Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
– Matthew 12:38-42
Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God— a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, “Now I believe.” There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22).
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Have you ever been asked, as a believer, to perform a miracle on the spot? Have you ever talked to an unbeliever and heard them say words similar to “If I only had proof…” or “If God only revealed Himself…” You might, in a naïve manner, argue that there is proof. If you have read a few of Lee Strobel’s books, for example, there are compelling arguments from the expanse of the universe to the growth of a single cell organism. The various arguments are listed in his books with the probability of this event happening, without God doing it, are trillions of trillions of trillions to one. Then your friend tells you that they are holding out for the ‘one’.
When you have had such discussions, you might think of the C. S. Lewis quote from Abolition of Man.
“An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or Practical Reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut.”
I am not saying that detractors and non-believers should keep their mouths shut. Please, no, continue the conversation. Just don’t reject sound reasoning off hand because it does not match your view of things. I am saying that it is not sound, practical reason to rejection some of the more compelling arguments found in science (or in gaps of science) that point to a minimum of an intelligent design, but in deeper, more meaningful thought, in belief of a creator.
The issue is that many people will not believe unless God performs parlor tricks at their command, just as the Pharisees tried with Jesus. Did the Pharisees conspire? “Hey, if we can get Jesus to perform miracles at our command, then we will control Him.” I do not know if those words were spoken, but it is obvious in this Scripture quote to be what was on their minds.
It is also obvious when looking around us at those demanding proof today.
My proof is inside me, but you cannot have my proof unless you unconditionally surrender yourself to God first – a step of faith. I am not being coy. God’s program is for us to live by faith. It is simply the way the program works. Jesus said to the Pharisees that you will only get the sign of Jonah. He lived that prophecy out right in front of them. Jesus died on Friday. He rose from the dead on Sunday. Even after this, the Pharisees did not believe. They commissioned a young man by the name of Saul to eradicate the growing numbers of Christians in their midst.
As for me, I live by Faith. My certainty is in my faith. Those that need something concrete will never gain faith. That is one of the first things that must be left on the side of the road if we are to go on a journey of faith.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.