Our reading for Tuesday, April 9, 2019 is Hebrews 11:1-3.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
These verses are the best and most noted definition of faith known by people of faith. To the mind directed by reason and impressed by technology to commit oneself to matters apprehended by faith seems foolish, but this should not be so. There is much we accept upon faith even from a scientific and non-spiritual perspective. The law of gravity we claim to be true we know by experience. We do not see it though we now understand how it operates, and even though we call it a law it can be broken under certain conditions we can manipulate.
However, it is a law in so far as it is a natural occurring condition. We can measure it and see its impact. It is consistent and has recurring effect upon us. We therefore do not doubt its existence. Now the emotional state of love is also something that cannot be seen though it can be felt and experienced. It is also reoccurring and experience by all people. We do not doubt that love exists and we can manipulate its influence on us as well.
When it comes to faith in God we can neither see, prove, nor manipulate it, though people are always attempting to manipulate God. We can experience God but because this is subjective and not tangible some claim God is a construct of our imagination and need. The problem comes in that faith in a God we cannot see is generally affirmed by the experience of most people and cultures. Even though particular beliefs and practices, and even the number of gods are different the belief in a Creator and Sustainer of creation is common among humanity; it is intuitive and one of the classic evidences for belief in God.
While the particulars of belief are not certain, faith that God exists and reveals himself is the foundation to forming our human response to our existence and to God. The author of Hebrews continues from where our reading leaves off describing the experience of God’s self-disclosure (revelation) accepted by the Hebrew people. Why do we accept their experience over that of other cultures or people? Some would say we cannot prefer one and must collect what is common between those of many religions to form the basis of particular beliefs.
From a sociological and anthropological standpoint this may seem reasonable, however, from the perspective of those of us who have inherited the perspective of the Judeo-Christian faith this is not acceptable. We do not form our beliefs from a cold and detached sociological process. If that were the case we would be reinforcing the contention of many agnostics and atheists who contend that faith in God is a construct of human beings, but God may not actually exist or be known should he exist.
I went through a time examining what I had inherited from my upbringing, comparing it to the beliefs of other faiths, even science which relies on faith (hypothesis) that some things are true to derive its conclusions. The sad truth is that science and technology can become its own god. The process drew me away from God and into darkness and despair. My journey came down to trusting in what I may not be certain of regarding what I had been told about God. I gave God a try, including the Bible, prayer and opening myself to experience God. I looked for God’s influence and impact both in the world I saw and in my life in particular.
My own experience from my past and the open test drive I gave God only verified my confidence I had in my experience. Added to this was the confirmation of tangible testimony to a historical Jesus and his resurrection which provided me with assurance the Bible is the most reliable revelation of God. As we approach Holy Week and Easter with the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection we must confirm the reason for our hope in Christ over against any other claim for our allegiance. The way to truth may convene with faith in God’s existence, but his activity throughout history directs us to Jesus.
He remains for those who explore his claims and review the evidence to be “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” No other. Furthermore, I know he is true because “he has walked with me, and talked to me, and told me I am his own.” Has he spoken to your heart and mind?
Blessings! Pastor Brian Homan