Is Faith Necessary?

As an atheist, I came to know the existence of God – not through something that somebody told me or something that I read – but through silence. In silent contemplation of the natural world, I became aware of infinite presence. Intellectually, I reasoned this to be the Uncreated Creator, the Uncaused Cause, the Infinite/Eternal Source – that which everyone calls God.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

“The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls ‘God.’”  [Para 34]

Knowledge of God’s existence can be self-evident and it also can be reached through reason. We could say, then, that faith is not necessary for this kind of knowing God. But… is this truly knowing God? No. It is merely knowing that that which we call God exists. This is important, undoubtedly, but it is not nearly enough. If we are to be truly and fully human, then we must come to knowledge of God through personal relationship and intimate interaction with Him. And that is why God chooses to reveal Himself to us – this is the foundational belief of the three great religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Through the prophets and His Word as written in the Hebrew Testament, (or, as Muslims believe, through Mohammed and the Qu’ran) God gives something of Godself to us, revealing to us what God wants us to know. As a Christian, I believe that God reveals Godself finally and most fully, through the Incarnation of God’s Word, who is Jesus Christ.

– This post is not to argue who has God’s true Revelation and who does not. This post is to underscore the fact that, if God does not reveal Godself to us, then we cannot come into intimate and personal relationship with Him. We can say that we believe in the existence of God – but we cannot say that God is loving or that God is merciful without God’s pure gift of Revelation and its counterpart gift of faith. It is not certainty that is required for our union with God – it is faith. To take a leap of faith is something purely beautiful and exquisitely profound – so much so that God veils Godself in the deepest Mystery in order to elicit this response from us, giving just enough of Himself through Divine Revelation so that we, in wanting more, may fly….

Without Revelation and our response to it, which is faith, conclusions could be drawn that the Creator is an impersonal “God” and we would be merely deists. Or, left to our own imagination, we could worship creation instead of the Creator and continually invent a plethora of gods and religions. (After becoming aware of the existence of God, I, myself, tried to invent my own religion.) But, God does not want this for us. God made us for Godself and seeks union with us, knowing that our hearts are restless until they rest in God[1]. Therefore, we are not left with reason alone. Through Divine Revelation, God speaks to us. And, through faith, we listen.

© 2015 Christina Chase

[1] St. Augustine, Confessions – “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s