A friend had posted about a hero of hers who had recently passed away. He was an outspoken atheist, and was quoted in a biographical report as having said that he had never seen reasonable proof that there is a God. I found myself wondering what would have constituted reasonable proof in his mind.
I am inclined to see life as the prophets who wrote the Book of Mormon:
40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? (Alma 30:40-41a)
I see evidence of God in the amazing order of things from the tiniest atom to the largest galaxy. I see evidence of God in the allowance for mutation and adaptation without the evolution of new species. (By my thinking, we have approximately 500 years of records to the year 2015, and no mutations to new species has ever been witnessed.) I see evidence of God in human nature — as an elementary teacher, I see that all children are born with the desire to be good. (Again, by my reasoning, if this were the result of mutation and chance, we should have at least a small but measurable percentage of people born with the desire to be bad.) I sometimes see that innate desire for goodness lost to poor influences and poor choices, but always the beginning desire to be good.
Most people who desire proof of God want to cram him into a scientific experiment that follows the scientific method. My first personal problem with that methodology is that this usually means that someone is starting from the desire to DISprove God. Human nature kicks in, and the researcher looks to prove the hypothesis, missing many evidences to the contrary. My second objection is that God has already given His own method of finding Him and getting proof that He exists.
In Alma 32, a Book of Mormon prophet named Alma is addressing a group of people who have been banned from their church because they weren’t “good enough.” As part of his address, he outlines God’s process for finding Him:
- A desire to believe: This is not the call to blind faith that it can seem to be at the surface glance. This is a motivating longing to actually know.
- Plant “the seed” in your heart: This is an invitation to mimic the scientific method through researching the spiritual principle and then testing it out by living it.
- It will begin to swell and grow: If the spiritual principle is true, it will begin to change you. You will see and feel a difference. You will receive the blessings promised from keeping that principle.
- Draw your conclusions: Continuing the metaphor of the seed, Alma points out that if the seed sprouts and grows, you know that you have a good seed. In other words, if you test out the promises that God has given through His prophets and they work, you have your proof that He exists.
I have to wonder if many people reject God’s method because it rests on a foundation of faith. How sad, because to me it takes more faith to believe that repeatedly using the scientific method — with its inherent probabilities for flawed hypothesis, research, observation, and conclusion — will eventually lead humankind to all truth.