Thursday, July 18 2019
“Your belief is a blind faith.” Some speak of the Christian faith as standing on nothing when a person believes despite any evidence. However, this is the opposite of the Christian faith.
The apostle Paul formed his arguments from a reasonable view of God. In Acts 17, Paul observed that those in Athens did not know their “unknown God” of whom they had built an altar. Paul spoke to them of the Creator who “made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24).
Paul did not present his case for God by citing biblical texts to the Athenians who would not have accepted such texts as an authority. However, Paul taught them a reasonable view of God that came from the Scriptures. Paul began his points saying, “The God who made […],” “He made […],” and “He is not actually far from each one of us […],” and “The times of ignorance God overlooked […].” The apostle described a reasonable view of God and led his audience to the point of Jesus’s resurrection (Acts 17:31).
Paul’s arguments were proclamations and more reasonable than a simple syllogism. Paul first proposed God and described a reasonable view of God. Logicians often formulate an argument using a syllogism similar to a math equation of 2+1=3. The number 2 represents the major premise often consisting of a two-fold condition such as “If the universe began, the universe must have a greater cause.” Furthermore, the minor premise as the number 1 may note a single fact such as "The universe began." Lastly, number 3 is the sum of the premises to reach a reasonable conclusion, “The universe must have a greater cause.” However, the logician must add other details to the argument to reveal that the greater cause is most reasonably the supernatural Creator. Unlike a formal syllogism, Paul made use of enthymemes as arguments which are arguments with unstated premises. Paul's arguments do not begin from an agnostic view but a reasonable view of God.
Christians often speak about God today like Paul, “God is… because / so…” We usually first describe a quality of God and conclude something about reality. For instance, one might declare, “God is the all-powerful Creator who created the universe, because we know the universe cannot come from nothing.” The Christian may also say something like "God made the universe in the beginning because the universe is balanced just right for intelligent life that could not come to exist by chance.”
Faith does not mean that Christians have no reason for their faith in God. Believers have every reason to believe in God who sent His Son to give eternal life to the faithful. The Christian who shares their faith and the gospel can naturally present the truth and may make a case like the apostle Paul. The faithful can learn a lot more from observing how Jesus taught and the apostles presented the truth about God and Christ. From my perspective, Christians would best proclaim a reasonable view of God to an unbeliever including God's coming judgment assured by resurrecting Jesus from the dead. Eventually, one can lead them to the witnesses of Jesus’s life, death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor 15:1–11). No matter how others may mock, the Christian faith stands on greater evidence than any secular or religious worldview.