Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
One might wonder, what is the difference between the statement above and the mindset of someone with paranoid schizophrenia? On the face of it, probably only the fact that the schizophrenic person needs medication just to interact with the rest of us and function in polite society.
To be sure, there are other translations other than the King James version above, such as:
Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists. (International Standard Version)
Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see. (Weymouth New Testament)
Those are in some ways clearer ways to phrase what the King James translators said, but I still like that more “original” (more original English version, that is). The flow and the mystery of it seem so perfect in that wording.
The Bible also tells us that that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
We have to trust. And sometimes, that is the hardest thing in the world. We have to trust that what God tells us in the Bible is the truth. I have logical and historical reasons for believing in Jesus’ existence and his miraculous nature, and so I have what I feel is a strong reason to believe that the New Testament is based on a true person with a divine nature…which means the Old Testament is basically true because Jesus preached it…which means there is a purpose to everything and God exists and Jesus is the key.
But while I have evidenciary reasons to believe, it still comes down to faith. It still comes down to my gut. Because who’s to say that Jesus wasn’t some mutant like those straight out of the X-Men, with the power to heal others and rise from the dead and transmute physical matter and everything else? Who’s to say Jesus wasn’t an extraterrestrial using hidden technologies to work “miracles” and it was simply disguising itself as a human male?
Atheists don’t like faith. Not the spiritual kind anyway. To them, it’s a clinging to mythology. It’s irrational. It’s foolish.
But God also tells us in the Bible that it is in human weaknesses where God often works strength, and that the “foolishness” of God is often better than the “wisdom” of humans.
In the Old Testament and New Testament both, God works through “small” people much of the time and He makes seemingly weak and foolish things into something glorious. This makes Judaism and Christianity (I cannot speak much to what the Koran tells Muslims) very unique. They don’t spend much time glorifying humans as so many other faiths do. Judaism and Christianity don’t try to explain every little thing in the world as needing some specific god or the purposeful action of a divine being as so many mythological systems in the past did. They present a picture of a flawed humanity alternately moving away from and trying to seek God…and a God who is trying to fix a broken relationship with us. This is such a fundamentally wondrous and moving thing that it speaks to me of truth, and not of the invention or designs of men creating Judaism or Christianity out of thin air.
These are God’s workings. You’ll have to take that on faith, though.
I certainly do.
(For Miz Pink’s take on today’s topic, click here.)