Recently the topic of evidence-seeking has come up frequently in comments on my posts, and I decided it warranted further exploration.
Is it weakness or folly to believe without evidence as Larry suggests in the comments here? Or is it weakness or folly to require evidence to believe?
Must one have physical proof in order to believe something, or does that illustrate a crippled faith?
Certainly the carnal man prefers evidence, as solid and irrefutable as we can get, for our minds seek naturally for such proof. To proceed without proof, or evidence, is risky. As such, throughout biblical history we find such sign seekers… those unwilling to believe without some sort of evidence or sign.
But of these sign seekers we read… “And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, this is an evil generation: they seek a sign” (Luke 11:29). And in Mark we find that when the Pharisees came questioning Jesus, they sought from him a sign from heaven, and Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, why doth this generation seek after a sign?” (Mark 8:11-12)
So should we seek for evidence? In Hebrews 11 (the great dissertation on faith by Paul), we find that faith IS evidence:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
Clearly, we need not see to believe.
Verse 7: “By faith Noah, being bwarned of God of things not seen as yet, cmoved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;”
Did Noah require evidence before building the ark? When God told him that it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights, did he say “prove it”? He didn’t need to, for his faith was sufficient for action.
Verse 8: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Did Abraham require proof, or evidence before he acted? Or was his faith sufficient?
What about Sarah in v.10, did she require evidence to have a child? Or in v. 17, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his very son, did he require evidence that this was necessary, or did he move on faith alone? In v. 29 when Moses approached the Red Sea, did he need evidence that he could part the sea or did he simply believe?
Were these people weak for not requiring evidence, or strong for not needing it.
In life we progress line upon line, precept upon precept. While the need for evidence might be a suitable start, there needs to come a time in our spiritual progression where we graduate from the requirement of such a crutch, where our faith becomes like that of Moses, Abraham, and Noah, enabling us to act based on nothing more than faith alone. Enabling us to act based on a witness from the spirit, and not some physical manifestation that our path is sure.
But even those who have asked such questions are coming close without knowing it. For as the Lord said to Thomas, who doubted his resurrection “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
Here the Lord not only confirms that more blessed are they for whom faith is sufficient, but that they themselves, having not seen Jesus, yet who believe in him, have shown themselves capable of belief without proof.
While God may find it within His wisdom to provide evidence where he may, far be it from me to require it of him.
True faith does not require evidence. And while the wisdom of the world might find this imprudent, or call it weak, the wisdom of the world is not what I seek, but the strength of the faith of Noah, Moses, Abraham, and of all the great prophets, for God hath made foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20).
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