From a logical point of view, the gospel of Jesus doesn’t make sense. A Jewish peasant takes up teaching and aggravates His nation’s leaders to the point where they collaborate with enemy Romans to kill Him. Yet somehow because of His apparently failed ministry He has an exclusive franchise on eternal life for all humanity in all ages.

Seems silly, declares secular logic.[i] The best that Christian logic can offer is credible historical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified for what His enemies denounced as “sorceries.”[ii] Meanwhile, Scripture mostly ignores our snowball fight over logic and simply declares that the “foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:25/NIV). Eternal life comes not from explaining God but from experiencing Him through His revelation in Christ (see John 17:3). This is the purpose of Scripture: “These [things] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Consider how the Bible itself came into existence. God did not send down a CD from heaven with 66 files on it and tell us to print out copies for distribution. The Scriptural canon was formed through a theologically perilous, scientifically murky process of divine inspiration. What made the church fathers (they were all men) decide to reject myriads of epistles and wanna-be gospels from inclusion in the Scriptural canon? What did the chosen books have that the others lacked? In a word, illumination. Church leaders perceived that these books were “luminous” in a way that other equally good books were not—and a consensus began to emerge about the canon.

What is true historically for the Christian church is also true presently on a personal level for all believers. Each soul’s enlightenment about Scripture comes through perception more than persuasion. Nobody can prove, historically or logically, that God intended this eclectic collection of narrative, prophecy, precept, proverb and poetry (mostly narrative) to be compiled between black leather covers. Despite the testimony of archeology and prophecy, all measuring standards of logic fall short of proving the inspiration of Scripture–and yet the Word of God has stood the test of time as a firm foundation for faith.

Regarding the apparent inconsistencies of the Bible, some blame such human factors as a memory lapse in writers or their sources. Relatively few seem aware that Biblical perplexities could be strategic, reflecting not bad human authorship but good divine purpose. Inspiration is perfect for God’s purposes, not necessarily ours. Many problems with the Bible vanish when we relax and simply “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Suddenly we find value in the Bible not for what it proves but for what it reveals.

Some might protest: “Perception can’t be a basis for faith because it is subjective—just inner feelings.” People of faith might reply, “Yes and no.” Yes, perception is subjective, but no, it’s not based on feelings. Perception is more than emotion—it’s inner knowledge as certain to you as anything else you know. But it can’t be proven to anyone else.

It’s like knowing you prefer ice cream over apple pie. You can’t prove your preference, even by reaching for ice cream instead of pie. Who knows, you might be on some kind of off-season Lenten regimen. But you can know the truth about your tastes within yourself—as surely as you know anything else that can be scientifically proven.

Consider romance. You can know you are in love and later invent all kinds of logical arguments to defend that relationship to your prospective father-in-law. But logic cannot prove you are in love any more than logic made you fall in love. Romance is a subjective experience attested not just by feelings but by perception—inner knowledge. And that intellectually mushy reality should be more important in your life than anything you can prove.

Which brings us back to faith in God. A spiritual quest blossoms into belief when we supernaturally perceive unprovable value in Jesus.

Excerpted from an assignment for DMin studies, by Martin Weber.

[i] As represented in the bestseller and blockbuster DaVinci Code. Both book and movie suggest that the early documents of the historical Jesus do not portray Him as a miracle worker. Overlooked is the fact that the foundational “Q” source itself supports miracles of exorcism, as in Mat. 12:28 and Luke 11:20. In Edgar V. McKnight, What Is Form Criticism? (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969), 69.

[ii] Even the unabashedly hostile Talmud bears witness to Christ’s miracles: “The rabbinic Tractate Sanhedrin affirms that Jesus was charged with practicing sorcery, and supports the claim that Jesus performed exorcisms.” [Reginald H. Fuller, Interpreting the Miracles, (Philadelphia, Westminster, 1963), 23. In McKnight, Form Criticism, 69.] “Sorcery is just the type of term one would expect from an extremely unsympathetic source to describe a phenomenon it would have no reason to invent. I also find it intriguing that Christ’s enemies were not merely accusing the disciples of spreading rumors of sorceries but were themselves making this accusation—actually a backhanded and unwitting acknowledgment of Christ’s divine power over demons.