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Pathways to the Gospel, Part II

Posted by Leland Brown on

This blog post is in a series of posts designed to help Christians develop a proper heart posture, lifestyle, and method for evangelism. This particular post is part two of “Pathways to the Gospel”, which are conversational truths designed to prepare particular people to hear the Gospel.

The Creation Pathway Described

The moral pathway we examined earlier can work with people who are unchurched, skeptical of the basic truth claims of Christianity, or agnostic about God’s existence or standards—but it works best for people who agree, at least somewhat, that there is some kind of moral standard. For those people who are more skeptical or have no moral basis there are some other particular pathways to get to the Gospel. The creation pathway utilizes God’s general revelation—how God has revealed Himself in creation—to point an unbeliever to their need to be right with their Creator.

The Bible says that the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1), reveal God’s invisible attributes, and leave all mankind accountable to Him (Rom 1:19-20). The Creation pathway utilizes these truths to help an unbeliever who is always seeing and enjoying creation’s witness to see their need for saving by their loving Creator. To use this method, you need to memorize or be familiar with Psalm 19:1 and Romans 1:19-20. Here’s how it might look in a conversation.

The Creation Pathway in Conversation:

Sharer: (Bridge to the Gospel) Are you a religious or spiritual person?

Unbeliever: Not really. That’s just not for me.

Sharer: Well let me change the subject, and maybe we’ll get back to that. It sure is a nice day today, isn’t it?

Unbeliever: Yes it is.

Sharer: Now, I know you don’t share my beliefs, but I bet that we do have something in common—we both enjoy and see beauty in the world. Even if it’s not perfect, there’s stuff we admire and enjoy.

Unbeliever: Yeah, of course, there are things about the world that are cool and things in it I enjoy.

Sharer: Have you ever wondered why we happen to live in a beautiful and enjoyable world and notice its beauty and enjoyableness?

Unbeliever: Not really…what are you getting at?

Sharer: If there was no God, or there was a far-off distant God who didn’t really bother with us, I guess it would be possible for there to be a creation. But a beautiful creation, one we just so happen to enjoy? That speaks of a designer, a creator, one with a particular purpose in mind.

Unbeliever: I don’t know about that. That seems like a stretch.

Sharer: Let me put it to you another way: Do you think the Mona Lisa could just randomly come about? Paint to form itself and just fall in the perfect strokes, onto a canvas formed at random? Or a great book or movie—could either of these things just come into existence, all by themselves?

Unbeliever: Well no. At least, I’ve never seen that happen.

Sharer:   You’re right. Paintings have painters, books have authors. It’s self-evident. The creation—whatever it is, points to a creator. The world we inhabit, and yes, even the bodies and minds we have—minds that can create things like the Mona Lisa!—point us to a creator.

Unbeliever: That does actually seem possible.

Sharer: Well, the Bible says that God, in His love, has made this beautiful and enjoyable world with a purpose for you and me—to reveal to us His goodness, power, and glory. The fact that God has given us His creation as a witness leaves us accountable to respond to Him. Do you want to know how to respond and be right with your great and loving Creator?

One Note and One Objection

Though no conversation will actually go like this transcript, notice that there are two main strains to this pathway: first, the world we live in is both functional and beautiful. The particular design of the world, one that both works and is beautiful, points to a creator. The second strain is the biblical assertion that the beauty and goodness of the world makes us accountable to the Creator of the world. That accountability is the pathway to the Gospel.

There is, however, a common objection to any arguments about the beauty and goodness of the world showing us God’s existence. A skeptic might say in response—“well what about all the evil and horrible things in the world? If you say beauty and goodness in the world proves God’s existence, why can’t I say that evil and suffering disproves God’s existence?” There are a couple of ways you could respond to this. First, you could simply ask—“how do you know that the things you say are evil really are evil?” This is the “How do you know Hitler was wrong?” argument. Simply put, any claim that something is wrong/evil/horrible by necessity admits that there is an objective moral standard, and if there’s an objective moral standard, there is a God. Ironically, not only does the goodness and beauty of creation demonstrate to us that there is a God, but so does our sense of and revulsion at the evil and horrible things in our world demonstrates to us that there is a God.

Another way you could respond to this argument is with something that leads straight to the Gospel: “If you genuinely want to know why our world is both beautiful and broken and you’re not just raising an objection, I would be happy to explain it to you, but it’s going to start with the heart of what I believe as a Christian: God created all things good, mankind fell, was separated from God, and let evil loose into the world; and God lovingly and graciously provided a way out of all the evil in us and around us. Let me tell you how he did that.”

See a future post for our final pathway to the Gospel!

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