Faith In Christ Is Falsifiable

“Falsifiable” seems to be a scientific argumentation tool to sort out what is or isn’t true, what does or doesn’t exist. One definition states it this way:

Unfalsifiability (also known as: untestability) Description: Confidently asserting that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though the theory or hypothesis cannot possibly be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of any physical experiment, usually without strong evidence or good reasons.

The way it works is like this:

A statement, hypothesis, or theory has falsifiability (or is said to be falsifiable) if one can conceive an empirical observation or experiment which could refute it, that is, show it to be false. For example, the claim “all swans are white” is falsifiable since it could be refuted by observing a single swan that is not white. (Wikipedia)

I’ve encountered a number of atheists who use this tool against Christian arguments in support of the existence of God. In truth, the supernatural does not pretend to be “scientific,” so it ought not be held to the standard of scientific investigation, but that fact seems to escape those who pull the “falsifiable” card every now and them.

However, it dawned on me the other day that falsifiability can serve Christianity as much as it can the atheist position.

The first thing I noted was that this claim of Scripture—the wages of sin is death—is clearly falsifiable. If someone could be identified as without sin who also did not die, then the Biblical principle would be proved to be false. But the opposite is true. While the statement is falsifiable, all people sin and all people die.

So Christianity is true in its assessment of humankind’s problem.

In addition, we know that Christ’s resurrection was falsifiable: all anyone every, at any point in history, had to do to disprove the resurrection was to reveal a body or a tomb containing a body. Since that never happened, the truth of Christ’s resurrection must be affirmed.

In a quirky sort of reversal, falsifiability can also prove what saving faith looks like, I think.

Any number of current atheists claim that they were once Christians. But the claim of Christianity is that saving faith continues:

yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:22-23a)

That statement would be false if one example of a person who continued in the hope of the gospel and was not saved, could be found.

Of course who does or doesn’t have saving faith isn’t for us to determine, so maybe the idea breaks down there, but it seems to me that the possibility exists and yet has no evidence to support it, which should prove the statement to be true: only those who continue in the faith are saved.

Of course there’s always the question about the prodigal. Since Jesus told the story of the son leaving his father, making a royal hash of his life, coming to his senses and returning home with the intention of taking a servant’s position, only to be met by his father and treated like the son he was—since Jesus told that story, it seems pretty clear that prodigals are real, and welcome.

Since Jesus also told the thief dying on the cross beside Him that the man would be with Him in paradise, the idea of “continuing” doesn’t seem to include any kind of time limit, like, you need to be at this for at least XXX number of days or years.

If fact, Jesus told a story about that too. An employer went out to hire day laborers, came back at various times, including the last hour of work. When he paid them, he gave all the same amount, the last as much as the first.

I have to admit, that used to bug me. I mean I was raised with the good old capitalist mindset that you got paid for your work. But God’s ways are higher than our ways. As it turns out, He’s not grading on our efforts. Rather, we who come to the cross of Christ, be it early or late, can claim reconciliation with God through His blood and our faith in what He’s done, not through our efforts.

If a person has that faith, he or she has that faith. It’s not a “I used to, but now I don’t” proposition. How could it be? God either accepted Christ’s sacrifice for sin, or He didn’t. We either believe the sacrifice paid for our sins, or we don’t.

The question is, I guess, can you change your mind? Well, that’s not falsifiable. Did you have saving faith and then give it up? There’s simply no evidence to verify that claim.

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Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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  1. Good stuff, Becky. I’m chuckling here,but if someone wanted to know if Jesus was falsifiable, I would suggest just asking Him. Obviously that doesn’t go over well with people who haven’t yet established a relationship with Him.

    The idea that “I was once a Christian but now I’m not” is kind of tricky theologically. I’m a once saved always saved kind of believer, so our faith is really in His hands, not in our own. God is not in the business of adopting people and then changing His mind. We also don’t get to just change our own mind and file for divorce. So a deconvertee is either a rebellious Christian or someone who just went through the motions once, but never really accepted Christ. There is no lukewarm. The older I get, the more certain of this I become, but it used to really mess with my head.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me too, IB. And to really mess with my head, I had to ask, When Scripture says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness, what exactly did he believe about God? The promise? The commands? That He is? That He would save?

      It’s the old “how were the Old Testament saints saved” question.

      At some point I just have to say, this is what God revealed, no more, for His own reasoning. I must not have to understand all these things.

      But that’s a singularly repugnant answer to atheists. I had a couple ask in a hundred ways why God requires death for sin. Finally I said, why don’t you ask Him? It’s not my question. I never felt the need to know His rational for that determination. I can guess, but it’s just my speculation because He didn’t spell it out. So this one guy answered, Why don’t you ask for me since you’re the one with a relationship with Him? He wanted to bait me because He doesn’t believe God answers prayer. I declined. I basically said, prayer doesn’t work that way, God passing on info to a Christian to pass on to an unbeliever. I kept thinking of the rich man and Lazarus, and God’s clear decision not to send someone dead back to warn the brothers: They have Moses and the prophets. Clearly, we don’t need <i.more information, more signs. We need to believe what we have.

      Becky

      Like

  2. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person


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