Musings, Nits, and Praises: Thelogical Musing: Because Then It Wouldn't Be Faith?

Musings, Nits, and Praises

A farrago of all things deemed blog-worthy by a music-loving, poetry-writing, humor-seeking English teacher


Thelogical Musing: Because Then It Wouldn't Be Faith?

In discussions of theodicy, the efficacy or lack thereof of intercessory prayer, and the like, a common response I've heard is "Well, if we knew everything, then it wouldn't be faith." Certainly in and of itself that statement is true, but I find it's tossed off quite often as a sort of reflexive response, not one the person has examined heavily in the context of actual experience. It seems to me there is ample room for faith between the little, if anything, we have to sustain our faith sometimes and God answering all the vexing matters of the human condition.

A typical defense for the "Well, if we knew everything . . ." argument is that our faith is inextricably linked to free will, that faith is a necessary by-product of God's granting humans the ability to choose to obey Him. However, God's intervening demonstrably in the world would not override our freedom to choose to follow Him any more than my demonstrations of love for my wife force her to love me in return.

If God does indeed desire that all men come to Him, then why not clearly act in the world in such a way to mitigate, if not eliminate, doubt concerning His presence or existence? Why is faith required to the degree that it is?

But then as I consider these questions, I'm mindful of the Bonhoeffer quote I wrote a post about back in February:

"It is not that God's help and presence must still be proved in our life; rather God's presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, in God's son Jesus Christ, than to discover what God intends for us today. The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, will be raised on the day of judgment. Our salvation is 'from outside ourselves.' I find salvation not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ. Only those who allow themselves to be found in Jesus Christ--in the incarnation, cross, and resurrection--are with God and God with them."

The skeptic in me thinks, "Ah, Diedrich, you're just letting God off the hook for the times he seems so absent." But when I consider Bonhoeffer's plight--a suffering which I'll likely never know--I think he understood so much more deeply than I the significance of Christ.

And so I continue to grapple.

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