Someone asked me recently what kinds of evidence I base my faith in God upon, so I thought I would start a new thread for the subject. Please forgive the length; I was trying to be thorough. I will state up front that there are many different types of evidence. Not all evidence is scientific. Not all evidence is proof... else there would be no need for anyone to ever weigh the evidence. There is personal evidence, testimonial evidence, hearsay evidence, physical evidence, circumstantial evidence, hypothetical evidence, empirical evidence, anecdotal evidence (can only be used to disprove a claim... such as a generalization). Probably more types than those as well, but I don't know of any other types. There are also two different categories to consider here:
Evidence for a creator/force of some sort - Deism.
Evidence for the Father of Christ as God, specifically - Theism.
I will start with some of the evidence I see for a creator/force of some sort. Deism. (Though admittedly, Christ and spirit has always been the most compelling evidence for me.)
- Humanity has shown a need or desire to seek out the spiritual. Every single culture that we know of, even those that develop in isolation, has had a belief in god/goddess/creator/spirit (s). From as far back as we can trace the beginning, this has been shown to be true. Explanations have been offered that mankind assigned to a 'god' what mankind could not explain. But I cannot see this as being possible. How can a purely natural species conceive of the spiritual/the supernatural?
- Humans have a fantastic imagination. This is true. But I have never known a single person who can conceive of something that has not been built upon previous knowledge, or observation of the physical world. For instance, conceiving of aliens is easy. There are many planets with various conditions; we know that life exists on planets because we exist upon this one; so there could also be various forms of life suited to the environments of other planets. That is a simple leap built upon established knowledge; it is not a new conception.
- Life does not come from nothing (or death, which is a form nothing). Life come from the living, and this is a universe of life. Not a universe of inanimate, lifeless, things. I can imagine that 'objects' -inanimate and lifeless - might, possibly, come from nothing. But living things must come from something living. There is no life in nothing, to spark life in something lifeless. To animate the object, so to speak... so that it becomes life.
Evidence for God, the Father of Christ. (theism, in a sense, though more specific) These overlap with evidence for a creator in some places, but I am trying to do this in an orderly fashion.
To begin with, allow me to state that Christ is the basis of my entire faith. The root of my faith. Without him, I might reason my way to deism, though in practical application, deism seems not much different from atheism.
Christ is the single most compelling testimonial evidence for God. But what grants strength to his testimony about God? His teachings are truth. Not because it is said/written that they are truth. But because I can clearly see the truth within them when I apply them in my life, or see others applying those teachings in their lives. If his teachings are true, if his deeds are true, then compelling weight is added to the truth of his testimony about God. As well, the corroborating and various written accounts both within and without the bible, giving testimony toward Christ, carry further weight to the validity of the existence of the man, as well as his teachings and his deeds and his testimony.
The above testimonial evidence is likened more to hearsay... which is still evidence, though it must be weighed very carefully. Which is why I weight it against the truth of the teachings (and one other thing that I will get to). Hearsay in this sense is unavoidable, however, since it has been two thousand years since those who walked with Christ have died (and since Christ walked in the flesh, Himself). However, direct testimonial evidence is of a personal nature, at least it is right now. This is the reason I place it under personal evidence, instead of under testimonial evidence alone. But it is testimonial evidence, to the person given that evidence.
The Spirit of Christ speaks.
He has spoken to me (and of course many others as well). Sometimes, the spirit speaking comes as a reminder... perhaps the memory of a scripture, perhaps of an event or experience. Sometimes the spirit speaking comes in the form of understanding granted. An answer to a question posed in prayers. And sometimes the spirit speaking comes by way of His voice. A quiet, calm, and sure inner voice. One that you know is not your own. I accept 100%, the hearsay testimonial evidence, only when the Spirit confirms it to me. (direct testimonial evidence) The rest I test according to the Spirit of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
In the evidence for Deism above, it is the Spirit who told me about life not coming from nothing. I had been considering all things that people spoke of on here, and I asked if I was making things more difficult, more complex than they had to be. Was it more complicated, adding a creator to the equation? This is one of the few times that I received an immediate answer from the Spirit. I hadn't even consciously been directing my question toward my Lord, but I was calm and accepting in facing whatever seemed the more logical response.
His answer actually came in the form of a question (might not be the exact wording; it was a little while ago):
"Is it so inconceivable that life comes from the living? Does it seem more plausible that the living comes from death, or nothing (since death is nothing)?"
I listened more, but I understood the truth revealed to me. A dead thing might come from nothing... but a living thing must come from life.
So hearing in spirit is personal evidence, evidence for me, and the truth in what He shares allows me to trust what I hear from Him. At no time - ever -has he ever told me something untrue, or not beneficial. I mess up when I do NOT listen to what He directs or teaches. And the answers to my questions always come... not always right away as in the case above, but they do come. So I also trust when I must wait, that the answers are there, and will come when the time is right.
He also once revealed to me something that science is just beginning to hypothesize around. I started a thread on it here, a while ago... concerning 'putting on or taking off the flesh'. I tend to think that the true lesson was that often we think two different statements or beliefs are in conflict. When actually, both are true. We simply lack the understanding to see 'the bridge' between two seemingly conflicting ideas. So I don't worry so much anymore, if some things do not seem to 'fit'.
I do, however, think that this post is long enough. If anyone wants to get into that, I will resurrect that old thread. (pun intended, which you will only understand if you read the thread I am speaking about, lol)
Peace to all,