By Dr. Oleg Voskresensky, FaithSearch Russian evangelist
Thomas Aquinas (1224—1274) wrote, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
Aquinas developed what are known as the Five Classical Arguments for the Existence of God. Wait. What? Was he being ironic, or was the great Medieval theologian up to something truly deep and profound here? Or both?
I started to gather my own collection of the “arguments” back in my seminary years, after reading the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Keeft. The book discussed twenty of these arguments. I am now myself teaching a class in Apologetics in Belgorod Theological Seminary, Russia, with forty-three arguments on the list, and it is far from being completed. The more I hear about people’s faith journeys, the more different takes on the task of proving God’s existence I learn from them.
Some are very obvious and straightforward, like: “Lord Jesus appeared to me in person, so I know that He exists.” Others are much more elaborate and complicated, like: “As an IT programmer I know that even a simple code has to be created by a rather powerful and sophisticated mind. Living organisms and especially humans follow in their growth and development an extremely complex genetic code that must have been written by an indeed almighty and omniscient mind, so God exists.” Yet others are merely intuitive, like: “The out-of-this-worldly music of Bach, the poetry of Pushkin, and the paintings of Cezanne exist, so God exists.” Of course, my favorite one–which I am presenting to my audiences in Russia at the FaithSearch Discovery classes and trainings–is: “God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, of which historic event we have the most convincing evidence of eyewitness testimonies, manuscripts, and artifacts.”
Was Aquinas correct by stating that none of this will ever be sufficient to bring non-believer to faith? I think he was – arguments are important, but the convicting work of the Holy Spirit usually involves a person, a group, or a church as an example of living out their faith in God to bring a skeptic to the point of that most important decision in their life. This was true in my own faith story, and I see it happening in the changed lives of the people in my “target audiences” – students, teachers, and scholars. This is also why I keep going back to Russia instead of simply sending there my books and recordings.