“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
As the writer of Hebrews defines it here, faith is, by definition, a conviction about the positive existence of something we have not seen. For instance and as the writer observes in v. 3, it is by faith that we conclude the world and everything in it was created by God. We weren’t there and so we could not possibly have seen it. And yet we believe it all the same. The question here we must address in light of modern misunderstandings about the nature of faith, though, is this: Is it reasonable?
Is it reasonable to believe in the existence of something we have not seen? Often today a Jesus follower’s faith in God and the basic tenets of the Christian worldview are characterized as blind. They are skewered by skeptics as a hope that exists in spite of no evidence or even of evidence to the contrary.
It is not just skeptics who hold to such an opinion about faith, though. Not a few believers hold to the same position. They consider it almost a mark of pride to be able to hold to their belief in God in spite of not having any real reason or evidence for doing so. “You just have to believe,” they might advise someone looking to become a follower of Jesus, but not sure about how such a thing works.
Yet nowhere in all of the Scriptures do we see any indication that faith is something pursued in the absence or the contravention of reason. We certainly don’t see anything that would lead us to conclude such a blind faith is a positive. Instead, Biblical faith is held because of the evidence. We believe in God because of the lengthy record of strong reasons to do so.
Believing in something or someone in spite of a total lack of evidence, much less in spite of evidence to the contrary isn’t good and noble, or a praiseworthy mark of devotion. It is foolishness. If there were no evidence in favor of God’s existence and the worthwhileness of the life of Christ, I would encourage someone not to commit their life to it.
We believe because of the evidence. God’s fingerprints are all over His creation. People with eyes to see are finding more and more evidence all the time. The simple truth is that believing in God, the Lordship of Christ, and committing ourselves to the life prescribed in the Scriptures is the most reasonable thing we could ever do.