|Vermeer - Allegory of the Faith|
- Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 and Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 •
- Genesis 15:1-6 and Psalm 33:12-22 •
- Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 •
- Luke 12:32-40
This concept of faith, though, however widespread, is not the biblical concept, as this week's readings make clear. In the episode from Genesis, and reflection on it in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we find an importantly different concept. The faith Abraham displayed was related to the future, which by the nature of the case, cannot be known, still less proved, since it hasn't happened yet! Yet, all of our lives must be built around this unknown future, not as abstract speculation on what might happen, but as the basis of our plans, careers, aspirations and adventures.
Faith properly so called, then, is in a different category to belief and knowledge. It is allied to hope and trust -- and its contrary is not knowledge but fear. Fearful mistrust would have prevented Abraham from setting out, and stopped him from hoping for descendants, despite his age and difficulties. It was faith in God, not theological knowledge or belief about God that guided and sustained him.
|Abraham Journeying - Gustave Dore|