“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
“It is precisely because I believe theologically that there is a being called God, and that God is infinite in intelligence, freedom, and power, that I cannot take it upon myself to limit what God might have done.”
Fr. Theodore Hesburgh
I believe that if you study the universe — and people, for that matter — the concept of a benevolent, higher power who created the universe and humankind for a specific purpose is the only thing that truly makes sense and fits. Does anyone with half a brain really think this all happened by accident, that we’re on our own?
Summarizing the recent discoveries of many scientists, Robert Herrman, author of “The God Who Would Be Known,” says, “Everywhere you look in science, the harder it becomes to understand the universe without God.”
And as physicist Paul Davies writes in his book “God and the New Physics,” “It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. . . . In the end it boils down to a question of belief.”
But think about it. Wouldn’t that be precisely what God would want, namely for us to make a choice about our relationship to Him? Isn’t that the way it should be? Personally, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to prove the existence of a divine force or any other spiritual tenet to the complete satisfaction of science. I believe God will give us just enough for faith and not even the slightest bit more. It seems to me that God wants followers who simply believe — not who believe simply (naïve and with no reason) — but who simply choose to believe.
Accounts of people who rely on the faith they have deep inside despite tragic circumstances have always been encouraging to me. Two examples of this kind of faith stem from the inhumanity of World War II. In her book “A History of God,” Roman Catholic nun and scholar Karen Armstrong describes how a group of Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp one day decided to put God on trial. God was brought up on charges of betrayal and cruelty. Since God is supposed to promote universal justice and prevent innocent suffering, arguments for and against God ensued on His neglect. The rabbi announced the verdict: God was nowhere to be found and guilty as charged. Then the rabbi looked up and declared the trial over; it was time for the evening prayer. Faith was victorious over circumstances.
Another example of profound, unshaken faith was discovered by Allied soldiers on a basement wall of an abandoned, bombed-out house in Germany at the end of World War II. Scratched into the wall by one of the victims of the Holocaust was the poignant message: “I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine. I believe in love, even when it is not shown. I believe in God, even when He does not speak.”
In the end, faith is what we all have available when everything else is gone. It reflects our relationship with the One who remains with us no matter what. As former political hostage Terry Anderson said, “Faith’s what you find when you’re alone and find you’re not.”
In the end, is faith ever really “blind”?
The Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi, installed member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, is pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church, Springfield.