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Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Missing Link

Hebrews 11:1-3 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Faith is the "missing link". Not a leap in the dark faith, but a faith both reasonable and logical.  Faith is the capacity of the reason to believe things it does not understand.  Faith is not at odds with reason it simply expands the potential of reason.  Faith is not inconsistent with reason; in fact it is a tool of reason.

Simple reason would tell me a several thousand ton aircraft could never climb into the sky and fly thousands of miles.  But then I see one do it, it is documented that it happens thousands of times each day all around the world, I ride on one.  Now my reason has been confronted with revelation.  My reason now tells me there are forces at work here I do not see nor understand but I now believe they exist and are in operation and it now would be unreasonable to say otherwise.  The result, I board an airplane because of what I understand by faith.  My faith has become the substance of what I hope for.  It is through faith I understand that the aircraft will get me from point A to point B.

It reminds me of an occasion when we were hiking in a state park in the Texas hill country. We came across a group of rocks that spelled a word. There was no one else around. My reason led me to faith. I reasoned the order revealed in the group of rocks was an indication someone else had been there; an intelligent being, with power to arrange the rocks and make something meaningful out of them. I simply believed someone else had been present. I did not "know" it; I believed it (and still do).  But my faith seemed reasonable, in fact I don't think anyone would have considered it unreasonable and would likely have agreed with my conclusions.  My faith became the substance of (acknowledged the unknown person) who did the arranging of the rocks.  My faith became the evidence of the person I did not see.  My faith was the missing link that made sense out of what I did see.  Had I not had faith I would have become frustrated in my ability to understand the reality staring me square in the face.

That takes me to the rocks themselves and the universe in which they are found, in which we are all found. Where did it come from? My reason tells me it exists and it had to come from somewhere. Why is the universe such an expression of order, intelligence, and power? My reason tells me the cause must be ordered, intelligent, and powerful. As reasonable as all of this may be I still am without understanding as to why? how?  I may begin to rationalize it must have just happened through a process of random selection. But can I really be comfortable with that?  Is that really reasonable?  No more than I could be comfortable with the rocks in the state park simply rolling into place!  In fact I am quite sure no reasonable person would have argued very long for such an explanation.

Then I am confronted with revelation. A revelation that informs my reason. It tells of a self-existing, ordered God who is infinitely intelligent and whose power knows no limits. I believe the revelation not because it is speculative and fanciful but because it produces the missing link. It explains things I could never know apart from revelation. Now my reason tells me there are forces at work here I do not see nor completely understand but I believe they exist and are in operation and it now would be unreasonable to say otherwise.

Thus the Scripture says, "Through faith we understand".  When we believe we have found the missing link!

1 Peter 1:8 - Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: . . . .
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