Saturday, June 12, 2010

"How Do We Know That God Is Real?"

Last week, we returned from vacation, after seeing some family in the Midwest.  We took advantage of this opportunity to visit some attractions that we had some free passes to (and yet we still wind up spending nearly $50 at each place on small lunches and rides).  We went to the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, where we enjoyed great exhibits, a planetarium show, a nature walk, and hand-feeding a camel.  On the trip home, we stopped at the Knoxville Zoo for a day (it's free admission with the Friends of Zoo membership).  It's a great zoo, with camel rides, a great kids area, and a nice variety of animals.

My favorite part of the trip was when we were walking through the Creation Museum, learning about and discussing history from a biblical perspective.  At one point, my always-inquisitive 6-year-old son Elijah asked, "Dad, how do we know that God is real?"  I paused and asked him, "Do you think God is real?"  He replied, "Yes, but only because you say He's real."  What a great, honest answer, and it reminded me of how much he looks up to me, and how much I need to set the spiritual and leadership tone in our house. 

I told him that he's right in that I believe in God, but that one day he would have to believe in God for himself, not because his Daddy believes in God.  He again asked, "But can I know that He's real?"  I told him the reasons that I believe in God:
  1. Creation.  It just makes sense that everything in the universe exists because there is a Creator.  It all could not have happened by itself.  As a former scientist (B.S. in Biochemistry, and M.S. in Organic Chemistry, and working as a chemist for almost 10 years), this is a topic that I have questioned and studied a lot, since I became a follower of Jesus at the age of 19 (my 15th "spiritual birthday" will be on July 31). 
  2. Jesus' Resurrection.  Historical evidence shows that Jesus' tomb was empty, and the best explanation is that He came back to life.  When someone dies and comes back to life, I'm going to pay attention to everything He says. 
  3. My Experience.  I told Elijah that even if the proof of creation and the resurrection didn't point to God being real, I would still believe in God.  I believe in Him based on everything He has done in my life, especially over the past 15 years.  This last point is huge for me.  As a scientist, I don't like to make decisions without empirical evidence, but I cannot deny the grace and power that He has shown in my life. 
He seemed satisfied with my answers (though, honestly, I felt like I fumbled through it).  I gave him a big hug, and praised him for asking such a great question.  I pray that he would always be comfortable asking me questions like that. 

-- Joey Espinosa

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