Why do we need faith?

This post is being written primarily for those who are searchers, perhaps agnostics, or sincere atheists. For those who already believe, I’d be “preaching to the choir”, right? But I want to start by acknowledging that your question is a legitimate one. Faith, for a fleshly human being used to empirical evidence for truth, it is sort of puzzling and perhaps even simplistic sounding to hear a believer tell you, “You just gotta believe!” It is no wonder that the the one who doesn’t believe will often accuse the one who believes of blind faith and naïveté. I would ask you for your ears (eyes?) for a couple of minutes to carefully consider from the Bible why faith might be necessary.

We’re told in the Bible that men and women are made of flesh, physical beings. We already know this but we may not have considered some of the ramifications. God is spirit (John 4:24), but He is also —well, God — the most powerful, holy being in the universe. His full presence is simply more than the human body can endure, we would die. In illustration, imagine standing next to a nuclear device as it detonates or being put a foot away from the surface of the sun. Empirical evidence would be our death, therefore we must operate by faith.

It could be argued that Adam and Eve walked with God, but there could be a couple things that would explain this question. 1) Perhaps, God appeared to them and walked with them in a diminished presence (not in His full glory) as He has done with (for example) Moses, Enoch, Joshua, and some others. Or 2) perhaps Adam’s and Eve’s pre-fall bodies were able to endure His presence. After eating the forbidden fruit, the fall, Adam and Eve were separated from the Tree of Life and death entered the world.

But angels, being spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14), are different. They, like men, have free will, but they (unlike men) are able to see God face to face and have no need for faith. However, there is a disadvantage to needing no faith, when angels sin they are irredeemable. Angels know with empirical certainty that God exists, and when they sin they are doing so defiantly (with a high hand). There is only condemnation found in the Bible for angels who have fallen (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6). Such evil spirits (angels) rightly expect nothing but torment in the Abyss (see Luke 8:31; Mark 5:7; and Matthew 25:41). Nowhere is there even a hint at a plan to redeem them (Hebrews 2:16). 

There are probably many reasons for the special grace of God toward mankind, but undoubtedly the need to operate by faith is part of what makes humans savable. So, before we complain about not being able to see God, let’s remember that, at least in part, it is faith that gives us a chance to avoid Hell.

As a brief aside, let’s also remember that faith needn’t be blind, as unbelievers so often say. God hasn’t left Himself without evidences. We could list them, but that’s really a job for a good Christian evidences book; the evidences are really everywhere. God doesn’t expect anyone to check their brains at the door. This is the reason why so many agnostics and atheists have become believers as they did opposition research against Christianity.


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Or do a search on Amazon.com for Park Linscomb Next?

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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4 Responses to Why do we need faith?

  1. David says:

    Great thoughts about faith being a blessing from God. Thanks!

  2. David says:

    Would you mind if I ran a question by you here?

    One of my posts on the Canon of Scripture received a comment from someone who contributed information that would genuinely contribute to the discussion, but he linked to one of his blog posts in which I feel he misrepresented the issue in such a way that was misleading. He also misrepresented the author that I referenced in my post, and attributed quotes to him that I know contradict what he teaches. The blog post also contains merchant links to a book on the topic that he wrote.

    WordPress filters held his comment for approval because of the links, and I’m trying to decide what kind of comment policy I’m going to implement on my blog.

    What do you recommend for comments like this?

    • parklinscomb says:

      Hi David, my advice would be to withhold approval of comments coming from people who have misrepresented themselves. I’m glad you took the time to check this person out. Folks looking to merely promote themselves will attempt to use any medium available to them by whatever means necessary; I wouldn’t reward his disingenuousness with the publicity he seeks. If you find that his comments do help to advance a discussion, I would quote the salient comments in a blog and attribute them to a commenter (name withheld), whose comments were filtered because his site was considered too commercial. I hope that helps answer your question. By the way, I admire your use of your blog; it must take a substantial amount of time and effort. Good work.

      • David says:

        Thank you, Park! I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question thoughtfully; it is a real help.

        I have been thinking about the question of “censorship” and how it is being employed in the media and information realm to suppress truth, no doubt by people who think they are stopping the spread of lies. The consequences for how censorship abuses affect people seem quite profound to me, so it has given me pause to consider my own comment-policy online.

        However, I have also been exploring platforms that don’t censor and abandoning censorship altogether is very clearly not the answer; people lie and promote corrupt things that cannot be given free reign.

        I like your suggestion of quoting the valuable portion of his comment as an anonymous contributor so that he isn’t able to hijack my blog for self-promotion and malicious intent. I will need to investigate some of his points further so that I can verify what he said and contribute it to the discussion if it turns out to be true.

        And thank you for your encouragements; it means a lot!

        Blessings!

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