To many people, faith is something you conjure up, something you will into existence, something you hope to be true. It’s this “you have your truth and I have my truth” notion. You determine your own reality and beliefs are a synonym for preferences, having little to do with truth. In the words of one man, “tolerance is the value of those without convictions.” But biblical faith is much different. Contrary to the cliche, faith is not blind.
Faith in the Scriptural sense is an acknowledgement and acceptance of spiritual realities in light of evidence. Faith is not blind. Scripture encourages deep inquiry into the spiritual facts. This is the difference between Christianity and any other world religion, it’s based on historical and verifiable fact of God intersecting time and place. The Greek word for “belief” means “persuaded to the point of being convinced.” Biblical faith goes further than intellectual assent. It is trust, not just acknowledgment.
To be sure, there is an element of uncertainty. That’s why it’s still called faith. But it’s an incompleteness in the sense of things not being fully manifested yet. As God has proven to have done some things already, He will finish what he’s promised. Just because they haven’t happened yet, doesn’t mean they won’t.
To not have faith when presented with the evidence is to persist in doubt unreasonably. What kind of evidence are we talking about? The evidence of sin and chaos, the evidence of the gospel story ringing true in the heart, the evidence of the historical resurrection, the evidence of eyewitness testimony ( which was the best science of the day), the evidence of the historical method applied to Scripture, the archaeological evidence of biblical names and places, the evidence of logic, the evidence of order and complexity in creation.
The modern material atheist is quick to refute, “that’s pure conjectural fantasy and myth. There is no evidence for an intelligent designer. Faith is no replacement for the hard facts of science; it’s for the weak of mind.” Really? Since when was faith and science at odds? All great discoveries began with a belief, a vision that something could be possible before it was a reality. Going to the moon began with a belief that it could be possible. The cure for polio began with a vision. God as the creator is the ultimate visionary and believer as all creation is sourced in Him. As Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
Some may say the evidence of God is circumstantial. But even then circumstantial evidence is a viable form of evidence and admissible in a court of law. It has been enough to put away many criminals over the years. In light of such evidence, to not have belief in the realities of Christ is to risk mental illness.
To cement the concept of biblical faith, let’s use the following analogy. Say you’re standing outside of a house. And you have a nagging doubt there is somebody also outside of the house, but always on the exact opposite side and you can’t see him. You decide to sprint one way and try to surprise him but miss him. You run the other way but see nothing. You can do this all day and never see him. There maybe somebody there, who just happens to be keeping perfect distance with us every time we run. Doubts can plague us until we demand a video camera or a helicopter to see all points. But in light of the evidence, it’s reasonable to conclude there is nobody on the other side of the house. At some point, faith settles the mind and heart.
It’s like that with God. You don’t have to see something with your own eyes to know He’s true. This is biblical faith, the evidence makes logical sense that He is there. I wasn’t there when Lincoln was shot but I believe it happened. I don’t have video evidence of Napoleon’s exploits, but I have no reason to doubt them. The historical evidence just rings true in the heart.
If He is, then is some respects He has to be different than us. And if He is different, then the mysterious gap can only be bridged by faith. Faith is the medium for sight and certainty. We step, He affirms. We don’t need to see God in a test tube or microscope to know He’s real. And we don’t have to wait until science verifies God, for in that case we won’t get any credit for it. He loves faith. He loves for us to believe before He is fully manifested. These are the ones He can trust with the riches of His inheritance. They will be accredited to them as righteousness. Jesus shrewdly pointed out that some hearts are so hardened and wicked that they won’t believe even with an actual resurrection before their eyes. He said, “if they don’t believe Moses and the Prophets”, then they won’t believe even if someone rises from the dead.”