How Does a Rational Person Develop Faith in God?

The late British philosopher, Antony Flew (1923-2010) was a strong advocate of atheism. However, he was also committed to “go where the evidence leads”. In 2004 he announced his belief that there was a God. For Flew “the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life)” led him to the view “that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together”.

How can a rational person develop faith in God? By carefully considering the evidence. For Flew, evidence lay in the realm of science. Admittedly, he did not live long enough for his journey of investigation to take him further, for he only reached the point of becoming a deist. There are various additional sources of evidence leading us to the God of the Bible. Such evidence lies in the created universe, in the Bible itself and in Jesus Christ.

In the natural world, the evidence of design suggests the existence of a designer. As the Bible states, God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made …” (Romans 1:20). A universe exists which, from galaxies down to mere atoms, shows incredible complexity and which works together in accordance with an array of natural laws. As Flew and others have recognised, this provides evidence of an intelligent designer and creator.

However, the evidence of the universe around us will only take us so far. It tells us very little of the nature of the creator God or of whether it is possible to have any sort of relationship with such a God. For that we must explore further. This is where the Bible becomes relevant. We begin by considering the evidence for the reliability of the Bible itself. As Francis A. Schaeffer wrote (“The God Who Is There”, p.100), “God has spoken, in a linguistic propositional form, truth concerning Himself and truth concerning man, history and the universe.” A few lines earlier he pointed out that “God has set the revelation of the Bible in history…..Having set the revelation in history, what sense would it make for God to give us a revelation in which the history was wrong?” Yes, the Bible contains various forms of literary style including poetry, allegory and other forms of figurative writing. But it also contains a great deal of factual information concerning such matters as history, biography and geography. That information can be examined in regard to its accuracy. Having been shown to be accurate in all these matters, the Bible then provides further evidence and testimony concerning both the existence and nature of God.

In addition, there is the testimony provided by Christ Himself who is said to be “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Jesus Christ, as the “invisible God made visible”, provides further evidence of God’s existence and personality. History affirms that Jesus really lived. He was no myth. Evidence of His Divine nature was provided in the form of miracles and the greatest of those miracles was His return to life after having been put to death. This matter can be studied from an historical and rational perspective and the evidence leads to the conclusion that both Jesus’ death and resurrection are factual events. Jesus is who He claimed to be and what He said about other matters (including God) is reliable.

This summary provides only the briefest of introductions to a wealth of material. The point is that by honestly, carefully examining the evidence, we can be led to faith in God. As with Antony Flew, it is a case of whether we are willing to go “where the evidence leads”.