The Crown Attorney had finished his summation. In his mind the accused was hopelessly guilty. The evidence was clear and convicting. There was no doubt: the accused had committed the crime and now had to pay.
The attorney for the defence, however, stated that guilt had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence presented was entirely circumstantial. In fact, the evidence pointed in a different direction and exonerated the accused. The Jury could reasonably come with only one verdict: not guilty!
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.Proverbs 18:17
What was first thought to be an airtight case later appears to be full of holes. Every witness is "cross examined" and his statements are carefully scrutinized and dissected.
From the above paragraphs we understand the importance of evidence. Circumstantial evidence is not primary. There must be concrete evidence that unmistakably connects the accused to the crime.
What is evidence?
There are those who believe that the theory of evolution provides sure evidence regarding the origin and development of all that exists. I use this example because many consider this theorem to be proven without any doubt. To deny the central notion of evolutionism would mean going in against all scientific proof. There is simply too much evidence that the earth is millions of years old. In public high school I had a science teacher who was appalled at the fact that someone actually believed what is in the Bible. "But..." he sputtered... "evolutionism has been clearly proven and is widely accepted." I was only a fourteen-year-old boy. I still remember his name.
I leave aside now the question whether the evidence for evolutionism is really solid and strong. That's something for scientists to discuss and decide. I am merely a Bible thumper. Thump, thump. My interest lies mainly in what the Bible has to say about something.
Actually I am looking for evidence, too. The evidence that I seek is not found first in the book of nature but in the book of Scripture. What is evidence? In Hebrews 11:1 we read,
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Let's lift out the words sure and certain. The NKJV has the following translation, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Lift out the words substance and evidence. What we believe is sure and certain, has substance and evidence.
Perhaps here lies the difference between secular scientists and mere Christians. Believers are sure and certain that what the Bible says is indisputably true. That is the character of faith. Faith does not say "maybe" or "I think so, but I could be wrong;" faith says it is true and certain. Amen, Amen, a believer's favourite words. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. Faith says: we hold as true all that God has revealed in his Word.
It is noteworthy that the Bible directly bestows the terms sure and certain on God's work of creation,
By faith we understand that the universe was formed by God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.Hebrews 11:3
Natural scientists focus on what is visible and quantifiable. Some use the term "hard science." But Christians focus first on what has been revealed in God's Word. The evidence is recognized and embraced by faith. The Heidelberg Catechism explains faith as follows, "True faith is a sure knowledge whereby I accept as true all that God has revealed in his Word" (Q/A 21).
A closer look
It may be good to look closer at Hebrews 11:1. There are two words for which I want to ask your attention. The expression "being sure" is literally the word "hypostasis." The word means something that is standing under another thing as a solid basis. Everything is built on this immovable and unshakable foundation.
Christians do not hope for something that is perhaps true in a certain way, but faith is a solid basis on which we place all our expectation. Something is undeniably true because God has revealed it in his Word. We know for a fact that God who created this world is also creating a new heaven and a new earth through Jesus Christ, our glorious Saviour. Scientists cannot prove or disprove this. It is a matter of faith.
Then there is the second word "elengos." This word means certainty and conviction. It is the convincing proof that has decided an experiment or debate. In other words, we are not dealing with circumstantial evidence, but convincing proof and hard evidence. Case closed. The judge has gathered his robes together, adjusted his wig, waved his hand, and left the building.
There are Christian academics today who have nilly-willy (Latin: nolens volens) succumbed to secular thinking. They do so because they feel that "science" has provided indubitable proof that the earth is millions of years old and that things evolved over a long period of time.
The evidence is so compelling, they suggest, it would be foolish to oppose it or teach otherwise. Hence the fierce reaction when I suggested that evolutionism is only a theory. On the contrary, I was told, it is not a theory but a scientific theorem. A theorem, you must understand, is an embodiment of some general principle that makes it part of a larger theory. A theory in a scientific sense is something that has been proven without any doubt.
Faith and science are strange bedfellows. Faith is being certain of something you do not see and cannot empirically prove. Science is based on what is visible and demonstrable. This does not mean that all science is wrong. It does mean that science should take in a humble spot without grandiose claims that militate against Scripture.
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The case is closed.