Today’s essay is a follow up to the article I posted Wednesday and to some of the replies given to that article. One commenter said, “repeating a story is not going to convince an atheist to start believing it.” I agree. One who has rejected the Bible is not likely to suddenly start believing because of a restatement of the Biblical stories. Should Christians seek to find proofs that will conclusively show the Bible to be true and dependable?
Many proofs of Christianity can be shown, and proofs have been given over and over again. Evidences can be given, but is that the real issue? Do those who reject the Bible refuse to believe because the evidence is not convincing? As I said in the previous article, lack of information is not the problem. Nor is lack of evidence the problem. The reason for unbelief is simple. Unbelievers start from the presupposition that the claims of the Bible are not true.
Everyone brings a personal bias to truth claims and the supporting evidences offered. Evidence is always filtered through the hearer’s own worldview. Those who assert that truth can be discovered only through naturalistic means are expressing a presupposition about truth. Naturalism presupposes there is no spiritual agency at work in this world. It presupposes the absence of a Creator, a Divine plan or an eternal purpose. No one examines evidence in a completely impartial fashion. Every evidence is viewed from the foundational assumptions of the viewer. As a result, God is not proven or disproven based upon increased evidence or a recitation of the facts
Those who refuse to believe the Bible will not believe regardless of what evidences are presented to them. This is declared in Luke 16. Jesus tells of a rich man who dies and goes to hell. He asks Abraham to send one back from the dead to warn his brothers. Abraham respond, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man says his brothers will not believe the Bible. Abraham replies, “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Even the most irrefutable evidence of Divine power will not convince those who have refused to believe the truth of the Bible. This is born out further in the life of Jesus. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees response to the undeniable miracle was to plot the death of Jesus in attempt to prevent others from believing. When Jesus rose from the dead the priests knew He had been restored to life but they bribed the Roman guards to spread the story that the disciples had stolen His body. The evidence did not change the heart. Those who refuse to believe, will not be persuaded by the most convincing evidence.
From the human perspective the repetition of the Bible will not change the presuppositions of another. Yet there is no hope for faith apart from the Word of God. True faith is only produced by the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the person. Until the spiritual eyes are opened the heart will remain blinded. Only when God gives sight can the spiritually blind see the truth of the Son of God. Until then no evidence in the world will change the mind of the one who refuses to believe.
This question was posed by one who does not believe god exists as an argument against the reality of God. If God really exists and really wants everyone to go to heaven, why is there so much confusion about how to get to heaven? If God is all powerful and infinitely wise, why doesn’t He tell everyone how to get to heaven? Among professing Christian churches there is disagreement about how to reach heaven. Some teach salvation is received by faith alone, some teach good works are required for salvation, others teach baptism is necessary and still others teach that salvation is dependent on attending the proper church. Beside the disagreements between Christian churches are the many different religions in the world that teach many different ways to heaven and present many different versions of heaven. If God really wants us all to go to heaven, why are there so many contradictory opinions about to how to get there? Wouldn’t a loving God make the way to heaven very clear?
This question may seem to be a strong argument against God. It is not much different from the old atheistic declaration, “If God exists, I want Him to prove it by striking me dead with lightning right now.” Arguments like this are breathtakingly arrogant. What reasonable person would expect the all powerful God to do what I want when I want Him to do it? More importantly, a thoughtful consideration of the Bible’s teaching leaves no doubt that God has made the message of the gospel very clear. Throughout all of human history God has been actively revealing Himself and the message of salvation to the world. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned God promised a Savior. As the human population expanded, the message of salvation continued to be preached. Noah’s massive building program was a platform to preach the truth about God. Later, after the flood, God called Abraham out for Himself to be the father of a nation which would be the centerpiece of the display of His power, glory and truth. Since the generation after Christ, the Bible has been the clear record of salvation declaring the gospel to all men. The problem has never been a lack of information, but a rejection of the truth.
The account of Cain and Abel gives a perfect example fo the problem. Both Cain and Abel almost certainly knew what God required of them. Cain rejected the truth about God and of what God wanted. He did not lack information, he rejected the truth he was told. Today, the confusion and disagreement among Christian churches stems from a willful misunderstanding of the truth. Man’s rejection of God and refusal to believe the gospel is not from lack of information. Men do not believe because they do not want to believe the truth. The Bible is not unclear. The message of salvation is declared with all plainness throughout the New Testament. Verses like Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”; Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”; and John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” state the gospel in crystal clear terms. God has made the message of salvation plain for any to understand. He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)