In our quest for the truth, we have this strong desire to have objective tangible proof that what we believe ir right. Everyone wants this. No one likes the prospect of saying that my beliefs are all based on faith assumptions. That is too uncertain and leaves us with doubts.
But that is exactly the position we find ourselves in. When you shake down every belief system in the world, you ultimately come down to a foundation which is based purely on faith presuppositions. That is because no set of worldview beliefs can be empirically proven. So does that mean that any belief is just as valid as any other belief? Absolutely not!!!
While we can’t empirically prove any belief system, we do have some ways to measure truth. Everyone in the world experiences life in certain ways. For instance, we are all subject to the law of gravity. No matter how much one believes it is possible to levitate, and no matter how hard one tries, it will never happen. As another example, we all have a need for relationship and to be able to communicate with others. And no matter how much a person tries to deny it, people the world over are driven to it.
There is a way that reality is structured and every worldview is an attempt to understand and live by it. But as we look at the beliefs of the various worldviews, every one that is not an expression of the truth posits positions which run contrary to the way we experience life. It is possible to line up every untrue worldview and point out the places where there is a misalignment with reality. But for now we only want to look at our Christian worldview and see how it does align with reality. This becomes the solid evidence that we can build our confidence on concerning our faith.
The testimony for the validity of the Christian faith falls into numerous classes of evidence, and here we simply want to expose those categories. There are scores of volumes written about each one, so we will not go into great depth here. Right now our purpose is simply to lay out an outline of the vast amount of evidence that we, as Christians, can use to back up our faith.
Evidence for the Validity of the Christian Faith
Human Experience of Life Matches Christian Teachings
We experience life as personal, self-aware beings.
- God is understood to be personal and mankind is created in his image.
We have a sense of transcendence.
- God is understood to be transcendent based on the Biblical revelation.
- Human beings in virtually every society throughout the ages have had a sense that there is an afterlife and that there is a God.
We experience life in relationships.
- The concept of the trinity makes God a person who’s very essence expresses relationship.
- God is understood to interact with mankind in a personal relationship.
- The structure of the human psyche and social organization is based on human relationships.
We experience life based in spiritual qualities.
- God is revealed to be a spiritual being and man is said to be made in his image.
- Mankind operates in this world as a spiritual being which is revealed in such attributes as: self-conscious personality, intelligence, morality, creativity, ability to self-consciously communicate, etc.
We experience life based on natural laws.
- The Christian faith affirms that material reality is based on a fixed set of natural laws, while also acknowledging that God can intervene in material reality.
- Natural law excludes spontaneous existence and the Christian faith posits a Creator.
We are capable of knowledge.
- God is understood to have knowledge and mankind is created in his image.
We have a sense of morality.
- God is revealed as a being with a particular character which defines the boundaries of morality.
- God has created mankind in his own image which includes a sense of morality as an innate part of our very being.
- Christian morality is most consistent with a stable individual psyche and with a stable societal structure.
We experience time as linear.
- God has established material reality as a time based, non-repetitive reality.
- Time only has meaning within the context of a temporal physical structure.
We experience the world as objective.
- God has revealed himself as an objective person.
Mankind Matches up with the “Image” Characteristics of God That Are Revealed in the Bible
One of the important aspects of human existence which is taught in the Bible is that man is created in the “image of God.” That being the case, if we know what those “image” characteristics are, we can compare that with humanity and see if they match up. Once again, this is not definitive proof that the Biblical worldview is the Truth, but it is one more piece of evidence that points in that direction.
It is important to understand that the idea regarding the “image of God” is not a physical characteristic. In other words, man does not physically look like God. Rather, it is a set of characteristics which define the personhood of God and, thus, the personhood of humankind.
We know at least some of the characteristics of God because his character and qualities are spelled out in the Bible. Let’s examine for a moment what we do know. God is:
- Eternal (Revelation 1:8)
- Self-conscious (Exodus 3:14)
- Reflective (Jonah 3:8-10)
- Self-determinate (Matthew 6:10)
- Personal (Isaiah 55:6-7)
- Transcendent (Jeremiah 23:24)
- Spirit (John 4:24)
- Able to have knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)
- Able to have dominion over the world (Genesis 17:1)
- Good (Mark 10:18)
- Just (Romans 2:1-2)
- Love (1 John 4:8)
- Relational (Revelation 3:20)
As we look at these characteristics, we see that, indeed, mankind is imbued with them. We, certainly, do not have these characteristics to the degree that they are displayed in God himself, but they are evident to the degree that it is possible within the human frame.
Evidence Related to the Bible
- The Bible has been accurately preserved and transmitted to us through the ages. The evidence for this is overwhelming.
- The Bible is consistent with itself even though it was written by approximately 40 authors over about a 1500 year period.
- The Bible contains literally hundreds of prophesies that have been fulfilled in minute detail. Some of those prophesies were made hundreds of years before the fulfillment.
- There is overwhelming archaeological evidence that the places and events recorded in the Bible are true.
Christ Is Who He Said He Was
The Christian faith literally rises or falls on the truth that Christ was who he said he was. If he was who he claimed to be, the truth of the Christian faith is virtually assured.
- Jesus Christ believed he was God. (Matt. 20:225-28, Mark 2:6-12, Luke 22:67-71, John 4:25-26, Rev. 1:17-18 – and many more.)
- The eyewitnesses that lived and worked with Jesus believed he was God. (Matt. 28:9, John 1:1, Acts 7:55-60, Romans 10:13-14, 1:Cor. 1:1-2, Phil. 2:5-11, Col 2:9, Heb. 1:6 – and many more.)
Jesus believed he was the Messiah. He was either crazy, lying or truthful. The strongest evidence is that he was telling the truth. The evidence of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life strongly backs this up. People who knew Jesus and were present are the ones who wrote the gospels and other New Testament writings.
Evidence Related to Historical Documents
The biographies of Jesus and other writings about the early church are accurately preserved. In addition to this, there is strong evidence of the truth of the New Testament’s information from other writings outside of the Biblical text.
Evidence Based on Scientific Study
The archeological evidence is very strong. There has never been even one archeological discovery which has contradicted the Biblical account.
There have been many attempts to discount the evidence concerning the accuracy of the descriptions of Jesus’ life and ministry. None of them are able to stand up to scrutiny.
Evidence Related to Jesus’ Messianic Position
Jesus matches up with the identity of Messiah from prophesy. In addition, his life stands the test in regard to the ministry he performed while on earth – he actually lived up to what he taught.
Evidence from the Medical Field
Medical descriptions of the death and resurrection of Jesus are strong.
Evidence of the Missing Body
After the resurrection, the body of Jesus was really gone.
The Evidence of Jesus’ Appearances Following His Death
Jesus was seen after the resurrection by the apostles, close associates and over 500 more people.
1. The disciples’ willingness to die for their beliefs.
No one puts their life on the line for a lie.
2. The conversion of skeptics.
a) James, the brother of Jesus, was initially skeptical but he completely changed.
b) Paul was originally violently opposed to the Christian faith, but an actual encounter with the risen Christ convinced him to become a follower.
3. Changes to key social structures and a completely new theology among former Jews.
The kinds of things which Jewish believers gave up were so central to their very identity that it is inconceivable that they would do it without some kind of radical evidence. And literally thousands experienced the evidence. This was in spite of, and in the face of, severe persecution, and even martyrdom.
4. Communion and Baptism
You wouldn’t expect the celebration of an execution and a curse to become the focal points of a belief system, yet this is precisely what happened.
5. The emergence of the church from nothing.
It is virtually unheard of for a belief system to emerge and grow as this one did without any kind of violent coercion whatsoever.
- On a personal level, my life has been changed by having come to know Jesus Christ in a personal relationship.
- The changed lives of billions of others throughout history is testimony of the truth of the Christian faith.
None of these evidences are empirical proof that the Christian faith is the truth about the nature of reality. Worldview beliefs cannot be demonstrated by empirical proofs. But they do give more powerful and profound evidence than any other worldview belief can muster. On top of that, they match up with the way we, as human beings, experience reality better than any other worldview belief.
Many people will cherry pick these lines of evidence and try to point out weaknesses. But there is not a single one which can be overturned. And taken together, the evidence is overwhelming.
It is certainly permissible for non-believers to investigate, or even attack, the evidence for the Christian faith, but only if they are ready to defend the weaknesses of their own belief system. What right does any person have to attack us from a foundation that is even more flawed?
But this puts a great responsibility on us, as well. We must become proficient in understanding worldview so that we can detect the weaknesses of the beliefs of those attacking us. But we must also know the strengths of our own worldview. This is the reason for grasping the evidence put forth in today’s article.
The Christian faith is the most consistent belief system in existence. When we truly understand it, it changes our lives.
© 2008 Freddy Davis