SEEING IS BELIEVING?
By Paul Proctor
April 2, 2008
If you were one of the lucky recipients of the London Telegraph’s flying penguins story sent to you by some mischievous friend or family member on April 1st, showing a flock of them flapping thousands of miles across the frigid Antarctic to the Amazon rainforest, you know all too well what it’s like to be played for a fool – even if only for a humorous moment.
Today’s computer graphics capabilities make illusion almost effortless for those who would deceive us – innocently or otherwise – especially in a world where “seeing is believing.” It’s funny how easily we can be turned into enchanted children when confronted with the impossible made possible by illusion.
One of my favorite video spoofs is the short clip on You-Tube of alleged UFOs flying over Haiti – complete with audio that includes the sound of jet propulsion emanating from the capricious vessels, the startled gasp of a frightened onlooker and palm trees gently waving to and fro from the turbulence of the simulated spacecraft passing overhead. The feelings and sensations that presentation generated the first time I viewed it was very similar to those I experienced in my misspent youth watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars when massive battleships quietly cruised by at close range revealing their stunning size and detail.
Of course, looking back, it all seems rather silly now – even cheesy; but in the 70s, those striking images made a distinct impression, however fleeting, that demonstrate not only the persuasive power of illusion, but more importantly, the necessity of God’s Word to guard our hearts and minds, keeping us grounded and spiritually stable in a truth that doesn’t change or fade over time with every new and exciting thing that comes along – especially in a corrupt culture given to illusion.
And though our senses tell us: “seeing is believing,” God’s Word teaches quite the opposite – that believing is seeing – which is why faith was present throughout the scriptures where miracles were performed.
Faith, you see, requires no visual evidence, though the Lord often provided it after the fact, which might explain why the Bible is God’s Word and not His picture book. Certainly we find joy in the visual evidence of an empty tomb; but only faith in a risen Christ, God’s Living Word, can sufficiently explain it.
If seeing were believing, faith would be irrelevant and unnecessary to the Christian – and Jesus would be forever trying to prove His deity and power with signs and wonders. Imagine the frustration of being surrounded by those who constantly question your identity, legitimacy and motive.
Jesus said: Without faith it is impossible to please God – and that faith comes by hearing and believing His Word. Better we give up on our lying eyes now than trust in illusions and end up just another April fool.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”– Hebrews 11:1
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