Certainty and faith: does having faith imply being blind?
I am writing this post as I am reading Colossians. I am about to move from chapter 2 into chapter 3, which starts with the words “If then you have been raised with Christ...” and then offers all sorts of instructions. Before we tackle them, some questions might be asked: should do those things? Why? Am I really confident in Jesus? Am I confident that following him is really the best path?
After all, isn’t this “faith stuff” just a bit too much to ask nowadays? Because today we have highly developed understandings of math and science and so much more. I love math and science. My undergraduate work is in engineering and I spent 25 years working in a great technical firm. We always drove for the right technical answer.
Funny thing though, we often applied a safety factor, a margin of error factor, to our solutions. It is reported that the Brooklyn Bridge is designed to be six times stronger than needed to account for human error and corruption (for example, inferior steel being supplied).
Why bring this up? Because in engineering, a profession often viewed as one of certainty, that kind of behavior – accounting for what-ifs and miscalculations – well, it seems to stop short of any sort of wholesale buy-in to the certainty of science and the mathematical answer.
Which brings me to the Christian faith. People read the word faith and think the word faith means believing in something/someone that the person of faith is not sure exists. Which then implies that strong faith must be to believe in something/someone that the person knows is not real.
If this is what Christian faith is, then Christians should be pitied.
The Bible does not define faith in this manner. Faith is a gift, but it is not a gift of stupidity.
Let’s use an analogy. If I say that I have faith in you, what am I saying? I am saying I have faith/belief/trust in you, a real person. Another way of describing faith in you, is to say I believe you are trustworthy. Right? And I wouldn’t say it blindly or flippantly; I’d only say that if I knew you, and I believed that to be true. If we say we have faith in our boss, or a government leader, we are saying we believe that person is trustworthy. This is the exact manner the Bible uses this word.
Biblical Faith is believing in a person you know. It is not belief in an idea/philosophy. It is knowing God.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Which is why Jesus as a person, the person he says he is in the gospel, is such a big deal. In Jesus, God has come to earth. Jesus is the image of the invisible God: God made manifest! That is the Biblical witness, or Biblical claim (if you prefer).
The Gospels all aim to make the point that Jesus is a real person. The Gospels all aim to make the point that Jesus claimed to be God. The Gospels all aim to make the point that Jesus proved he is God by what he did on earth. The Gospels all aim to make the point that Jesus—that God—did this because He loves you.