The other day I was reading through my Bible when I began to ponder…
Do I really believe this stuff? Do I really believe there’s a God who created me, watches over me, and cares about my life? Do I really believe when I die, I’m going to see this God? And do I really believe this God is going to return from the skies to conquer Hades and death at the end of the ages?
These doubts aren’t anything new for me. There’s been numerous times throughout my life I’ve thought such thoughts and questioned myself about what I believe. This is by no means a “sin” on my part. In fact, questioning our beliefs can actually strengthen our faith because it allows us to gain wisdom and perspective about why we believe what we believe.
“Faith without doubts is like a human body without antibodies…fragile and untested.”—Tim Keller
When I was younger, I failed to realize this concept. Anytime I raised these questions to myself, I’d run away from them; scared that if I looked into them, my faith and my hope would be squashed and I’d be left hopelessly alone and confused.
Thankfully during college, I learned that instead of running from my doubts, I should look into them. Knowing that if God was real, the evidence for His existence would be made all the more clearer.
The following are a few questions I had answered through my probing…
1) Why should I believe the Bible?
The Bible is the most extensively accurate book in antiquity. That’s to say that out of all the historical literature scholars deem “accurate,” the Bible has the most discovered manuscripts and the most consistency among those manuscripts as far as what they say. Moreover, the Bible was written by over 40 authors over a time period of approximately 1500 years! Meaning we have numerous witnesses of what was seen, heard, and experienced over a very long period of time (as opposed to one single author who could have just “made all this up” without any witnesses to hold him accountable). Additionally, archaeology has never produced anything to contradict the Bible. In fact, there’s been numerous archaeological discoveries the Bible foreknew before we even discovered them! In short, when I read the Bible, I know I’m reading something that is historically accurate, written with extensive accountability, and isn’t disputed by archaeological or historical facts (in fact, it confirms them!).
2) Why doesn’t God just show Himself to us so we can see He exists without a shadow of a doubt?
The fact is God has revealed Himself to us numerous times throughout history! God physically revealed Himself to countless numbers of people in the Old Testament, and despite those revelations, people continued to doubt and sin against Him. Undeterred, God chose to physically reveal Himself to us one final time through Jesus, and what did we do? We condemned Him to a cross! The Bible makes it clear that humanity will continue to doubt and sin against God rather we physically see Him or not. Thankfully, through Jesus, God made a way for all of us to know Him and gave us the ultimate revelation to His existence. In addition, God also reveals Himself to us everyday through His creation, through our knowledge of right and wrong, and through His Holy Spirit, which actively pursues all people throughout the earth.
3) Why does God allow evil to exist?
The fact we can even identify evil and injustice is evidence for God’s existence. For if there is no right, how can there be any wrong? Without God, there is no such thing as morality. Rather, morality becomes a popularity contest to what we as humans think is “right” and “wrong” based on how we feel. Human rights don’t exist without God. In fact, evolution tells us through “survival of the fittest” that if there is no God, we should all trample each other however we can for our own sake! Thankfully, God made us in His own image and gave us a sense of love, compassion, and morality that tells us that “survival of the fittest” is not how we were meant to live.
Unfortunately, despite God giving us these qualities, we still found a way to bring evil and injustice into the world by rebelling against Him and choosing to live for ourselves. As a result, for God to take away all evil, He’d have to wipe every one of us off the face of the earth!–because we’re all sinful and contribute to the brokenness that exists here. Thankfully, God chooses another way to combat injustice: He created us to bring His light into the darkness so that others might overcome this world and find refuge in Him.
There are countless other questions that have come to my mind over the years, and I’ve learned that instead of running from them, I should take them on as eagerly and faithfully as I can. That being said, there are definitely questions I’ll never know the answers to, but I guess God wouldn’t be much of a God if I could totally figure Him out myself.
Instead of demanding all the answers, the Bible tell us to not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3: 5) but to trust in Him whose ways are greater than our ways and thoughts are greater than our thoughts (Isaiah 55: 8). And what do I believe happens when we trust Him in this way?
The part about why God allows evil to exist leaves a lot to be questioned. The problem of evil is by far, in my opinion, the most difficult issue for a theist. For example, if you think that good and and evil are necessary counterparts, and this turns out to be true, then it seems to deny the omnipotence of God since God could not have created good without evil existing as well. Also, even if evil is necessary for good to exist, why is there -so much- evil and suffering in the world, why not just a little? These are questions that can be rationally answered with the existence of God in mind; just a little food for thought.