Hebrews 11:6 Paths to Faith-Reason

Author: Dr. George M. Flattery

Hebrews 11:6 Paths to Faith-Reason

brown dirt road between green grass field during daytime

Thoughts about Paths to Faith

Beginning today, I am going to post several series of “thoughts” on the topic of Paths to Faith. Most of you, if not all, who read my “thoughts” are strong believers in Christ with many years of experience in proclaiming the gospel. However, as believers, you no doubt regularly encounter people who do not have faith in Christ. So, I hope that these thoughts will be helpful to you in interacting with them.

Many young people need to hear messages that persuade them to believe or that strengthen their faith. Today’s world is filled with messages that challenge faith in Christ. Hopefully, a study of paths to faith will help persuade them to believe or, if they already believe, will strengthen their faith. These messages, of course, will be helpful to people of all ages.

My discussions of these topics will consist of four series, respectively on these topics: Faith through Reason, Faith Through Revelation, Faith Through Revelation, and Faith Through Christ’s Works. The word “faith” can be used concerning many different things. Our discussions will include the use of “faith” in some of these ways. However, my central message will be about faith in Christ.

As we approach this subject, let us remember that the author of Hebrews said, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). While I write these discussions, I know that many of us are praying for family members and friends to put their faith in Christ. Let us keep on faithfully praying.

More Thoughts about Paths to Faith

Our current discussions are about the journey that we take to having faith in Jesus as our Savior. Many people, as they make this journey, desire to be certain that they can know the truth. They want to know what the realm of reason can tell them. Although reason alone will not be sufficient, we have the privilege of using the intellect that God gave us to support our faith. The following points may be helpful.

First, it is important to recognize that all people live by faith. The real question is, “By what faith will I live?” There are multitudes of people who do not examine the assumptions underlying their existence. When they do, they will discover the faith that lies in their approach to life.

When we speak about Jesus and salvation, it is helpful to know what philosophies might underlie their views in life. Butler writes about four basic philosophies. I will not write extensively about them, but I will make a couple of comments about each of these philosophies.

One, many people put their faith in naturalism. That is, they believe that nature orders the universe. What we have to do is “let nature take her course.” Two, others hold fast to idealism. They follow the view of Descartes who wrote, “I think, therefore I am.” They believe they exist because they have the capacity to think.

Three, others build on the philosophy of realism. By this, they mean that the world around them is real and exists. They might say about the world, “Of course, it’s real. Four, many others hold to pragmatism. This philosophy says that “experience is the real test of all things.”

My view is not that everything about these philosophies is false. For example, as realists hold, most of us believe that the world around us is real. However, whatever truth these views may offer is insufficient to bring us salvation. Neither do they assure us of eternal life now and in the eternal future.

In my next “thoughts” we will discuss the reasons why we put our faith in Christ and believe in the truth of our Christian worldview is right. While reason alone will not lead us to salvation, reason is important in the defense of the faith. Speaking to believers, Peter said that they ought always to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

More Thoughts about Paths to Faith

We are discussing reason as a path to faith. In my last thoughts, we pointed out, first, that all people live by faith. However, many people do not realize that faith in something underlies their thinking. Today, we will discuss a second point. Since all people live by faith, the critical question becomes “By what faith shall I live?”

As Christians, we have committed ourselves to the truth that God exists. The writer of Hebrews declares, “and without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Without God, there is no explanation for the existence of the universe and mankind. The existence of God gives life and meaning to everyone and everything else. When people try to explain the universe without God, they usually start to attribute to the universe the characteristics of God. In other words, their explanations lead to God.

Faith in the existence of God explains the fundamental assumptions of the four philosophies I mentioned in my previous “thoughts.” Concerning naturalism, God controls and orders nature. Under the view of idealism, many believe they exist because they think. However, God is the creator of the mental capacities that think.

Most people, whether they realize it or not, are realistic. They believe that the universe exists. As believers in God, we hold that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. Along with many pragmatists, we believe in the importance of experience. Our view is that God tells us how to live so that we can realize the true values in life.

Many say they believe in God but have not put their faith in Jesus Christ. In my next “thoughts,” we will discuss the importance of having faith in Him as the Savior of the world.

More Thoughts about Paths to Faith

Today, we will continue our discussion of reason as a path to faith. As believers in Christ, we hold that the most reasonable explanation of reality is that God exists and that He created and sustains the universe. In addition, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

None of the philosophies that we have named will save us. Human philosophies may grasp elements of truth about the universe, human existence, and life as we know it. However, when it comes to reason as a path to faith, the most reasonable explanation is that God exists.

Human philosophies may posit some views of life after death, but none of them provide a way of salvation. Our view is that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Our redemption comes through Him because He atoned for our sins. He suffered, died, and rose again that we might have eternal life.

Millions of people say they believe in God, but they do not believe in Jesus. Near the end of His ministry on earth, when He would die on the cross, Jesus appealed to everyone to believe in Him. He said: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

Faith in Jesus is essential to our salvation. Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). No one else died for our sins and provided redemption for us. Jesus alone provides the way to salvation.

To strengthen their faith, Jesus told the disciples about His coming suffering. He said: “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe” (John 14:29). His prophetic comment strengthens our faith as well. It is highly reasonable, we believe, to have faith in Christ. Besides reason, there are other paths to faith. In my next “thoughts” we will discuss revelation as a path to faith.

George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.

Excerpts transferred from a series originally posted on Dr. George's Facebook.

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