Q25 Faith is believing without evidence, Right?

Thomas sees the risen Jesus. That evidence causes him to believe. – The Bible Episode 10 “Courage”

Thomas sees the risen Jesus. That evidence causes him to believe.
The Bible Episode 10 “Courage”

“Faith is believing without evidence, right?” Wrong! Emphatically wrong. Those who want you to believe faith is believing without evidence are either ignorant (but well meaning) Christians, or more likely – those like atheists and Satan and those deceived by them–all who will be spending eternity in hell. Such want you to be just as foolish as they are by condemning yourself along with them by believing this foolish platitude. Don’t fall for it. Faith is not “believing without evidence.” On the contrary, Christians believe because of the evidence. 

That is why Christianity is a Rational Faith. (Couldn’t neglect to mention that obvious connection.) Christians do not believe in spite of lack of evidence.  Again I say, those trying to convince you that Christians believe in spite of no evidence are trying to make you disbelieve as they do and, in so doing, send you to hell with them. Don’t believe them. Save yourself from an eternity of condemnation and torment.

What is Faith, and Where does it come from?

The Bible actually defines faith and, even as it is a difficult concept to define for the uninitiated today, it was also a difficult concept in the first century A.D. when written by the author of Hebrews in the years following Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is found in chapter 11 verse 1 of the book of Hebrews. It is a difficult verse to translate as witnessed by the various ways it has been translated. To make things as clear as possible, I will give you my paraphrase translation which is close to the New life translation, but mine follows more closely the words used to express the concepts I believe the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey:

“Faith is the reality (‛υποστασις – hupostatis[1]) of the things we wait for, the confidence of accomplished (0r completed) (πραγματων – pragmatōn[2]) evidences (ελεγχος – elegchos[3]) we do not see.” 

The first thing to note is that there are two parts to this Biblical definition of faith. Let’s look at them in turn:

The first part deals with “reality” – things that actually are (or will be) as God has spoken them. In other words, truth. (Conveniently I just did an article on truth if you need a definition.) So faith concerns things that actually are. They are reality or, in the case of things to come, they will certainly happen. The point that is being made is that they are real either now (for example, heaven is real, our new home there is real, our new birth in Christ is real, our adoption by God is real, etc.) or the things God has said will happen, like the second coming of Christ in glory, will certainly happen.

The second part deals with a settled confidence in the certainty of things we do not see. Where does such a settled confidence, undeterred by things of this world, come from? It springs from the “evidences”, or proofs of things “accomplished” or “completed” (both words fit well, and, as you can see, I had a hard time choosing one) by the God who has not just revealed himself in time and history but has revealed himself as the ultimate in truth and reliability. What he says is true and what he promises we can rely on for him to accomplish based on what he has already accomplished. What kinds of evidences has this God given us as “accomplished” or “completed”? He has given many such evidences. I will highlight three.

What accomplished evidences has God provided that we cannot see?

What are some evidences of what God has accomplished that we cannot see? Notice once again there are two parts here: (1) evidences that we can detect that (2) have components that we cannot see. So what would some of those evidences be?

Let’s start with the Philosophical:

Evidence 1: Why does something exist instead of nothing? How do we get the universe we see today?

The secular theory of cosmological origins, the Big Bang theory, states that once there was nothing, and then everything exploded into existence at a moment in time.  That defies a number of physical laws, e.g. the law of conservation of energy. (Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  If there was once no energy, where did “all the energy that will ever exist”, as the big bangers say, come from?) It defies the law of  causality. Because according to big bang theorists  the “singularity” happened without cause. But that’s impossible. Things that begin to exist must have a cause. (See the Kalam Cosmological argument.) Another problem is when and where did the Big bang occur? There was no space or time before the big bang so there was literally no place it could have happened, and, since time didn’t exist, there was literally no time it could have happened. These problems are just for starters.

The only rational, non-contradictory answer to the question, why does something exist instead of nothing, is because an eternal, omnipotent God, outside of space and time, desired it to be so and acted to make it so.  He made the space, time and matter we exist in and are made of. We don’t know how God did it, but we can see that it has been done, and the laws of both physics and logic tell us only a being beyond the natural world–beyond space time and matter–could have brought the natural world into existence.

Let’s move on to the physical evidences.

Evidence 2: The Heavens declare the Glory of God

That is from Psalm 19 which states:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Psalm 19.1-3

Because of the glory of creation, the apostle Paul can state:

19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Rom 1.19-19

Everyone who has seen God’s creation has the testimony of that very creation about the divine nature of the God who created it. It is so evident that men will be without excuse before God if they claim they didn’t know God exists because, as scripture says, the fact that God exists has been made plain to everyone. (Yes that means atheists are lying to themselves. They know God exists.)

We can look at God’s creation and learn much about God–his divine power, creativity, love of variation and order –among his infinite qualities which are vaster than the deepest expanses of space. Just looking at the cosmos and the earth should inspire faith and confidence in the God who created them. Jesus said,

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:8) 

Likewise with creation. We did not see the act of creation, but we can see from the results of the creation that there is a magnificent, life-giving God behind the creation.

Evidence 3: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Evidences 1 and 2 should get you to theism, perhaps even monotheism. But the identity of God is still hidden. The resurrection of Jesus identifies the one and only God. That is the God who:

  • Has power over life and death
  • Is clearly the giver of life
  • Is thus the giver of all life on this planet

Jesus said,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11.25-26

How do we know that Jesus was not speaking mere words? To prove he had the authority to forgive sins (an authority only God has) and not merely talking, he made a lame man walk. (Matt 9.1-9) To prove he has the power to raise the dead, he raised Lazarus from the dead (which is depicted in the latest “The Chosen” movie (season 4 episodes 7-8)) and was himself resurrected from the dead. (John 21.14) How do we know he rose from the dead? Given the evidence, it is the only rational conclusion. You can review the evidence for the resurrection here: “AD Apologetics – Part 2: Jesus’ Triumphant Resurrection.” 

Final Thoughts 

So, please, understand, dear reader, faith is not “believing without evidence.” Faith is taking what we can see with our own eyes: the stars and their movement across the heavens, the wonders of life on earth from amazing hummingbirds to magnificent great blue whales to man, the crowning achievement of God’s creation, made in the image of God (Gen 1.27) to the testimonies of the witnesses of the risen Jesus. Faith is taking these evidences and accepting them for what they are: irrefutable evidences of an all-powerful God who created us, who loves us enough to save us from ourselves and our sins by taking on flesh and dying for us–for which we have the testimony of many. That is not faith without evidence.  The many evidences in scripture, including that of the resurrection, are the evidences that gives us confidence to believe in the Son of God. This is the Son of God who:

“… has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5.20

God the Father and Jesus the Son of God are not people we guess about or merely hope exist. We know them. We know Him who is truth as John says. We know based on the evidence given us. Both the evidence and our confidence in it, is something you cannot see but something that is very real. It is this confidence in what God has done and the character of God which gives us confidence in all that he says–that which we call “faith.” It’s a faith in Him, whom you cannot see, and based on the realities outlined above and anchored in a God whom Christians know to be real, truthful and faithful.

I’ll leave you with the faith and confession of Thomas, a realist who would not believe until he saw the evidence – the risen Jesus – with his own eyes. But as Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and still believe.” 

One final thought for those who may be confused regarding seeing evidence. Not seeing the evidence personally, but accepting the testimony of a witness who has, is quite different from there not being any evidence all. Do you believe there are rings around Saturn and Neptune as scientists claim – even if you have not personally seen (as in through a telescope) them? If you do, it’s not because you’re believing without evidence; it’s because  you’re believing the testimony of someone who has seen the evidence – as Christians believe the testimony of those who have seen the risen Christ.

Duane Caldwell  |  March 7, 2024 | Printer friendly version

1. hupostasis – the same word is used in Heb 1.3 of Christ being the exact “hupostatis” (reality, expression) of God.

2. pragmatōn – Luke uses the same word in Luke 1.1 to express “the things that have been fulfilled”

 3. The verbal form: elegchō is typically used when speaking of providing proof – often in strong form of a rebuke. Here the idea of strong evidence or proof carries over.

Composite image:
Blindfold © Nexusplexus | Dreamstime.com | used by permission

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