fbpx

Sermon Illustrations on God Existence

Background

The Aseity of God

Aseity refers to God’s self-existence (a—from, se—oneself). God exists ‘from himself.’ God owes his existence and completeness as God to nothing outside himself. . . .

God’s act of creation was not constrained by anything outside him, nor was the inner impulse to create owing to deficiency or defect. . . . God does not need us or anything else outside himself to be God or to be happy. Creation does not complete God.

John Piper, “I Believe in God’s Self-Sufficiency,” Trinity Journal, n.s., 29 (2008): 227–28.

Is There Anybody Out There?

One of the universal experiences of life is questioning whether God really exists or if we are ultimately, alone in the universe. The great British theologian (this isn’t meant to be taken seriously) Roger Waters, of the rock band Pink Floyd, asks the question in the strangely named song “Comfortably Numb”:

Hello? Hello? Hello?

Is there anybody [out] there?

Just nod if you can hear me.

Roger Waters, “Comfortably Numb” (1980).

Stories

An Attempted Refutation of the Gospel

[In the middle of the twentieth century a] young Russian communist went to a meeting one night where he heard a Christian expounding his faith. The communist was angry. How could anyone still believe such nonsensical superstition in these days? He went home, determined to write a refutation of Christianity that would settle the issue once and for all. In order to get the quarry properly into his sights, he found an old Bible and looked into it.

He didn’t want to waste more time than was necessary, so he decided to read the shortest of the four Gospels, that of St Mark. It was only much later, as he said, that he realized that God has a sense of humour. St Mark’s Gospel is exactly the book written for someone in that frame of mind: pulling no punches, getting directly to the point, portraying Jesus the Messiah bringing through his death and resurrection a kingdom that outshines all the political dreams of the world.

He read Mark again, then the other Gospels; then, sitting up through the night, the rest of the New Testament. By morning he was a believing, praying Christian. That man is Anthony Bloom, who went on to become one of the great Russian Orthodox bishops of our generation, leading his flock through intense suffering but always seeing reflecting the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

N.T. Wright, The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today, Eerdmans, 1999.

At the End of the Rope

Elie Wiesel was a survivor of the dreaded Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He wrote of his experiences in the book The Night. In that book he relates the harrowing story of two Jewish men and a Jewish boy hanged alongside one another. Having mounted the stairs the two adults cried, “long live liberty”, but the boy was silent.

Behind Wiesel someone desperately asked “Where is God” Where is He?” The chairs the victims were standing on were kicked out from under them and the three hung there. The adults died quickly, but the boy’s weight wasn’t great enough to snap his neck immediately. For more than half an hour he hung there, dying in slow agony before their eyes. Again Wiesel heard the question “Where is God now?” And standing there Wiesel heard a voice within himself answer: “Where is he? Here he is. He is hanging here on this gallows.”

When Wiesel said it was God hanging on the gallows he indicated the death of his faith. Faith in God died with that hanging child. But there is another interpretation, that God suffers with those who suffer, seen most visibly in the death of Christ hanging on his own gallows, the cross.

Source: Elie Wiesel, Night, 1969.

Seeing God in the Heavens

Many of us westerners are familiar with the stories of the first Apollo missions and the “space race” with Russia. What we are less familiar with is the experience from the other side, from the Russian “cosmonauts” who also were committed to reaching the moon and the outer limits of the universe. Gherman Titov, who was one of those cosmonauts and an avowed atheist, became famous as the second person in history to orbit the earth.

During a lecture he described to the crowd his experience, “I have been up to heaven. I’ve been up to the skies. And I looked around and I didn’t see God. And people say, God created and God did this. Well, I circled the earth and was in outer space, and I never saw God.” Someone in the audience whispered to his friend, “if he’d gotten out of his spacesuit he would have!

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Analogies

Beyond the Behavior of Flawed Humans

So, while the long history of religious oppression and hypocrisy is profoundly sobering, the earnest seeker must look beyond the behavior of flawed humans in order to find the truth. Would you condemn an oak tree because its timbers had been used to build battering rams? Would you blame the air for allowing lies to be transmitted through it?

Would you judge Mozart’s The Magic Flute on the basis of a poorly rehearsed performance by fifth-graders? If you had never seen a real sunset over the Pacific, would you allow a tourist brochure as a substitute? Would you evaluate the power of romantic love solely in the light of an abusive marriage next door?

Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press.

Humor

Seeing God in the Heavens

Many of us westerners are familiar with the stories of the first Apollo missions and the “space race” with Russia. What we are less familiar with is the experience from the other side, from the Russian “cosmonauts” who also were committed to reaching the moon and the outer limits of the universe. Gherman Titov, who was one of those cosmonauts and an avowed atheist, became famous as the second person in history to orbit the earth.

During a lecture he described to the crowd his experience, “I have been up to heaven. I’ve been up to the skies. And I looked around and I didn’t see God. And people say, God created and God did this. Well, I circled the earth and was in outer space, and I never saw God.” Someone in the audience whispered to his friend, “if he’d gotten out of his spacesuit he would have!

Stuart Strachan Jr.

More Resources

Still Looking for Inspiration?

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 

Apologetics

Atheism

Beliefs

Doubt

Faith

Questioning God

Trust

& Many More