Faith - Rational & Relational

We use the word “belief” almost every day in connection with what we feel, think and accept. But this word also has another meaning that occurs in the context of religion, such as in Christianity, when we trust a person (God), a thing or a concept. The Bible is the all-encompassing book of Christianity that contains miracles, commandments, and prophecies. Because these are so rare or completely unknown to some people, the question arises whether it is rational to believe what is presented in the Bible, such as the historical miracles (supernatural healings, the resurrection of the dead, the lifting physical laws of nature and others), prophecies (especially predictions of the future) and commandments.

Atheism often erroneously describes Christianity as a religion that has invented a "God of gaps", that is, natural, inexplicable phenomena are explained with the divinity due to limited scientific knowledge. Countless times people have tried to justify the universe and its phenomena with divinity or something similar. But that is not what the Bible thinks. The Bible, which is a collection of several dozen books, presents God as the Creator of the universe and, implicitly, of man. It shows that God has a plan, commandments, promises, and warnings for man. These aspects are very well illustrated by Paul in the book of Acts

summarized, chap. 17: 30,31 (HFA): “So far people have not realized this, and God has been patient with them. But now he commands all people around the world to repent to him. For the day has already been set on which God will judge all people; yes, he will pass a righteous judgment through a man whom he himself has appointed. He confirmed him in this by raising him from the dead. "

Hence, the fundamental statement of the Bible is that Jesus Christ, through his resurrection from the dead, proved that everything he said and did is true. When asked, “Where do you get the right to kick people out? If you are acting on behalf of God, then you have to give us clear evidence of it! ”Jesus answered them:“ Destroy this temple! In three days I will rebuild it ”(John 2: 19-22, HFA). And John went on to write: “By the temple, Jesus meant his own body.” The image of the Bible does not allow us such a view to live out Christianity as if it were a religion that is responsible for a “God of gaps”, that is that if no scientific explanation can be found, the answer would be divinity. The scientific development, which seems to contradict the miracles of the Bible, as well as the high claim of the Bible that it is the God-inspired word that tells about the origin, life and fate of man, represents very strong ones Reasons to penetrate the realm of human thought as well as the revelation of God, the Holy Word, to ensure meaningful answers to questions such as: “Is it rational to believe in something that claims to be the word of God? ? "

If someone witnessed a traffic accident and was asked to testify as a witness about what happened, no one would ask them how many lies they have told in their entire life, but rather their credibility would not be questioned unless one has a good reason for that. This is called the presumption of innocence, which means that you trust people first. Furthermore, we will now look at the Bible with this assumption, no matter what attitude one has towards the Bible, since it is human to apply the presumption of innocence until it is refuted!

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, which is also called the book of everything in the beginning, opens the account of creation with this: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" (Genesis 1: 1, HFA). These powerful words say that time (“in the beginning”), space (“heaven”) and matter (“earth”) have a beginning and that these were created by God. At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists still thought that the universe was timeless, but today it has already been accepted by most scientists that it has a beginning. Hundreds of years ago there were philosophical arguments that contradict the idea of ​​the eternal universe. Nowadays, besides the philosophical arguments, physicists and astrophysicists, by applying the second law of thermodynamics and observing that the universe is expanding (big bang theory), have proven that the universe has a beginning. Healthy, rational common sense already tells us that every beginning also has an origin or a reason or trigger. If the universe now has a beginning, it must have a cause, and this cannot be anything other than God, who stands outside of time, space and matter; he is omnipotent and can create anything out of nothing; personal because he chose to create people; omniscient, because he made everything so comprehensive and varied. Therefore, when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for example, Christians believe not in opposition to, but on the basis of the understanding: if Almighty God was able to create the universe from nothing, then it is also possible for him to Raising Jesus Christ from the dead.

Of all that God created, he speaks of only one creation, the man made in his likeness (Genesis 1: 26,27). In the Old Testament, God is often referred to as "the truth". In the New Testament, Jesus Christ claims that he himself is the truth (John 14: 6). Likewise, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is referred to as “the Spirit of Truth.” --John 14: 7; John 15:26; John 16:13.

Before we know what the difference between good and bad is, we know that truth and lies exist and that we have principles to distinguish them. Even though there are billions of people whose opinions often differ from one another, our minds operate according to the laws of logic, which are universal and which were not simply invented by humans. We know that a tree is a tree, and not a stone or a pencil. It seems simple, but only in this way can we communicate intelligibly if we establish definitions that can only be assigned to the one object, phenomenon or concept, the first law of logic called the law of identity. The second law of logic is the law of consistency, which says that a tree cannot be a tree and not a tree at the same time, it has to be one of the two. How can we pass on information in an understandable way if we make a statement and contradict the first with the next statement? In these principles of logic there is another law that we subconsciously use, namely the law of the excluded third party, which says that a statement cannot be true and false. It has to be either true or false, a third variant is excluded. We see again that this concept is very simple and we all use it subconsciously, but it is characteristic only of that which was created in the image of God, man. The best explanation that we, unlike animals, follow these principles of logic can only be that we were created in the image of God.

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, chapter 2 verses 16 and 17, the law of God is written to the first men, which says that they should not eat the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We implicitly understand from this that if they eat from it, they will experience the evil and its effects, for example guilt, shame, fear and others of this kind. So there is a moral standard that everyone knows, even if not everyone knows good and evil defined the same. C. S. Lewis, a Christian philosopher who lived for the last century, said that "even cannibals are aware of this moral standard." There is nothing wrong with eating a human being for them, but if you told them, “Now is your turn to be eaten,” they will say it's not fair. Another example of this is the robbers who claim that stealing is not wrong until you steal from them. So we see that robbers also know that stealing is wrong. So this moral standard, which is anchored in our conscience, points to a lawgiver, God.

So far we have seen three arguments in favor of God, but we have not specified which God it is. Did the true God only reveal himself in the Old Testament, as the Jews believe? Or in the Koran, as the Muslims claim? The apostle Paul clearly states at 1 Corinthians 15:14 that unless Christ is raised from the dead, our faith will be meaningless. But how can we believe in a miracle that happened 2000 years ago? We saw earlier that the best explanation for the creation of the universe is an omnipotent Creator who made everything out of nothing. So for a God who made the whole universe and keeps it going, it would be a small thing to raise someone from the dead. The only question that remains is whether we can believe the tradition of the resurrection. Here we show a few aspects that prove the truth of the resurrection. From the New Testament we have most of the manuscripts ever found for an ancient work. This means that we know that your original content can be reproduced with unimaginable accuracy. Statements about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were brought either by eyewitnesses to Jesus or by those close to those who were with him. The first people to report about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ were Jews, although because of their belief they could not have believed in such a Messiah. In addition, they began to preach this message in Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was crucified. At that time they not only preached with strength, but went so far that they gave their lives for their convictions. Questions arise from the Bible's account of the resurrection that can only be explained by the fact that Jesus was seen three days after his resurrection. Who would have invented such a story back then if the first eyewitnesses were women, although we know that statements made by a woman were hardly valued at the time. How could the disciples then have preached the gospel if the body of Jesus had still been in the grave? If Jesus really was not resurrected, what would have motivated the fearful disciples, James - the brother of Jesus - was the skeptic and Paul, the persecutor of Christians, to become such strong heralds of Jesus' resurrection? So when we evaluate these historical facts impartially and without prejudice, we see the fact that Jesus must have been resurrected, inferring that everything he claimed to be, what he did and what he said must be true.

The evidence we have seen so far has been aimed at laying a rational foundation for the Christian faith. They support the fact that what Christians believe can be logically and historically stored. But there is one other argument that makes us Christians believe in the Bible, and that is our personal relationship with God. Even if we don't always realize it, we make decisions that are relational, that is, decisions that have relationships in mind. We don't always have logical, rational evidence to believe or trust someone, but for a relationship to work, you have to have that little bit of faith. The trust that spouses have in one another is not based on logical arguments. It is the same with two friends who only build their trust through a long, deep relationship. Luke ends his gospel with a moment after Jesus' resurrection when he tells the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they are filled by the Holy Spirit. This “filling by the Holy Spirit” meant for them a personal relationship with God that they did not have before. The Holy Spirit should guide them through the whole truth (John 16:13), encourage them to spread the gospel (Acts 1: 8) even though they were persecuted, remind them of all that Jesus taught them (John 14: 26) and much more. The Bible is the only book that describes itself as given by God and at the same time promises a personal relationship with God. Of course we are not saying that a relationship with God is like a relationship between people. But we also see differences in human relationships. For example, a relationship between spouses is not the same as a relationship between work colleagues. When one speaks of relationship with God, an inner, distinctive divine presence or a reminder of the revealed truth is meant. We are dealing with a God who actively answers our prayers and who intervenes providentially and sovereignly in our lives.

In the Gospels, a parable is presented in which a son asks his father for his share of the inheritance, moves to a distant land, and wastes everything there. But one day, when he sank so deep that he had to work with the pigs, he came to and said: "So many servants of my father have food and I am starving here." That moment when he decides to go home needs a moment when he speaks to himself. Well, before we develop a personal relationship with our Creator, we are asked to judge rationally, logically and honestly, without prejudice. So the main question is: what best describes the reality we are in? The Christian faith is rational and the only religion in which God approaches man through a personal relationship. And despite all this doubt, there is a simple way to test this: a prayer in which we ask God to reveal Himself personally. We can trust him to do just that.