[BROADCAST on my Radio Show INSPIRE on 23rd August 2018]
I recently had a conversation about the Bible and God with someone whom I know would like to fully believe in God. The big point he kept making to me was that there were so many flaws – or contradictions – in the Bible, and that there was no proof of God.
I said that yes, there were some contradictions in the Bible, and that while the human effort put into recording God’s word were as accurate as possible, it did open up the possibility of human error here and there. For if a human being thinks something is not quite right he is tempted to ‘make it right’ - in his (possibly flawed) view. That is also why it took human-input to decide which were the most accurate books to be incorporated into the Bible. Also, translation adds a further complication. But after those admissions, I went on to explain how there was plenty of proof about the authenticity and uniqueness of Jesus, and evidence that, through his virgin birth, miracles, and resurrection, he was truly God’s representative on Earth: the Son of God.
I pointed out that the disciples who wavered after his crucifixion and death were immediately changed into enthusiastic preachers – Christians – after Jesus’s resurrection, and after the convincing evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their Pentecost experience. (Read Acts 2 for that.) And I pointed out that historical evidence, and the fact that so many people saw Jesus after his resurrection, was really good proof. 1 Corinthians 15:6 says: ‘Then he appeared to more than 500 of his followers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have died.’ So, at the time this was written, there were still hundreds of people living who had witnessed his miraculous resurrection.
But this was not enough to counter the objections of the person I was speaking with - who answered that there was no proof God existed.
Although I already well-knew key verses from scripture, which I will get to in a moment, at the time, I was defeated to offer a better argument to this claim that there was no positive proof of God. So I did what I always do when stuck over scripture, or something involving God’s mysterious ways. I asked Him directly! In my prayers that evening, I asked why God did not provide definitive proof of his existence to all human beings: so there would be no doubt. And his answer came immediately into my mind. When this happens, and you are given an entirely new train of thought that had not occurred to you before, I believe this is adequate proof that God is talking to you. Where else could such lucid – and new– thoughts come from?
I believe God wants me to deliver that message to you - as well as answering my question. Is this a secret? Not if I tell you! But I think it is not a secret – just a point-of-view we miss. Only God has the Big Picture, and that is why we miss– and miss-understand – so much that affects Him. He seemed to tell me that if he did something which would completely convince everyone on the Earth that he existed, most people would thereafter live in fear of Him. IF they obeyed him, it would be through an undercurrent of fear, not through love or faith.
I truly believe this is His answer to the question of why he does not offer definitive proof. And it makes sense if you think about it. The means God uses to identify those whom he will save – that is - to offer forgiveness of their sins and a life after death, in Heaven – is to look for complete faith in them. When they have that they are ‘born again in the spirit’. And that is reflected in the passage of scripture I will give you at the end of this. If he did something to convince everyone he existed he would nullify faith! Definitive proof would mean that faith is no longer required. So by a Big Reveal, He would nullify the principal factor that marks a true Christian. Remember that one reason Jesus talked in parables was so that only true believers – those exhibiting faith – understood what he was getting at. Some were never expected to attain that position. Evil people have no place in Heaven, for example.
When Jesus spoke in parables, He only explained them to His disciples. But those who had continually rejected His message were left in their spiritual blindness to wonder as to His meaning. Jesus made a clear distinction between those who had been given “ears to hear” and those who persisted in unbelief—“ever hearing, but never actually perceiving, and always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth” (as 2 Timothy 3:7 puts it).
A good human father likes to have faith his children will live a good life without his direct intervention or control: because of the advice he has given them. His children like to have faith that their human father trusts them to do just that, without being ultra-controlling. That is a mutual bond of faith. So it is with our Heavenly Father. This world contains good, bad and evil people. There are those who are born to be saved, but it is up to them to follow through with faith – for only then are they ‘born again’ into the reassurance of God’s saving grace.
So those born again attain the gift of the Holy Spirit who will help them to understand God’s word better. There is a God-filter that ensures only those intended to understand actually ‘Get It’, if I can put it that way. And that is why God does not produce a mighty miracle that gets him onto BBC and Sky News. He uses a discrete method to select those chosen for eternal life. The strength of their faith. That is his holy barometer.
And the piece of scripture which backs all this up – which I already well-knew before God kindly gave me this clarification - is from Hebrews 5. All of Hebrews 5 is about the importance of faith, but the two verses I particularly remember, and which are most relevant here, are these. Verse 1: ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ So that is God’s definition of faith. And verse 6 says: ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’ So there is the scriptural assurance of what I have been saying. Faith is the key to eternal life.
Does this offer any proof there is a God? No. But it does explain why you will never achieve that proof unless you have faith – the secret key - and you will thereby experience the proof of God in due course. Or in ‘quicker-course’ if you let the presence and peace of the Holy Spirit into your life and become aware of its presence and guidance throughout your life.
So the next time someone says to you there’s no proof that God exists, just remember this reasoning - which squarely puts the onus back on them!
If this article helped you, please feel free to contact me via my website at: iankingsley.com