Text: Luke 24:13-45                                                                                                                                               

“Is There Proof God Exists?”

 

            We have a great and mighty Savior present among us, right here in this room and right now! Do we believe that? He exists, and He’s here – do we believe that or do we need proof? Don’t be afraid to answer honestly; with either answer, you’re not alone:

 

            13And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.

 14And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.

 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.

 16But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.

 17And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.

 18One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?"

 19And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,

 20and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.

 21"But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.

 22"But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,

 23and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive.

 24"Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see."

 25And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

 26"Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

 28And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.

 29But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them.

 30When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.

 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.

 32They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?"

 33And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,

 34saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon."

 35They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.” - Luke 24:13-45 NASB

 

            Is there proof God exists? It’s the most important question we can ask. What if there is? Wouldn’t you think that’s an important question for your life? What if there isn’t? Just as important, right? Just like the two on the road to Emmaus, we can have times we prayed and longed for some sort of sign, some sort of proof that God is here and with us when we need Him most. We can have times of grief, times of temptation, times when we have a chance to help someone else discover God, and if we could just have a box with us that we could just open in which they could see proof He exists and believe, wouldn’t that be fantastic? God’s too big for a box, by the way. Proof! Is there such proof? The answer is “Yes,” and “No.”   The catch is you have to stay awake for the rest of the sermon to find out why.

            Arguments for the Existence of God: Philosophers try to help us out on this, many of whom are Christian. A great example is Peter Kreeft who has done some impressive work writing about reasoning through, and living, the Christian life. Don’t get me wrong, these arguments make a difference for people; they’re important. The great C. S. Lewis reasoned his way to faith in God, but he had to do so in a very personal way. This brings us to the point: we have to be open to the possibility that God exists for any of these arguments, or proofs, to even help. And it’s not for a lack of trying – there are over 20 arguments that seek to prove the existence of God. Here’s two of them put as simply and as clearly as possible in their most basic form:

1)      The Argument from Conscience No one, not even the most dyed-in-the-wool skeptic would believe it’s a good idea to ignore one’s individual conscience, that little voice inside us that tells us whether what we’re doing is good or evil. We all have that innate sense of good and evil – why? Where did it come from? Under what authority do we have it? A non-believer could make the argument that we have authority over ourselves, and that’s the individual’s conscience at work solely as a part of the individual, like breathing. That argument still doesn’t answer the question, “Why do we have a conscience in the first place?” Still, the non-believer could be satisfied with their answer or find another way to poke a hole in the idea of conscience.

2)      The argument called Pascal’s Wager Here we have a theory (not strictly presented as a proof) that basically gives us the following, two choices: Someone who initially does not believe in God or follow His teachings can choose to believe in God, and follow His teachings, just in case One exists. It’s like buying an insurance policy – your house may not burn down, but just in case it does, . . .  That way, if you do choose to believe in God, when you die, you lose nothing and gain everything. However, the second choice is if we continue to not believe God exists, die, and discover that God does exist, then we lose everything. So the philosopher, Blaise Pascal advises us to believe in God, to which many non-believers say that this whole self-sacrifice of Christianity is irrelevant, including the Christ’s death on the Cross, because this argument is all about self-gain and self-preservation.

 

The two on the road to Emmaus had lived and followed Christ, had heard him preach, heard of His resurrection, and still they are going home; they’ve packed it in, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” 

We Love to Disprove God Exists: Why? Usually, because then we won’t have to change, sacrifice, or not fit in with the world that has so many “great” things to offer. The two on the road had packed it in, given up. Christ Himself! Christ Himself stands right in front of them, and He knows they need more proof, so they are rendered unable to recognize that very man they knew so well. This is kind of similar to good, ole, doubting Thomas:

25So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

 26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."

 27Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing."

 28Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

 29Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." – John 20:25-29 NASB

 

Notice verse 29. Read it again. Here’s the problem with proofs when it comes to reassuring ourselves or helping others see the truth of God in their lives – it’s easy to poke holes in any argument when we’ve already decided what we believe. Then guess what happens – we can only believe what we see.

            Relationship is the Key: What you can do today is decide to go directly against that old saying that we’ve invented for ourselves, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” or, “Believe what you see.” Decide instead to See what you believe! See what you believe! “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." Christ Himself commands it!

            Christ meets the disciples where they are, entering without the use of open doors, I might add. Only when Thomas sees Christ in person, does he believe. Let us not be like Thomas as often as possible, Christ has blessed us with a way to see what we believe. And that’s through relationship.

            It’s ironic that the great astronomer, Carl Sagan, struggled so much with the existence of God in his life and still came up with a rather accurate proof in a movie. In the film adaptation of his book, Contact, there is a scene in which the main character Eleanor Araway, telling a former priest, Palmer Joss, she does not believe God exists, that she needs proof. Joss responds, and this is paraphrased if not accurate, “Did you love your father?” Eleanor says, “Of course.” Joss says, “Prove it.” Though their conversation is interrupted, it’s obvious Eleanor is at a loss for words. It’s the first instance she discovers that proof can only be found through relationship, and that relationship can only happen through first having some, small amount of faith in that other person in the relationship, particularly in the Person of God. A healthy relationship of any kind first requires trust, or faith, and then things happen that do what? Prove that relationship real. Love exists. God exists.

            The two on the road to Emmaus do not recognize Christ until He does what He regards, even today, as an indication of profound relationship, the breaking of the bread, or as we know it, the Lord’s Supper. Only then are their eyes opened and they know, I mean know, the risen Christ. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” – Luke 22:19 NASB

            Do you not believe God exists, and you want proof? I’ve got bad news for you, and I’ve got good news for you. The bad news is that unless you’re willing to put your faith in Him, you will never find proof, just like the two on that road to Emmaus – He’s right next to you, but your eyes are closed. However, the good news is that if you give God a chance in your life and invite this stranger into your house, your eyes will be opened, and you’ll see His risen Son is the man you’ve invited to dinner. We see it almost every day, don’t we? Believers see not only what they believe, they also see the Truth. We’ve seen the proof of His mighty hand working in our lives almost on a daily basis here in our congregation.

Do you love your Heavenly Father? Prove it. How are you going to do that? By profession of faith, by obedience, by proclamation to others, through prayer with Him – all are relationship, and all are what we can do every day. God exists, and we will only know that by first putting our trust in Him. Then you’ll see more proof that God does indeed exist than you know what to do with.