Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those that sincerely seek Him. (Hebrews 11:1, 6 NLT)
When people ask me what we have to believe I have often said the Gospel requires very little faith in reality, at least to start with. All we need to believe is that God exists and that He is good. Everything else can be logically built upon those two foundations. If God exists and is good then it follows that He would do all that the bible says He has done.
No one can prove God is, but then neither can any of us prove that anything ultimately exists since we cannot know the basic materials on which matter is built. The more we split the atom, the more there is to split. So, rather than being unreasonable, we logically believe in some basic building blocks (atoms, nucleus, protons, neutrons and electrons) and our engineered inventions (everything from fridges to freight carriers and beyond) are built on those beliefs. They work because the things we believe about materials are true, i.e. God made materials the way we have found out (Proverbs 25:2). We then build our lives on these beliefs even though we cannot see the basic building blocks of anything. Depending on what we work at and, to some extent, what we want to find out, we know these things at different levels.
Take the example of a microwave oven. You can “know” a microwave at different levels.
- A user might just know how to turn it on and what level to set it at to heat up the food he puts into it.
- A curious person might get to learn that a microwave works because it heats up the water in food using a specific type of electro magnetic wave. This might help them to understand why some things shouldn’t be put in a microwave.
- At a deeper level someone else might understand the size of a water molecule and the wave length of the electro magnetic wave used in a microwave. The connection between the two is what causes the water to heat up.
- The manufacturers of microwave ovens may need a team of people with different understandings of how it works and how to improve the design to stay ahead of the competition.
And so it goes on.
In the same way, the bible tells us to be reasonable. Believe in some basic things: God is and He is good. After that, everything God has caused to be written in His book is reasonable and makes sense. And you can go as deep or be as shallow in knowledge as God and you want to be with that book – and Him. Whatever about knowledge (1 Cor. 8:1-3) just make sure you are not content with being shallow in His love (Eph. 3:19).
God says: “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He is.
The bible goes onto say that God gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). He is not willing that anyone should perish (1 Tim. 2:4). In other words He is good.