Over the years, I’ve heard many arguments from people who don’t believe in God, or the Bible. And the reasons for their unbelief are usually a variety of things. Some people will say, “How can I believe in something that I’ve never seen?” Others will insist, “If God exists, why does He allow so many horrible things in this world to happen?”. And still another one (directly questioning the Bible), “Why would you believe a whole bunch of stories in a book written by illiterate men, thousands of years ago as the Word of God?” These are all legitimate questions, for the non-believer. And the answers, while requiring explanation, are simple at their core.
Addressing the first question: “How can I believe in something that I’ve never seen?”, there is a very simple answer to that. One of the main points of the Christian Faith is believing that God is real even though, we have never seen Him. Several bible verses point to this. Hebrews 1:11
says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Romans 8:24
elaborates further on this by stating, “For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?”. And 2 Corinthians 4:18
says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” These verses, from 3 different books in the Bible, all fit together to form a basic explanation as to why, as 2 Corinthians 5:7
says, “We walk by faith, not by sight”. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God. A God we’ve never physically seen. So faith, by its very nature, requires believing in something you cannot physically identify.
The next logical question that a non-believer will ask is, “If God exists, why does He allow so many horrible things in this world to happen?”. We’ll come back to that one in a bit, as I want to address the 3rd question first, which is “Why would you believe a whole bunch of stories in a book, written by illiterate men, thousands of years ago as the Word of God?”.
Let’s talk about the “concept” of God for a moment. Putting aside whether or not He is real, what IS the definition of God? According to a definition in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, God is “the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god
Therefore, if the “concept”, or definition, of God is this supreme, all powerful, all knowing Being, that means He can literally do ANYTHING. If means He can create the earth and the universe simply by saying, “Let there be light” and it be so. It means He can create man from the dust of the earth by saying, “Let us make man in our own image”, and it be so. And it also means He can take these imperfect, illiterate men, scattered across the globe, and over the course of 1,500 years, put His words into their minds, influencing them to document them, and those words eventually evolve into a book called the Bible, and have it be the perfect, unequaled Word of God.
So, after reading all of that, your next legitimate question is “If God exists, why does He allow so many horrible things in this world to happen?”. The answer is very simple. We live in a fallen, sinful world. And it has been that way since Adam and Eve sinned for the first time in the Garden of Eden. This wasn’t how God intended it to be, but man’s nature is not perfection, it’s sin. Now you may be asking, “How can God be so angry with Adam and Eve over a piece of fruit?”. It wasn’t over a piece of fruit; it was over rebellion to God. God told them they could eat from any tree in the Garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17
). And the reason for that was because of what that tree brought with it, which was exactly as advertised, meaning Adam and Eve knew this beforehand. But once Satan told them they could be like God (knowing Good and Evil), they gave into that temptation, and sin entered the world. And this has led to wars, disease, famine, murder, sexual immorality and countless other sins. And because we were now living in this world full of sin, and we are imperfect human beings, we would live in constant rebellion to God.
So now, some of you are probably asking, “Well if He’s God, why doesn’t He just put a stop to all of this? If He’s perfect, all powerful and all knowing…why doesn’t He just wipe out the Devil, sin, all the evil in the world, and be done with it? Well, that is His plan. And He could have just snapped his fingers a long time ago and taken care of it. But when God created man, He didn’t just create the people of that time. He also knew of every single person that would ever be born in the future. And He knew all the sins they would commit. This includes everyone from the first people on the face of the earth, the people in the time of Jesus, the people in the Middle Ages, and everyone in the world today. He knows it all. He’s God. And because He’s God, He’s perfect, and nothing LESS than perfection can ever be in His presence. It would literally contradict with Him. That’s why Jesus had to live a perfect life, and become sin FOR man. Because when you accept Jesus, and go before God, He no longer sees your sins, He sees Jesus.
So to summarize…how can we believe in something we’ve never seen? Because we walk by faith, not by sight. Why do we believe the stories in a book written by imperfect men thousands of years ago? Because God is perfect, and can influence them to write His perfect words. And finally, if such a God exists, why do so many horrible things happen? Because this is a fallen, sinful world, in need of a Savior. And that Savior’s name is Jesus. Trust in Him today, and be saved.