Surrendered Reason Isn’t Unreasonable
C. SPROUL defined faith as “well-reasoned trust.” We have good reason to trust God, but faith still requires a personal commitment. Tim Keller makes a similar point when he says that a potential path to faith for a skeptic might be to realize that belief in God explains more than atheism. But this reasoned argument only leads you to a point of personal decision about how you will respond to Jesus.
In my theology classes I try to help students see and appreciate paradox in Scripture. There are times two things are presented as true about God, but how they relate and work together are not explained. The Bible doesn’t apologize for such points of tension. Sometimes we will kind of water down one truth in order to favor another, but that never ends well.
So, what do we do when we encounter things that are beyond our ability to comprehend? While there is much that is clear in the Bible, we should not be surprised to discover things about God that are past our ability to fully understand. As Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Theologians have argued over finer points of Christian theology for the last two thousand years. That doesn’t mean the debates are insignificant, but rather, they are inescapable. And while we can know true things about God with the very certainty intended in Scripture, there are secret things about God’s power and purposes we will explore for all of eternity.
On the other hand, we could just reject God. But we will find, as the Apostle Paul explains, we will have to then suppress the truth of what we can know about God. He’s made his eternal power and his divine nature clearly known in the world (Romans 1). And as many skeptics demonstrate, if you follow the logic of rejecting God you will inevitably and increasingly see the human experience of things like joy, good and evil, personhood, and hope, as wishful illusions. But we all know better, and most live as if those things are true.
Christianity explains our condition in a powerful way. But, still, what about those bits, sometimes rather large bits, that it doesn’t explain or even apologize for not explaining? We must lean into what we do know, those things clearly revealed and given to us, even while trusting God for what we don’t, and perhaps never will, know or understand. Submitting your reason to the God who is the very creator of reason and logic, is far from unreasonable. It’s a natural response to the God who has given us a million reasons to trust him.