Two plus two is four.
This is true. It is easily verifiable. Just as is my middle name (Joseph) or the street on which I live (Victory). Other truths are not as clear, like the sky is blue. Of course today it is gray, other times it is purple and pink – when the sun sets. So the sky is all of these colors, at different times. That is true.
Some truths are more difficult still. What is love? Am I in love? I can declare my love for Megan. From there you can easily determine that Megan and I exist, the court records state we are married. But that does little to prove anything. I know I am in love, but it is much less clear to you. There is no paper document which confirms my love (as a marriage certificate can easily be followed by divorce papers). The only proof of my love for Megan is in the evidence of my actions.
Even more difficult, but fundamentally more important, is there a God? Does God care? Who is this God?
One of my seminary professors, Dr. Olsen wrote in a recent blog, “I have come to the conclusion over the years that most people who are theologically liberal grew up fundamentalist and are simply in deep reaction to it—throwing the baby out with the bathwater of an overly legalistic and literalistic Christianity.” (Check out the whole blog here.)
I grew up around a knowledge based faith. There was lip-service paid to the idea that God could not be proven. But all of our activities were bent on collecting information. Acceptance into the faith was obtained by answering questions correctly (I actually failed my first time). And in this way, I suppose, the church subconsciously believed it was built like mathematics.
The scriptures became our “two plus two” equation. Studying them become our prized discipline, because in those pages were the evidence that we had the truth.
Only our evidence did not always equal four.**
More to the point the scripture is far from basic math. It has two testaments that do not always line up. Occasionally it disagrees with itself. And in this reality the church argued within itself over truth. Breaking and splitting and splintering into today’s reality where our church is Baptist. But what does that mean when there are so many sub-groups of Baptists (we are even connected with more than one).
But God is not a mathematical truth. This does not mean He is untrue. Just a different kind of truth.
As the bible says, God is love.
And the proof of love is not in knowledge, but the actions of relationship.
Our faith lived out – Following Christ – becomes the weight of evidence that God exists. As we live His commands, to love God and love our neighbor, we become the equation that proves the resurrection of new life.
** This line could cause concern. Please know, I write as as one who loves the scriptures. I can remember being in third grade when my dad encouraged me to daily read my bible. And at that point I began reading everyday. A habit I have rarely broken. And the scriptures have transformed my life.
But I will not make them something they are not. They are not God. And only He is perfect. Through the Holy Spirit the Bible is His tool. Through Him the scripture has made and molded my life.
It is our lives – our actions that are the evidence of God.