The UK Bible Students Website

Question Box

 

 

 

 

Faith Vs Reason

 

Q Are Faith and Reason compatible?

A Faith and Reason are compatriots.

However, in certain critical areas the latter must act as the handmaid to Faith. It’s not feasible to separate Faith from Reason, as if everything Faith attaches itself to is un-Reasonable. Indeed, Reason operates within Scripture. It would be well-nigh impossible to interpret many aspects of Scripture without the application of Reason. And vice versa. We can’t have one without some element of the other. Without the benefit of Reason (objective understanding gained from analysis of reality, the nature of things), Faith would become – as it often has – a compilation of impractical notions, leading to closed, sectarian minds.

Although we can from Reason conclude that God does and must exist, it cannot give us a complete picture of His character. We need revelation for that. Reason alone can have little to say on life after death, but Scripture does. It’s probably fair to say that Reason is usually consistent with the biblical, but that the biblical is often not instinctively reasonable, though factual – for example, Jesus walking on water, or the promised resurrection.

As for the mechanics of the universe, the Scriptures are mostly silent, whereas observation and the application of science (astronomy, etc.) is illuminating and appropriate. (Evolution – and its ideological counterpart, Evolutionism – is a different matter. Inasmuch as it touches on the nature and constitution of Man, it cannot have the last word, because it contradicts revelation.)

Of course, when it comes down to it, the fact that we are here, that things are the way they are – none of this is entirely reasonable. Reason was not present at the instant that Nothing became Something, but Reason confirms us that this ‘Something’ is real and tangible. It would be less bothersome for the sceptic if certain aspects of nature didn’t look as though they were, in fact, designed.

Thinking human beings are what Reason should expect to find in a system fabricated by a reasoning God. Man (humanity in general) was made to make. By his artefacts he re-expresses the intelligent means which brought him about. Were we to reverse-engineer him as a whole – not merely as a jumble of bones or chemical reactions – we would arrive at a creator. But even so we’d come up short, since humanity is not now, because of the Fall, the finest example of creation.

No essay on the existence and nature of man is complete without recourse to revelation, a topic which most writers are too coy to address. If the Christian faith has any value it must rest on several fundamental assumptions of the Bible narrative:

Firstly,

that man has fallen into imperfection – moral and physical. In other words, what we see now is not what he was intended to be.

 

Secondly,

 that this state of affairs necessitated salvation – a Saviour.

 

Thirdly,

 there is offered a hope of a resurrection.

Each one of these elements – corroborated by Jesus and expounded upon in exquisite detail by the Apostle Paul and other writers – is a necessary brick in the intellectual structure which forms the Christian faith.

Of course, one could eliminate these impediments entirely by ignoring the Biblical narrative – to claim that Jesus, et al, did not exist, as some do – a scorched-earth policy. Now that’s not reasonable.

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Oct 2018 – no copyright

 

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