Monday, July 18, 2016

How faith works .......... Parables 459

February 14, 1995 

An Edmonton man complained about a weather report on television. It predicted a 0% chance of rain but when he went outside it was raining. He was drenched. Wet and annoyed, he called Environment Canada and found that the weather reporters could not see the storm coming. They relied entirely on instruments because, at that time, their operation headquarters had no windows!

My husband has another interesting way to forecast the weather. My father, a retired farmer, turns on the weather report every morning. Bob teases him, “I can give you a report,” he says, walking over to the window. “See, the sun is shining today . . . “

While observation alone can be unreliable, it is an important part of any scientific inquiry. Scientists do not define rain or wind, explore the ocean floor, or classify orchids by looking inside their own heads or by relying entirely on instruments like thermometers, barometers or computers. They use their eyes and other senses to observe carefully and objectively in their exploration and analysis.

Scientists also work together, depending upon the observations of each other. They seldom limit what they know about the visible, material world to speculation but instead look for evidence that proves their theories.

However, scientists sometimes hesitate to exam or make conclusions about invisible or immaterial topics. They are reluctant to include in their studies concepts such as God or faith because God is invisible and faith cannot be directly observed, measured or dissected. Scientists usually ignore these topics, considering they belong in the realm of theory.

Does faith really require a leap in the dark? Is it based on speculation only? I do not think so. No one trusts anything without out some evidence that warrants their trust.

Electricity is an example. It is invisible but the average person can test it by the results it produces. We simply plug in our appliances. If they work, believe in the presence and power of electricity. If they do not, then electricity is either absent or worthless. If it did not do anything, we would have no reason to rely on it.

Also notice that the evidence is produced by the object of our reliance. It is not trust or faith in it that makes electricity work; electricity makes trust possible. That is, electricity that we cannot see causes something to happen that we can see, so we can believe in the power behind it.

Faith in God is like that. God is also invisible but He showed Israel what He is like through His activity on their behalf and through the words He spoke using His prophets. Because of the evidence, the people of God believed He is real.

God’s ultimate evidence of Himself occurred when He appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is God’s fullest revelation, the “exact representation of His being,” incarnate in a human body. When anyone seriously examines this evidence, they are convinced that God is real and they put their faith in Him and in Jesus Christ. This faith is not something believers conjure up in their minds, nor does it exist independently of the evidence. Christian faith is based on God-given evidence.

No matter what people decide to believe in, something convinces them that the object of their faith is worthy. If only one in twenty-five outlets in a house makes the toaster work, few would have any faith in the wiring in that house. If Christ had not demonstrated His worth, no one would ever say, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain...”

Christ demonstrated God’s grace, goodness and power. Because of what He has done, we have enough evidence to believe He is worthy and He can be trusted.

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