Uit de film A Man Called Peter, een preek van Peter Marshall. Hierin legt hij uit wat het essentiële verschil is tussen bewijs en ervaring. Hij past dit onderscheid toe op schoonheid, op liefde, en op God.
‘There are men and women in the world today…, who say that God orders their lives…, guides them in making decisions…, provides for their needs, answers their prayers…, in ways which are often strange and unexpected. That is the testimony of my own experience…, and there are many here who could make the same statement. But if you yourself have not had that experience in your life…, don’t be too quick to jump to the conclusion that we who say these things are daft, mad.
In that mood…, many of us approach spiritual things. We come, like Thomas, not doubting…, but dogmatically refusing to believe unless we see…, as if we could pour God into a test tube…, as if intangibles had to become tangible in order to prove that they were intangible. There are certain things that must be approached in faith – things that are matters of perception…, not of proof.
Beauty is one of them. How can you prove that anything is beautiful? Could you demonstrate to me by logic or reason or by intellect…, that the Fifth Symphony or the “Moonlight Sonata” were sheer beauty? Can you prove by any method of intellect…, why a sunset is beautiful? Describe to me scientifically…, the haunting, wistful fragrance…, of a bunch of violets.
Yet you come here professing the faith…, which for more than 19 centuries…, has borne witness to spiritual realities…, and you ask if one can prove that God exists! You ask me to prove it. How could my tiny mind prove God? What kind of a god could my little mind prove? You might as well ask the bird to prove the air in which it flies…, or the minnow to prove the sea in which it swims. Let me ask you to prove that you exist. I’d be interested in hearing you try.
There are mysteries all around us – stirring, wonderful, inexplicable. Take, for example, the strange phenomenon of falling in love. Have you ever asked the question…, “How will I know when I fall in love?” I have. I’ve asked it of blondes and brunettes…, of redheads and of bald heads – of people everywhere. And the strange thing is, I’ve always received the same answer, namely…, “Don’t worry, brother. You’ll know.”
Love, like beauty…, like the haunting, wistful fragrance of violets…, is a matter of perception and experience, not of proof. The great things by which we really live…, are not proven by logic…, but by life. And as that is true of love and beauty…, so it is true of finding God…, and learning how close he stands to us.’
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