What is Faith?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Faith in Hebrews 11

As well as the definition of faith the author in this chapter seeks to show some of the great decisions that resulted from faith.

v3 Through faith we understand that the worlds (aions) were framed (created) by the Word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

This seems to indicate that faith is the process by which we become convinced that the writings of the scriptures are the Words of God and are therefore ultimately reliable.

The question then is ...what is that process?

....to be continued.


Blogger Richard H said...

I do not agree that 'faith' is a process when we are talking about faith that God exists.

Faith in existence and Faith in someone is very different. You know that your friend exists, you do not need faith in their existence. However, how much faith you have in them will depend on many things - what it is you are trusting them to do; how likely they are to be able to do it; how reliable they have been in the past. So yes, building trust in someone is a process of sorts.

However, when it comes to faith in existence you cannot have less faith in something or someone that you do not believe exists. You either have faith that God exists or you don't.

As an example, if someone currently has read the Bible and believes that God exists based on this then they have chosen to have Faith in the existence of God. If tomorrow someone digs up a document that clearly provides evidence that the authors of the bible conspired to ensure a consistent story....that person who currently has faith in God's existence would have to consider this find and decide whether they still have faith in God's existence or not.

This is not a process, this is a single decision point. You cannot sit on the fence...if you say you are unsure about God's existence then you cannot claim to have Faith that God exists.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Lifewish said...

However, when it comes to faith in existence you cannot have less faith in something or someone that you do not believe exists. You either have faith that God exists or you don't.

If we're using the word "faith" as equivalent to "trust", I'd strongly disagree. For example, we're fairly sure that there's a huge amount of dark matter in the galaxy, but we're not totally certain by a long shot.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Richard H said...

Lifewish, I see a distinct difference when it comes to faith in God versus faith in dark matter. I'll try to explain.

Our level of belief in Dark matter can be a process of sorts: our belief in the existence of dark matter can change based on the evidence we find. However, an individual's eternal survival is not dependent on a belief in Dark matter. To a Christian, belief in God is.

Hebrews 10:38 "Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him"

Hebres 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

In the Christian belief you have to have absolute faith in God's existence to have your soul saved. If faith can be of varying levels, then effectively any level below absolute faith is a faith with doubts, or a "drawing back" of faith; especially if that faith can increase and decrease with each knew find or conclusion.

Faith in God's existence has to be binary - you either believe or you do not believe; your soul will either be saved or it will not be saved. Faith is about things hoped for and evidences not seen...ergo, faith in God is not about assessing the evidence and rating your belief on a scale of 1 to 10.

In my view, anyone claiming to be looking for evidence of God's existence has misunderstood what faith in God is really about. I understand it, and choose not to believe it (or at best, consider it unlikely).

8:20 AM  
Blogger bunc said...

Essentially faith in the existence of God amounts to blind belief in something which can not be evidenced. Saying "I believe in God" is a statement which is logiically of the same form as "I believe in the Truth Fairy".
For the believer their belief (and the belief of others) is the proof.

For the non believer both are clearly seen to amount to the same linguistic and intelectual process - giving an idea a name and then treating that named idea as though it has some concrete reality.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous breathe said...

To Richard H,

To believe that God exists is not the same as having saving faith (the demons believe, and tremble). It looks like (saving?) faith is more to love, trust, honour and obey God.

I'm sure there are different gradations of (saving?) faith, as you and Andrew have said.

Does Romans 1 say that everyone believes there is a God because the universe makes it plain? (that puts paid to bunc's argument).
My Pastor says some supress that truth.

4:11 PM  

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