In my last post I reflected upon my struggles as a 12 year old to make sense of God. The question is quite poignant for me lately since my daughter is asking similar questions (she is 12). Lewis’ discussion on the subject (Mere Christianity), while compelling, does not reach deeply into a 12 year old heart. Even McDowell’s user-friendly version receives more yawns than interest.
The deeper question, as I see it, has more to do with evidence than rational arguments for God’s existence. Frankly, in the end, finite beings cannot even grasp the Infinite. I suspect it would be like a fish trying to describe breathing air. It can’t. There’s no context to even have a thoughtful discussion (assuming fish could talk or even care to discuss the subject). The fish can merely speculate.
If God is real, in Jesus no less, then what distinguishes Christians from not Christians? Is there something, aside from claiming certain truths as God breathed that actually points to His existence? One day revelation and ‘God with us’ will matter to my daughter. For now, I think her questions, as were mine, are developmental. And, I believe, her questions are everyone’s questions. This is basic stuff requiring a basic response.
The most powerful argument for God’s existence is reality. Francis Schaeffer calls it the “final apologetic”. In essence, are those who claim to know Jesus becoming more like Christ? Is her world saturated with ‘little Christs’ so that she can’t help but see him, know him, and love him?
Jesus makes this point quite clear in John 13:33-35. All will know to whom we belong by our love—not whether we attend church, avoid our understanding of scripture’s prohibitions, or even articulate our doctrine at the expense of relationships. Jesus raises the bar even further in John 17:21 while he prays that all will be one…so that the world may believe…
How we live and love is the final apologetic. “We cannot expect the world to believe [or 12 year olds asking deeper questions than our lives actually answer] that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.” (Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian)