How Faith In Christ Is Reasonable Part 1: The Motive Of Faith
Introduction: In this episode of the Christian Philosopher, we elaborate more on why someone should believe anything on faith.
Here we cover these things.
- The Motive Of Faith
- Why The Motive Of Faith Is Necessarily True
- Why The Motive Of Faith Is Necessary But Not Sufficient For The Christian Faith To Be Reasonable To Believe
- The Main Question Regarding The Credibility Of Christian Faith
Motive Of Faith
The motive or sufficient reason for faith is the Divine testimony.
Here we are using the classical understanding of God as an all-knowing, all-Good, all-Truthful Being who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
The motive of faith is based on two of God’s attributes – truthfulness and knowledge
We cannot see the truth of say The Trinity, we believe it because God said so. The same goes for other doctrines like:
- The existence of Hell
- That Christ is both God and Man
- That Baptism washes away sin
We don’t learn the truth of these things through our own process of thinking and going through the evidence all by ourselves via purely human arguments.
We believe these things on Divine Faith – because God has revealed them.
THIS IS THE “MOTIVE OF FAITH”
The reason for believing, the “motive” is because God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, said so.
The Motive Of Faith Is Necessarily
Some beliefs are self-evident – the evidence for these statements comes from the very meaning of the terms you are talking about (per se necessary).
Take a classic example:
The whole is greater than the part
This statement is self-evidently true. Once you know what “whole” and “part” means you can see that this statement must be true.
If you ate the whole pizza, you would eat more than if you just ate a part of it.
Self-evident beliefs are our strongest beliefs since they can’t possibly be otherwise.
THE MOTIVE OF FAITH IS SELF-EVIDENTLY TRUE
It is impossible for God, in the classical sense, to deceive or be deceived.
Hence the motive of faith is, as I have been saying, a very rational belief since it can’t possibly be false.
The Motive Of Faith Is Necessary But Not Sufficient For The Rationality Of Christian Faith
Motive Of Faith Is Necessary For The Christian Faith To Be Reasonable
If you can’t trust what God says you can’t know that He is telling the truth!
A lot of pagan gods would not be trustworthy – take Loki for example.
The Motive Of Faith Is Not Sufficient
The reason why the motive of faith is not sufficient is because Christianity is grounded in history.
In the case of Christianity, God does not give everyone His revelation.
God does not speak directly to all people at all times.
God’s public revelation was made in the past and ceased at the death of the last apostle.
So in Christianity God’s revelation doesn’t come to us directly.
It was given by God in the past and comes to us by way of testimony.
And this is fine, intellectually speaking.
It is not necessary that God speaks to me directly.
We rely on human testimony for all kinds of things like history and courts of law.
And it’s not necessary that God speaks right now.
We have evidence that God has spoken in history
We can learn that beyond a reasonable doubt.
We have evidence and arguments that God has spoken to a group of people in the past and has left what we call a “Deposit of Faith” - a body of teaching if you will -that was passed on over time.
The Main Question Regarding The Credibility Of Christian Faith
KEY POINT: WHILE THE MOTIVE OF FAITH (WHY WE BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS) IS NECESSARILY TRUE, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT GOD SAID COMES TO US OVER TIME THROUGH THE TESTIMONY OF OTHERS.
How can we know that God has spoken in the past?
The main issue regarding the credibility of the Christian faith is NOT about the motive of faith. Even unbelievers would agree that sure, if God, classically defined, told you something, you should accept it as true.
The main question regarding the rationality of faith is HOW DO YOU KNOW GOD SAID SOMETHING IN THE FIRST PLACE?
CRITICAL – WE CANNOT HAVE FAITH IN GOD’S REVELATION UNLESS WE KNOW THAT GOD HAS GIVEN ANY REVELATION
The “Fact Before Act” Principle – It is impossible to have faith in God’s revelation, unless you know God has, in fact, revealed something!
We must know the fact of revelation before we can make an act of faith
The fact of revelation PRECEEDS ANY ACT OF FAITH.
So the motive of faith – as important as it is, is NOT ENOUGH when we are talking about the credibility of the Christian faith.
The motive of faith is necessary but it is not sufficient.
In order for people today to believe in what God says, we not only need to know that God is all-knowing and truthful, but we also need to know that God has said something in the first place.
Summary Of The Motive Of Faith
The Motive Of Faith – the reason why we can believe what God says is because He is the Ultimate Authority.
That The Motive Of Faith Is Necessarily True - It is impossible for God to relay false information given His nature
That The Motive Of Faith Is Necessary But Not Sufficient For The Christian Faith To Be Reasonable To Believe - It's important to be able to trust God. But this is not enough to have faith unless you know God said anything
The Main Question Regarding The Credibility Of The Christian Faith - How do we know that God has said anything in the first place?