Having been born in St. Louis ions ago, I have always been the Missouri kind of guy when it comes to believing anybody or anything. You have to prove it, or as my heritage humorously puts it, "Show me!" Perhaps it is the water there that saturates us with the disturbing qualities of cynicism and skepticism, but whatever is to blame, I acquired it. Years ago, thirty-eight give or take, I was an atheist. People talked to me about God, but no one could prove He existed. And, there was "evidence" that God was merely an explanation for the unknown. If man didn't know what something was or what caused certain things to occur, God was the answer. Lightning, earthquakes, disease, eclipses, etc. were all the mysterious acts of God. Even today, your insurance agent will speak of disasters as acts of God (mainly to avoid paying for the repairs). My theory was, that as man's knowledge increased, God decreased. Eventually, there would be no questions that required a mysterious Being as an explanation. I was very sure of myself.
Ever since the fall of man, caused by his unwillingness to believe what God told him and the instant acceptance of the Serpent's challenge, human beings have had a difficult time believing in the One Who would eventually be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God even says in His Word that "the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom" (1 Corinthians 1:22). The Old Testament is replete with examples of signs and wonders done by God to buttress the faith of His chosen people. Likewise, the New Testament offers the same, and even tells us of miracles being done by mere men. The apostles and others healed the sick, raised the dead, and accomplished the greatest miracle of all: they "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6)! With a beginning of just eleven disciples/apostles, millions upon millions have come to believe in Jesus Christ. How did this happen? Was there unchallengeable evidence or proof that what the Bible says is true? No, actually the opposite is true. It has never been proven.
The Devil demanded Jesus prove He was the Son of God (Matthew 4:1-11), but Jesus refused. He merely used Scripture to ward off the Tempter. When the scribes and Pharisees demanded He "show His credentials," Jesus told them "...there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." He was referring to His own resurrection. Not only the leaders of the Jews challenged Him, the thief on the cross next to His did so demanding "If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us" (Luke 23:39). The Roman guard who carried out the crucifixion did the same earlier, as did the crowd (Luke 23:35-37). Even the Thomas demanded a sign in order to believe Jesus has risen (John 20:24-29). It is easy for me to understand why criminals, Romans, and Jewish leaders failed to believe, but Thomas? How could someone follow Jesus for over three years, seeing miracle after miracle, and still doubt?
The answer is really quite simple. The Holy Spirit was not given to them to believe. Yes the Holy Spirit is eternal God, and He did exist, but He had not produced faith in them. In John 14:17, Jesus tells His disciples that the Spirit is with them, but soon, He would be in them. Without the Spirit, it is impossible to believe in Christ. We are told in Galatians 5:22-23, that faith is evidence of the work of the Spirit in us. In Ephesians 2:8 we are told that faith is a gift from God. The ability to believe does not require proof; it requires faith. Faith believes the truth taught in the Word of God. On January 31st, 1971, God gave me faith. I immediately knew three things were true: my sins were forgiven, the Bible is the Word of God, and that my life would be used by Him from that point on. I admit, He has had a real challenge getting me to be like Jesus, but He is very patient. He knows that one day, I will be just like Him (1 John 3:2).
No, there is no proof that the world will accept. They have creation and yet they believe in the Big Bang and Evolution. They have the Bible, but to them it is just superstition and myth. They have the testimony of Christians, but they are quick to point out that Christians are hypocrites. What they don't understand is that Christians are never to be the standard of truth. We are all sinners. The truth is in Christ. He offers salvation as a gift; no works required! He is not offering us religion. He is offering relationship. Religion requires works and works produce pride. I guess that's the secret. Mankind is too proud to believe in something greater than themselves. It takes the revelation of the Spirit to humble us enough to receive the gift of faith. There is no proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But one day, every knee will bow to Him and declare that He is Lord! Faith will no longer be needed, but everyone will know. He is Lord.