Illustration To Plant A Seed For A Non-Believer

This is an illustration I’ve used before to plant a seed in the minds of non-believers. It’s not new and it’s not original. I have seen similar illustrations to this one before. This illustration uses logic, reason and empirical information.  I present it in a non-threatening, conversational way. I want to remove any shred of condescension or holier-than-thou thinking my listener might perceive from my attitude. I want them to feel comfortable with me, and not threatened in any way. Like we’re just chatting over a cup of coffee.

I like this because all you need is any piece of paper or a napkin and something to write with. Another thing I like is the sheer simplicity of the presentation.

The first thing I do is draw an oval.

My patter goes something like this:this shape

“This shape I’m drawing represents all the information in the universe. Anything and everything that can possibly be known. Anything from Science or Chemistry or Physics, or History, Astronomy, Mathematics, Biology and so on”

The next thing I do is draw a tiny circle in the big oval.

Then my patter goes something like this:

“This circle represents all I know of all there is to know. For instance, I know my mom and dad named me Steven. I know for a fact  that CO2 is the chemical symbol for salt. I know two-plus-two-equals four. I know you can’t place a square peg in a round hole. I know oil and water separate when you pour them together in a glass. I know I this shape what I knowcan’t play the trombone. I know if I drop a baseball from the roof of a building it will hit the ground.”

I try to make this part light and conversational. I try to come across as not knowing a lot for certain (because we don’t outside the spiritual realm. But we don’t want to go there with this illustration).  Don’t mention anything that could raise any doubt about its veracity. No beliefs. No opinions. Just straight, empirical facts.

The next thing I do is draw a blank oval next to or under mine.

Then my patter goes something like this:

“Now, would you draw a circle in the big oval that represents everything you know for sure. Know that you know that you know. Your circle will probably be a lot bigger than mine.”

Then I give them the pen or pencil and wait. I don’t talk, I don’t clarify, I don’t explain. I wait.  They usually draw a circle.this shape what you know

Then my patter goes something like this: Summarize the illustration for them.

“So, this first oval with my circle in it represents anything and everything I know for sure. And this oval (point to their circle in the oval) represents everything in the universe that YOU know for sure.”

Then I look at both ovals in silence for a moment.

Then my patter goes something like this:

“Gee, there sure is a lot of stuff in both our circles that we don’t know for sure, isn’t there (say it like it’s a statement, not a question)?
Let me ask you a question. Of all the stuff out there that you admit you don’t know, can you say for sure God is not out there somewhere?”

Wait in silence for them to respond.  Whatever they say, I follow their response with this patter:

“Okay, let’s say you’re right. In the circle you drew in the oval is the indisputable fact that God does not exist. we live, we die, we turn into worm food. That’s it. The end.

I believe that God does exist and that I have a personal relationship with Him and that when I die, I’m going to live with Him forever in heaven.

“Let me ask you a question. If you’re right, what have I lost?”

Then here’s the clincher:

“What if I’m right? What have YOU lost?

Wait for a response.

“Would it be fair to say that neither of us can say for sure that God exists somewhere outside the circles that represent everything we know, have known or will ever know for sure?”

(Of course I know for sure, but I don’t say that.) This is not a debate or a platform to share your testimony. It’s an illustration to plant a seed in the heart and mind of a person who does not believe in God.) Wait for the person to answer.

Whatever the response from the person is, close with this statement:

“Eternity is a long time to be wrong.”

 Will the person you share this with drop to their knees and accept the Lord right there and then? Probably not. But praise God if they did! They may not be moved by this story. They may never accept the Lord. But you will plant a seed and they will never forget the illustration.

About Steve Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, ALL GOD'S PEOPLE, CHILD OF THE WORLD, WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Illustration To Plant A Seed For A Non-Believer

  1. ptl2010 says:

    Hi Steve, good introduction. Thank you for sharing.
    An important point we need to remember – our purpose in sharing is Jesus Christ the only way- we should not stop at existence of God in today’s new age of many gods…. we also need to move in to present Jesus Christ for He differentiates our faith from others.

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