“Faith & Evidence”Categories: Faith
The Nature of Faith and Evidence
Contrary to what some think, faith and evidence are in harmony with each other. God does not ask us to believe Him in spite of evidence to the contrary. He wants us to consider the evidence and make a decision to put our faith in Him based upon that evidence (e.g., Matt. 11:2–6). It is our purpose in these articles to overview some of the evidences God has provided. First, we want to think about the nature of evidence and faith.
What Is Evidence?
“Evidence” is proof that helps to establish something as valid. It helps us to form a proper conclusion about a matter. The type of evidences to which we appeal are not scientific. For something to properly belong to science, it should be observable, repeatable, and testable. This excludes unique, historical events. Science is limited. There are matters of science that have a bearing upon the Bible, but these cannot directly test the historical events.
The kind of evidence to which we appeal is historical. Historical evidence involves data such as eyewitnesses, written documents, and archaeological finds. Historical data leads us to conclude that certain people existed, or certain events occurred. In this way, we know that Jesus Christ lived, died, and arose again from the dead. Faith in Jesus is based upon the historical validity of the events which are ascribed to Him. In seeking to know and understand history, we are building a foundation upon which to understand and trust God.
The testimony of eyewitnesses is significant. In a court of law, eyewitness testimony can help convict or acquit a defendant. The Bible claims to have been confirmed by eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1–4). The resurrection of Jesus was confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:1–8). This is of primary importance.
What Is Faith?
The basic idea of faith is “trust.” When we put faith in God, then we are willing to listen and do what He says. Why would one choose to trust God? Because of a conviction that God is true. This conviction comes by examining the evidence God has left for Himself. The evidence is strong enough that it warrants a choice of faith.
Biblical faith is built upon evidence. This is shown in John 20:24–31. After Jesus was raised, He appeared to His disciples. Thomas, not present, later said that he would not believe unless he saw (v. 25). Jesus appeared to the disciples again. When Thomas saw, he responded, “My Lord and my God” (v. 28). The fact that Thomas would not believe did not change the nature of the evidence. Christ had risen whether Thomas believed it or not.
Jesus replied, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and believed” (v. 29). The resurrected Christ was evidence of the power of God. Note that in verses 30–31, the signs Jesus performed were designed to be evidence that would lead one to believe in Him. We have not seen Jesus, but the written records testify to His historical validity.
Faith is a reasonable response to the evidence. “Blind faith,” which has no supporting evidence, is unreasonable. Faith is not “believing something you know isn’t true.” It is accepting and acting upon that which has credible evidence to support it.
We should not take an approach to God solely on the basis of our reasoning. If we rely too much on our own thinking, we may reject biblical principles and commands because they don’t “make sense” to us (see Proverbs 14:12). We have the ability to reason and think, and God expects us to use our minds. But once we are convicted that “God is” and that He rewards (Hebrews 11:6), then we have reason to trust Him, even if we don’t understand everything (see Hebrews 11:8).
The study of evidences does not create faith, but it does help remove some stumbling blocks and give us greater confidence in the things of God. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). Let’s be convicted of this, and accept what God has done for us.