Weights of evidence

Faith & Inspiration

In my car, in the dark, I had a long talk with a man about the canon of Scripture, and I came home shaken. Just how did this collection of "inspired" books come together anyway? Why do the Catholic and Protestant churches include different books in their Old Testament lists? What if we're wrong about this? What if I'm wrong about . . . everything? As the Apostle John noted of Judas' leaving the Last Supper: "And it was night" (13:30).

On the drive home, and in my bed, I was miserably disbelieving in the existence of God, and at the same time asking God for His forgiveness for disbelieving in His existence. Why is my faith so easily capsized? Come morning, here is what I had arrived at:

In 1974, at Swiss L'Abri, the evidence that first persuaded me of the gospel was a young man's life radically changed from amoral, screwed-up criminal to a person of extraordinary love and wisdom and integrity, who would become a faithful friend. Big deal, you say: "Stuff happens."

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OK, that objection must certainly be entertained. But when in 1974 I inquire of said formerly screwed-up criminal as to the cause of his transformation, and when he tells me it's the Holy Spirit in him, and then on top of that he shows me in his Bible the prediction of such transformations, what we have on our hands is a claim doubly difficult to refute. A rope of two cords, as it were. Add to that the young man's consistent and long-term track record. Add to that my subsequent personal experience of a match-up between what I read daily in the Bible and what I see in the world and in myself---the resonance of God's Word with my heart, which the Bible calls the Spirit "testifying with our spirit."

Now let us come again to the "evidence" that so easily unsettled my soul on a recent dark night---an allegation or rumor that there is something doubtful about the way the canon came together. What kind of evidence is this? It is different from the direct or "immediate" evidences cited above for the truth of the gospel. Indeed, is it contrary evidence at all? When it comes to the supposed "problem" of the canon, I can conceive of satisfactory explanations---and I'm not even a scholar.

The more sure evidences must take precedence over the less sure, and the more immediate and direct over the more remote and academic. If some stranger tells me my husband doesn't love me, it is one thing. But if I live with my husband, and I am daily seeing all manner of evidences of love, and am witness to the internal consistency of his claims, and their coherence to my reality, then the threats of a stranger will not shake me much.

To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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