I had no concept of where the conversation was heading until my own statements were used to demonstrate the vanity of Christianity. It was as though my acquaintances considered the conversation a game of chess and I had failed to recognise that they had inexorably drawn me toward the final play.

"So, Rob, how can those three things coexist? They obviously can't. You believe that God knows everything, including the future. You also believe that God is a loving and compassionate being. And finally, you believe that evil originated with Lucifer, whom God originally created perfect. It is fairly obvious to me that a loving God, who knows the future, would not have created a being that would cause so much suffering."

Checkmate! By now, the other non-Christian doctors seated around the restaurant table were pretending to be engaged in their own conversations. But there was little doubt they were eavesdropping on a dialogue that was evidently more stimulating than their own. Because I would rather win a person to God than win an argument about God, I knew the angle of our conversation had to change. So I asked them, "What evidence would you require to be convinced that God exists?" She responded first: "I would want to see an amputee spontaneously grow a new limb." But I was more intrigued by his answer, as it was obviously an issue with which he had wrestled. "I would need to be shown evidence of genuine design in nature," he said. He was extremely conversant with the history, philosophy and science of the creation-evolution debate, and eloquently defended his position. As we proceeded to converse about design, I began to appreciate why this concept of design is so mind-bendingly difficult to define.

The celebratory champagne was finally brought to the table. After my wife and I opted for a different beverage, the surgeon's wife lifted her glass and triumphantly declared, "At moments like these, I'm certainly glad that I am not a Seventh-day Adventist!"

At that very instant, I felt sorrow for this delightful couple, who were robbing themselves of a relationship with the Master Healer and Designer. I was impressed with the thought that I am not a better person than they. It's just that I happen to know a better Person--an attentive God, who has given His all to me and now asks that I acknowledge Him in every way. But Abraham said, "If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead." Luke 16:31. Robert Granger is a lecturer at the University of Tasmania and lives in Lindisfarne, Tasmania.