We get mail from people who suggest that if you accept science and evidence, you have demeaned God. “You just have to have faith,” one person wrote, “and saying that you need evidence devalues God.” I take strong exception to this claim on many levels, but my main objections are that it contradicts the Bible and eliminates evangelism in today’s world. Hebrews 11, “the faith chapter,” describes the faith of heroes of the Old Testament, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. Let’s consider the connection between their faith and evidence.
For example, how did Moses get his faith? Did he come out of a vacuum and just have faith? Remember that his mother raised him and taught him about his people. What about the evidence of the burning bush and the staff that became a snake? Remember his discussions with God that gave him the courage to confront Pharaoh. What about the plagues in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the brass serpent, and receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai? Were those not evidence?
Also, read the story of Abraham and notice how many times God reassured him and how much evidence he saw before that near-sacrifice of Isaac. Using Hebrews 11 to justify violating the teachings of the New Testament is not only unwise, but it is also a violation of the teachings of the apostles. Faith and evidence are closely tied together in the New Testament.
For example, 1 Peter 3:15 tells Christians to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us to anyone who asks.” Romans 1:20 tells us we can “know there is a God through the things He has made.” Jesus set the example with Thomas, who at one time had been the strongest of the apostles (See John 11:16) but saw his faith collapse at the death of Christ. How did Jesus deal with this incredible failing in Thomas? Did He condemn him or cast him off as a weakling? Read John 20:24-29 and see how Jesus encouraged Thomas to examine the evidence.
Someone might refer to Acts 2-3, where people, in less than a day, gave their lives to God. Realize that God had been preparing that “soil” for thousands of years, and Jesus had been planting and nurturing it for three years. Today the voices of atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, materialism, and paganism are louder than ever. We cannot withdraw into our cocoon of church buildings and not do what God has called us to do.
Read Acts 17 and see how Paul dealt with the philosophers and skeptics of his day. He didn’t call them to blind faith. Instead, he gave them evidence of “the God in whom we live and move and have our being.” Faith and evidence go together. We must use evidence as Jesus and the Apostles did, or our numbers will continue to shrink as we lose our children and grandchildren to Satan.
— John N. Clayton © 2022