The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Every day our society, culture, and event around the world challenge if God exist or if the bible is true. Is it possible to have faith in any god, let alone the God of Israel from the bible in a fallen, dangerous world, growing ever more secular?
People often critique the bible on the supernatural aspects of it, especially in reference to the creation story in Genesis which conflicts with a naturalist view of the origin of life. Some may argue that God needed to take a million years because of the physical process and that they have evidence pointing to that. Others may say why did God have to take six days specifically, couldn’t he have done it in one? What they are really asking is if God is so powerful why does it seem like he has limits? Some Christians respond that the numbers of days are symbolic because of the numerology of six and seven in Hebrew culture rather than literally, but if that is true what about all of the other events? Did God supernaturally part the Red Sea and the Jordan River, send plagues on wicked nations through history exactly as his prophets spoke, raise the dead, or cause a virgin to give birth? At some point, our naturalistic secular views are going to be challenged by God’s word so we have to make a choice to submit to God or abandoned his teachings.
I believe God could have created the world in one day but chose to do six days, to emphasize and point out specific things about how and what he created. One reason according to Ex 20:11 is that it reveals, God’s pattern for work and rest, via the weekly Sabbath.
Someone once asked, “if God is so powerful why does he need armies of angels”? My response is why did he need humans or animals when he could have just filled and subdued the earth himself? We assumed God needed to do things the way he did rather than accepting that God doesn’t need anything and made things the way they are simply because he wanted to. We must learn to trust that the reality we live in is the best possible outcome, a combination of God wanting the world his way and allowing us to have free will.
Gabriel says to Mary “Nothing is Impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) when telling him that she would give conceive as a virgin (Luke 1:26-38). Six months before that God gave an elderly barren couple a son who would become John the Baptist. God could have given them a son anytime he wanted but he chose that specific time. We don’t have to know all of God’s reasons in order to understand he has his own reasons and motives for doing things in a specific way.
This idea that he needed to do things a certain way is a result of looking at it all after the fact, examining the purposes of things, and thinking he needed animals to do specific jobs and needed humans to manage them. Nothing that was made or done by God was done because he needed to do it that specific way. He designed all of reality and was unlimited in how he did so, therefore he chose to do it this way for a reason. The whole sin/death system, judgment day, penal substitution atonement, and the choice of good and evil were all his ideas. Once we accept this, then we won’t have any more problems accepting what the bible says about God’s capabilities and actions. It’s the teachings of naturalism that drive us to put limits on God and believe that our limited perception of reality and the natural laws somehow limit him and God only did things because of a specific natural need that had to be fulfilled.
Hebrews 11:3 is against naturalism because it says God made everything when there was nothing. Naturalism requires everything to only come into existence because of the laws of physics. Creationism simply says all things, including the laws of physics, were given by the lawgiver, who is an outside creator not limited by his own rules. We must have faith and trust in God’s word (the Bible) by believing what it says. If we can’t trust God to communicate with us what he wants from us then, how can we have hope in his ability to rescue us? It is only the bible that promotes the guaranteed hope of deliverance from sinful nature and eternal life. Many religions of the world teach that man must change himself and that no god can save him. For other belief systems deities either just exist in the background like spiritual businessmen rather than arbitrators of morality, or if there are theological authorities of morality they are impersonal and unknowable, and they have no obligation to save us. Yet, Jesus taught of a God that loves us and wants to adopt us as his children. More about the Bible compared to other religions here. More on the issues of naturalism here. According to Hebrews 11:6, we must have faith in to please God and that means trusting who God is and that he rewards those who are seeking him.
Hebrews 11:3 (NLT) By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.”[Gen 5:24] For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.