Part 5: The biblical concept of faith

By Robin Schumacher

So is faith what Nietzsche said: 'not wanting to know what is true'? Not at all. The biblical concept of faith is something that is a product arising from a state of confidence, trust, and reliability. Something that is backed by evidence, reality, and worth believing. But it is still something that must be willed from within a person and subjected to.

Christians are sometimes criticized for holding to a statement credited to Anselm: 'I believe in order to understand'. Isn't that backwards - houldn't I understand in order to believe? Yes and no. It's the old question of is God prior to logic or is logic prior to God? God is indeed prior to logic from an ontological (existence) perspective, but logic is prior to God in an epistemic (knowledge) sense in that we use our minds to arrive at a conclusion about God.

But Christians do believe in order to understand some things. I don't fully grasp the incarnation of the Son of God, nor can I do justice explaining many of God's attributes. But God's Word tells me these things are true and I have faith in God that these things are correct. Thomas Aquinas helps us understand this process when he says, 'He who would become educated should begin by trusting his teacher. He will never master his science unless he presumes in the beginning that the doctrine being presented is true even if, for the moment, he cannot tell why.'

Faith is taking a step in the light with trust and not a blind leap of faith in the dark with uncertainty. Does that mean 'people of faith' have complete answers to all their questions? Not at all. But it does mean that we can have certainty on issues such as whether God exists (see a brief article from me on this here), what kind of God exists, and that we can confidently and smartly navigate today's worldview maze to arrive at a reasonable conclusion about which faith is valid among the many that exist (see my ideas for this here).

Are these things something you can trust and believe? If you really care about the truth, then yes, you can. As Morpheus told Neo in The Matrix: 'You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. I'm only offering you the truth . . . nothing more.'

Faith, The Series

Part 1: What is faith?
Part 2: Defining faith
Part 3: Faith that and faith in–an important distinction
Part 4: What it takes to have faith
Part 5: The biblical concept of faith

Image Credit: Jean Edmonds

comments powered by Disqus
Reposted 5-20-13