The phrase “blind faith” means different things to different people, and, sadly, many people use it as a negative, disparaging term to describe anyone who believes in God. A dictionary definition of blind faith is “belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” But is this the kind of faith God desires us to have? More to the point, is the kind of faith God gives us a blind faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Is our faith really to be blind, without true understanding?
To answer this, we will start by looking at one of the greatest examples of faith found in the Old Testament. God told Abraham that Abraham would be a father of many nations and that his wife Sarah would bear him a child even though they were very old. Indeed, Sarah was 90, and Abraham was around 100 when Isaac was finally born to them. Then God told Abraham to do the unthinkable, to kill Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). Upon receiving the order, Abraham did not question God. He “blindly” followed God’s orders and traveled quite a distance to a mountain with the intention of killing his son. In the end, God stopped him and said, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12).
This account makes it seem that God was rewarding and complimenting Abraham for blind faith, and since Abraham is one of the models given to us to follow, it would seem that blind faith is the ideal. That, however, is not the whole story. If we turn to the book of Hebrews and read what it says about Abraham, we can find out a bit more.
Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the hall of fame of faith. In it we find many of the greatest people of the Bible and their accomplishments through faith. Abraham is listed more than once, but verses 18-19 tell us Abraham “reasoned” that God had promised a great nation through Isaac and that even if Isaac were killed, God could bring Isaac back from the dead, and because of that reasoning—not blind faith—Abraham followed through with the command. Abraham did not act blindly. Instead, he used his powers of reason, based on what he knew about God, to think it through. He knew God’s nature as a faithful God, and he remembered God’s promise regarding Isaac. Then he acted accordingly.
Throughout Scripture we find that reason, wisdom, and logic are lifted up as good traits. For example, Proverbs 3:13 says we are blessed when we find knowledge and understanding. Hebrews 5:12-14 reproves teachers for not learning and growing in understanding. Paul commends the church at Berea because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11). In many places throughout Acts the apostle Paul was said to “reason” with the lost, attempting to prove to them the truth of his words. James 1:5 even tells us to ask God for wisdom, which He gives “generously to all without finding fault.”
There are many other places where reason and understanding are uplifted. To state the point simply, God created humans with the ability to think and reason, and God expects us to use the gift He has given us. Remember that at its core the goal of reason and logic is to find truth, and Jesus made the bold claim that He is truth (John 14:6), so reason and logic should lead us to Jesus every time.
We are expected to act in faith on God’s promises just as Abraham did, but we do that from a position of trust based on all the knowledge we have of God. Abraham followed God’s order based on his faith that God would keep His promise to raise up a nation through Isaac. Abraham had learned that God would keep His promises through a lifetime of walking with God, so this was a reasoned and informed faith.
There will be times in our walk with God that we will act purely on faith because we do not have the whole picture, as in the case of Abraham. However this faith is not blind; it is based on knowledge of God’s nature and character, His promises in the Scriptures, and our personal experience walking with God every day.