The Word of God is a document that must be received by faith but that is to be understood rationally. Fiction, it is said, may only be enjoyed through the process of “a willing suspension of disbelief.” But the Bible, not only invites, it categorically demands, the engagement of all the rational powers of its readers. True Scripture-based and God-honoring faith does not reject, deny, or ignore either ration or logic but rests upon it. To affirm such is not to deny the supernatural or that which is in some sense beyond the perfect understanding of reason, but it is to reject the idea that the Word of God deals in the irrational and unreasonable or in the realm of fable. A very brief catalogue of the men who believed God’s Word and obeyed it reveals, not a group of dupes, fools, and idiots, but a collection of exceptionally gifted individuals possessed of superior intellects.
Noah. It would be difficult to imagine a man with a broader range of understanding and skills than Noah. Here was a man who, from a design given him by God, constructed a boat that survived a flood that destroyed—literally—every other structure built by man. The combination of engineering and mechanical abilities required to accomplish such a feat rarely, if ever, has been found in one person. And that he was able to care for representatives of every animal kind for a year with only seven other family members only augments our appreciation of his abilities.
Joseph. With three strikes against him—a foreigner, a slave, a convicted criminal—Joseph exhibited such abilities that he became prime minister in Egypt, second only to the pharaoh. He administered the affairs of Egypt so adroitly that, not only did that kingdom survive seven years of drought, but it did so with such success that citizens from other nations came to Egypt for relief.
David. Warrior extraordinaire, poet, musician, architect, king, and deft administrator—David displayed a vast combination of abilities. He was, perhaps, the first and greatest “Renaissance man.” It is difficult to think of any significant area of human endeavor in which he failed to demonstrate excellence.
Daniel. Like his predecessor Joseph, Daniel came to a nation as a foreigner and a slave. Yet he exhibited such great ability that King Darius decided to “set him over the whole realm” of Babylon, a worldwide empire. The competition Daniel repeatedly surpassed included some of the greatest minds ever assembled in one place (After all, some were responsible for successfully administering the vast Babylonian empire, some had constructed the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” (one of the “7 Wonders of the Ancient World”).
Luke. Luke possessed the medical skills of a physician, the technical and observational skills of a scientist, and the verbal skills of an excellent writer.
Paul. Paul had been trained by Gamaliel, the greatest teacher of his day; he had achieved a privileged position in the Sanhedrin as a leader in Israel. His writings display a broad knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the world (e.g., Acts 17:28; Tit. 1:12), an penetrating intellect, and an ability to present incisively logical arguments.
That a group of such illustrious individuals (and a huge cadre of others) should believe the Word testifies to the concrete, rational nature of their faith. One of their number, Luke, referring to the concrete, rational nature of the Gospel, wrote of the “many infallible proofs” given by the Lord for His resurrection. Thankfully, the Lord saves very ordinary people like me. Wonderfully, He convinces and saves geniuses and exceptional people like those listed above.
God gives “simple” faith to believers, but the concrete reality of the facts He offers in support of that faith is profound. Faith in “thus saith the Lord” does not demand setting aside the rational faculty; quite the opposite, genuine belief augments rational understanding, allowing the lowly human mind to “think God’s thoughts after him.”
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