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What is the Relationship of Faith and Reason and How Does this Relate to Salvation through Faith?
Nail Mark Ministries
In our last post we discussed what the nature of faith is and whether or not the concept of faith (as it is used in the Bible) is rational. If you missed that one then you can follow THIS LINK and read it first. In short we determined that the popular concept of what faith means is not how the Bible uses that terminology. Faith, in the Bible at least, is really the idea of trust or having confidence in something or someone. We then determined that whether or not faith in an object is rational depends on the circumstance and reasoning that one has for placing their faith in that object. Furthermore we determined that faith without an object is inherently irrational whereas faith in something or someone is not inherently irrational and that faith in the God of the Bible is demonstrably rational.
With all of that established there now comes another question, what is the relationship of faith and reason/evidence as it relates to obtaining salvation? Now, in our last post, we killed the idea that faith and reason are opposites. This would only be true if faith were defined as believing against or contrary to reason and evidence or if it were defined as something that is above reason and not comprehensible by it. But because the Bible uses faith so as to communicate the idea of having confidence or trust in God, these definitions of faith are irrelevant as it relates to biblical Christianity. So then faith is not something that is inherently opposed to reasons and evidence, rather, it is something that can exist apart from it or be strengthened or even weakened by it. Let me demonstrate what I mean when I say faith can be something apart from reasons and evidence, but can also be strengthened or weakened when it has reason and evidence.
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Imagine a frozen pond before you. Is it safe to walk on? The answer is ‘C’ not enough information, right? But let’s say you decide to walk on it anyway, you think you’ll be okay if you do. Essentially you've place your faith/trust in the strength of that ice to hold your weight. Will you be okay? It just depends on the reality of the situation. If it has been cold enough for a long enough period of time so as to allow the water to freeze and the ice to thicken to a dense enough state then, yes, you’ll be fine. But if it hasn’t then, no, you’ll fall through and you may just drown.
Now if you say to yourself, “I have all the faith in the world that this ice will hold me!” Does this affect the density of the ice? Not at all, but your belief may determine your willingness to walk on the ice. In the same way, perhaps you say to yourself “I’m scared to death that this ice won’t hold my weight but I am willing to take my chances and trust it.” Does your meager faith affect the density of the ice? No again. So what is the crucial issue? Is it the amount of faith one has in the ice or is it the whether the ice itself is sufficient to bear your weight? Obviously it is the latter.
This illustration of the frozen lake will serve us well to demonstrate the relationship of faith, reason and how they relate to salvation. Imagine that the frozen lake represents a religion, philosophy or worldview. You might look at the frozen lake and call it Buddhism, Islam, Atheism, or Christianity, etc. People all around the world have chosen to place their trust in a certain worldview (frozen lake) and many, if not most, have done so without sufficient reason or evidence to be certain that the metaphorical ice will hold their weight. In other words the majority of people in this world are skating on ice that they don’t know for sure will hold them…
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