How Faith In Christ Is Reasonable Part 2: “The Motives Of Credibility”
Introduction To The Motives Of Credibility:
In the last episode of The Christian Philosopher, we talked about the motive of faith – why it’s reasonable to believe what God says.
In this episode we are going into detail about a key question – How do we know God has said anything?
Here we cover the following topics:
- The Motives Of Credibility – This is what theologians call the motives of credibility (reasons for believability). These are reasons for thinking that God has given us revelation and the Primary Criteria Of Revelation – Miracles and Prophecy
- Proof From Jesus That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith – Jesus himself appeals to miracles and prophecy to prove that He is in fact who He claimed to be
- Proof From The Church That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith – teachings of the Catholic Church
- How The Motives Of Credibility Work With The Motive of Faith - – they combine to form a two-fold rational basis for the Christian faith
The Motives Of Credibility
How can we know that God has spoken in the past? The answer is the same way we would know if He were speaking to us now!
That is if that message were accompanied by miracles and prophecy
In theology we say that the primary criteria of revelation are miracles and prophecy.
It is important to note that these are objective criteria NOT SUBJECTIVE (Subjective is fine as accompanies the objective).
Objective is better and primary– since with these kinds of things all can see, not just the individual.
So prophecy and miracles are the primary motives of credibility (reasons for believability).
So in theology when we talk about the motives of credibility we are primarily talking about miracles and prophecy showing us that a doctrine was truly revealed by God.
Proof From Jesus That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith
God does not will imprudent things
It's really unfortunate that so many Christians today are so opposed to evidence.
We see so many irrational appeals to blind faith.
But actually Jesus Christ himself advocated an evidence-based faith.
In other words, Jesus did not appeal to internal experience but EXTERNAL SIGNS to demonstrate His divinity. For example:
John 10:37-38 – “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works.”
John 15:24 – “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin.”
Mark 16:20 – “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”
St. Paul followed this method as well, writing:
1 Cor 15:17 –“If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile”
Proof From The Church That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith
Jesus taught it, therefore the Catholic Church does too.
Vatican 1 - Chap. 3. Faith
in order that the "obedience" of our faith should be "consonant with reason" [cf. Rom 12:1], God has willed that to the internal aids of the Holy Spirit there should be joined external proofs of His revelation, namely: divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies which, because they clearly show forth the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain signs of a divine revelation, and are suited to the intelligence of all. Wherefore, not only Moses and the prophets, but especially Christ the Lord Himself, produced many genuine miracles and prophecies
Canons On Faith
3. If anyone says that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, and that therefore men and women ought to be moved to faith only by each one's internal experience or private inspiration: let him be anathema.
Pope Pius X - Oath Against Modernism
“I admit and recognize the external arguments of revelation, that is, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies, as very certain signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion; and I hold that these same arguments have been especially accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even of these times.”
How The Motives Of Credibility Work With The Motive of Faith
Let’s talk about how the motive of faith combines with the motives of credibility.
- Why we believe what God says – the motive of faith – this is self-evidently true
- Why we believe God has said anything – the motives of credibility
BOTH ARE THE FOUNDATION OF THE REASONABLENESS OF FAITH
So we say that the reasonableness of faith is two-fold:
- That God said something – the motive of credibility
- That God spoke the truth – the motive of faith
We can use a logical syllogism to make this distinction clear:
Whatever God reveals is true
God has revealed The Doctrine of the Trinity
Therefore, The Doctrine of the Trinity is true
The motive of faith is the reason for believing premise 1.
The motives of credibility like the miracles and prophecy associated with Jesus’ ministry are the reasons for believing premise 2.
And therefore, the conclusion is true.
Summary Of The Motives Of Credibility
- Motives Of Credibility – reasons for thinking that God has given us revelation.
- The Primary Criteria Of Revelation Are Miracles and Prophecy
- Proof From Jesus That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith – we see this in the teachings of Jesus
- Proof From The Church That Christianity Is An Evidence-Based Faith - we see this in the teachings of the Catholic Church
- How The Motives Of Credibility Work With The Motive of Faith – they combine to form a two-fold rational basis for the Christian belief