Can We Achieve Certainty?

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

  • Luke 1:1-4

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.  For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.  The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here.  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.”

  • Luke 11:29-32

“When you are asked for trust, you may give it or withhold it; it is senseless to say that you will trust if given demonstrative certainty.”

  • C. S. Lewis, On Obstinancy in Belief

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”

  • Anne Lamott

We are in an age where many agnostics and atheists demand demonstrative certainty.  It is true of the time of Jesus as well.  Jesus was healing people by the hundreds.  He was feeding people, with practically nothing to begin with, by the thousands.  He was doing what the Old Testament prophets said that He would do, but the Pharisees and the religious leaders wanted a private demonstration, something where they could control the circumstances, before they believed.  That is not the way Jesus operated.  He would not stoop down to do parlor tricks for the elite.  He answered to a higher power and higher authority.

The two Scriptures above are telling.  Luke writes to Theophilus with the books of Luke and Acts.  He starts Luke with “here is your proof.”  Luke uses the word “certainty.”  Theophilus had to accept Luke’s word, but in many cases, Theophilus could have done the same research and found the same eyewitnesses, yet even then, Theophilus got the Good News second hand, as we do.  Second hand until God speaks through His Word directly to us.

The second Scripture is Jesus complaining that the wicked world wants proof positive, demonstrative certainty, for them to believe.  The Lamott quote would counter that the world has no interest in faith.  If any faith at all, the world wishes absolute proof of God’s power, but faith that God will use that power to make those with that speck of faith wealthy, more attractive, more powerful, etc.  But that is not how God works.

Or is it?

God created the heavens and the earth.  That is a statement of faith, but within that statement, we can see God’s handiwork.  We can see the orderly creation that if things were off center in any way, life on earth could not exist.  The atheists and agnostics would brush away that last statement, but as Mark Lowry says about them, their faith is much stronger than mine.  I believe God did it, while they think all this happened by mere chance, a much harder thing to believe.  Might I say impossible?

But then the RATE Team, “Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth,” produced scientific proof that the earth is not millions of year old (LINK HERE), and the secular world first failed in their arguments against it, but then simply ignored the truth in favor of a lie (a lie that does not involve God).

The secular world is stacking the deck against the Bible, and they still cannot overcome those who have faith.

Lee Strobel said in The Case for Christ that what impressed him was that all the apostles died the death of martyrs (with the possible exception of John), yet none denied that Jesus rose from the dead.  They all knew Jesus rose from the dead, but others became martyrs without seeing the risen Jesus, because Jesus makes a tangible difference in our souls.  We indeed become new creations.

This new creation can be scoffed, but the true believer knows what happened within them.  The Holy Spirit provides reminders that He is still there, no matter the circumstances.

For most folks, that may not be proof, but it is certainty to those that love the Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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