His Unrelenting Hand

God is not to be found in the laboratory. He cannot be proved. But then, love is not to be found in the laboratory. Neither is courage, nor longing, nor hope. God is to be found in the courtroom. While data cannot be garnered to prove His existence, evidence can be amassed to demonstrate the probability of His existence. There is a gap between the probable and the proved. But then, few things can be proved to the unbelieving mind. Unbelief never has enough proof.

C. S. Lewis, the brilliant Christian scholar who taught at both Cambridge and Oxford, readily admitted his reluctance to accept the existence of God. Yet he kept an open mind in the investigation of the evidence and found himself being convinced in spite of himself. He wrote in his book Surprised by Joy that he was teaching at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford when he had an encounter with an atheist intellectual:

Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing,” he went on. “Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man (who has certainly never since shown any interest in Christianity). If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not—as I would still have put it—“safe,” where could I turn? Was there then no escape?
You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting hand of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet.

That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing: the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore the Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?

If you look for God in the laboratory, you will not find Him. If you look for Him in the courtroom, the amount of evidence can be very satisfying—enough to give a reasonable doubt about a universe without Him and make it reasonable to believe in Him.

Max E. Anders

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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