I’ll be here with my 100. But I challenge you to bring 100 who have been saved by the power of atheism.”
While there are many logical proofs for God’s existence, there is perhaps no greater evidence than the millions of broken people whose lives were completely transformed by God’s amazing grace. Where will power came up short, God’s power gave the victory (1 Cor. 15:57).
For as long as life lasts, children will look to their parents for answers to the hardest questions. Sometimes those questions come at the dinner table; other times they bubble up from the backseat of the car.
Are you ready for those curious conversations about school romances, lightning strikes, or monsters in the dark? In my experience, I know I haven’t always given the best answers to my children’s inquiries. But there is one thing I can affirm with absolute confidence: God exists. No matter where I look, His powerful presence is undeniable. And that truth gives me peace when the lights go out.
Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 17 years. He is a regular contributor to LifeZette.