Friday, November 18, 2016

Is it logical to have faith?

The answer to whether it is logical to have faith is a resounding yes, but it is a very large question with lots of possible answers. Let me see if I can narrow it down into the confines of a short answer. My answer to evolutionists is that it simply takes much more faith to believe in that fairy tale than it does creation. In evolution, an accidental bang of resources unexplained happens to start the whole universe. Out of the chaos of a massive blast comes a perfect mix of air, water, and resources to sustain life. Chaos is over the face of the waters for perhaps millions of years awaiting a mix of oxygen-less chemicals that immediately need oxygen upon coming together, and over the course of time, somewhere and somehow they find it. Mutation mixes with selection over the course of time to produce simple and basic life. Complex life was produced purely by accident, beneficial mutation and time working to produce the vast, different, and utterly complex forms of life we find today. There is no right or wrong, and all we see of life is here purely by random chance, with morality being only that which somehow evolution has given to us, that we might act to preserve the species. On the other hand, creationists believe that God designed the universe in a specific manner with all the full diversity of species suddenly. It seems a vastly simpler explanation to me, and on that basis alone, ought to be the one sought after.

In any case, evolutionists find themselves in a dilemma today. Even if it was accepted that all started with a big bang, who set the bang off? What was there in the first place to bang? A designer is self-evident within the theory. Those who will insist there is no reality but the one that they see will often see no other reality. In other words, they explain the rational world by the rules of the rational world. It might make sense to some people to test the world as such, but who made the rational rules? What is there within us that tells us there is a rational world? Can we be at all certain that our rationality can be the basis for understanding all of creation? But all of this is an aside to my argument: there is no right and wrong within mankind at all if we are just here as an act of selection.

And I think that is the strong argument, for it seems to me that man will have some right and wrong in spite of it all. We do live in a pluralistic society today, and there are many definitions of right and wrong, but I daresay there is more common agreement than might be thought. For instance, stealing would be something that most would agree is wrong, but if we are accidents of evolution, on what basis is it wrong? We are forced then to look at the “herd” and find some sort of rule that anything that harms the herd is by definition wrong. But even looking at the herd, and determining that rule, or standard, is, of course, making right and wrong out of nothing. What I am trying to say—perhaps poorly—is that the common basis of right and wrong in itself proves that Someone designed us. We cannot arrive at so many similar ideas of right and wrong without it clearly being placed within us—no matter how corrupt we have become. If you are still unconvinced that we have such agreement, I would point to things like the condemnation of slavery, warfare being so universally disdained, the rights of countries to self-determination, and the basic dignity of individuals. No matter that we do not in any sense maintain these ideals; the fact that we have them is in itself nothing short of miraculous. Somehow we were made with this common idea of right and wrong.

Tozer has this to say about one of my favorite Bible passages: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1 “An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right.”1 If the Bible message is at all clear, it is evident that man is in a blinded condition, and he needs a message to clarify his condition. This is what the Bible is: God’s speaking to man, that if man will but heed, will set about rectifying the whole of creation—beginning with the inside of the heart. Paul is very clear when speaking about creation: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:20,21). Can God be expressing his thoughts through Paul? A common doctrine of inspiration says that is exactly what is happening; God uses Paul to tell us what we need to know. And what do we need to know? It seems to me evident that we are to know two things: 1) a casual look at creation should point to the Creator (the raccoon with his bandit mask certainly points to a Creator with a sense of the comic, whereas the evolutionist is forced to dream up unlikely scenarios for the mask), and 2) we are darkened or blinded to the very creator who built us.

There are a couple of analogies that can be drawn from Lewis in two of his books from The Chronicles of Narnia. First, in The Magician’s Nephew, Uncle Andrew does not hear the voice of Aslan. His mindset is that there is no creator, neither can a lion talk, and all he does hear, sounds like noise or gibberish to him. How like the Bible this is, for in the gospel of John, it tells us that the voice of God was spoken to his Son, saying, “I have glorified it [his name] before, and will glorify it again” (12:28). The interesting thing is that the next verse lets us know there are people like Uncle Andrew. Instead of hearing a voice all they heard was thundering. It seems that Lewis found this passage and based his character loosely upon it. The blindness of men is not just in eyes that cannot see their Creator—it extends to ears that will not hear.

If you are determined not to see God, or even the necessity for God, you likely will receive the fruits of your expectations. At the most you might hear a thundering, or see a flash of light, but you will be incapable of seeing it for what it is. If you are determined to live your life within your expectations, God will likely allow you to do so. It is not that he is not speaking; rather it is that you are not listening. It is not logical. Missing the light and hearing only thundering when there is aught else to see and hear is the antithesis of logic.

The second book, Prince Caspian, is where only Lucy is allowed to see Aslan at first. Edmund alone trusts her, because of his prior misdeeds, but even he trusts without seeing Aslan. As Lucy pulls her group along, Aslan begins to glimmer and sparkle to one at a time, becoming more evident as they continue to follow Lucy’s lead. And thus we have a picture of progressive revelation—it is only as we begin to look and search that we begin to find validations for our beliefs. I am reminded of the man whose son was demon possessed, and asked Jesus if it was possible for him to be healed. Jesus replied to him that all things were possible to him that had faith. The desperate father’s response? “I believe. Help thou my unbelief!” He wanted help from God as he walked the path of faith, and Jesus gave it to him. So we, when we walk the path of faith, pleading for help, will find God becoming ever more visible to us.

As an old man, I marvel at the way that children so readily see him. It is as if they are not so far from what they should be when they are young, but sadly, when we grow older, do we not blind ourselves to the glimmerings and the sparklings? I see us being blind in so many ways. Did you know that Revelation 3:20 (Behold, I stand at the door and knock) is addressed to a church? We frequently misapply this verse to the picture of Christ standing at the heart of the unbeliever, and asking to come in. And so it proves to be an apt picture for receiving Christ. The tragedy is that Jesus, in this verse, is standing at the door of the church, and asking believers if he can come in. Sadly, too often, they let the door go unanswered, perhaps thinking that the knock was just a thundering. They miss fellowship with the Christ because they will not heed the knock. Too be able to see, we have to look. To be able to hear, we have to listen. That seems to me to be basic logic.

And when we come to the person of Jesus, as Chesterton and Lewis were apt to point out, there are but three logical choices. The first choice, taken by almost no one, is that Jesus is a madman, bent on confusing mankind with a diabolical fantasy that millions would uselessly give their lives to. Obviously, it is self-evident that he could not have been mad; his followers would have disavowed him instantly. Instead, most of them gave their lives away in his behalf. The second logical choice, taken by many people, is that Jesus is a great teacher, but this choice is not logically allowed by any student of the Bible. And if he was just a great teacher and a good man, then why did his teachings destroy so many? His teachings say that most people are on their way to Hell, hardly what most people would call good. The third logical choice, no matter how we may disdain it, is the only viable option. He is who he said he was. He was the Son of God come into the world.

Is it logical to have faith in him? I would submit that it is illogical not to have faith in him—to live a life that does not check his claims, a life that does not realize the logic behind the claims of God. If you only see sparklings and glimmerings I would encourage you to stay the course. Revelation often comes in bits and pieces; I still marvel at the new wonders of God he unravels for me as I get older.

Finally, there is the great logic of those who have gone before. I am not just talking crowds, but multitudes beyond counting, millions who have lived lives, professing knowledge of the Savior, counting themselves saved. That is no small testimony, and in every generation it has seemed to delight God to bring us Sauls of Tarsus, changing them into mighty Pauls. Last generation it was Whittaker Chambers, and this generation, my generation, it was Charles Colson. These men have found God, and changed mightily their lives as a consequence. I believe they are meant to be logical signposts along the way, that we might see them and take note of what God has done. Logical to have faith? I cannot see another way of getting there.

1. Tozer, A.W.; Tozer, Aidan; Tozer, Aidan Wilson. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (Special Kindle Enabled Edition with Interactive Table of Contents and Built in Text to Speech Features) (Illustrated) ... | The Writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer of) (Kindle Locations 775-779). Christian Miracle Foundation Press. Kindle Edition.

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