Monday, March 13, 2006

Faith and Knowledge

Gordon Smith asks: "At what point does faith and knowledge meet? "
Faith is a kind of knowledge. People sometimes get confused about this since a famous philosopher talked about a "leap of faith." Suddenly, faith is something to be believed without facts, without evidence. But no faith works that way.

When we get on an airplane for the first time, we may not have studied all the statistics proving the safety of air flight, nor would we have examined the plane itself for it's soundness. However, we know of and personally know of many people who did fly in airplanes and had no question about their safety. And we have heard of literally thousands, perhaps millions of people who take airplane flights, and so we have a certain amount of knowledge that air travel is safe.

Nevertheless, when we climb on any airplane and wait for it to fly, it is an act of faith. We know that there is a possibility of the airplane crashing. And though it may be unlikely, we know that this airplane we are on could be one of the few that have serious problems. That could make us nervous, even jittery. But we climb on that plane, and act on our faith. It is a faith based on some knowledge, but it is still faith.

This is how it is with us and God as well. God asks us to do things or requests that we believe certain things about him. Do we just take it because the Bible says so? No-- what we believe about God in some way fits with our experience of life. And we have heard others who have similar beliefs in God and how those beliefs have formed their lives for the better.

God recognizes this and supports the knowledge that confirms our faith. This is why God tells us to "remember" so often in Scripture. We need to remember what God has done for us already, because that-- more than any passage in Scripture-- is the basis of our faith. The children of Israel weren't asked to just believe on God based on nothing-- they had the crossing of the Red Sea to base their faith on. We, as Christians, aren't asked to believe in a God we don't understand, but a God who loved us so much that he surrendered his Son to die on the cross for us. The cross was real. Our experiences of God in our lives are real. They are the knowledge on which we build our faith.

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