Faith and Reason


Joshua 6:3-5 “March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”

A faith that has any value needs to have the proper object. It needs to rest on a suitable foundation. Our puny little minds are not a proper object for our faith. Our puny little ideas are not a suitable foundation. That is why, when the Lord builds his people’s faith, he doesn’t limit himself to limited human reason.

Take, for example, this plan he gave Joshua to conquer Jericho. Does that sound like a reasonable plan for attacking the city? It seems to start out right, with the army marching around the city. Surrounding the city is good. But then you bring in the clergy, and some brass band, and some church furniture, and you never do anything more than yell. What was Israel– the big, bad wolf, and they were going to huff, and to puff, and to blow the house down? Where are the catapults, and the grappling hooks, and the ladders, and the battering rams? Does God’s plan seem sensible?

Not to faithless human reason. Not if human power had to bring the walls down. But that is the problem with our human reason, isn’t it. It wants to judge God’s promises and plans as though he were a man, bound by human limitations. World-wide floods that cover all the mountains, ninety-year old women giving birth, large bodies of water splitting in two, bread miraculously appearing on the ground every morning, the entire planet standing still for a day without a sunset, water turned into wine, blind people seeing again, dead people raised to life, water that washes away sin–all promises of God that seem a little foolish to human reason.

Your reason and my reason are not exempt from questioning God. “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” “Seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” “Wives, submit to your husbands.” “Love your enemies.” “Turn the other cheek.” “In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” Every one of these is a word of God. Have you ever thought one or more seemed a little unreasonable? Question God in these things, demand that he be reasonable by human standards, and how long will we believe that a Holy God can love sinners, or that one man could die for the sins of the world?

In order to exercise our faith and free us from our addiction to our own “wisdom;” in order to convince us that we have a real God, a supernatural God, unbounded by the laws of nature, he defies reason. He asks us to believe and do what seems foolish. He reaches out his hand, and he says, “Trust me, and I will deliver you. Your enemy’s walls will fall down for no apparent reason. Your sins will disappear with no effort of your own. Your life will be given back to you, even after you have died. Become like little children, and believe what I tell you is true.” You see, he’s not building an army of scholars, who can figure it all out for themselves. He’s building an army of believers, who trust his every word.

(Picture By Jesús Sáez - C:\Users\JESUS\Desktop, GFDL,

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