Friday, March 27, 2020. Does God exist? How do people approach the question and what is the New Testament advice how to approach it? We have already started to look into the scientific approaches. Today, we want to continue this line of thought, trying to develop the New Testament perspective.
The New Testament teaches the presense of God everywhere. It also teaches the absense of God in the life of most of those who do not want to know him. We can live in this world without God - it is a possible choice. We are given our life time, whithout the exact knowledge of when it ends.
Communication and …
At the same time, we are invited to get to know God. The whole New Testament talks about this invitation. It is based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is called the Christ.
How do we get to know God? God is not accessible the same way as some human or some animal. He is spirit. The New Testament talks about Jesus as the son of God. The Old Testament talks about prophets, who speak the words of God. Here, God becomes accessible in an indirect way. Is it sure that it is God? The topic of recognition is an important topic, addressed in the bible many times. Is Jesus from God? Is he the Messiah?
Further to this, Jesus talks in parables to the people. He also explains many of the parables to his disciples. These explanations are recorded in the gospels. Parables speak about deep truth in the form of images and comparisions. They try to capture truth in a special way of communication. This is stated in Matthew Chapter 13 as follows:
34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13, 34ff)
What is it that proves that Jesus is the son of God? What type of proof would we accept? There is no experiment to formulate and carry out which would prove this. We can try to use historical science to prove that the events which are recorded in the gospels took place.
And indeed, when you look into the historical evidence, it is astonishing how close we come to the events 2000 years ago. The early letters of the apostles are written between 50 and 60 AD, that is less than 30 years after the crucifiction. The gospels are written between 50 and 90 AD, in the lifetime of the apostles and disciples which knew Jesus and took part in all the events. Already early in the second century, we have letters and artefacts which show that the gospels and apostolic letters have been widely distributed and used.
It is good to see that the historical evidence does not contradict the message of the gospels. But what is it that will convince us of Jesus? It is less the historical evidence, it is what Jesus says himself. It is the whole of the biblical books, their way to approach life and death. To me, Jesus himself, his faith, the way he talks and acts, has convinced me that he is what I want. He is what I see to be human, truly human, in a way which is good and fantastic and a perspective for my life.
Of course, evidence needs understanding AND experience. When you start to follow Jesus, you can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit as it is described in the New Testament. With open eyes you can compare the events in this world with the interpretation which Jesus gives them. That is highly exciting, and very convincing. The New Testament is a Jewel, which is of unbelievable depth and value! (Roland Potthast)