Proving the existence of God again

When you write to convince others how do you write? When you write to pull the threads of prophecy together to whom do you write? When you believe before you write just how do your readers read?

Matthew 4

All the context in the world, all the historical evidence available, all the sources and resources found and yet to be found – everything we do to “establish the facts” – all of that does what … ?

Seems to me it only provides a debating field. A place of learned comparison. The things I believe are facts enough to prove my theory … the things you believe are facts enough to prove your theory. In theory all this proving of theory should be sufficient – one is right and one is wrong.

In practice, beginning with a theory is simply comparing two emotional journeys of selected “facts of belief” all wrapped up as objective evidence. What we each select in – and select out – as supportive of our theory will dictate our journey and our conclusion.

In this case the Jewish nation was looking for fulfilment of prophecy. Matthew was writing to that endemic belief. As one not of that nation – a gentile – I struggle a tad. The elements selected in – the top and tailing of “and that fulfilled this prophecy” don’t press my emotional buttons of fact and evidence.

This chapter 4 of Matthew has 499 words. So far this post has 241 words. Almost each post I write has more than 499 words.

The chapter of Matthew has been translated loads of times. The culture and belief system in which I live has morphed and changed loads of times. I have changed as I read this chapter of Matthew. Any book I return to over the years will change as I do.

All of which proves “what” about God? All of which is evidence that proves what to whom?

There are four words in these 499 that connect inside me. Four words that may or not may not mean anything to you. Four words that today in this moment are my “evidence” – my “emotional evidence”. Four words whose significance in this climate of forensic evidence blow my mind at the ramifications, the science of proof, the knowledge of the ages. Four words which are almost invisible in the noise and emotion of debate.

Those four words are: “and he healed them.”

“News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”

Science says this is impossible. Evidence says bring me the illness, the medical history, the lifestyle choices, the whole kit and caboodle. Facts say give me a list I can work through. Our emotional journey of belief and theory can – and often does – last a lifetime. That final step of “but can I believe?” always the penultimate step – never the ultimate and final step of confidence – of ownership – of “me”.

And he healed them.

I have seen people close to me ill, sick, hurt and in pain. I have seen those I love falter in their living. I have seen those I love wrapped in medical knowledge and solutions. And I have always prayed those solutions solve.

And then these four words.

I imagine all those times of agony. All those times when living was suspended as medicine worked. Whilst the faltering of a loved one’s living paused my own living. And those times when the living was extinguished.

And he healed them.

Would I have been there with our sick friends and family? Would you? Would I have been there watching others with their family and friends – would you? And what then would I believe – what then my evidence?

Chapter 4 of the book of Matthew has a lot that does not speak to me. And yet those four words of 499 are the words of my faith, my belief, my relationship, my love affair. I choose to deselect the words of “fulfilment of prophecy”. I choose to lay aside the cultural and historical context of those words. Not because they do not “fit” – but because they distract.

“And he healed them” is as timeless as love itself. Because I know love and I know healing.

730 words (depending on which word counter you use): pick the few that work for you (or keep on looking).


6 thoughts on “Proving the existence of God again

  1. Paul, I hate to admit this, but as I was reading this brilliant post of yours, the things passing through my mind with flashing bright lights were things I learned back in grad school, things we were required to memorize and regurgitate in term papers and final exams, the Laws of Communication theory, the holy grail of persuasion… Things like:
    All buying decisions are emotional, but we justify our emotional decisions with rational evidence (after the decision is made).
    All belief choices are emotional; they are really “buying decisions”, justified after the fact with reason and evidence from whatever source. And then my very favorite:
    Emotional arguments are highly persuasive, but only for a limited time; you must provide rational evidence for the person to justify their change of mind.
    I said your post was brilliant Paul, because you just put an entire semester of graduate level communication into 700 and some odd words… brilliant communication. Yet at the same time, you did something else, you identified and shared with the world the exact point along the road where our Lord came to meet you, the exact point at which the two of you came together on your journey, and in so doing, you revealed something awesome about God: He meets us exactly where we are, in the way that we can deal with and respond to, and for whatever this is worth, I think that is the most amazing of all of His attributes.
    Thank you.

    • Don, the words to describe my response to your comment are way beyond me. The warm fuzzies are wonderful thank you 🙂
      Yet my confidence in Him to express the absence of conviction by a lot of what Matthew writes (and why) has been a long time coming. The cultural and religious “bible voodoo” runs deep.
      And as I read your comment what was flashing in my mind was “What am I missing that you see?” and after pondering awhile I think I can “get it” in the words, but emotionally .. isn’t this how it is for all of us?
      Which is part of my learning I think. If it isn’t … that leaves me without much of an explanation for any confusion right now.

      “He meets us exactly where we are, in the way that we can deal with and respond to, and for whatever this is worth, I think that is the most amazing of all of His attributes.” Sounds a lot like love to me 🙂

  2. If anyone can or does doubt His love for each of us as individual and diverse and unique as we all are, they have not met Him as you just described. Maybe instead of trying to convince one another and those outside our circles that we are “right,” maybe we ought to be introducing them to a Savior and Redeemer who will “meet” each of them where they need Him most!!
    I agree with Brother Don in the sense of brilliant writing my Brother. I don’t have his education, but I concur with his spiritual sensitivity! I love the fact that when I read your posts, I get to “think” about the things of the Lord, those that we have taken for granted and those things that may not have entered into our “thinking” processes concerning the Lord yet!
    I have been inspired by a lot of blog posts from so many diverse personalities to “THINK” lately and you know there have been times when I have wondered if I “THINK” too much! This in NOT one of those times!! God bless you my brother and friend!

    • Roland, more and more I come back to “make disciples – I am with you always”, and Love me, you and all”. More and more that replaces “prove the bible, the evidence, the factual correctness”. More and more that draws me towards real people. More and more a one-to-one connection. And – oddly – less and less thinking (unless to strip back another never I have polished without understanding why). And – oddly – more and more these connections seem to be His invitation especially for me. And “make disciples” is becoming less an less an activity and more and more a way of living with others. And “love” less and less a theory and more and more the ONLY way to live.

      ((hugs)) as always! 🙂

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