Our small group recently finished watching and discussing an excellent six-session series of videos with Tim Keller on RightNow Media called The Reason for God. This study captures live, unscripted conversations between Keller and a group of people to address their doubts and objections to Christianity. I highly recommend it for group or individual study.
In his book by the same title, Keller addresses the most common doubts people have about God. To believers he provides sound reasoning to use against the skeptics they regularly encounter. And to atheists, agnostics, and skeptics, he offers challenging arguments for why it makes sense to believe in God.
On pages 126-127 of the book, Keller recalls the time a Russian cosmonaut returned from a trip to space and announced that he had not seen God. On hearing this news, C. S. Lewis reportedly said that “this was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle looking for Shakespeare. If there is a God, he wouldn’t be another object in the universe that could be put in a lab and analyzed with empirical methods. He would relate to us the way a playwright relates to the characters in his play. We (characters) might be able to know quite a lot about the playwright, but only to the degree the author chooses to put information about himself in the play. Therefore, in no case could we ‘prove’ God’s existence as if he were an object wholly within our universe like oxygen and hydrogen or an island in the Pacific.”
Keller says that “Lewis gives us another metaphor for knowing the truth about God when he writes that he believes in God ‘as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because I see everything else.’ Imagine trying to look directly at the sun in order to learn about it. You can’t do it. It will burn out your retinas, ruining your capacity to take it in. A far better way to learn about the existence, power, and quality of the sun is to look at the world it shows you, to recognize how it sustains everything you see and enables you to see it.”
I like this metaphor, especially because Keller concludes by suggesting that Christians “should not try to ‘look into the sun,’ as it were, demanding irrefutable proofs for God. Instead we should ‘look at what the sun shows us.’”
“Christians do not claim that their faith gives them omniscience or absolute knowledge of reality. Only God has that. But they believe that the Christian account of things—creation, fall redemption, and restoration—makes the most sense of the world.”
Keller wraps up this section by asking his readers (especially the skeptics) to “put on Christianity like a pair of spectacles and look at the world with it. See what power it has to explain what we know and see.”