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Doctrine Part 1—Faith

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A simple introduction to theology course based upon Alister McGrath's work, The Basics.

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Doctrine Part 1—Faith

  1. 1. Faith… I believe
  2. 2. 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.”
  3. 3. Charles Spurgeon “Faith obliterates time, annihilates distance, and brings future things at once into its possession.”
  4. 4. Martin Luther “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.”
  5. 5. Watchman Nee “Faith looks not at what happens to him but at Him Whom he believes.”
  6. 6. 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”?
  7. 7. What do you think the word “faith” means, define it below—is it different for people with and without a relationship with God? What are your favourite biblical examples of people having faith?
  8. 8. The idea of trusting in God is of great importance in the Bible: In the calling of Abraham, Gen 15:1-6 — ___________________________ ___________________________
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. Crowds who came to Jesus are described as having faith—they believed that Jesus had a special status, identity or authority, and this enabled them to be healed in some way (physical, spiritually, emotionally etc.)
  11. 11.  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
  12. 12. 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.
  13. 13. 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.
  14. 14. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
  15. 15. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
  16. 16. 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’?
  17. 17. 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralysed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
  18. 18. 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.”
  19. 19. 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 sun—they can be proven by investigation of facts
  20. 20. 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 sun—they can be proven by investigation of facts “having a weak form of knowledge.”
  21. 21. - 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”
  22. 22. 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 ________________________________ ________________________________ _______________________________.
  23. 23. 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 proved—by logical reasoning or scientific investigation
  24. 24. A. K. Clifford said, “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”
  25. 25. 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 God’s existence could be proved, it was an irrelevant idea.
  26. 26. 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.
  27. 27. 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.
  28. 28. 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.
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. Can God’s Existence be Proved? McGrath suggests that the basic Christian position regarding the proof for the existence of God:
  31. 31. Can God’s 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.
  32. 32. 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.”
  33. 33. _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ McGrath starts his examination of this idea by looking at Thomas Aquinas’ ideas.
  34. 34. _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ McGrath starts his examination of this idea by looking at Thomas Aquinas’ ideas. 3. Faith is about trust in God, rather than just agreeing that God exists.
  35. 35. 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.
  36. 36. 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.
  37. 37. 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. “Five Ways”
  38. 38. 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. “Five Ways”
  39. 39. His basic idea was that the world mirrors God, as its creator—an idea from his doctrine of the “analogy of being”. _________________________________ _________________________________
  40. 40. His basic idea was that the world mirrors God, as its creator—an idea from his doctrine of the “analogy of being”. _________________________________ _________________________________ As an artist might sign a painting so God has “signed” the creation.
  41. 41. What we see in the world—things like its signs of being orderly—can be explained if God is its creator. If God brought the world into being, and somehow put his impression on it, then something of God’s nature can be known from creation.
  42. 42. What we see in the world—things like its signs of being orderly—can be explained if God is its creator. If God brought the world into being, and somehow put his impression on it, then something of God’s nature can be known from creation.
  43. 43. What we see in the world—things like its signs of being orderly—can be explained if God is its creator. If God brought the world into being, and somehow put his impression on it, then something of God’s nature can be known from creation.
  44. 44. Aquinas argues that the ordering of the world is the most convincing evidence of God’s existence and wisdom.
  45. 45. It is that idea that is the foundation for all of his “Five Ways”—it is often called the argument from design, or the teleological argument. Here we shall look at only two of the “ways”.
  46. 46. _________________________________ _________________________________ 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”.
  47. 47. _________________________________ _________________________________ 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.
  48. 48. 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.
  49. 49. 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. everything that moves is moved by something, by a cause.
  50. 50. 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 motion—this cause being God.
  51. 51. In recent times this is stated as God being the cause who brought the universe into existence. _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ Usually it is stated like this:
  52. 52. In recent times this is stated as God being the cause who brought the universe into existence. _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ Usually it is stated like this: It is usually called the cosmological argument—from the Greek kosmos meaning universe.
  53. 53. 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;
  54. 54. 3. The universe thus depends on something else for its existence for as long as it has existed or will exist;
  55. 55. 4. The universe thus depends on God for its existence. This assumes that the universe requires an explanation for its being—it relates especially to the current “big-bang”theory of the origin of the universe.
  56. 56. 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.
  57. 57. 2. The other argument from Aquinas’ “ways,” is ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Aquinas notes that the universe shows signs of intelligent design.
  58. 58. 2. The other argument from Aquinas’ “ways,” is ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Aquinas notes that the universe shows signs of intelligent design. the teleological argument—from the Greek telos meaning purpose or goal.
  59. 59. Natural processes and objects seem to be adapted with definite objectives in mind—they seem to have a purpose and seem to be designed. Things don’t design themselves, they are designed by something or someone else. Aquinas suggests that the source of this ordering must be God.
  60. 60. 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.
  61. 61. 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. William Paley (1743-1805)
  62. 62. 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. William Paley (1743-1805)
  63. 63. Paley’s idea was influential until Darwin (1809-1892) proposed the theory of evolution—in this Darwin offered a different mechanism by which complex structures arose.
  64. 64. Paley’s idea was influential until Darwin (1809-1892) proposed the theory of evolution—in this Darwin offered a different mechanism by which complex structures arose.
  65. 65. 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.
  66. 66. Aquinas doesn’t 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 different—he 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.
  67. 67. Aquinas is arguing that, _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ It is a confirmation, but not a proof, of God's existence.
  68. 68. Aquinas is arguing that, _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ It is a confirmation, but not a proof, of God's existence. seen from the Christian perspective, the existence of God seems to fit in well with what can be observed of the world.
  69. 69. Aquinas is arguing that, _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ It is a confirmation, but not a proof, of God's existence. seen from the Christian perspective, the existence of God seems to fit in well with what can be observed of the world.
  70. 70. A few comments on Intelligent Design
  71. 71. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20
  72. 72. 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.”
  73. 73. https://vimeo.com/71033120
  74. 74. https://vimeo.com/71033120
  75. 75. https://vimeo.com/72767699
  76. 76. https://vimeo.com/72767699
  77. 77. 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 the Encyclopedia Britannica. The human brain has approx. 10 billion Gb capacity. http://www.gotquestions.org/teleological-argument.html
  78. 78. Besides living things here on Earth, the whole universe seems designed for life. 100’s 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.
  79. 79. 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:
  80. 80. The axial tilt of the Earth were greater or less The distance of the Earth from the Sun were greater or less The Earth’s gravitational interaction with the Moon were greater or less If the Earth’s surface gravity were greater or less If the length of the day were longer or shorter
  81. 81. 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!
  82. 82. 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.
  83. 83. 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
  84. 84. "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.”
  85. 85. 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.
  86. 86. 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.
  87. 87. The earth’s 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 earth’s gravity, axial tilt, rotation period, magnetic field, crust thickness, oxygen/nitrogen ratio, carbon dioxide, water vapour and ozone levels are just right.
  88. 88. 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.”
  89. 89. 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.
  90. 90. 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”
  91. 91. 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. He thought that the philosophical god which resulted from Aquinas’ arguments was unlike any god found in the Old or New Testaments
  92. 92. 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.”
  93. 93. 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.” For him the human heart had reasons for believing, or not believing, in God.
  94. 94. 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.” 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. For him the human heart had reasons for believing, or not believing, in God.
  95. 95. 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. For him the human heart had reasons for believing, or not believing, in God.
  96. 96. 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.
  97. 97. In the end, according to Pascal, you can’t argue someone into the kingdom of God.
  98. 98. The existence of god cannot be proved— neither can it be disproved. We see this in the faith of atheism—an 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 God’s 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.
  99. 99. “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.”
  100. 100. 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,
  101. 101. 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, but not opposite or opposed to reason
  102. 102. 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,
  103. 103. “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.”
  104. 104. 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?
  105. 105. 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? human beings long to know the truth, and are constantly searching for it.
  106. 106. 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.
  107. 107. The letter goes on to suggest that _________________________________ —but that the world, God’s creation, has many hints or suggestions of God’s existence and nature. Using Acts 17 it says that it is entirely reasonable to infer God’s existence from the wonders of nature and a human sense of divinity within us.
  108. 108. The letter goes on to suggest that _________________________________ —but that the world, God’s creation, has many hints or suggestions of God’s existence and nature. Using Acts 17 it says that it is entirely reasonable to infer God’s existence from the wonders of nature and a human sense of divinity within us. faith is not blind trust
  109. 109. 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.
  110. 110. 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,
  111. 111. “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.”
  112. 112. 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.
  113. 113. 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. deeply intelligible, rationally beautiful, finely tuned for fruitfulness
  114. 114. 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.
  115. 115. 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.
  116. 116. 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.
  117. 117. 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.”
  118. 118. Faith and God’s Promises During the 16th century, emphasis was placed on the relationship of faith. _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________
  119. 119. Faith and God’s 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.
  120. 120. 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.
  121. 121. 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. trusting a God whose promises could be relied upon.
  122. 122. “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. “
  123. 123. 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.
  124. 124. 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,
  125. 125. 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, So we might believe the historical reports of the Gospels without it changing our lives at all.
  126. 126. “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?”
  127. 127. 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.”
  128. 128. 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.”
  129. 129. Faith is not merely believing that something is true; _________________________________ _________________________________ Luther moves on to ask who we are meant to be trusting—his 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.
  130. 130. Faith is not merely believing that something is true; _________________________________ _________________________________ Luther moves on to ask who we are meant to be trusting—his 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. it is being prepared to act upon that belief, and rely upon it.
  131. 131. Believers “must be certain that the one who has promised forgiveness to whoever confesses their sins will most faithfully fulfill this promise.” For Luther, ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________
  132. 132. Believers “must be certain that the one who has promised forgiveness to whoever confesses their sins will most faithfully fulfill this promise.” For Luther, ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ faith is only as strong as the one in whom we believe and trust—this is not about how strongly we believe but in how reliable the one we believe in is.
  133. 133. 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.”
  134. 134. The foundation of faith is what’s most important—even 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.
  135. 135. 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.”
  136. 136. 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 _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________
  137. 137. 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 _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ all things are held in common by husband and wife—and so In Christ we boast of and glory in all that Christ is and possesses.
  138. 138. “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 believer’s."
  139. 139. Faith might then be seen as a “wedding ring” showing mutual commitment and union between Christ and the believer. __________________________________ __________________________________ wrote Philip Melanchthon (1497– 1560), Luther's colleague at Wittenberg. Thus grace, peace, forgiveness etc. are now available to the believer.
  140. 140. Faith might then be seen as a “wedding ring” showing mutual commitment and union between Christ and the believer. __________________________________ __________________________________ wrote Philip Melanchthon (1497– 1560), Luther's colleague at Wittenberg. Thus grace, peace, forgiveness etc. are now available to the believer. “To know Christ is to know his benefits,”
  141. 141. Faith and Doubt: The Problem of Suffering Faith can’t 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,
  142. 142. “If God is good, why is there pain and suffering in the world?”
  143. 143. 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.
  144. 144. The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons have been very influential here. He suggested that ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ___________________________________. This process of growth needs an environment in which to grow, ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________
  145. 145. The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons have been very influential here. He suggested that ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ___________________________________. This process of growth needs an environment in which to grow, ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ human nature is something that develops, we are born with a capacity to grow and develop to maturity
  146. 146. The thoughts of Irenaeus of Lyons have been very influential here. He suggested that ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ___________________________________. This process of growth needs an environment in which to grow, ____________________________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________ it needs to be in contact with good and evil if truly informed decisions are to be made. human nature is something that develops, we are born with a capacity to grow and develop to maturity
  147. 147. 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 ______________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ ________________________________________________. So good and evil are necessary in the world for humans to grow in a meaningful way.
  148. 148. 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 ______________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ ________________________________________________. So good and evil are necessary in the world for humans to grow in a meaningful way. they must take part in a world of good and evil—for God did not create them as robot like machines but as beings who can freely respond to Him
  149. 149. 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.
  150. 150. 2. _______________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ 3. God must bring into being the best possible world that he is able to do.
  151. 151. 2. _______________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________________ 3. God must bring into being the best possible world that he is able to do. If human beings were forced to do nothing but good, that would represent a denial of human free will.
  152. 152. 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.
  153. 153. 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. God is not responsible if human beings choose to do evil
  154. 154. 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.
  155. 155. 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. ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________
  156. 156. 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. ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ Because Jesus is God incarnate the suffering of Christ is also the suffering of God.
  157. 157. 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.
  158. 158. “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.”
  159. 159. In this Moltmann opened up a new way of thinking about suffering. ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
  160. 160. In this Moltmann opened up a new way of thinking about suffering. ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ One of the problems here has always been that God seemed distant from humanity’s pain and suffering—he was immune and detached.
  161. 161. 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.”
  162. 162. 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.
  163. 163. We should note that we can look at the problem of suffering in two quite different ways. One tries to make sense of it; ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________
  164. 164. We should note that we can look at the problem of suffering in two quite different ways. One tries to make sense of it; ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ the other tries to help people cope with it – to live meaningfully and courageously in the face of suffering and pain.
  165. 165. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–44) 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.
  166. 166. 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.
  167. 167. 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, ____________________________________ ___________________________________.
  168. 168. 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, ____________________________________ ___________________________________. has not abandoned his people; he stands by them as a fellow-sufferer, and will bring them home to a place from which suffering and pain have been removed.
  169. 169. 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.

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