It is important for us to understand that science is not the sole means used by man to validate, confirm or deny truth, information and reality. It is only one tool available. Unlike a scientist, we are not confined to only that one branch and the restrictions of one field.
When investigating an accident, homicide or burglary, police officers look for eyewitnesses to help validate and confirm what events took place. They help establish the facts. The more eyewitnesses there are, the better the case they have, and a fuller picture of what transpired. Any crime scene evidence is, of course, key. A confession is the cherry on the cake.
Archaeology is another excellent tool. By unearthing buried history, archaeology opens the door to understanding events, people, places, past lifestyles and more. It can help to verify information, stories and theories.
Historians record what they have seen and heard. Their investigation and observances help to substantiate the facts. Each generation relies on historians to record their times for posterity. The more historical records that correlate with each other, the more they help to strengthen the case for truth.
Drawings, carvings, writings, manuscripts and pictures are other wonderful tools and can offer a wealth of information from which to draw from.
Discoverers log their findings, describing their surroundings and making notes of things of particular interest. These things help to give visual color to their words and experience.
First hand knowledge and experience can also help establish a fact, truth or reality.
And last, we have logic, common sense, intuition and our reasoning abilities to comprehend, evaluate and come to rational conclusions in directing us toward recognizing, understanding and seeing truth.
These are just some of the other practical tools that are utilized in determining facts, understanding history, in gathering information, finding answers, or in defining the truth. Tools we will add to our arsenal for opening faith's gateway, and the path forward in our quest for answers about God and the spiritual dimension.
When we look to consider the merits of the Genesis account, we find that we will have to first determine whether the book it is found in is a trustworthy source itself. Some may argue that the Bible is just a book that people believe by faith. However, if what we read among the pages of the Bible are true and deals with reality, then we should be able to validate it.
There is within us a natural propensity to believe. We all believe in something, either created, imagined or real. We all exercise a certain amount of faith. There is faith exercised unconsciously, and there is purposeful faith applied with conscious intent.
When it comes to God, some believe you have to commit intellectual suicide to embrace faith in God. We hear of "blind faith", a "leap into the dark" or "a leap of faith," often meant to give the impression of ignorance. One would have to concede that there has been a justification by skeptics for such comments from time to time. Nevertheless, we should not discount something solely on the ignorance or actions of others. To be told to "just believe" is what I consider ignorance and should not be acceptable. One should have a justification in believing. It should not be a mindless, irresponsible and naive stance. Nor should it be "feeling" or "emotion" based. In other words, individual faith must not be determined strictly on the bases of being emotionally "touched."
If one is to have a faith in God, it should be rational, reasonable and intelligible. It should make sense, and there should be a means to affirm that faith by finding validity and reality to it. For faith literally means to have confidence, trust, reliance and assurance with regard to something or in someone. Faith then has to come from a conscious source such as knowledge, understanding and experience with that something or someone. We cannot have confidence in anything we know nothing about, or believe to be real and true. Faith then is not "pie in the sky" wishing, or ignorant hope, but a demonstration of trust. It should flow out of, and from, reason and understanding. A trust that is reasonably and tangibly based in something, or someone, for which we have concluded deserves that confidence. Faith should not stem from our feelings and emotions. We surely can be emotional and have certain strong feelings about what we believe (I do not refer to fanaticism which must be rejected) but the foundational process of faith, as mentioned already, is from the premise of the real, the understandable, the knowledgeable, the verifiable, the factual and the demonstrable.
We exercise this kind of faith on a regular basis. When we sit, when we mountain climb, ride a bike, get on a carnival ride, walk at night or eat at a restaurant. We faithfully believe the IRS will come after us if we do not pay our taxes. We continue to place faith in government in spite of their record. We place trust and faith that the sun will rise without fail everyday. We exercise faith when we get up to go to work, believing that our job will still be there waiting for us. We exercise a reasonable and rational amount of faith that when we get into a car or get on a plane, that we will make it to our destination without question or incident. It is this kind of faith we place in our friends and family. We never stop to consider that a neighbor could possibly be a serial killer or rapist. We look at our co-workers as generally decent people. This is often factual faith based on what we know of them. We simply trust as a general rule through the certain amount of faith we exercise. The list is endless. If you sat down long enough you could personalize a list of your own.
There have been times where this kind of faith has been tried and shattered. The result can be one of disillusionment, in being cynical or becoming a "doubting Thomas". When this situation happens within the context of religious faith, such as the fall of a religious leader a person was trusting and believing in, we often find individuals who end up rejecting any notion of God altogether. However, just because a person chooses to believe that there isn't a God does not change the fact that there could quite possibly be one. A denial of existence, or past actions, does not necessarily equate into it being a reality. Wanting something to be true or false does not make it so.
Can there be an affirmable faith in God? If so, how?
Herein lies the greatest challenge, the greatest adventure and the greatest reward in this journey. To find out if there is any evidence, truth any reality to the existence of God.
As we begin our investigation into the validity of the creation model, as found in the Bible, we will be able to reasonably place ourselves on a path to meet this challenge. I believe that one can have a factual faith in God. I also believe that we can validate the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible. I understand that this could be where some of you may look to abandon the search party and end your quest, but I challenge you to hang in there with me for just a little bit longer and give me the opportunity to lay out this map. I believe you will find it worthwhile.
The Bible is the most misunderstood book I know. Because it is mainly associated, and rightly so, with two religiously held beliefs, that being Judaism and Christianity, over time it has been reduced in significance by societies around the world as merely a religious book. This is often the reasoning today for rejecting intelligent design as a "religious" concept since it is most often connected with the Bible as its source. Thus, the argument is that it is teaching "religion" and therefore cannot be accepted in the schools. Somehow the concept that the Bible may be true on other levels has been lost.
Without question, the Bible is the most controversial, revered, believed, rejected, attacked, hated, loved, printed, distributed and owned book in the world. Yet, the Bible is so much more than a revered book of faith for countless millions of people. No other book has been given the same rigorous scrutiny as this one. What many may not know is that in the attempt over the centuries to disprove and discredit the Bible, those attempts have only uncovered evidence and information which have actually helped to validate the Bible's reliability. And, in fortifying the reliability of its contents, it lends to a greater trust in it being truthful.
Many people approach the Bible with a limited grasp of its contents. Often what is known is what is remembered from being sent to Sunday School as children and hearing the stories of David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah and the like. It is difficult to have an adult comprehension with grade school academics. I have often found that those who would claim that the Bible is nothing more than fairy tale stories and mythical accounts do so out of never having gone past this early stage of exposure. As adults they are stuck in Sunday School, now convinced that those stories are like others they heard as kids. Stories like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and so on that they later found to be fiction.
There was a time when societies and nations were more literate with regard to the Bible. It is said that America today is the most educated of any other generation prior, while at the same time, it is the most illiterate and ignorant generation in America's history when it comes to scriptural comprehension, history and knowledgeable facts. This only helps feed the notion that the Bible has no factual, historical or real substance to it to be taken seriously.
Jimmy Buffett (quote on ignorance) "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care".
So buckle up, we are going for a ride. It may get intense as we look to sort through the clutter. I am convinced that the Bible is without question the greatest "KEY" to unlocking the door of knowledge and understanding as to why things are today as they are. I also believe it is the map that helps lay out in a logical order, time, history and events by filling in the details of an otherwise confusing picture.
I challenge you to press forward. Discover for yourself. Investigate. Put the information to the test. Don't just take my word on things. If you are unsure, doubt or disagree, then by all means do the research. But whatever you do, don't quite now... use that mind of yours.
An Exercise in Faith