Most people would agree that the existence of God and His revelation in the Bible is a matter of faith. But how compelling is this faith? Can something that cannot be seen or touched, cannot be proven by experiment, can only be inferred from evidence, be real? One of the most powerful statements about faith is found in the New Testament book of Hebrews: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Is this kind of assured faith reasonable?
The truth is that much of our lives are based on faith and not absolute knowledge. We choose what to believe in based on the evidence we have. Even some science is based on something resembling faith – a belief in something that is not tangible, but that evidence strongly points towards.
What kind of evidence is there for God?
We can look at various lines of evidence such as the need for a first cause, the fine-tuning of the universe, and the appearance of design in which God is a very good explanation.
In this post, I want to look at three lines of evidence from the Bible itself: 1) the God of the Bible, 2) the Law of God, and 3) the Wisdom of God.
The God of the Bible
At a time when polytheism was part the surrounding culture, the God of the Bible was unique. The Bible says this about God:
He is the only God, which avoided the rivalry and unpredictableness said to occur among the gods of the nations.
He is the Creator of everything, which brought a sense of order and predictability to the world.
He is faithful to His word and therefore can be trusted to always be the same.
He is just and therefore cannot be bribed to do whatever someone else wants.
He is eternal and unchanging unlike the gods of the nations who all to often acted like humans and could even be overthrown.
He required sacrificial offerings, however these sacrifices were a visual of His willingness to fellowship with man, not because He needed to be fed and cared for in order to be kept in a positive mood.
He is the epitome of morality, which gave people an ideal to strive towards.
He is a God that demanded morality and did not Himself engage in immoral behaviours like some of the gods of the nations.
The God of the Bible is not only unlike any of the gods of the various ancient cultures we can read about today, but He is a God that is still believable and relevant to us today!
The Law of God
The laws that God gave to His people to follow are quite remarkable compared to what were the accepted practices of the day, and enabled the ancient Israelites to live a healthy and disease-free life while wandering in the wilderness. The wisdom of many of these practices has only been discovered relatively recently.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 18:1-4)
One has but to read the Bible carefully and thoughtfully to conclude that the wisdom expressed therein regarding health, hygiene and sanitation form the groundwork of today’s public health rules… these biblical rules on health and hygiene were far in advance of, and superior to, any which then existed in the world. (H. Wain, History of Preventative Medicine, 1970)
Here are some examples from the Law of Moses:
Isolating those with infectious diseases (Leviticus 13:45,46)
Bathing and washing clothing in running water (Leviticus 15:13)
Safe disposal of human waste by burial outside the camp (Deuteronomy 23:12,13)
Washing after handling dead bodies (Numbers 19:11-19)
Food laws regarding clean and unclean animals (Leviticus 11)
Not eating animals that died of themselves (Leviticus 11)
Proper care of animal life to avoid extinction (Deuteronomy 22:6-7)
Proper care of land to ensure fertility (Leviticus 25:1-7)
Proper care of sources of food (Deuteronomy 20:19-20)
Proper care of the human body and animals used for work with a day of rest (Exodus 20:8-10)
Restrictions regarding sex which prevented sexual disease (Leviticus 18)
These rules were very different than the practices of their contemporaries. The fact that these practices are still relevant today, is another reason to believe that the Bible contains wisdom that is not humanly derived.
The Wisdom of God
The Bible contains a way of living that is good for humanity – an approach to life that is consistent with biblical wisdom is confirmed often today. One of these is living lives of thankfulness. Studies have shown that gratitude has innumerable health benefits such as helping people have better self-esteem, better relationships with others, better physical health, better psychological health, more empathy and less aggression, better sleep, and greater mental health. (“7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude that Will Motivate You to Give Thanks All Year Round”, Amy Morin, November 23, 2014, www.Forbes.com)
Here are some other examples of biblical wisdom and how it can affect us:
Way of Life
helps to promote morality in one’s own life
ensures that others are treated well
helps to prevent selfishness
1 Thessalonians 5:18
helps to prevent envy and resentment
helps to prevent despair
accepting suffering as a growing experience
2 Corinthians 4:17, James 1:12
helps us deal with it in a positive way
growing in wisdom
better decision making and stronger character
1 Peter 5:5
less sense of entitlement and therefore less prejudiced
benefits to mental wellbeing
These are three lines of evidence that seem to imply a knowledge beyond that of humanity at the time it was written. A very good explanation for all of this is that there is a God, a God who is all-knowing and therefore knows what is best for humanity, and who revealed Himself through words, written by His prophets, so that we could know Him and become all He created us to be.