Hebrews 11: What Is Faith?
Welcome to the Hebrews 11 and the verse I think is one of the most abused verses in the entire Bible.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
What exactly is faith? Our skeptical friends will often times cite this verse and the fact that all of our evidence comes from our faith. After all, the Bible says it right there. The evidence you have for things unseen (like God) is only your faith. I don’t think that your faith is a reliable way of understanding the world, so you must be believing in a delusion.
First, this kind of argument is a problem in definition. Faith is the trust that we put in something. We certainly can use blind faith, and we can put our faith in something for no real reason. However, faith does not need to be blind. Notice this verse does not use any other descriptor for faith. Therefore, if faith is the trust that we put in something, it can also be a reasonable belief. After all, I put my faith in the roof above my head and trust that it will not fall. I put my faith in my wheelchair that it will not fall apart. It is certainly not a blind faith, but my experience gives me reason to trust both of these things.
In other words, there are many Christians who have looked at the various pieces of evidence in the world around us, and they have come to the conclusion that it is reasonable to believe not only that God exists but that Christianity is the most comprehensive worldview for understanding the way the world is. The obvious includes the affirmation of the historical fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after being crucified during the time of Pontius Pilate. This is a worldview that many have found to be the most reasonable picture of reality.
This verse has been used for so long to criticize Christians. It has been used to make Christians look like dreamers who have some kind of belief equivalent to Santa Claus. However, that is reading more into the verse than is actually there. Christianity is certainly a worldview that invites the scrutiny of reason. After all, we believe that our reasoning abilities and logic come directly from God, so does that make sense that using those abilities can also be used to lead us to God?