In Hebrews 11 we are given a whole chapter about faith.  Hebrews 11: 1 we are told that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  The modern world has made a conflict between reason and faith.  But here we see that the distinction is between the seen and the unseen.  Faith uses reason to understand what is not seen.  And on this basis, we have hope.  Hope and faith have this in common that they are grounded on the unseen.  But they are not contrary to reason.  We can know by reason that only God is eternal and is the Creator.  Yet this knowledge is of the unseen.  That is what distinguishes faith from other types of knowledge or understanding.

            In verse 3 we are told that it is by faith we understand that God created the world.  By faith we understand that God alone is eternal and all else had a beginning.  This is the first topic mentioned for faith.  This verse links “understanding” and “faith.”  If we understand then we can demonstrate our understanding.  Can you show that God alone is eternal?  Many religions and philosophical systems have said that something else is eternal such as the material world or the human soul.  In doing this, they deny that God alone has existed from eternity and really are denying the reality of God the Creator.

            In verse 19 we are told that it is by faith that Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead if he did offer Isaac as a burnt offering.  This is very different than the usual presentation of Abraham where he is going to pretend to go through with the offering thinking God will stop him.  Instead, Abraham reasoned about the promise that through Isaac all nations would be blessed.  This can’t happen if Isaac dies and has no children.  And Abraham reasoned about the need for a sacrifice to stand in our place (God will provide the sacrifice).  Abraham reasoned that Isaac could not be this sacrifice because Isaac also needed a redeemer.  Isaac could at best be a sign of that one who would die in our place (much like the animal sacrificed is only a sign).  We today can reason in this same way.

            These two examples give us how we can reason about both general and special revelation.  This is how we can reason about God the Creator and about the need for redemption through the atoning work of another. Far from being in tension, faith is the use of reason to understand.

            In our blog posts so far, we have been preparing for our conference.  This one is no exception.  You should come to the conference prepared to use reason to understand truths about what is not seen with the eye.  What you can do now is make sure to sign up, encourage others to sign up, and go to Dr. Owen Anderson’s Youtube page for videos on these and many more topics.