Today I’m giving space to Sheridan Voysey, whose new book Resilient: Your Invitation to a Jesus-Shaped Life launches on Wednesday (don’t miss the free giveaways here). Resilient is a book of 90 readings tracing the theme of resilience through the Sermon on the Mount and beyond. Here’s an excerpt.
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44–45)
In his book The Evidence for God, Loyola University philosopher Paul Moser offers a fascinating case for the existence of God. His basic argument goes like this:
If there is a God, this God would need to be worthy of worship. (We may worship lesser gods like Thor or money, but that doesn’t make them worthy of worship.) To be worthy of worship, a God would need to be loving—even to the point of loving his enemies. And if there was such a God, this God would want his creatures to love each other too, as love always wants love shared.
Moser then asks if there’s evidence for such a God in human experience. As humans clearly have a selfish bent, what accounts for their loving acts toward others? Why does our conscience often feel pricked when we’re selfish? How can people like Wade Watts or Martin Luther King Jr. radically love their enemies? Moser suggests these experiences are evidence for the God of Christian belief. And, Moser adds, as we respond to his invitation of relationship, God transforms us into his loving character, proving his existence even more.
The apostle John offers a similar argument. He says God’s nature is love and all human love originates from God (1 John 4:7–8). God’s love is shown in Jesus, who loved those who never loved him back (4:9–10). God wants us to love each other the way he loves us (4:11). As we do, he shapes us into his loving character (4:17), revealing himself through our lives (4:12).
Jesus declares in his Sermon—long before the apostle John or Paul Moser put their ideas on paper—“love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44–45). Jesus, John, and Paul Moser have a consistent message: enemy-loving people reveal an enemy-loving God.
This profound philosophical idea challenges believer and nonbeliever alike. To the nonbeliever it posits an experiment: to test if the Christian God exists, surrender yourself to him and see if he makes you more loving. If he does, you have your proof. To the believer it says this: while there’s a place for books, debates, and arguments for God’s existence, the most powerful proof for God is seen when we love our enemies.
Because enemy-loving children act like their enemy-loving Father.
And this radical enemy-love proves the existence of an enemy-loving God.
Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His sixth book Resilient: Your Invitation to a Jesus-Shaped Life launches this Wednesday October 21, with a bunch of free giveaways to celebrate. Follow Sheridan on Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to his newsletter for free articles, podcasts, and ebooks.