“How can a person refuse to believe in God in the face of so much evidence that proves His existence?” In my travels and experiences teaching Christian evidences, this question often arises. Many who encounter for the first time the evidence for the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, and the deity of Christ, simply cannot understand how a person could deny such evidence and maintain an atheistic or agnostic position. Why doesn’t the force of such evidence compel all those who hear it to become believers in God and the Bible?
The simple answer to such a question is that some have decided not to believe the truth about God and the Bible, regardless of how much evidence is presented. The story of the resurrection of Lazarus provides a perfect biblical illustration of this attitude. In John 11, the Bible records the facts regarding one of Jesus’ more spectacular miracles. His friend Lazarus, a denizen of the city of Bethany, became sick and died. The dead man’s body was buried in a tomb and remained there for four days. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, were deeply grieving over the loss of their brother. When Jesus arrived in the city, He asked to be taken to the tomb. He then instructed those at the tomb to remove the stone covering the entrance. Martha attempted to dissuade Jesus from this course of action by informing Him that her dead brother’s body had been in the tomb four days, and was decayed to the point that his body would stink. Yet, in an awesome show of God’s power over death, Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave, bringing him back to life.
By bringing Lazarus back to life, Jesus provided evidence that proved His claims to deity. Such evidence should have been sufficient for any honest observer to conclude that Jesus was from God. In fact, the Jewish leaders admitted that Jesus worked many signs (John 11:47). Because of these signs, they were afraid that all the people would believe in Jesus if He continued His ministry. What, then, was their reaction to the signs that they recognized Jesus performed? In John 12:10-11, the Bible says: “But the chief priests took counsel that they might also put Lazarus to death, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.”
These villainous leaders were not in the least motivated to assess the evidence honestly and believe in Jesus. In fact, in order to keep others from doing so, they considered killing an innocent man—Lazarus—simply because his life provided convincing evidence of Jesus’ deity. They knew Jesus raised him from the dead, but refused to allow this forceful piece of evidence to alter their predetermined beliefs and actions. Such is still the case today. Those who refuse to accept the compelling evidence that proves God’s existence, the Bible’s inspiration, and the deity of Christ do so based on a predetermined irrationality and not an honest assessment of the facts. That is why the inspired apostle Paul noted that any who deny the existence of God will be “without excuse” on the Day of Judgment (Romans 1:20).
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