Alma and Korihor | Alma Chapter 30 | Come Follow Me



In the Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 30, we find an interesting argument between the prophet Alma and an atheistic church critic named Korihor. Korihor accuses Alma and other church leaders of promoting the worship of God and the Savior just to make money from their false teachings. In verses 37–38, Alma verifies that Korihor is indeed an atheist. In verse 40, Alma then asks him for some hard evidence to support his atheism.

This is an excerpt from Where Science Meets God: 12 Ways Science Reinforces LDS Doctrine.

And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. (Alma 30:40)

Well this is an interesting turn of events. Normally it is the atheists who demand proof of God’s existence from the religious faithful, not the other way around. Korihor has no proof that there is no God, so in verse 43, Korihor tries to turn the tables on Alma and demands that he provide evidence of his own.

And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words. (Alma 30:43) 

So, both Alma and Korihor are asking each other for evidence of their beliefs. Alma then responds to Korihor’s challenge, with a scripture that will set the tone for much of this book.

But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets?

The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. (Alma 30:44)

So Alma presents four pieces of evidence to Korihor as proof of God’s existence:

1. the testimonies of his brethren and past prophets

2. the scriptures

3. the earth and all things upon it

4. the planets of the solar system

We learn a few lessons from this story. First, Alma reveals that, if we are looking for evidence of God’s existence, we first have spiritual evidence from testimonies and scriptures. Secondly, we have physical evidence that can be found on the earth and in the heavens. Thus, we need to consider both types of evidence and remember to respond to Alma’s challenge to investigate, “the earth and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets . . . .”

To continue the story, Korihor sadly did not accept the evidence presented by Alma and again demanded a sign. Those familiar with this narrative know that this demand for evidence did not work out well for Korihor. The sign he received was that he became deaf and dumb. With that curse, Korihor was cast out, became a beggar, and eventually met a tragic death.

Granted, Korihor was not a man on a sincere mission to seek for God. But what was Korihor’s sin? What did he do to deserve his fate?

Yes, he demanded evidence of God’s presence—but many people are seeking evidence of the truth of God’s existence. In fact, we are taught to do so. The difference was that Korihor demanded that his proof be immediate and on his terms—and that is not how one collects evidence of the existence of God.

It takes time, study, contemplation, and prayer to figure these things out. The irony behind this story, as pointed out by the chief judge in Alma 30:51, was that though Korihor’s sign was immediate as he requested, it was certainly not on his terms. If you are not willing to be patient in collecting both spiritual and physical evidence of God’s existence, then you will almost certainly fail.

So I would like to follow Alma’s counsel to search for evidence, first in others’ testimonies and secondly within the heavens and earth. Before doing so, it is necessary to better define the weighty principles we are discussing and consider why God doesn’t just give us all the answers.