Monday, July 03, 2017

The Relationship of Faith and Science or Faith and Thinking

Last Wednesday, I and other folks from our church were out evangelizing near Berkeley, California, and my group had left a door, and a middle aged man in the street on roller blades informed us that the family there wasn't home.  I said to him concerning his roller blading, "That looks like good exercise."  He asked, "What are you guys doing?" I said, "We're from Bethel Baptist Church and we're out preaching the gospel, telling people about our church and what we believe."  He answered, "A long time ago, I stopped believing anything, because believing results in not thinking."  I told him that wasn't true, that it was a wrong understanding of belief.

The man's idea was that faith really did preclude evidence, that it was completely separated from evidence.  If you want to know something, you get that by thinking, which is contradictory to faith.  I told him that we don't get to define faith however we want, because the very concept of faith comes from the Bible.  If we want to know what it means, we look at the Bible to find out what it means.  I said that Hebrews 11:1 defined faith or belief and it says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is based on evidence.

What the man argued is seen all over the United States today, recently revealed in a decision finally to allow a young earth creationist to take rock samples from the Grand Canyon.  He's a creationist, not a scientist, because creation is based upon belief, which is detached from thinking.  This is not true.  There is one truth.  The two opposing viewpoints cannot both be true.  Neither are neutral either.  Both start with presuppositions, one based on the Bible and the other based upon speculation.

The Bible itself is evidence, and the creation scientist wants to go to the Grand Canyon to corroborate, but that is an unacceptable point of view to even be given the opportunity, so, as you can read in the above linked article, he went to court to sue for his right to be allowed by the National Park Service to take samples he'd like to study.  He wants to look at the evidence to see what it shows, whether it backs up a Genesis account of origins.

Faith is not bereft of evidence.  Those who receive the Bible believe that it is true, so it presents the only true account of the story of mankind.  They also think, that's right, think, that the evidence corresponds to and corroborates the biblical account.  They believe the Bible because God wrote it, but they also think what it says to be true.


Bill Hardecker said...

"In whom [in Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col. 2:3. While we as Christians value logic, we know that apart from Christ, the laws of logic cannot correspond universally to objective reality. Everything is given it's proper meaning in Christ. Philosophy, science, ethics, human life, even logic can only make good sense in Christ. And although all this is true, we insist in dealing with non-Christians through God's Word from start to finish because we believe in the God who gave us His Word and in His mighty power to convict and change the unbeliever through His words. I don't feel that I need to justify my living in God's World because I believe in Him, in God, my Creator, Redeemer, and Lord. It is the unsaved person who ought to justify his living and breathing God's air while living in rebellion and ingratitude. I use the Bible and it's implications for nature, history, etc. as evidence for the truth-claims of the Bible and such evidence is indeed powerful. But I can't improve the gospel and God's Word because it is already perfect. No one can make God's word more clearer because it is light. Nothing is more luminous than light itself. I can improve my presentation but not His Word. Just wanted to add somethings to this post.

Thank you, Pastor Brandenburg. I haven't commented lately but I agree with this and also the posting you did on the Perversion of God's Grace from Evangelicals. I believe the rabid wind of false doctrine: antinomianism [the opposite extreme of legalism but similar error] has ran its course with the relatively recently exposed marital infidelities of the prominent proponent of false grace (Tchividjian) - which I take zero pleasure in observing.

Be well!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Bill.

Do you think the laws of logic are what we would call natural laws? In other words, we can make conclusions in a universe God created, just like He created language. Anyway some thoughts.

Bill Hardecker said...

I've always thought that natural laws are more tangible or emperical and laws of logic to be a different branch though all laws point to the Lord. I have heard of the laws of logic argued by Greg Banshen when he debated an athiest. The athiest thought he pinned Banshen and in that moment Banshen argued the laws of logic as evidence which blasted the athiests arguments to pieces.

Lots of thinking going on here for a man's hypothetical thought about the non-thinking Christian.

Dave said...

Gentlemen, I know of no "laws of logic". What I do know, is not to trust my own understanding, but God alone:

" Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." ( Proverbs 3:5 )

May He bless you greatly in the knowledge of His grace.

Bill Hardecker said...

Dave, God is logical, God is rational. When you read the Bible, you can see that God thinks and speaks in a way that reflects the laws of logic. Part of God's attribute is logic. Because He is logical, self-consistent, and truthful, the very same thing can be said about the Bible. It too is logical, self-consistent, and truthful. Good theology is simply a rational discourse about God. I can't see how a valid, rational, logical discussion about God is equivalent to trusting in one's own understanding.