A person does not have to be a scholar to see in the Bible and to experience first-hand…that God initially takes people having hidden potential…yet at the start of their calling are broken, lost, and aimless in life (Mt. 9:10-13)…and through the divinely supportive respect and acceptance over time of salvation, redemption, and the life-altering insertion of a God-composed adventure of faith…aided and energized by the Holy Spirit…turns them into something vastly better than they could have previously imagined.
This is one of the main themes of the Bible. Some people will accept God’s lead and follow Him into their destinies…others will push God away and follow their own course.
This in itself should be a telling argument against the random-chance naturalism of self-sovereign worldly conventional thinking…by virtue of the sheer inexplicability of the origin of the concept of biblical faith and its persistent longevity.
Naturalistic materialism…if true…should produce one monotonous, homogeneous human mindset…either belief or unbelief…one lifestyle habit per creature type…like the rest of the living world.
This should tell us…that as human beings…we are different (Gen. 1:26-27).
The complexity of the information content, the innovative originality of the main concepts, and the utter crash and collision with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…makes a compelling commonsense apologetic case in itself for the divine origin of the journeys of faith recorded in the Bible…above and beyond humanistic literary invention.
This is the easier half in answering the question of why Jesus did not walk down Main Street and into the Temple a few days after His resurrection…which would have changed the dynamics of a journey of faith following Jesus Christ…instead into the type of absolute, visual, foolproof evidence that atheists and skeptics demand…but would be useless in establishing a person relationship.
The hard part in analyzing the wisdom behind the delicate balance between belief and unbelief in this current world environment…discussed later in more detail in chapters two and four…is as follows.
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead…John 11:45-48 reads:
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 If we let him alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
The religious elites in Jerusalem decided to continue worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…self-autonomous self-rulership…by sacrificing Jesus Christ…by removing Him out of the way.
This is expressed in John 11:49-50:
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all.
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
Caiaphas said this in order to perpetuate the status quo…for the continuance of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking as it existed at that time and place…and not at all for the initiating or the maintaining of biblical-quality journeys of faith…which the early church would step into and demonstrate to the world shortly…”turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Killing Jesus through Roman crucifixion…falsely as a political and religious malefactor…simply foretells what would happen if this same attitude of self-sovereignty…at its worst extreme version of self-interest demonstrated at the cross…was imported into heaven for all eternity.
One reason why God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden was to prevent access to the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24).
An eternity of disruptive, self-centered rebellion in heaven is and would be unacceptable.
I recently watched on U-tube (on the internet) the debate between Richard Dawkins and John C. Lennox on the topic of The God Delusion…hosted and organized by the Fixed Point Foundation.
Recognizing my starting bias as a Christian…I would judge the debate a 60-to-40 win in favor of John Lennox…or maybe 70-to-30…or even 80-to-20.
Richard Dawkins made some well-reasoned points on behalf of atheism and against belief in God…and thus walked away from the debate…along with a proportion of the viewing audience…with his atheistic philosophy still intact and functional within his worldview.
This is the difficult half of the analysis of why Jesus did not walk openly down the main street of Jerusalem and straight into the Temple to continue to teach…a few days after His resurrection…and demonstrate at that time…for all time…that He is the divine Son of God and the Passover Lamb of God, atoning sacrifice for sin.
But the victory of the cross and the resurrection…demonstrated and recorded openly through the dimensions of time and space…within human history on this earth…is not a 60-to-40 or 70-to-30 or 80-to-20 win…it is a 100-to-zero long-term victory for God and for human beings…and for all the host of heaven…because it exposes the dangerous character of self-sovereignty when it is pushed to the extreme end of the spectrum-line…when it is given the freedom to choose between the continuance of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…or eliminating a journey of faith…following God…off the playing field altogether…by crucifying Jesus Christ.
Absent the heavenly influence of the divine light and majestic power surrounding the divine personage of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:7-9; Isa. 14:12-17)…this is how God set up the unique conditions for the cross at Calvary…and Resurrection Day on Easter morning…to occur.
This is why the humble carpenter from Nazareth is rejected by the religious elites in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans…in first-century Israel.
And this is why the winning arguments made by John Lennox are not a total and complete victory…sweeping away all doubt and unbelief.
To our amazement…the two opposing dichotomies of belief and unbelief will continue until the end of time on this earth (Dan. 12:10; Mt. 24:14; Rev. 12:11, 16:15)…yet at the same time Jesus can say to His disciples and to Christians today:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity