God's Testimony: Incredible or Credible?

When anything is said to be incredible, it means that it is hard to believe. Something qualifies as incredible when it is so extraordinary that it seems impossible. For many, the Creation account from the Bible qualifies as incredible. They think it credible that life could be brought into existence from nothing by a being that has always existed. Yet, the Bible declares this very thing in Genesis 1. It is parallel with another statement from the Bible surrounding whether or not this same being (God) could raise the dead back to life. There were many who thought of that as incredible (Acts 26.8).

Life being raised from death or life being created from nothing are both things that can only be accepted by faith. As it pertained to Jesus, he had been in a grave for three days. Could it be possible that he raised himself? Certainly not! How then is it that Luke records of him, “To these he also presented himself alive after his suffering, b y many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God?” (Acts 1.3). Credible or incredible? No one had ever been known to raise himself. How is it then that Jesus was alive after dying? NO one was present in the tomb with Jesus when he arose. The eyewitness testimony was not that his resurrection was literally witnessed, rather that he was seen alive by them after being buried in a tomb for three days. Yet it was still deemed incredible by many, even among those who had initially obeyed the gospel (Acts 13.46; 1 Corinthians 1.2).

In the Corinthian letter, the apostle Paul asked, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15.12). It certainly required faith to accept the testimony of those who proclaimed his resurrection from death. Paul repeatedly warned Christians in 1 Corinthians 10 not to repeat the faithless behavior of the Israelites. Hebrews 4.1-2 contains a similar warning: “Therefore, we must fear if, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not untied with those who listened with faith.

The eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ resurrection is made credible because Jesus’ resurrection is credible. Luke testified that it was necessary for Jesus to enter into his glory (Luke 24.26). This is why Jesus’ resurrection is credible. Paul was most explicit in explaining the consequences of viewing the eyewitness testimony of resurrection as incredible rather than credible. He said, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain. Moreover, we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15.13-19).

The truth in regard to the beginning of life rests upon a testimony. Whenever and however we want to refer to “the beginning,” regardless if we attribute it to evolution or to a supreme intelligence, both possibilities must be accepted by faith. The simple reason is, no one was present. The Creation record in the Bible was written by Moses, whose own birth is recorded and which occurred several generations after another incredible story, the Flood. The Flood of course occurred several generations after the Creation, according to the Bible. Moses’ record must therefore be accepted by faith.

This is also true of other writers of the Bible who mention the nature of the Creation. None of them were alive to personally witness the events about which they wrote. They affirmed that what they wrote was by inspiration of the Spirit of God. Their affirmation must also be accepted by faith. We read in 2 Peter 1.20-21, “ No prophecy of scripture becomes a matter of someone’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Likewise in 2 Timothy 3.16, “All scripture is inspired by God.” The prophet Amos acknowledged, “Certainly the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret plan to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3.7).

This being the case, their divine guidance and testimony must be accepted by faith. These prophets declared what God wanted to be known, not only about himself, but about why he brought things into existence. The church of Christ in Thessalonica demonstrated the attitude that we should have toward the testimony of God’s messengers. Paul wrote to them these words: “For this cause also thank we  God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2.13).