A question feared by both friends and enemies of Christian doctrine
Thousands of students who come to a university taking for granted the existence of God and the supernatural, soon come to feel that they have no right to believe these things. Other thousands who come with a positive faith graduate with that faith either blasted or divorced from reason. Still others who have always felt a belief in God was naïve graduate more firmly convinced of this than ever.
This attitude toward the things of God is not surprising. It is the direct result of a system of thinking which, although untrue, dominates many university classrooms. The immature student easily accepts this preponderance of opinion as evidence just as he has previously accepted the Christian position and faith in Christ without understanding its complete reasonableness.
This is written to show university students and others that there is no evidence for anti-supernatural claims, that the Christian faith is just as credible as, or more credible than, the faith of the scientific rationalist, and that the claims of Christianity are too well substantiated to be waved aside by an honest person.
Professor Jones’s Case
Professor Jones is courteous, patient, and very sure of himself. His classes in religion are among the most popular on the campus where he teaches. He enjoys tremendously his life work of helping students re-think their religion so that they come to understand that historic Christianity is unacceptable to a thinking person. No minister of the gospel takes his duties more seriously or with more zeal than does Professor Jones, and his record is enviable. Last year two-thirds of his students came from evangelical Christian homes and by Christmas all but 15 percent, he estimates, had given up their earlier beliefs.
His method is simple. He talks straight from the shoulder and from his heart to the group of freshman students before him.
‘The years at college are years of development and change,” he begins, “ – years in which we mature intellectually. Let us not be afraid of these changes, but welcome them as signs of our growing up, of being no longer children for whom others must do the thinking.
“Among other things, our religious thinking will change. That is inevitable. For instance, many of us have been brought up to believe in angels, devils, miracles, and the absolute truth of the Scriptures. Those beliefs were acceptable even fifty years ago. But not today. Today we know better. Our study of psychology, sociology, history, and anthropology makes it clear that mankind has always wanted someone stronger than himself to lean upon. The little child looks to his mother for protection. The man, still wanting someone upon whom he can rely, chooses to believe in God.
“Let’s Grow Up…”
“Or take the matter of miracles. People of Christ’s day had been brought up on fanciful Old Testament stories in which God was said to have personally intervened. Naturally such people were willing to accept Christ’s claims as true. They wanted a Messiah. They wanted one who would work miracles. Therefore, they thought that Christ was working miracles. Today we know better. We know that there is no such thing as a miracle; the laws of nature run their inevitable course. We cannot blame the people of Christ’s time for believing these things, but we must blame ourselves if we continue to believe in them. They lived in the day of superstition; we live in the day of modern science.
“Or consider the Genesis story of creation. There was a day when people accepted it as a true description of what happened at the beginning of time. More recently, however, similar stories have been discovered in the old Babylonian legends which preceded Moses, and so we know now that Moses got these legends from other sources than God.
“We know that the Code of Hammurabi and the even earlier Code of Lipit Ishtar preceded the moral code which Moses drew up, recorded in the Book of Exodus, and that Moses got these from earlier lawmakers rather than from God. It was all well and good for the people of Moses’ day to believe that he got them from God, because it seemed to give the Mosaic laws more authority than if they were known to have been borrowed from some other tribe and some other leader. But today we need to face these facts frankly and realize that we need not project God into the picture.
“There was a time when it was considered important to believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. This, of course, is a very crude, materialistic conception of things. Today we realize that the most important part of the Resurrection story is not the absurd and fanciful thought that a dead body came back to life, but that goodwill eventually triumphs over evil as man evolves toward higher moral spheres.
“These childish religious conceptions are quite out of place in our age of science, which has thoroughly investigated religious experience and found that there is nothing essentially new in Christianity. These same ideas were put forward in various forms and by various people hundreds of years before Christ came to reduce the teachings to a systematized form.
“Thousands of the most intelligent men and women have given up these beliefs. Scores of students come into this very classroom each year and, after thoroughly thinking the matter through for the first time, give up their belief in these things.
“Naturally it cannot be done all at once. I do not expect you to become integrated to this new point of view in a day or two. All that I am asking is that you face these matters fairly as men and women in college rather than as children. As the Apostle Paul once put it, ‘Let us who have become men put away childish things.’
“During the next few weeks we will take the Christian faith apart – item by item – and discover its source in antiquity. Later we will try to reconstruct a satisfactory working philosophy for a modern student. Few of you have been brought up to face these facts squarely. Having had contact with the church, you will find that you have assumed what on examination may turn out to be objectively untrue.”
The professor was no fool. All of the students knew that. Moreover, he was a splendid man. Students naturally and quickly liked him, and he liked them. He frequently invited them over for supper Sunday night and made them feel at home. So, when the professor said things to his classes with which they could not easily agree, they knew that at least he had thought them through very thoroughly, and that the probability was that he was right.
They found, moreover, that the same point of view was prevalent in every class they attended. It was a new world they had entered – a world in which many of them would fight a bitter, heart-searching battle, and lose.
Are Miracles Possible?
Although Professor Jones spoke convincingly and in deep earnestness, he was making a serious blunder which, unfortunately, would not be immediately evident to most of those seated before him.
Notice, for instance, his point of view in regard to miracles. Obviously he does not examine the facts in order to disprove the possibility of miracles; such examination would be impossible two thousand years after Christ. Instead, he attempts to prove his assertion by stating that the people who watched Christ were gullible. And this theory, based only on opinion, contradicts the evidence of the only historical records describing these events. There were in Christ’s day hardheaded, antagonistic scribes and Pharisees who tried desperately to shake the evidence confronting them; they were unable to do so.
The second assumption in the anti-supernaturalistic argument is in the authority supporting it. The professor says the reason miracles are incredible is that “we know better now.” But how do we know? What the professor means is that – although the people who were living in the time of Christ believed that they were seeing miracles – we know now that miracles could not have occurred because modern science shows that natural law controls all things. Just here lies the great unproved assumption. Has science proved that all things are run strictly and solely by “natural law” and that no supernatural force can produce deviation from normality?
Actually, modern science knows no such thing. It may state natural laws which explain satisfactorily every phenomenon it has observed. When it extends these statements to include what it has not observed, however, it can develop only theories, not laws. It cannot be otherwise, because to say that all things have been proved to come within those laws means that all things have been observed to fall within the radius of the laws. Obviously, such observation cannot have taken place.
No one denies that most things fall within the radius of natural law; the point at issue is whether there is anything that does not do so. True science will not allow miracles to be ruled out without examination. One must take all the facts, examine them, and decide whether they fit within the theory, or whether the theory will have to be altered to cover them. In the case of the miracles attributed to Christ, the professor has not examined the evidence to see if the theory covers it; instead he has assumed that the theory is right and has therefore ruled out, without examination, this evidence which does not seem to conform to his theory. This is unscientific.
The Case of the Metal Ball
An illustration may help make this clear. Let us assume that we believe that an object can be moved only by physical pressure. In that case, we would believe that a metal ball on a table could move only if pushed, blown, or rolled. Suppose however, that someone should put a magnet under the table directly beneath the ball and then move the magnet. The ball would move with the magnet. Believing, however, that only physical pressure can move an object, we would probably first assume that someone had jostled the table. If the magnet were again moved – with no one touching the table – the ball would, of course, move again. But, we would say, someone may have blown the ball. When this hypothesis had been disposed of by even more careful demonstration, it ought to become obvious, if we are honest, that our theory was somewhere incomplete, and that the basic presumption that only pressure moves objects must be wrong. It would be unfair and, of course, inaccurate to rule out the power of the magnet before examining it.
In the same way, it is unscientific to rule out the possibility of a miracle because natural law opposes it, until all the evidence has been examined to see whether the theory of natural law is true or not.
The Christian position is that this theory that the natural law covers everything is wrong. Now even the most ardent scientific rationalist, if he is fair, will agree that miracles are possible, though he will hasten to say that he has never observed any. To scoff at the possibility of miracles is illogical. Science has never proved and can never prove that a miracle is impossible. All it can say is that it has not recognized any examples.
The real point at issue, however, is not whether science has ever observed a miracle, for it is conceivable (though not probable) that, in the providence of God, miracles have not occurred during the last few years when modern science has been functioning; and it is also possible that they have occurred but have not been recognized.
The ultimate issue is whether the personal God of the Christian exists. If there is such a God, then of course a miracle is not only conceivable and logical but to be expected. If there is a God who revealed Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, then it would be expected that He would help others know that Christ was different from an ordinary person. An obvious way to do this would be by miracles – acts which ordinary men cannot perform.
Now one who does not believe that such a God exists of course finds it difficult to accept the possibility of a miracle. Indeed, one who says that miracles are impossible is really saying that there is no God who is able to perform miracles. This is a most naïve presupposition, a completely unproved assumption, as we shall see. Yet, it is upon this that the whole structure of scientific rationalism is built and the possibility of miracles ruled out. We see then that the scientific rationalist’s decision in regard to miracles is based entirely upon assumption.
The Danger of Prejudice
Why is it that some professors and students are so sarcastic and vehement in their ridicule of those who believe in miracles and the supernatural when they have no way of disproving miracles and in many cases do not even deny the existence of God? The answer is not proof or facts but prejudice. They want to think of themselves as self-sufficient and of society as perpetually advancing. The Christian position cuts clearly across such conceptions and thus antagonizes the disbelievers who thereupon so overstate their case that they actually come to believe that miracles are incredible rather than possible.
The Importance of Correct Presuppositions
Few of us realize how many of our beliefs are based on presupposition. We have already seen, for instance, that the answer to the whole question of miracles depends on a presupposition: whether there is a God who is able and willing to do miracles.
Similarly the whole realm of ethics is contingent upon the decision concerning God. If there is a God who knows what is right and wrong, and has revealed His knowledge to men, no other ethic is necessary. If God has said, “you shall not murder,” then it is useless to try to decide whether murder is wrong. On the other hand, one who believes that God has not said this will naturally try to find other criteria upon which to base his decision. Thus, the statement that the old moral standards are unnecessary today is not based upon fact, but upon the assumption that God did not give the standards and that, instead, we must develop our own.
Even science is largely based upon presupposition when it assumes that a thing is not true or is unprovable unless it can be examined by one or more of the senses. This of course rules out any certainty about God since God does not come directly into the category of observable phenomena. When a scientific rationalist says we cannot know about God, he is stating not a fact, but the outworking of his presupposition that all facts may be learned by the senses. Since God cannot be examined by the senses, he says He cannot be known. This has not been proved. There may be other ways of knowing things.
The situation which has confronted modern physics and mathematics is a good demonstration of the danger of basing interpretations upon the wrong presuppositions. The physicist had concluded, after a great deal of observation, that molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, and neutrons acted in a certain well-defined manner. Later observation showed, however, that the presupposition of uniformity of natural law as relating to physics was wrong; and physics books have had to be re-written. Similarly, the whole system of mathematics based upon certain axioms – such as the axiom that parallel lines remain parallel no matter how far they are extended – has been shown by Einstein and others to be untrue when extended into infinity.
The Value of Caution
Scientists are learning to be very cautious and very humble about the assertions they make, and it would be well if the professors of religion, history, and philosophy would be similarly cautious. This would mean that the scientific rationalist would no longer scoff at the man or woman who believes in a personal God, but would say frankly that it is a perfectly reasonable belief – as reasonable as his own unbelief which he has based not upon facts, but upon presupposition. He would say that, though he does not believe in a personal God, he has no way to disprove His existence.
The power of presupposition can be further illustrated by the question of conversion. Those who do not agree with the Christian position declare that conversion is simply a psychological phenomenon. They explain it as a sudden release from repression and the guilt complex, resulting in a certain transformation in life. This is, of course, one possible explanation. There is also another equally logical explanation – that God has transformed the life through His Holy Spirit. The decision as to which of these two opinions to accept is not based upon “evidence,” because both observers start with the same phenomenon. The non-Christian bases his explanation on the assumption that there is no personal God to send His Holy Spirit to bring about a change. The Christian bases his interpretation upon the assumption that there is. Whichever assumption is chosen will yield a predetermined result. Choosing one presupposition leads to the naturalistic explanation. Choosing the other presupposition leads to the supernaturalistic explanation. Those who have had that phenomenon take place in their lives and would thus, presumably, be best able to judge whatever is to be learned by scientific methods choose the supernatural explanation.
Another example of the importance of presuppositions is the case of “expressionism” in modern education. Those who believe in the inherent goodness and perfectibility of human nature agree with Mr. Dewey and others that the human spirit ought not to be restrained but ought to be given freedom of expression so that it can develop to its full capacity. The Christian position is that human nature is inherently evil, subject to Satan rather than to God. This means that to allow it freedom and not to inhibit it would give free rein to its evil. For this reason, the Christian believes that human nature must be inhibited by regulations and authority. One’s attitude toward the modern expressionistic school depends therefore upon one’s presuppositions about human nature.
Ultimately, then, the whole question of religious position rests on basic beliefs. Laughing at the Christian belief – or setting it lightly aside as childish – shows neither grace nor understanding.
The Fallacy of Rationalistic Presupposition
Since so many important decisions – belief in miracles, etc. – depend on whether there is a personal God, we need to examine closely the evidence introduced by those who deny God’s existence, or question it.
The Twentieth Century does not boast atheists as did the earlier years – perhaps because this is an age of science and logic – and to disbelieve in God is neither scientific nor logical. Yet, though few men say there is no God, there is a very common feeling that the Original Source or Master Mind required to explain the universe is not a Person – that it would, for instance, never interfere with natural laws.
Actually, it is equally impossible to sustain either the strict atheistic position or the claim that although there may be a God of some kind, He is not a personal God as Christians believe. The reason for this is the law of logic that it is impossible to prove a negative. For instance, to prove that there is no God, it would be necessary to know everything that there is to be known. If there is anything that is unknown to the person who makes this claim, that something might be God. It would be necessary for such a person to claim to have been everywhere within and outside the universe. If there is any place where he has not been, God might be in that place. Thus, no one can logically or scientifically say that there is no God.
It should also be pointed out that the Christian God is not One who can be proved by philosophy. Certain characteristics of God are known only through the Bible, through which the Christian believes that God has revealed Himself. Although this assumption may not seem “reasonable” to the unbeliever, the latter’s opinion does not give any ground for denial of the existence of such a God. All that the nonbeliever can say is that these things may not be true.
Honest unbelievers will admit these postulates and retreat to the agnostic position, that although these things may be true, it is impossible to know whether or not they are true. Here again the Christian must enter a strong and valid protest.
Anyone who says that these things cannot be known does so on the presupposition that only that which can be felt, tasted, touched, or otherwise “tested” can be known. Anything outside the realm of experimentation is ipso facto (i.e., by the very fact) unknowable because, says the scientific method, there is no way of knowing anything except by the experimental method.
But by what authority is such a claim made? Who said that the only way to know anything is by the scientific method of experimentation? How do we know that there are not other ways that things can be known? For instance, how do we know that it is impossible for God to speak directly to the human spirit in a mystical experience? By what right do we exclude the possibility that God inspired certain men to record the revelation of His mind in the pages of the Scriptures? If there is a God, these things are surely not outside the realm of possibility. In other words, these things may be true. Here again, all that the nonbeliever can say is that he personally does not know whether these things can be known or not. He cannot logically or reasonably say that no one can know.
The Apostle Paul has neatly summarized the Christian claim that there is a way – other than by the scientific method – to know things. “But just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:9-10, NASB).
If this supersensory realm of which Paul speaks exists, it is by definition not knowable by science. To deny upon the basis of scientific method the existence of a realm which by definition the scientific method cannot apply to – is to be entirely illogical. A thinker who does so is no longer objective. Prejudice has entered in.
The Validity of Christian Belief
Although no man can reasonably scoff at the possibility of the reality of conversion, resurrection, salvation, miracles, and the like, many find it difficult to understand the Christian position because it is difficult to overcome the prejudices in which they have been reared.
Many extensive works have been written on the existence of God, but it has been rightly said – and it is repeated here soberly – that there are none so blind as those who will not see. One who does not want to believe in the existence of God will probably find any evidence presented insufficient. On the other hand, those who come to the subject with an open mind are apt to find tremendous fields of evidence indicating that the universe and everything in it is reasonably explained only on the supposition of a personal God. The universe all about us with its balance of nature, its intricacies of design, its vastness and minuteness all testify to a tremendous intelligence and power. It seems much less difficult to believe in a God who created male and female than to believe in the simultaneous mutation of a male and female in the same generation and in the same area.
Some, however, are afraid to open their minds to the possibility of God, fearing that if they do so they will be overwhelmed by the apparent evidence and yet somehow be wrong. They seem to forget that they face the same danger on a far more critical plane when they close their eyes to the possibility of God and hold their present beliefs without adequate evidence and, in fact, in the face of the evidence there is for God.
The Man Who Was Afraid
Such a case is that of Gamaliel Bradford, one of the most distinguished biographers of modern times. In his journal Bradford wrote, “I do not read the New Testament for fear of its awakening a storm of anxiety and self-reproach and doubt and dread of having taken the wrong path, of having been traitor to the plain and simple God. Not that I do not know perfectly well that no reading would make me believe any more. But, oh, what agonies of fret and worry it would give me; for I should be able neither to believe nor to disbelieve nor to let it alone.” Yet in the same journal he cries out, “Who will tell me something of God? I know nothing about Him whatever!”
As Dr. Wilbur M. Smith says of Bradford, “Had he only opened his New Testament and considered the life and teachings of Jesus, His death and resurrection with the same spirit of honesty, with the same desire to discover the truth that possessed him as he approached the study of the many great men of history into whose lives he saw so deeply and accurately, he would have found God gloriously revealed in Christ His Son” (Wilbur M. Smith, “Have You Considered Him?”, Moody Press, Chicago, 1946).
And what about the conversion experience of the Christian? Is it valid, or is it rather to be explained on the psychological basis? We have seen that there is no scientific evidence against the possibility that this is a supernatural action – God reaching down and moving upon men and changing them. The psychologist may be perfectly right when he ascribes the changed life to a release of tension because the man feels that his sins have been forgiven; there would be a quite natural resurgence and buoyancy of spirit as a result of this assurance.
However, this explanation does not in any way prove the psychologist’s basic presupposition: that though the converted man thinks that his sins have been forgiven, they really have not been.
Brief for Christianity
On the other hand, there is considerable evidence for the Christian supposition – that man has been forgiven. For instance, it is noteworthy that this belief in the forgiveness of sin and the consequent throwing off of the sense of guilt does not occur with any regularity whatsoever (and is in fact exceedingly rare) outside of the realm of Christian belief. Only belief in Christ as Savior seems to produce those results. Belief in Allah or Buddha or Confucius or Freud or in anyone or in anything else does not seem to give the same quality or intensity of experience that belief in Christ’s forgiveness does. This is so significant that it ought to be studied more closely by those who believe that only the scientific method can give truth, for some of these conversion data fall definitely within the realm of investigation and experience.
Or take the case of the resurrection of Christ. We have already seen that no one can scoff at this as an impossibility unless he can prove that there is no God. Disbelief is based upon that presupposition. The Christian belief is also based upon a presupposition – that there is a God who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for sinners and then raised Him from the dead for our justification. However, our belief is not based on a presupposition only. There are tremendously significant validating evidences which fall within the realm of the scientific investigator, so that even those who falsely believe that only scientific investigation yields truth ought to give very serious attention to this matter.
Untrained thinkers who have decided to disbelieve rather than to discover whether or not the matter is true, attempt to brush aside the written records concerning Christ and His resurrection. They say that there is no positive proof that the Gospels are actual reports and that there is as a result no way to know even that Christ actually lived, to say nothing of His death or resurrection. And yet these same people accept without question the historicity of Plato, Socrates, Caesar, and innumerable other ancients concerning whom there are fewer written records and no other evidence.
More serious critics acknowledge the essential validity of the records insofar as they believe that they report the current opinion of the time concerning Christ.
It is noteworthy that those who laugh at the possibility of the resurrection of Christ do so without serious study of the evidence of the records. On the other hand are men like Lord Littleton and Gilbert West who, as unbelievers, seeking to discredit the Resurrection and Paul’s conversion, made serious studies and were convinced of their truth. Another author, Frank Morrison (Who Moved the Stone? Faber and Faber), likewise began his investigation antagonistically but eventually wrote a book for the validity of the Resurrection.
One of the strongest evidences for the Resurrection to serious-minded agnostics is the psychological change in the apostles from cowards (who fled the night before Christ was crucified) to lions (after they had seen the resurrected Christ). No explanation other than their positive belief that He had risen and had spoken to them would give a basis for such a tremendous transformation of character. Men will not die for what they know to be untrue. These men devoted their lives to telling the fact that Christ had risen from the dead and many of them, as a result, died as martyrs.
Answered prayer is another phenomenon which ought to be examined closely by the honest agnostic. It is easy but inadequate to sweep away all such evidence with such a word as coincidence. But this is far from answering the question of whether these things are true. Christians everywhere will report that they have had very definite and striking answers to prayer, or that they have personally known of such answers. This is not generally true of the devotees of other religions. It is apparently a phenomenon of Christianity.
Another basic presupposition of the Christian is that his knowledge of God comes by the revelation through the Scriptures. Nonbelievers try to challenge this assertion by attempting to point out things in the Scriptures which they believe could not be there if it were a divine book.
For instance, they use Professor Jones’s argument, previously quoted, that the Genesis account of creation parallels in some points the accounts given by the Babylonians and other peoples of the early days. Their conclusion is that the writer of Genesis copied his account from the other records rather than having received it from God. It is, however, perfectly plausible that others should have an equivalent tradition of creation since – the Genesis account being true – the knowledge of these matters would logically have flowed from a common source and thus would have appeared in other literature. God provided the accurate account in His inspired version which He gave to the writer of the Book of Genesis. This of course does not prove the inspiration of the Scriptures but simply points out that the evidence of other accounts in no way disproves the inspiration of the Scriptures.
As in the previous cases cited, the inspiration of Scripture is partly presupposition, but there are also substantial evidences. For instance, there is tremendous importance in the fact that although science and the Bible have sometimes disagreed, the passing of time and finding of new facts have in case after case proved the Bible to be correct and have shown that earlier science had disagreed with the Bible because of an inadequate supply of facts. This disagreement disappeared as science corrected its view in line with the facts discovered.
It is exceedingly fortunate, for those who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, that scientific theories and the Bible do not always agree. If they did, then ten years from now the Bible would be as outmoded as will be some of the current theories.
A Curious Phenomenon
Another interesting objective evidence concerning the authority of the Scriptures is found in the strange phenomenon of fulfilled prophecy. Some, starting off with the theory that fulfilled prophecy is an impossibility, have attempted to claim that the portions of the Scripture which indicate the fulfillment of the prophecy were written at the same time as or even preceding the prophecy. This of course is an interesting conjecture but does not lend itself to honest dealing with the manuscripts, tradition, and history which are now available to the investigator.
Those who are willing to examine honestly the claims of the Scriptures will find startling confirmation of the fact that they are indeed unusual writings and that they readily lend themselves to the belief of the Christian that they have been given by God for the edification of those who wish to serve Him.
The Crux of Christianity
In view of the theoretical possibility of the Christian beliefs and the objective evidence for their truth as found by any honest mind, the central theme of Scripture – salvation and forgiveness of sins through belief in Christ – becomes paramount. It is the Christian belief that because of man’s sin, God is unable to receive him into eternal fellowship with Himself unless that sin is somehow forgiven.
Yet the Christian firmly believes that a holy and just God, because of His very nature, cannot merely ignore sin. Man as he is, is unable to make payment for it. The Christian believes that God, seeing man’s plight, sent His Son Jesus Christ to live on this earth and then to die on the Cross, not just as an example or as a martyr but as God punishing Himself in the person of Jesus Christ His Son who was Himself God, and in that way making possible the forgiveness of the sins of all those for whom Christ died.
Such claims cannot be lightly dismissed by those who would be honest. No one, no matter how antagonistic, can deny that these things may be true. Those who examine the authority of the Scripture, the changed lives of those who believe these doctrines, and the resurrection of Christ find themselves facing strong evidence that these things must be true and that conversion and resurrection cannot be explained upon any other basis.
The Case of Pete
A vivid example of the truth of these matters is the experience of a campus leader, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto. His experience is typical of hundreds of cases happening on campuses all over the world every year. Peter – better known as Pete – was majoring in engineering, and like many of his campus associates was little interested in matters of religion. Of course he exhibited the vague gentlemanliness towards the subject and its advocates, which is traditional. But, except for occasional – almost momentary – queries as to what life was all about, he found pagan campus life quite enjoyable.
One day in the laboratory, a friend – whom he had recently met and learned to admire for his stability of viewpoint – began to talk to him about an unexpected subject. This lab partner was, he discovered, a Christian, and as they discussed together their aims in life, Pete realized that here was a man whose whole ambition was to serve the God whom he had scarcely thought about. The friend told him of his conviction of the fact that Jesus Christ was more than a great man – that He was God, one of the three persons of the Trinity. For the first time there came into Pete’s comprehension the logic of such an event as the death of Jesus Christ; the effect of this death on the whole problem of evil, particularly his own sin; and the consequences of his own rebellion toward God in these matters. Pete began to realize how faith in Christ applied to all this. And a few days later he asked God to forgive his sins for Christ’s sake. He accepted Jesus as his Savior.
Life has been radically different for Pete since that day. It has become purposeful, joyous in a new way with Jesus Christ – his personal Friend and Counselor – who rose triumphant over death and Hades. Things wrong in Pete’s life straightened out: old desires disappeared; new desires took their place. He was living a new life in Christ Jesus. The Bible became meaningful; prayer was answered.
This is not to suggest that such an experience is in itself a final proof of the reality of Christ. But when this type of thing happens every time anyone becomes a Christian, it gives cause for deep thinking. It means that you too can experience the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, a new joy and peace, and a personal fellowship with Jesus Christ, freely available to all who wish to be included among those for whom Christ died.
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