Tuesday, April 14, 2015

by faith we understand

"By faith we understand..." (Heb 11:3)

Everybody begins with faith in something.  We trust our own reason and observation and that usually stands us in good stead.  But we can only see clearly and reason clearly when we reason and see from God’s point of view. Adam and Eve were presented with two ways of seeing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They yielded to what looked good and made sense to them... 

"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise..."  (Genesis 3:6 ESV) 

Ever since that day our minds have been darkened, and we have been very muddled in our thinking, especially about God, and right and wrong, and things unseen by our physical sight and senses

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD."  (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)  

Paul describes it in Ephesians 4 and Romans 1... that humankind walks "in the futility of their minds... darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart." (Ephesians 4:17-18; see Romans 1:18-22)
So people look at creation and could (if they would) see evidence of God, but they suppress the knowledge of God.  A change must take place inside of us to trust again God’s authoritative revelation.  Jesus said,

"If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority."  (John 7:17 ESV)

God is the One who must break in!  He gives evidence of himself in creation and history, but human reason and observation is never sufficient to put it all together.  Apart from God our reasoning is fruitless and vain, but His Spirit testifies to the Truth.  So faith begins with seeing from God’s point of view as he has revealed it in his word. 

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17 ESV)

Everybody has faith in something before they understand, even if it’s faith in themselves to figure stuff out.  To believe that all that we see around us must have a purely natural explanation is a kind of faith

If we think that everything absolutely must have a natural cause, then we are forced to believe that a random, non-living, unconscious, impersonal, non-communicating, amoral universe without meaning and purpose gave rise to creatures who think, communicate, love, have purpose, and find meaning and value, and long for moral rightness. As long as people grip that assumption they will not find the truth.  

Anselm said a better approach is, “Faith seeking understanding.”   A biblical faith and submission goes hand in hand with discovering and seeing clearly the truth from God's point of view.  

We need not be intimidated by experts, popular speakers, and talk-show guests who try to debunk belief in God and his word, making pronouncements about things they do not know. G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

Without revelation from God "we are afloat on the raft of our knowledge upon the sea of our ignorance."

God says, "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?" (Isaiah 2:22 NIV)

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