In one of my classes, Advanced Intro to the Old Testament, we are assigned to read through the entire Old Testament in one semester. It’s going to be a challenge, but I hope to keep up with it.
In reading through the Pentateuch, Torah, Law, whatever you want to call it, I noticed something. Several things, actually, but I will only touch on one right now:
We live in an age of postmodernism, which is really just a pendulum swing away from modernism. During the age of modernism, the western world became obsessed with proof. Everything we could “know” for sure was that which the sciences could measure, test, observe, reproduce, record, i.e. “prove.” This was troublesome when it came to the existence of God. Since science could not “prove” God, He must not exist. Then we saw a response in the area of “Christian scientists” who pushed for the science of intelligent design to be added to the curriculum in schools across America. The idea is that if we could offer enough evidence for the existence of a Creator, then pagans everywhere would repent of their folly and turn to faith in Yahweh.
I don’t know how many times you, like I, have thought something along the lines of: If I could only have lived during the time of Jesus to see his miracles, then I would have no problem believing. If I could just see, then I would believe.
But is true, genuine belief really a product of sight? Just because something is observable by the senses, does that make it any more believable? Think about it.
Jesus was constantly asked for a “sign” to “prove” that He was who He claimed to be. John records seven of these signs, all of which were observed by multiple witnesses – they saw, smelled, felt, heard, and even tasted of these signs. But was this “proof” enough? Of course not. And it still isn’t.
And consider the post-exodus nation of Israel in the wilderness. Yahweh, the Creator, revealed His presence to the entire nation in the “grand theophany” at Sinai. But was that enough for them? No. Nothing was ever enough “proof,” at least not enough to convince them that they should follow Him completely. We see the constant pattern of God creating (the world, the nation of Israel, etc.), His creation falling away, His presence being taken away, then reconciling His creation to Himself. It’s an endless cycle. It happened in the beginning, it happened in the Exodus, during the Judges and prophets, during the time of Jesus, and it happens today.
So my question is, does sight really produce belief? My answer, and the answer found thorughout scriptures, is a resounding “NO!” There are some exceptions, of course, found in these stories. For “Doubting Thomas”, seeing and feeling were enough proof for Him. But the fact remains that no matter how much evidence, or “proof”, we offer for the existence and/or power of God, there are going to be some who simply do not, cannot, or will not believe.
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” -John 20:29
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1