This is the second episode in a series that I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In the first episode we discussed what we should conclude about the existence of God based on our observation of and interaction with the world that we live in. In today’s episode we will discuss what history teaches us about the existence of God and how we can believe in a God whom we have never seen.
First episode: How do we know if God exists?
(Scroll down below the video if you prefer to read a transcript.)
Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This is the second episode in a series that I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In the first episode we discussed what we should conclude about the existence of God based on our observation of and interaction with the world that we live in. In future episodes we will talk about who or what is the ultimate power in our world, what fears do we need to live with, who or what is the ultimate authority in our world, is there life after death, and what is it that brings meaning and fulfillment to our lives? But before we get to all that, in today’s episode we will discuss what history teaches us about the existence of God and how we can believe in a God whom we have never seen. The reason we are talking about the existence of God is because the existence or non-existence of God has an impact on all the other questions we will talk about in future episodes. Throughout this series I am going to use parables to discuss these various questions, so let’s get started with today’s first parable:
Once upon a time, twelve individuals were asked to serve on a jury for a murder trial. The defendant was accused of murdering 30 children and faced the death penalty. The prosecutor called five eyewitnesses who testified in front of the jury that they saw the defendant commit the murders. After hearing all the testimony and deliberating very carefully, the jury unanimously found the defendant guilty and recommended the death penalty.
Let me ask a question. Did any member of the jury see the murder with their own eyes? No. By design, the members of a jury are people who did not see the alleged crime. However, that does not stop juries from deciding beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. Sometimes juries find people guilty of murder, and sometimes juries even recommend the death penalty even though they themselves did not see the murder with their own eyes.
Now let’s apply this concept to the existence of God. Many people in our society wonder why God doesn’t make an appearance in our lives and prove His existence. Some people say they don’t believe in God because they never saw Him with their own eyes. However, if jurors can be expected to determine that someone is guilty of murder even though they themselves did not see the murder with their own eyes, then isn’t it reasonable for us to conclude that we don’t necessarily need to see God with our own eyes in order to conclude that He exists? Now let’s look at a second parable:
The History Paper
Once upon a time a student decided to write a paper on whether or not Alexander the Great was a real person who lived in the 4th Century BC. The student searched out and studied every ancient document he could find that mentions Alexander the Great, and he considered the evidence of Alexander the Great’s influence, such as the number of cities that are named after him. After his research, the student concluded that yes, Alexander the Great was indeed a real person who lived in the 4th Century BC.
Think about the obstacle the student faced. Since Alexander the Great died over 2,000 years ago, the student could not talk to Alexander the Great and verify his existence with his own eyes, nor could he talk to anyone else who had seen Alexander the Great with his own eyes, because every eyewitness to the life of Alexander the Great also died over 2,000 years ago. Does that mean it is impossible to determine whether or not Alexander the Great was a real person? No, it just means that the student had to consult historical documents and determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Alexander the Great was a real person.
Now let’s apply this concept to the existence of God. Many people in our society wonder why God doesn’t make an appearance in our lives and prove His existence. Some people say they don’t believe in God because they never saw Him with their own eyes. However, if we are willing to conclude that people like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were real people even though we never saw them with our own eyes, then shouldn’t we also be willing to conclude that God exists even though we have never seen Him with our own eyes? Now, let’s look at a third parable:
Early one morning, a man walked into a hospital that was filled with over 1,000 patients. The man started walking from room to room, healing each patient. Burn victims suddenly had no trace of burn marks. Leg amputees walked away on their own real legs. Blind patients suddenly had perfect vision. Patients on life support detached themselves from their machines and walked away. By the end of the day, every single patient in the hospital had been healed and had gone home. Hundreds of hospital staff members had watched this man heal all these people. When asked how he was able to heal all these people, the man said, “I am God, and I healed these people to prove that I exist.”
What if this happened in your local hospital? Would this convince you that God exists? If not, why not? If this would not be enough to convince you that God exists, then what would be enough? By definition, a god is a living being that is more powerful than humans, and so one way for God to prove his existence, if He does exist, is to do something that humans cannot do. The reason hospitals are full of people is because doctors cannot completely heal every person, and it takes time for them to heal the people they are able to heal. If a man walks into a hospital and instantaneously heals every single patient just by touching them, then the only logical conclusion would be that God has taken on human form and is proving His existence.
2,000 years ago, an event very similar to this actually took place. There was a man named Jesus who traveled around Israel, healing hundreds of people in front of hundreds of witnesses, and he healed them instantaneously of diseases that could be visually verified such as leprosy, withered arms, and blindness. Jesus also raised people from the dead, in front of witnesses. When people asked Jesus who he was, he declared that He is God and healing people was one of the ways He used to prove that He is God. We know about Jesus because there were many people who saw Jesus heal people. These eyewitnesses concluded that Jesus is God and some of them wrote down what they saw and their writings have been preserved for us until this very day. These writings are included in the book we call The Bible.
So what is the conclusion from all this?
Just as we are willing to believe in the existence of many historical people whom we have never seen, so too we should be willing to believe in the existence of God even though we have never seen Him. And just as we can study historical documents that testify to the existence of people like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, so too we can study historical documents that testify to the fact that God exists. 2,000 years ago God took on human form, He came to earth and dwelt among men, and He performed miracles in front of many witnesses in order to prove that He exists.
In the next episode, we will talk about God’s power.
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”