Is Faith Blind?
The farmer plants his seed in the ground. He believes/has faith that with the proper soil conditions, nutrients, temperature, and moisture, his seed will sprout, grow into a productive plant, and produce a crop. Why? Because he has seen it happen over and over again.
When a person is accused of a crime and brought to trial to determine whether or not that person is guilty of said crime, evidence is presented to support the accusation. That evidence might come from various sources. Perhaps there was an eye witness who saw the accused actually commit the crime. Perhaps physical evidence exists to prove that the accused was the perpetrator, such as finger prints, DNA, clothing, or other possessions of the accused found at the crime scene. It may even be the case that the accused admits to being guilty of the crime. All that evidence is presented to a jury. While none of the jurors were present to witness the crime they must, nevertheless, decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused. In other words, the jurors develop faith, based on the evidence presented, in the guilt or innocence of the accused.
When discussing the idea of Biblical faith some seem to think that one just decides, subjectively, to either believe or not believe. That Biblical faith is a “blind faith.” That is, one either believes that God exists or does not believe, that one accepts the Bible at face value or considers it a mythical book of “fairy tales,” all on the basis of that individual’s particular preferences.
Is it true that God expects people to just accept the Bible as His word with no more evidence than the Bible’s own claim that God exists and that the Bible is His communication to humanity? Are we to accept the Bible as authoritative solely on the basis of its own testimony? In short, is Biblical faith a “blind faith” or is there evidence to support the claims of Scripture?
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). According to that statement faith has both substance and evidence. What is the substance and evidence of faith?
Because no one alive today, or in recorded history, was present when the universe as we know it came into existence, we can only examine the evidence as to when and how that event occurred. Many look at the evidence presented in nature (fossils, sediment layers in the earth’s surface, etc.) and come to the conclusion that the earth and its surrounding universe are billions of years old and came into existence as the result of what might be called a “cosmic accident.” But regardless of how old one may consider the earth to be (when it came into being), the better question is how did it come into existence? There are only two possible answers: the universe had a beginning or it has always existed. All credible sources stipulate that the universe had a beginning. Accepting that statement as truth, the question then becomes how. Again, there are only two possible answers: it either spontaneously generated itself or it was created by a higher power. The argument for creation by a higher power falls into three basic categories: the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the anthropological argument.
The cosmological argument basically says that every creation must have a creator. For example, nowadays most of us carry a cell phone around with us. That instrument has developed to the point that we can access almost any piece of information contained in almost any library in the world. There was no “lightening strike” that suddenly brought that device into being. Building on earlier technology developed by Alexander Graham Bell, Nikolai Tesla, and Guglielmo Marconi, Dr. Martin Cooper developed what is considered to be the first modern portable handset (Bellis, Mary. “The History of Cellular Phones.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/martin-cooper-history-of-cell-phone-1989865). Every creation requires a creator.
The teleological argument basically says that every design must have a designer. If one looks closely it is not difficult to see the intricate designs in spider webs. Obviously, there was a spider that designed that web. Likewise, in the universe there is order and design. For example, in 1981, the publication Science Digest reported that as the earth rotates around the sun it departs from a straight line rotation by one ninth of an inch every eighteen miles. If that figure were reduced to one eighth of an inch we would be too close to the sun. If it were increased to one tenth of an inch we would be too far from the sun. In either case this planet would not be able to sustain life as we know it (quoted in Harrub, Brad. Convicted: A Scientist Examines the Evidence for Christianity, Focus Press, 2014, p. 34). The human body, as well as that of several different species of animals, is sustained by the heart muscle pumping blood throughout the body and the lungs providing the necessary oxygen for the sustaining of life. It is a basic system that works very well. How did it come into being? The evolutionist would maintain that it was a system developed over billions of years, one incremental step at a time. But one must ask, what were those steps and in what order were they developed because if that heart/blood/lung system does not function in harmony with each other the body ceases to be a living entity.
The anthropological argument basically states that, because humans have a moral code of conduct, that code must have originated with a higher power. This “moral code” is a distinctly human trait. The creationist argue that, since human beings are created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26, 27), God instilled His moral code into humanity. If there is no such being as a creator God the only other option is that humanity’s moral code must have evolved. Since no other species has such a moral code the evolution of such is not a practical idea.
There is a fourth argument, the ontological argument. “The ontological argument was first formulated by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), one of the great medieval philosopher-theologians, in his Proslogium, Chapter 2. Anselm’s ontological argument rests on the identification of God as ‘that than which no greater can be conceived.’ Once it is understood that God is that of which no greater can be conceived, Anselm suggests, it becomes evident that God must exist” (https://religion.fandom.com/wiki/Arguments_for_the_existence_of_God#Ontological_argument). This argument is not based on empirical evidence. As such, it is, in the opinion of this writer, the weaker of the arguments.
So, what evidence do we observe for the existence of God and of the Bible being His inspired word? The previous paragraphs give the basic evidence for the existence of God, but what about the Bible? Can the Bible be proven, by the evidence, to be the word of God? The answer to that question is an emphatic YES!
While doubts have been expressed over the years by those who deny the veracity of the Bible, not a single archaeological, historical, or scientific claim made by the Bible has ever been proven untrue. In fact, the opposite has prevailed. For example, Psalm 8:8 makes reference to “the paths of the seas.” Matthew Fontaine Maury, who served as head of the United States Naval Observatory, published his findings of those “paths” in 1847. Archaeologists have discovered historical references to King David, Abraham, and several other prominent Biblical figures. In fact, every “new” archaeological or historical discovery lends itself to the credence and accuracy of the Biblical text.
Specific to the New Testament is the vast availability of ancient manuscripts attesting to the accuracy of textual transmission through the centuries. In his book, The Case for Historic Christianity, Edward Wharton lists five historical documents of which somewhat ancient and partial copies have been preserved. The time span between the original writing of those documents and the oldest preserved copies ranges from 350 to 1,300 years. Additionally, there exist only a handful (ten at the most) of these ancient documents. Wharton quotes F. F. Bruce, an eminent Bible scholar and historian, as saying, “Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are 1,300 years later than the originals” (pp. 28, 29). By comparison, There presently exists more than 5,300 copies of the Greek New Testament in whole or in part (Neil R. Lightfoot. How We Got the Bible, New York; MJF Books, 2003, p. 34). The entirety of the New Testament was written within the years of the first century, A. D. The oldest of these manuscript copies date from about A. D. 350, leaving a gap of only 250 years. The newest of these manuscripts is dated to the fifth or sixth century, which would leave, at most, a gap of 400 years or so. Yet, in spite of such compelling evidence, the veracity of the Bible is continually questioned by the atheistic elements in society.
Inevitably, someone will say, “But what about the dinosaurs? Did they not exist millions of years before humans evolved?” It is undeniably true that the animals identified as dinosaurs actually existed. However, there is also ample proof that humans coexisted with the dinosaurs. Mary Schweitzer is a paleontologist at North Carolina State University. She has discovered soft tissue in dinosaur bones. Soft tissue is not preserved for millions of years. In the jungles of Cambodia there is a temple built by the Khmer civilization in approximately A. D. 1186. In the stonework are carved depictions of various animals. One of those stones contains an exact replication of a stegosaurus, a creature that, supposedly, became extinct millions of years prior to the “evolution” of modern humans.
So why does the Bible not mention dinosaurs? Because it was not the purpose of God nor of the men He chose to pen the Scriptures to record the details of every creature that ever populated the earth. Furthermore, at least two dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible. A land dwelling creature identified as “behemoth” is described as eating grass like an ox, moving his tail like a cedar, and having ribs like bars of iron (Job 40:15-24). A huge sea creature called “Leviathan” is described in detail as having “terrible teeth,” “rows of scales,” and as one impossible to kill with weapons available at that time (Job 41). Both are accurate descriptions of what is known of the appearance of some of dinosaurs.
So is a person’s faith in God and in the veracity of the Bible to be merely a “blind faith” or is there empirical evidence to support and sustain a belief/faith in the existence, eternal nature, power, and authority of God? Can His word be relied upon and can He be depended upon to keep His word and to fulfill His promises?
Again, the answer is an emphatic YES! How do we know? Look at His track record. Just as the farmer has faith that the seed he plants will result in a harvest – because he has seen it happen so many times before – we can have faith in the God of the Bible because He has kept His promises. Abraham’s descendants became a great nation (Exodus 12:37-42). The Seed of Abraham came into the world, lived among us, died for our sins, and was resurrected to eternal life (Matthew 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Galatians 3:15-18; 2 Timothy 2:8).
God has kept and will keep His promises. Consider the evidence and believe.