Everyone lives by faith
Whether you are religious or irreligious, a Christian or a secular person, you inevitably live by faith. Let me explain.
The Bible forces you to make a faith-choice
The Bible claims to be history, a true story about God’s grace and mighty miracle-acts. As such, it forces us to make a faith-choice.
For example, one of the great stories of faith is recorded in the Old Testament story of Abraham and Sarah. When Abraham was seventy-five years old, God called Abraham to “leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” He promised Abraham “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:1-2). But Sarah was barren and unable to conceive.
Many years later, God came to Abraham in a vision and said “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abraham said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliazer of Damascus? And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’ Then the Word of the LORD came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’ He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you shall count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Then we are told, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:1-5)
Then, when Abraham is ninety-nine years of age the LORD God appears to Abraham and renews his promise to give to Abraham and Sarah a son. A year later, when Abraham is “as good as dead” (impotent/infertive) and Sarah is passed child-bearing years (barren), she gives birth to Isaac (Genesis 21).
The Bible’s claim to be true history forces us to make a faith-choice.
On the one hand, by faith, we can simply accept the story as true. We can believe that a Personal and Sovereign God can, and did, supernaturally act in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.
On the other hand, we can choose to not believe this story. We may make this choice for many reasons. Let us consider one.
Many people today are skeptical towards the supernatural and the miraculous. They may think something like this: “Modern science has disproved traditional religions (like Christianity). Miracles cannot be reconciled to the modern, rational view of the world; they are scientifically impossible. Science has proven that there is no such thing as miracles. ” (abridged from Tim Keller, The Reason for God, p. 85)
What I want to show you is that this line of thinking is also a faith-choice. Embedded in this line of thinking is a leap of faith.
First, science is only equipped to test for natural causes and cannot speak to any others. Scientific methodology is set up to assume and test natural causes. There would be not experimental model for testing the statement: ‘No supernatural cause for any natural phenomenon is possible.” Therefore, it is a leap of faith to insist that science has proven there can’t be any other.
Second, there is a hidden premise in the statement, “miracles cannot happen.” The hidden premise is “there can’t be a God who does miracles.” As Tim Keller points out, “if there is a Creator God, there is nothing illogical at all about the possibility of miracles. After all, if he created everything out of nothing, it would hardly be a problem for him to rearrange parts of it as and when he wishes. To be sure that miracles cannot occur you would have to be sure beyond a doubt that God didn’t exist, and that is an article of faith. The existence of God can be neither demonstrably proven or disproven.” (The Reason for God, 86).
Third, in the story of Abraham and Sarah there is empirical fact that can be historically proven: An entire ethnic group (Jews) and spiritual community (Christians) trace their physical/spiritual ancestry to the faith of Abraham and to story of God’s grace that unfolds through the children of Abraham which, for Christians, culminates in the miraculous birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. It does appear that God’s promise to Abraham - to make his offspring like the stars of the skies – has been fulfilled.
The story of Abraham and Sarah claims to be true history. It forces all of us to make a faith decision. Christians are not illogical or irrational to believe that God’s supernaturally acted to fulfill his promise to Abraham.