Faith's Additional Sources

Faith’s Additional Sources

 

 Stanford Church

Stanford Church

If ideas, concepts, and beliefs have merit then they can be cross referenced and closely considered. As Christians, we hold the Bible to be authoritative. It guides our conduct, life, and our view of God and ourselves. We also consult thinkers to shed light on Scripture.

Proverbs 21:30 says, “There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord.” Said another way, the Bible states that all wisdom, all understanding, and all good counsel comes originally from God and is distributed via multiple sources. There is nothing to indicate God saw fit to entrust His wisdom, understanding, and counsel singularly within those who are His followers.

 

These areas of human endeavor are not opposed to faith.

 

Candidly, it is short sighted to search primarily for a Christian plumber, a Christian doctor, or a Christian lawyer. On the contrary. If you have a water problem, find a plumber entrusted with God-given wisdom to repair the pipe. You’ll find this guy by his reputation, by the way, not necessarily by where he goes to church.

Expanding on the revelation of this verse, it is potentially advantageous to us as men and women of faith to consider not just the rules of faith, but also literature, history, probability, philosophy, reason, and yes, scientific methodology. These areas of human endeavor are not opposed to faith. Rather, when approached with discerning consideration, they can shed light on the matters of faith noodling in our noggins.

Taking this line of thinking a step farther, I will also consider our humanity. We aren’t the only rational beings on the planet, but we appear to be the only beings with sentience, i.e. the rational disposition to ask why as it relates to us. Other animal beings suffer and struggle to live, but human beings are the only ones that ask, “Why?”

That question, or sentience, delineates us and distinguishes us as independently willful. Said another way, we will not subjugate our independence unless we do so by choice.

 

God is plenty scientific.

 

Viktor Frankel, a holocaust survivor and psychologist, realized during his captivity that in between a stimulus—no matter how abusive or grievous—and his response, was the opportunity to make a choice. The opportunity to choose might last for a long time or it might last a few seconds, but in between stimulus and outcome was response-ability, as Frankl put it. Naked, his life work destroyed, his family exterminated, and little prospect of survival, Frankel realized that the Nazis had taken everything from him except one thing: his freedom to choose, his ability to respond, his response-ability, and he concluded that the freedom of choice could never be taken, only relinquished.

What’s the point?

Proof requires consent. Faith is about belief, and trust, and response—even if the response seems irrational.

God is plenty scientific. Assuming you concur that He is the intelligence undergirding creation, then delve into scientific study and marvel at the fearfully wonderful manner in which creation is formed.

But even though the Bible states that by Jesus, and through Jesus, are all things made and by Him all things that consist are held together, God’s first and primary motivation for approaching mankind is love. In short, He made us to love us and to form a relationship with us.

There is rationale in this, but love is fundamentally irrational and quite mysterious. It is all around us and we recognize it when we see it, but it isn’t scientific. No. The primary need all of us feel, including God apparently, is to love and be loved.

That takes faith. It requires belief. Love hinges on trust, and relationships grant the benefit of the doubt when necessary. To have love on any other terms would necessitate removing doubt or disregarding doubt. Either is unacceptable when forming meaningful connection and mutual respect.

Could God prove Himself to us? I suppose. I’m not sure we would believe, but that’s a matter for another day.

Could He prove Himself? Yeah, but He won’t. If He did that, there wouldn’t be any cause for faith, and that’s important to Him—and to us, if you think about it. The step of faith is not a leap. It’s not even a big step, but it is a step of some measure, a relinquishment, a trust.

 

The impediment to belief is not the measure of faith required, but the conviction that we must declare that God is the Lord of our life.

 

During our lifetimes, most of us will participate in a crazy little thing called, marriage. We will believe and trust and relinquish with another person—and we will vow to do these things “before God and this company." Not to disparage anyone’s spouse, but vowing “I do” in front of witnesses requires exponentially more faith than saying “I do” to God.

All these words, over all these days, and all the lines can be summed up thus: Faith is a belief, a belief that God tells the truth.

To believe is not the hard part. We’ve demonstrated that faith is second nature for us. No. The impediment to belief is not the measure of faith required, but the conviction that we must declare that God is the Lord of our life.

If we believe in this way, by declaration of conviction that God is our Lord, it pleases God. As the Bible puts it, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).