Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Don't Check Your Brain at the Door

It seems like ever since Kierkegaard, people have believed that faith is a "leap in the dark." Faith is frequently portrayed as a "blind faith," a belief in something that can either not be proven or disproven, or for which there is no evidence or contrary evidence. This explains to me the acrimonious relationship that exists between Christianity in general, and science. Scientists frequently paint Christians as blind fools, who tenaciously hold to their beliefs in spite of all the evidence.

Scripture never portrays faith as blind or as a leap in the dark. It would be easy, and indeed is tempting to go off on a tangent about the logical nature of faith, but what I really wish to point out is that Christian faith is not, nor was ever intended by God to be, ignorant or uninformed. Herman Witsius says it best.

He writes, "The first thing which faith either comprehends or presupposes, is the knowledge of the thing to be believed. This appears in opposition to Popish triflers,

"I. From express passages of Scripture, which so speak concerning faith as manifestly to intimate, that knowledge is included in its very notion and exercise (Isaiah 53:11; John 17:3 compared with Hebrews 2:4; John 6:69; 2 Timothy 1:3).

"II. From the nature of faith itself, which, as it doubtless means an assent given to a truth revealed by God, necessarily presupposes the knowledge of these two things: 1. That God has revealed something. 2. What that is to which assent is given, as a thing divinely revealed. For it is absurd to say, that a person assents to any truth which he is entirely ignorant of, and concerning which he knows no testimony extant worthy of credit.

"III. From the manner in which faith is produced in the elect; which is done externally by preaching and hearing of the Gospel (Romans 10:27) revealing that which ought to be believed, with the demonstration of the truth to every man's conscience (2 Corinthians 4:2); and internally by the teaching of God the Father (John 6:45). If therefore faith be generated in the heart by a teaching both external and internal, it must of necessity consist in knowledge: for knowledge is the proper and immediate effect of such instruction.

"IV. From the consequence annexed, which is confession and apologia, or giving an answer (Romans 10:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:15). But it is impossible, that this should be without knowledge. Hilary saith well, 'For none can speak what he knows not; nor believe what he cannot speak.' "

Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man 3.7.8

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