(Part 1 in a three part series on God and Political influence.)
Warning, heavy religious content.
The earliest evidence of God, comes from the Old Testament. Adam spoke with God in the Garden of Eden. Enoch walked and talked with him man-to-man. Noah was instructed of him. Moses met and was instructed of him at the burning bush on Mount Sinai. Samuel heard his voice. Numerous Old Testament prophets saw, spoke with and were instructed by God. The records of the Old Testament witness and provide testimonial evidence that God talks and interacts with man. Prophets and Patriarchs of the Old Testament saw God and testified of it. It is from these recorded accounts we learn God does in fact interact with us, he is involved in his creation. In fact, he refers to us as his “sons and daughters.”
Often, the most important part of these revelations is overlooked and is even denied. In their writings, these Old Testament prophets act as a witness. A witness is someone who has seen and can therefore provide living evidence. I know of no religion, not based on the Old Testament, which offers any evidentiary witness of God the Creator. The testimony of these witnesses are first introduced to us within the realms of the Old Testament.
The concept of witness is central to finding, knowing and understanding God in our times. To find true religion, you simply need to follow the testimony of witnesses; for God has said “in the mouths of two or three witnesses shall all things be established.” The first modern, post resurrection, witnesses are found in the New Testament. Christ called twelve apostles which were set apart and instructed by the living and the resurrected Christ. Many people after the crucifixion saw the resurrected Christ, the Son of God, but the Apostles were given the charge to testify, to bear “witness” of his death and resurrection. Continuing on from the prophets of old, they provide us evidentiary witness not only of the reality of God but of the resurrected Christ. The Book of Acts tells us that the resurrected Christ not only visited his disciples but that he taught them concerning the kingdom of God for forty days. (Acts 1:3) They spoke with him and were instructed by him. The Apostles became witnesses of the resurrection of Christ with a charge to share that witness. This is the calling of an Apostle, to be a witness.
Mathias was chosen to fill the void left in the twelve apostles by Judas who betrayed Christ. The requirements for apostleship are stated in Acts as a “witness” of Christ’s ministry and resurrection and they must have gone “in and out among us” or have been part of the discipleship and a participant in the work. (Acts 1:21-22)
It was the same with Paul. After the death of James there was again a vacancy in the twelve apostles. Saul was chosen by Christ to the apostleship. However, Saul had not been present when the resurrected Christ visited his disciples. In Acts chapter 9, he receives that witness. Jesus appeared to Saul, afterwards renamed Paul, on the road to Damascus, and he becomes a witness of Christ and of the resurrection. He then spends time becoming a disciple versed in building the kingdom of God and eventually becomes an Apostle with the divine mission to testify and to witness. A mission which Paul faithfully performed bearing his witness to the gentiles and in the end, to Caesar.
History however, teaches us that rather quickly the Apostles were rejected and/or murdered and eventually disappear. With the Apostles gone, their special apostolic witness was no longer with us. The church had apostatized and mankind was left without the witnesses which God had so willingly blessed us with. To fill that void, the intellectual works of great philosophers were integrated with the writings of the Apostles; the philosophies of men were intermingled with scripture. This combining of ideas created what formally became the Catholic Church and eventually modern-day Christianity.
Today however, God has reestablished the same model of evidentiary witness to guide us in finding the truth. He has once again provided us with Prophets and a quorum of twelve Apostles who have been called, as was Paul, to give “special witness” that Jesus is the resurrected Christ.
These modern witnesses not only provide evidence of the reality of the resurrection to us in this day but, in so doing, acknowledge the veracity of ancient witnesses. They provide a contemporary contextual evidence of God and of the resurrected Christ.
Today, many say, you cannot prove there is a God. While the evidence of witnesses can be dismissed by those who choose not to believe, we nevertheless continue to have special evidence. We are provided witnesses today just as was given by Prophets and Apostles in days of old.
God the Father through his resurrected son, Jesus the Christ, continues to this day to interact with man in a very real and personal way. He has provided evidence in a way where only those who seek after it will find it. For God will not force us to turn to him. He will encourage us but we have been left, for the time, with a choice.
For those who truly seek and wish to find God, the evidence is there.
I have looked for this evidence and found it. Through the administration of the spirit, that evidence for me has become proof. Even should I wish to, I can no longer deny the reality that: Christ lives.
Samuel Waen Jensen