Is Evidence Biblical?

By Doy Moyer

Are we showing a lack of faith when we ask for evidence? There are those who think that faith and the use of evidences are not compatible. This is related to fideism, the idea that matters of faith (religious belief) are not supported by reason and argument. The idea is that evidences do not apply to belief in God – one should just believe it. Some presuppositionalists are classed as fideists, though many use some form of argument to support their belief in God. (I’ve not been able to figure why some try to reasonably argue that we should not use reasonable argument in defense of God. It seems a little self-defeating.)

The question, however, is whether or not the use of, or appeal to, evidences is a biblical concept. Are we somehow negating faith if we try to apply reason and evidences to belief in God and the Bible as His word? Or should we just accept these things on “faith” without efforts to reason it through and utilize evidence to support the claims? Shall we believe “just because” without having any kind of foundation under us for maintaining such a belief? None of this is to say that faith rests upon all the detailed, formal arguments for God’s existence (as if every believer must know all about apologetics); but we are simply saying here that there is a reasonable foundation for faith, that utilizing reason and evidence do not in any way contradict biblical faith. Rather, evidence complements faith. In other words, we are not saying that reason takes precedence over faith, but that reason works with faith to make it stronger.

The Bible itself does not call for unwarranted belief. There is no inherent contradiction between faith and evidence, or between faith and reason. Both believers and unbelievers who think otherwise are encouraged to restudy this. The appeal to, and use of, reason and evidence is a biblical concept. In other words, by using evidences, or by appealing to reasonable arguments, one is not denying biblical faith.

We are not asked to be gullible. We are not asked to accept something on the mere basis that “it just says it is.” John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). That was written in connection with teaching about Christ, but the principle is there: we are to “test” teachings to make sure they are sound, not to just accept them without proof of their truth. This requires the use of our God-given reasoning abilities.

The Bible begins with the assumption of God, without going through a detailed argument for His existence (Gen. 1:1). However, throughout Scripture, one can find where reasoned arguments are used in support of God, especially in opposition to idols (e.g., Isa. 44). God is often compared to idols to show the differences. The “evidence” was reasonable, and it pointed to Yahweh as the true and living God. Appealing to reasonable argumentation is exactly what the prophets did.

In the New Testament, none were expected to believe in Jesus based only upon the claims that He made. The signs He performed were written down for the express purpose of causing people to believe (John 20:30-31). If evidence opposes faith, then why the appeal to the signs that Jesus did as proof of His identity? These signs are historical events, and can be examined as any ancient historical event.

John sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask if He were the one they were to follow. Jesus responded by saying, “Go and report to John what you hear and see...” (Matt. 11:4). He did not just say, “Yes I am.” He referred them to evidence, what they could see and hear. In support of His identity, Jesus spoke of several “evidences” outside of Himself (John 5). Included were the works that He performed. Later, when the apostles preached Christ, they would regularly argue the resurrection of Jesus. And Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, made it a point to say that Jesus had appeared to many as proof of the resurrection. This was an all out plea to look at the evidence.

Paul’s teaching in Athens, recorded in Acts 17, is a classic example of the use of reason. Paul spoke of creation, and even quoted from a philosopher to support his position. Then, he taught the resurrection as a proof for the final judgment. He was not negating faith in this; he was supporting faith by a reasonable defense. We can do the same today.

Faith and evidence work together. One can reasonably argue and use evidence in support of God and the Scriptures. We have minds that we are expected to use in understanding God and the world He created.

Doy Moyer
Doy Moyer is a native of California. He is 41 years old and has been married to Laurie (Teel) Moyer since May 1986. They have three children: Caleb (17), Luke (14), and Audrey (12). He has been preaching the gospel for over 20 years, working with congregations in Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, California, and Florida. He presently resides in Florida and works with the church in Cork, outside of Plant City. For five years he was an associate editor of Focus Magazine, and has written numerous articles for various publications. Since August, 2001, Doy has been teaching Biblical Studies, Evidences, and Philosophy at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. He has his own web site located at You can write him at

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