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Faith

I believe
Smith Wigglesworth
I am not moved by what
I see. I am not moved by
what I feel. I am moved
only by what I believe.
Charles Spurgeon
Faith obliterates time,
annihilates distance, and
brings future things at
once into its possession.
Martin Luther
Prayer is not
overcoming Gods
reluctance, but laying
hold of His willingness.
Watchman Nee
Faith looks not at what
happens to him but at
Him Whom he
believes.
The Apostles Creed begins with
the words I believe
McGrath wants to ask,
What does that mean to talk
about believing in God?
What issues does it raise?
What do we understand by the
words like faith and belief?
What do you think the word faith means,
define it belowis it different for people with
and without a relationship with God?

What are your favourite biblical examples of


people having faith?
The idea of trusting in God is
of great importance in the
Bible:
In the calling of Abraham,
Gen 15:1-6
___________________________
___________________________
The idea of trusting in God is
of great importance in the
Bible:
In the calling of Abraham,
Gen 15:1-6
___________________________
Abraham believed God and
___________________________
trusted in his promise
Crowds who came to Jesus are
described as having faiththey
believed that Jesus had a special
status, identity or authority, and
this enabled them to be healed in
some way (physical, spiritually,
emotionally etc.)
When Jesus saw their faith, he
said, Friend, your sins are
forgiven. Luke 5:20
Then he said to him, Rise and
go; your faith has made you
well. Luke 17:19
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were
sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from
Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralysed, and they were seeking to
bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
And when he saw their faith, he said, Man, your sins are forgiven you.
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, Who is this who
speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?
When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, Why do you question
in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say,
Rise and walk?
24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive
sinshe said to the man who was paralysedI say to you, rise, pick up your
bed and go home.
And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying
on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they
glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, We have seen extraordinary
things today.
In everyday life faith is often
used to mean
________________________________
________________________________
- we can know that the capital of
England is London, and we can
believe that the earth rotates
around the sunthey can be
proven by investigation of facts
In everyday life faith is often
used to mean
________________________________
having a weak form of
________________________________
knowledge.
- we can know that the capital of
England is London, and we can
believe that the earth rotates
around the sunthey can be
proven by investigation of facts
- But saying, I believe there is a
God is taken to mean something
like I think there is a God, but
I cannot demonstrate this with
any degree of certainty
However the theological use of
the word faith is different and
more complex than is understood
in those comments. In western
philosophy of the 18th and 19th
century there was a view that
anything worth knowing
________________________________
________________________________
_______________________________.
However the theological use of
the word faith is different and
more complex than is understood
in those comments. In western
philosophy of the 18th and 19th
century there was a view that
anything worth knowing
________________________________
could be provedby logical
________________________________
reasoning or scientific
_______________________________.
investigation
A. K. Clifford said,
It is wrong always, everywhere,
and for anyone, to believe anything
upon insufficient evidence
This thinking had a powerful effect
and still exists in some circles today
and it has resulted in many making
fun of having faith in God as it was
said that unless Gods existence could
be proved, it was an irrelevant idea.
Over time this idea has become
less strong with many believing
that many fundamental beliefs
of western culture lie beyond
proof. Nowadays we know that
some things can be proved
whilst others lie beyond proof.
The existence of God is one of
these.
Science, by its very nature, is never capable of
proving the non-existence of anything.

For example, can science prove there are no


unicorns? Absolutely not. How could science ever
prove that unicorns don't exist? All science can do
is say that scientists may have been looking for
unicorns for a long time and never found any.
They might therefore conclude that no one is
justified in believing that unicorns exist. They
might show how certain facts considered to be
evidence for unicorns in the past can be explained
adequately by other things. They may invoke
Occam's Razor to favor a simpler explanation for
the facts than that unicorns exist. But scientists
can never prove unicorns themselves don't exist.
Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is a principle
from philosophy. Suppose there exist two
explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the
simpler one is usually better.

Another way of saying it is that the more


assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely
an explanation is.
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor
Can Gods Existence be Proved?

McGrath suggests that the basic


Christian position regarding the
proof for the existence of God:
Can Gods Existence be Proved?

1. The existence of God is


something that reason cannot
prove conclusively. The fact that
the existence of God lies beyond
reason does not mean that the
existence of God is opposite to
reason.
2. Certain excellent reasons may
be put forward for suggesting that
God exists; these do not, however,
count as proofs in the sense of
rigorous logical demonstrations
or conclusive scientific
experiments.
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
McGrath starts his examination of
this idea by looking at Thomas
Aquinas ideas.
3.
F aith is about trust in
_________________________________
God, rather than just
_________________________________
agreeing that God exists.
_________________________________
McGrath starts his examination of
this idea by looking at Thomas
Aquinas ideas.
Tomas Aquinas was the most famous
and influential theologian of the Middle
Ages.
Born in Italy.
Found fame through teaching and
writing at the University of Paris etc.
Most famous work is Summa Theologiae
Wrote other works including Summa
Contra Gentiles a major statement of
the rationality of the Christian faith and
the existence of God.
Aquinas believed that we could see
pointers towards the existence of
God from the world around us. He
suggested __________________
supporting the existence of God all
of which draw on the world to point
towards the existence of its creator.
Aquinas believed that we could see
pointers towards the existence of
God from the world around us. He
Five Ways
suggested __________________
supporting the existence of God all
of which draw on the world to point
towards the existence of its creator.
Aquinas believed that we could see
pointers towards the existence of
God from the world around us. He
Five Ways
suggested __________________
supporting the existence of God all
of which draw on the world to point
towards the existence of its creator.
His basic idea was that the world
mirrors God, as its creatoran
idea from his doctrine of the
analogy of being.
_________________________________
_________________________________
His basic idea was that the world
mirrors God, as its creatoran
idea from his doctrine of the
analogy of being.
_________________________________
As an artist might sign a
_________________________________
painting so God has signed the
creation.
What we see in the worldthings
like its signs of being orderlycan
be explained if God is its creator. If
God brought the world into being,
and somehow put his impression
on it, then something of Gods
nature can be known from
creation.
What we see in the worldthings
like its signs of being orderlycan
be explained if God is its creator. If
God brought the world into being,
and somehow put his impression
on it, then something of Gods
nature can be known from
creation.
What we see in the worldthings
like its signs of being orderlycan
be explained if God is its creator. If
God brought the world into being,
and somehow put his impression
on it, then something of Gods
nature can be known from
creation.
Aquinas argues that the
ordering of the world is the
most convincing evidence of
Gods existence and wisdom.
It is that idea that is the
foundation for all of his Five
Waysit is often called the
argument from design, or the
teleological argument. Here we
shall look at only two of the
ways.
_________________________________
_________________________________
The world is not static but
dynamic. E.g. Rain falls form the
sky, stones roll down hills, the
earth rotates around the sun. This
is normally called the argument
from motion but is probably
better called the argument from
change.
1. Everything in the world is
_________________________________ in
a state of motion or change.
_________________________________
The world is not static but
dynamic. E.g. Rain falls form the
sky, stones roll down hills, the
earth rotates around the sun. This
is normally called the argument
from motion but is probably
better called the argument from
change.
So how did nature come to be in
motion, or in change? Why are
things moving and not simply
static? Aquinas suggests that
__________________________________
__________________________________
And the cause must have a cause
and so on with a great number of
causes all interacting.
So how did nature come to be in
motion, or in change? Why are
things moving and not simply
static? Aquinas suggests that
__________________________________
everything that moves is moved
__________________________________
by something, by a cause.
And the cause must have a cause
and so on with a great number of
causes all interacting.
But unless there is an infinite
number of causes there had to be an
original cause from which all other
motion started. This would be the
origin point for al other motion or
change. So from the fact that things
are in motion, Aquinas argues for an
original cause of this motionthis
cause being God.
In recent times this is stated as God
being the cause who brought the
universe into existence.
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
Usually it is stated like this:
In recent times this is stated as God
being the cause who brought the
universe into existence.
It is usually called the cosmological
_______________________________________
argumentfrom the Greek kosmos
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
meaning universe.
Usually it is stated like this:
1. Everything within the universe
depends on something else for its
existence;
2. What is true of its individual parts is
also true of the universe itself;
3. The universe thus depends
on something else for its
existence for as long as it has
existed or will exist;
4. The universe thus depends
on God for its existence.
This assumes that the
universe requires an
explanation for its beingit
relates especially to the
current big-bangtheory of
the origin of the universe.
All in all, the Hubble telescope
reveals an estimated 100
billion galaxies in the universe
or so, but this number is likely
to increase to about 200 billion
as telescope technology in
space improves.
2. The other argument from Aquinas
ways, is
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
Aquinas notes that the universe
shows signs of intelligent design.
2. The other argument from Aquinas
ways, is
the teleological argumentfrom
____________________________________
the Greek telos meaning purpose
____________________________________
____________________________________
or goal.
Aquinas notes that the universe
shows signs of intelligent design.
Natural processes and objects seem to
be adapted with definite objectives in
mindthey seem to have a purpose
and seem to be designed. Things dont
design themselves, they are designed
by something or someone else.
Aquinas suggests that the source of
this ordering must be God.
This idea was also explained by
___________________________ who
suggested that the world was like a
watch, something that has design
and is created for a purpose. The
watch must have a watchmaker.
Paley in particular was impressed
by the human eye which in its
complexity and development could
only be the result of intelligent
design and construction.
This idea was also explained by
William Paley (1743-1805) who
___________________________
suggested that the world was like a
watch, something that has design
and is created for a purpose. The
watch must have a watchmaker.
Paley in particular was impressed
by the human eye which in its
complexity and development could
only be the result of intelligent
design and construction.
This idea was also explained by
William Paley (1743-1805) who
___________________________
suggested that the world was like a
watch, something that has design
and is created for a purpose. The
watch must have a watchmaker.
Paley in particular was impressed
by the human eye which in its
complexity and development could
only be the result of intelligent
design and construction.
Paleys idea was influential
until Darwin (1809-1892)
proposed the theory of
evolutionin this Darwin
offered a different mechanism
by which complex structures
arose.
Paleys idea was influential
until Darwin (1809-1892)
proposed the theory of
evolutionin this Darwin
offered a different mechanism
by which complex structures
arose.
Darwin wrote Origin of the
Species (1859) and insisted
that complex structures could
happen on a purely natural
basis without the need for any
intelligent designer.
The idea of intelligent design is
still strong today.
Aquinas doesnt offer proofs
because his arguments
presuppose that God exists. The
structure of his arguments is to
trace a cause back to its origin,
God. Aquinas' approach is
differenthe argues that, if we
presuppose that God made the
world, we end up with a way of
making sense of the world that
makes a lot of sense of things.
Aquinas is arguing that,
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
It is a confirmation, but not a
proof, of God's existence.
Aquinas is arguing that,
seen from the Christian
_________________________________
perspective, the existence of God
_________________________________
_________________________________
seems to fit in well with what
_________________________________
can be observed of the world.
It is a confirmation, but not a
proof, of God's existence.
Aquinas is arguing that,
seen from the Christian
_________________________________
perspective, the existence of God
_________________________________
_________________________________
seems to fit in well with what
_________________________________
can be observed of the world.
It is a confirmation, but not a
proof, of God's existence.
A few comments
on Intelligent
Design
For since the creation of the
world Gods invisible qualities
his eternal power and divine
naturehave been clearly seen,
being understood from what has
been made, so that people are
without excuse.
Romans 1:20
A Christian scientific view
comes from
The Institute for Creation
Research equips believers with
evidence of the Bible's accuracy
and authority through scientific
research, educational programs,
and media presentations, all
conducted within a thoroughly
biblical framework.
https://vimeo.com/71033120
https://vimeo.com/71033120
https://vimeo.com/72767699
https://vimeo.com/72767699
If designs imply a designer, and the
universe shows marks of design, then
the universe was designed. Clearly,
every life form in Earth's history has
been highly complex.
1 strand of DNA = 1 volume of
theEncyclopedia Britannica.
The human brain has approx. 10 billion
Gb capacity.
http://www.gotquestions.org/teleological-argument.html
Besides living things here on
Earth, the whole universe
seems designed for life.
100s of conditions are
required for life on Earth
everything from the mass
density of the universe down
to earthquake activity must be
fine-tuned in order for life to
survive.
One of the main elements in the Teleological
Argument is known as the Anthropic
Principle. This principle sees the universe as
designed specifically to support life. Many
environmental parameters are so precisely
tuned to support life that to alter any one of
them, even the slightest, would disallow
conditions for life here on Earth. For example,
life on Earth would not be possible if:
The axial tilt of the Earth were greater or less
The distance of the Earth from the Sun were
greater or less
The Earths gravitational interaction with the
Moon were greater or less
If the Earths surface gravity were greater or
less
If the length of the day were longer or shorter
The random chance of all
these things occurring is
literally beyond
imagination.
The odds are many orders
of magnitude higher than
the number of atomic
particles in the whole
universe!
With this much design, it
is difficult to believe that
we simply an accident. A
leading atheist/
philosopher Antony Flew
converted to theism
based largely on this
argument.
The premise of the fine-
tuned Universe assertion
is that a small change in
several of the
dimensionless
fundamental physical
constants would make the
Universe radically
different. As Stephen
Hawking has noted,

http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
"The laws of science, as we know
them at present, contain many
fundamental numbers, like the
size of the electric charge of the
electron and the ratio of the
masses of the proton and the
electron. ... The remarkable fact
is that the values of these
numbers seem to have been
very finely adjusted to make
possible the development of
life.
The article continues
If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2%
stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant
representing its strength were 2% larger), while
the other constants were left unchanged,
diprotons would be stable and hydrogen would
fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium.
This would drastically alter the physics of stars,
and presumably preclude the existence of life
similar to what we observe on Earth. The
existence of the di-proton would short-circuit the
slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen
would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the
Universe's hydrogen would be consumed in the
first few minutes after the Big Bang.
The earths distance from the
sun is crucial for a stable
water cycle. Too far away,
and most water would freeze;
too close and most water
would boil.
The earths gravity, axial tilt,
rotation period, magnetic
field, crust thickness,
oxygen/nitrogen ratio, carbon
dioxide, water vapour and
ozone levels are just right.
Former atheist Sir Fred
Hoyle states, commonsense
interpretation of the facts is
that a super-intelligence has
monkeyed with physics, as
well as chemistry and biology,
and that there are no blind
forces in nature.
Are these Proofs of any use?

Other theologians find these


proofs of little use. Blaise Pascal
(1623-62) was french
mathematician and philosopher
and he disagreed with Aquinas
approach for two reasons.
1. _________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
Pascal commented that,
The metaphysical proofs for the
existence of God are so remote from
human reasoning, and so complex,
that they have little impact
1.
H e thought that the philosophical
1. _________________________________
god which resulted from Aquinas
___________________________________
arguments was unlike any god found
___________________________________
in the Old or New Testaments
___________________________________
Pascal commented that,
The metaphysical proofs for the
existence of God are so remote from
human reasoning, and so complex,
that they have little impact
2. Pascal argued that these proofs
assumed that God was known
primarily through reason.
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
We know the truth, not only
through our reason, but through
our heart.
2. Pascal argued that these proofs
assumed that God was known
primarily through reason.
_________________________________
For him the human heart had
_________________________________
reasons for believing, or not
_________________________________
believing, in God.
We know the truth, not only
through our reason, but through
our heart.
This appeal of God to the human
2. Pascal argued that these proofs
heart went well beyond
assumed that God was known any
identification of him which
primarily through reason. might
be seen in the world around
_________________________________
For him the human heart had us. It
includes a deep-seated longing
_________________________________ for
reasons for believing, or not
God within each person, which
_________________________________
believing, in God.
Pascal believed to be of great
We know the truth, not only
importance in the longing for God
through our reason, but through
and meaning that exists within
our heart.
each heart.
This appeal of God to the human
heart went well beyond any
identification of him which might
be seen in the world around us.
For him the human heart had It
includes a deep-seated longing for
reasons for believing, or not
God within each person, which
believing, in God.
Pascal believed to be of great
importance in the longing for God
and meaning that exists within
each heart.
This appeal of God to the human
heart went well beyond any
identification of him which might
be seen in the world around us. It
includes a deep-seated longing for
God within each person, which
Pascal believed to be of great
importance in the longing for God
and meaning that exists within
each heart.
In the end, according to
Pascal, you cant argue
someone into the kingdom
of God.
The existence of god cannot be proved
neither can it be disproved. We see this in
the faith of atheisman atheist believes that
there is no God. This position is just as hard
to prove as the belief that there is God!
Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
(1889-1951) was a strong critic of proofs for
Gods existence. He suggested these proofs
were usually provide by people who already
believed in God for other reasons, but hold
that it is important to provide a reasoned
defence of their faith.
A proof of God's existence ought really to be
something by means of which one could convince
oneself that God exists. But I think that what believers
who have furnished such proofs have wanted to do is
to give their belief an intellectual analysis and
foundation, although they themselves would never
have come to believe as a result of such proofs.
Faith is beyond reason
___________________________________
The Roman Catholic Pope, John Paul
II, in 1998 write an encyclical letter
[a papal letter sent to all bishops of
the Roman Catholic Church], Fides et
Ratio (Faith and Reason). In it he set
out the traditional Christian approach
to faith and reason in an easily
understood way. The letter starts in
this way,
Faith is beyond reason
___________________________________
but not opposite or opposed to reason

The Roman Catholic Pope, John Paul


II, in 1998 write an encyclical letter
[a papal letter sent to all bishops of
the Roman Catholic Church], Fides et
Ratio (Faith and Reason). In it he set
out the traditional Christian approach
to faith and reason in an easily
understood way. The letter starts in
this way,
Faith is beyond reason
___________________________________
The Roman Catholic Pope, John Paul
II, in 1998 write an encyclical letter
[a papal letter sent to all bishops of
the Roman Catholic Church], Fides et
Ratio (Faith and Reason). In it he set
out the traditional Christian approach
to faith and reason in an easily
understood way. The letter starts in
this way,
Faith and reason are like two wings on which
the human spirit rises to the contemplation of
truth; and God has placed in the human heart
a desire to know the truth in a word, to know
himself so that, by knowing and loving God,
men and women may also come to the fullness
of truth about themselves.
His basic idea is that
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
In the far reaches of the human
heart there is a seed of desire and
nostalgia for God
The letter asks if human reason
alone can lead us to know God?
His basic idea is that
___________________________________
human beings long to know the
___________________________________
truth, and are constantly searching
___________________________________
for it.
___________________________________
In the far reaches of the human
heart there is a seed of desire and
nostalgia for God
The letter asks if human reason
alone can lead us to know God?
In answering it suggests that
philosophy helps us in this task
after all it is driven by human
natures desire to understand why
we exist . But without help it cannot
answer the big questions such as,
Why are we here? So God chooses
to make some things known to us
through revelation that would
otherwise be unknown, this would
not be known by human reasoning.
The letter goes on to suggest that
_________________________________
but that the world, Gods
creation, has many hints or
suggestions of Gods existence and
nature. Using Acts 17 it says that
it is entirely reasonable to infer
Gods existence from the wonders
of nature and a human sense of
divinity within us.
The letter goes on to suggest that
faith is not blind trust
_________________________________
but that the world, Gods
creation, has many hints or
suggestions of Gods existence and
nature. Using Acts 17 it says that
it is entirely reasonable to infer
Gods existence from the wonders
of nature and a human sense of
divinity within us.
Such ideas are not proof, but they
do add to the weight of evidence for
faith. When we believe our faith
seeks some explanations and
reasoning.
John Polkinghore is a theoretical
physicist with and interest in
theology. He has written many
books explaining that
Christianity is trying to make
sense of the world based upon
the evidence that is available, he
states that,
Faith is not a question of
shutting one's eyes, gritting one's
teeth, and believing the
impossible. It involves a leap, but
a leap into the light rather than
the dark.
Polkinghorne argues that science
shows us a universe that is
__________________________________
__________________________________
_________________________________,
intrinsically rational, partly veiled
in character, open in its process,
and information-generating in its
nature.
Polkinghorne argues that science
shows us a universe that is
deeply intelligible,
__________________________________
__________________________________
rationally beautiful, finely
_________________________________,
tuned for fruitfulness
intrinsically rational, partly veiled
in character, open in its process,
and information-generating in its
nature.
These remarkable properties, he
argues, are not just happy
accidents. They are something that
needs to be explained. He suggests
that the best explanation of these
observations is that the world is
the orderly creation of God. The
approach is evidence-based, asking
how what we observe may best be
explained. It is not conclusive; it is,
however, highly suggestive.
Polkinghorne says how important Jesus is as part of
the evidence for the Christian faith.
The center of my faith lies in my encounter with the
figure of Jesus Christ, as I meet him in the gospels, in
the witness of the church and in the sacraments. Here
is the heart of my Christian faith and hope.
Yet, at a subsidiary but supportive level, there are
also hints of God's presence which arise from our
scientific knowledge. The actual way we answer the
question How?, turns out to point us on to pressing
also the question Why?, so that science by itself is
found not to be sufficiently intellectually satisfying.
Although some atheist writers
try to make the Christian faith
look like a blind leap in the
dark, it is clear that this is not
the case.
Thomas Aquinas showed that
faith has its reasons,
suggesting that faith could be
defined as assent to divine
revelation.
Faith and Gods Promises

During the 16th century, emphasis


was placed on the relationship of
faith.
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
_________________________________
Faith and Gods Promises

During the 16th century, emphasis


was placed on the relationship of
faith.
_________________________________
To believe in God is about
_________________________________
more than accepting that
_________________________________
God exists; it is about
_________________________________
trusting that God.
Martin Luther explored this saying that
faith is more than an intellectual
agreement. Whilst faith makes us agree
that somethings are true, it involves
trust or confidence. Faith is about
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
Luther wrote about this idea of faith in
his 1520 essay The Babylonian Captivity
of the Church.
Martin Luther explored this saying that
faith is more than an intellectual
agreement. Whilst faith makes us agree
that somethings are true, it involves
trust or confidence. Faith is about
trusting a God whose promises
_______________________________________
_______________________________________
could be relied upon.
Luther wrote about this idea of faith in
his 1520 essay The Babylonian Captivity
of the Church.
Where there is the Word of the God who
makes promises, there must necessarily
be the faith of the person who accepts
those promises. It is clear that the
beginning of our salvation is a faith
which clings to the Word of a promising
God who, without any effort on our part,
in free and unmerited mercy goes before
us and offers us a word of promise.
McGrath looks at three points
relating to Luther's idea of faith:
1. Faith is personal, not just
historical.
2. Faith concerns trust in the
promises of God.
3. Faith unites the believer to
Christ.
1. Faith is personal, not just historical.
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
___________ The facts do not save us, saving faith has to
do with believing and trusting that Christ was born for
us personally, and that he has achieved our salvation.
Luther puts it like this,
1. Faith is personal, not just historical.
So we might believe the historical reports of the
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Gospels without it changing our lives at all.
___________ The facts do not save us, saving faith has to
do with believing and trusting that Christ was born for
us personally, and that he has achieved our salvation.
Luther puts it like this,
I have often spoken about two different kinds of
faith. The first of them is like this: you believe
that it is true that Christ is the person who is
described and proclaimed in the gospels, but you
do not believe that he is such a person for you.
You doubt if you can receive that from him, and
you think: Yes, I'm sure he is that person for
someone else (like Peter and Paul, and for
religious and holy people). But is he that person
for me? Can I confidently expect to receive
everything from him that the saints expect?
You see, this faith is nothing. It receives nothing
of Christ, and tastes nothing of him either. It
cannot feel joy, nor love of him or for him. This is
a faith related to Christ, but not a faith in Christ
The only faith which deserves to be called
Christian is this: you believe unreservedly that it
is not only for Peter and the saints that Christ is
such a person, but also for you yourself in fact,
for you more than anyone else.
2. Faith concerns trust in the
promises of God. Both Luther and
Calvin stressed this idea. Luther puts it
like this,
Everything depends upon faith. The
person who does not have faith is like
someone who has to cross the sea, but
is so frightened that he does not trust
the ship. And so he stays where he is,
and is never saved, because he will not
get on board and cross over.
Faith is not merely believing that
something is true;
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Luther moves on to ask who we
are meant to be trustinghis
answer was straightforward and
simple, Faith is about putting your
trust in the promises of God, and
the integrity and faithfulness of
the God who made those promises.
Faith is not merely believing that
something is true;
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it is being prepared to act upon
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that belief, and rely upon it.
Luther moves on to ask who we
are meant to be trustinghis
answer was straightforward and
simple, Faith is about putting your
trust in the promises of God, and
the integrity and faithfulness of
the God who made those promises.
Believers must be certain that the
one who has promised forgiveness
to whoever confesses their sins will
most faithfully fulfill this promise.
For Luther,
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Believers must be certain that the
one who has promised forgiveness
to whoever confesses their sins will
most faithfully fulfill this promise.
For Luther,
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faith is only as strong as the one in
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whom we believe and trustthis
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is not about how strongly we
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believe but in how reliable the one
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we believe in is.
Even if my faith is weak, I still have exactly the same
treasure and the same Christ as others. There is no
difference It is like two people, each of whom owns a
hundred gold coins. One may carry them around in a
paper sack, the other in an iron chest. But despite
these differences, they both own the same treasure.
Thus the Christ who you and I own is one and the
same, irrespective of the strength or weakness of your
faith or mine.
The foundation of faith is whats
most importanteven a weak
faith in a trustworthy God is
better than strong faith in the
unreliable. For Luther this is a
constant trust in the
trustworthiness of God.
Karl Barth put it this way,
In God alone is there faithfulness,
and faith is the trust that we may
hold to Him, to His promise and to
His guidance. To hold to God is to
rely on the fact that God is there for
me, and to live in this certainty.
3. Faith unites the believer to Christ.
Luther suggested that faith unites us
with Christ in the same way a
bridegroom is united with his bride. In
marriage
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3. Faith unites the believer to Christ.
Luther suggested that faith unites us
with Christ in the same way a
bridegroom is united with his bride. In
marriage
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all things are held in common by
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husband and wifeand so In
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Christ we boast of and glory in all
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that Christ is and possesses.
So the believer can boast of and glory in whatever
Christ possesses, as though it were his or her own;
and whatever the believer has, Christ claims as his
own. Let us see how this works out, and see how it
benefits us. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation.
The human soul is full of sin, death, and damnation.
Now let faith come between them. Sin, death, and
damnation will be Christ's. And grace, life, and
salvation will be the believers."
Faith might then be seen as a
wedding ring showing mutual
commitment and union between
Christ and the believer.
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wrote Philip Melanchthon (1497
1560), Luther's colleague at
Wittenberg. Thus grace, peace,
forgiveness etc. are now available to
the believer.
Faith might then be seen as a
wedding ring showing mutual
commitment and union between
Christ and the believer.
To know Christ is to know
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his benefits,
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wrote Philip Melanchthon (1497
1560), Luther's colleague at
Wittenberg. Thus grace, peace,
forgiveness etc. are now available to
the believer.
Faith and Doubt: The Problem of
Suffering

Faith cant ever fully prove its claims


this applies both to Christian belief
(or other religions) and atheism.
Belief in God cannot be totally proved
or disproved.
This leads into the question that is
asked by many of faith and non-
believers,
If God is good, why is
there pain and suffering
in the world?
How can suffering be brought
together with the Christian
declaration of a God who is good?
Christian tradition has explored
this in a number of ways.
The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons
have been very influential here. He
suggested that
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This process of growth needs an
environment in which to grow,
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The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons
have been very influential here. He
suggested that
human nature is something that
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develops, we are born with a capacity
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to grow and develop to maturity
This process of growth needs an
environment in which to grow,
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The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons
have been very influential here. He
suggested that
human nature is something that
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develops, we are born with a capacity
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to grow and develop to maturity
This process of growth needs an
environment in which to grow,
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it needs to be in contact with good
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and evil if truly informed decisions
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are to be made.
John Hick (born 1922) has been important in
developing this in a modern context. In Evil and
the God of Love, Hick suggests that humans are
created incomplete. For them to become all that
God wants ______________________________________
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________________________________________________.
So good and evil are necessary in the world for
humans to grow in a meaningful way.
John Hick (born 1922) has been important in
developing this in a modern context. In Evil and
the God of Love, Hick suggests that humans are
created incomplete. For them to become all that
God wants ______________________________________
they must take part in a world of good and evilfor
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God did not create them as robot like machines but
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as beings who can freely respond to Him
So good and evil are necessary in the world for
humans to grow in a meaningful way.
Alvin Plantinga (born 1932) offers a
free will defence which is deeply
rooted in the Christian tradition.
His basic approach is this:
1. Free will is morally important.
That means that a world in which
human beings possess free will is
superior to a hypothetical world in
which they do not.
2. _______________________________
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3. God must bring into being the
best possible world that he is able
to do.
If human beings were forced
2. _______________________________ to
do nothing but good, that would
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represent a denial of human
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free will.
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3. God must bring into being the
best possible world that he is able
to do.
4. It must therefore follow that
God must create a world with
free will.
5. This means that
_______________________________
_______________________________.
God is operating under self-
imposed constraints that mean
he will not force human beings to
do good.
4. It must therefore follow that
God must create a world with
free will.
5. This means that
God is not responsible if human
_______________________________
beings choose to do evil
_______________________________.
God is operating under self-
imposed constraints that mean
he will not force human beings to
do good.
The approach of Hick and Plantinga
is philosophical. Others have looked
to develop a more theological
approach based on specific ideas
about the Christian faith.
Jurgen Moltmann (born 1926) in
The Crucified God (1974) developed
the idea that God shares in the
suffering of the world. The suffering
of Christ on the cross is both the
foundation and the basis of a real
Christian theology.
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Jurgen Moltmann (born 1926) in
The Crucified God (1974) developed
the idea that God shares in the
suffering of the world. The suffering
of Christ on the cross is both the
foundation and the basis of a real
Christian theology.
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Because Jesus is God incarnate
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the suffering of Christ is also
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the suffering of God.
Moltmann argues that a God who
cannot suffer is a lacking
something, not a perfect, God.
Stressing that God cannot be
forced to change or undergo
suffering, Moltmann declares
that God willed to undergo
suffering.
In the passion of the Son, the
Father himself suffers the pains
of abandonment. In the death of
the Son, death comes upon God
himself, and the Father suffers
the death of his Son in his love for
forsaken man.
In this Moltmann opened up a
new way of thinking about
suffering.
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In this Moltmann opened up a
new way of thinking about
suffering.
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One of the problems here has
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always been that God seemed
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distant from humanitys pain and
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sufferinghe was immune and
detached.
Annie Besant' wrote in Why I Do
Not Believe in God (1887),
I do not believe in God. My
mind finds no grounds on
which to build up a reasonable
faith. My heart revolts against
the specter of an Almighty
Indifference to the pain of
sentient beings.
Moltmann thus, opened up a new
response to thinking about how
God chose to share the sufferings
of humanity. God had become
committed and compassionate in
the suffering of mankind.
We should note that we can look
at the problem of suffering in two
quite different ways. One tries to
make sense of it;
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We should note that we can look
at the problem of suffering in two
quite different ways. One tries to
make sense of it;
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the other tries to help people
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cope with it to live
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meaningfully and courageously
________________________________
in the face of suffering and pain.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (190644)
saw that, our God is a suffering
God one who bears our sin,
pain, and anguish. The deepest
meaning of the cross of Christ is
that there is no suffering on
earth that is not also borne by
God.
The church, for Bonhoeffer, is the
continuing presence of the
suffering Christ in history, a
body of persons called to share in
the messianic suffering of God by
being there for others, carrying
their burdens and thus fulfilling
the duty laid on them by Christ
himself.
It is through suffering that Christians
learn to turn the final outcome of
their actions over to God, who alone
can perfect them in glory. And it is in
dying that they find true freedom as
they meet God face to face. A
suffering God, according to
Bonhoeffer,
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It is through suffering that Christians
learn to turn the final outcome of
their actions over to God, who alone
can perfect them in glory. And it is in
dying that they find true freedom as
they meet God face to face. A
has not abandoned his people; he
suffering God, according to
stands by them as a fellow-sufferer,
Bonhoeffer,
and will bring them home to a place
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from which suffering and pain have
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been removed.
The question of God and the
presence of suffering is a
hot-topic in current day
society although logically
any argument that tries to
show that evil is logically
incompatible with the
existence of God is today
thought of as being almost
totally empty.