Apologetics Objection: Only Faith, No Reason
Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
This is a verse some grab hold of to argue against Apologetics and the use of “reason”. Some would say that asking for reasons, rather than believing on faith alone, would be displeasing to God. Therefore, we should only live by faith.
This is an example of turning a verse into what we want it to say. What the verse does NOT say is that with reason it is not possible to please God. It does say, however, that WITHOUT faith it is not possible to please God.
Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
God’s creation of the universe was accomplished by his word (Gk. rhema) ex nihilo (out of nothing). Faith includes belief in God’s existence and especially in God’s trustworthiness to keep his promise to reward his followers. We have faith that this is so – but is it blind faith? If you make the argument against reason, then yes it is, however, that presents a problem.
Because faith is of utmost importance in this verse and in Christianity – it does not equate that, therefore, reason is eliminated and cannot accompany faith. That is non-sense. Further, we must always look at Scripture in its entirety.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (emphasis added).
God commands us to use reason and to always be prepared to do so. This perceived conflict between faith and reason does not truly exist.
In Hebrews 11:1, the Bible, itself, tells us what faith actually is: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…” The “hoped for” text literally means a confident expectation, which is the kind of confidence we have when we have – you know what? – good REASON to believe something. We do not have blind faith as Christians – that is not scriptural. But rather, we have faith that is confidentally expected based on the greatest of reasons.
Because Jesus of Nazareth truly lived here on Earth; He died, He was buried, and then three days later he rose to conquer death, sin, and the grave. This propels us to give reasons why He is worth everything; propels us to give reason why He and His word are who they say they are. To capture thoughts against him, to defend him, to honor him because we have more than a reasonable hope to believe by faith that Christ is Lord.
“Come now, let us reason…” (Isaiah 1:18)