Can You Quantify Faith?

Sam Rainer

April 6, 2007

Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, wants to track and quantify the way our brains process spirituality. He basically wants to know if we were created to believe in God. And his research is out to prove this hard-wiring of the brain scientifically. It’s all part of a new field called neurotheology. While it’s not a class that I have seen on the course schedule at the seminary I attend, I would be tempted to take it if it were.

It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that God created our brains with the capability to believe in Him. The great Creator of the universe knows even the smallest details of our existence, for it is He that knit us together. It is He that made us remarkably and wonderfully. And God certainly created the way in which our brains function.

But following this train of thought too far might diminish who God is. Newberg’s research is leading him to draw the conclusion that there may be universal aspects of the human mind that make it easier for us to believe in a power greater than ourselves.

Taking this conclusion to its ultimate end is somewhat problematic. We as humans can do nothing to attain the free gift of grace. It is God who initiates our salvation. We choose to accept his Son, Jesus Christ, but it is the Holy Spirit who instigates this process, not our own brains.

Our own minds are flawed. It is a perfect God who saves. And while there may be some validity to the “science” of faith, we cannot pretend that we will ever comprehend God’s love for us through a series of brain scans. Our own minds will create idols that lead us far from the Truth. There is no way our own efforts can lead to the correct belief in God. You need to look no father than the 10,000 different religions across the globe to see that people are indeed searching, but their own efforts are leading them astray. We like sheep will always go astray without the Lord guiding us.

God is holy; we are not. God is perfect; our minds are flawed. Neurotheology or not – we will never truly quantify faith simply because it isn’t derived here in the physical realm. It rather comes from an infinite God who is not bound by time, space, or science.

4 comments on “Can You Quantify Faith?”

  1. “Neurotheology or not – we will never truly quantify faith simply because it isn’t derived here in the physical realm. It rather comes from an infinite God who is not bound by time, space, or science.”

    How true!

    Also, the verse – no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him comes to mind as well.

  2. kdb1411 says:

    Thanks Sam for another great post.

  3. Rev.Herbert D. John says:

    But is it not different with Abraham?
    There is a quantity of faith he manifested:he heard the voice of God, left his rather wealthy background and went literally to a barren land.
    Of course he became wealthy once more by the grace of God. That faith to listen just to a voice and take on an arderous journey to an unknown and barren destination can surely be quantified…in terms such as great,amazing,miraculous, beyond human comprehension.

  4. Paul Cornish says:

    Respectfully, Biblical Faith cannot be quantified in and of itself. It is a gift from God. It is only measure,I believe, in actions that are the outworking of faith prompted by the indwelling Holy Spirit. [Ephesians 2:8-10]; in the same way, neither can love [agape in infinite] be quantified, only its effects on behaviour. The book of ACTS is a manifestation of the Faith born of the Gospel; The ACTS of the apostles is faith in action

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