Have you ever wondered why God requires faith?
It seems awfully convenient for someone to say we just need faith when we really need help and don’t see any coming from on high. When all we can do is echo the Psalmist’s cry, “Why do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
Is it because there is no god there? If we accept that answer it means none of the things we anguish over the questions behind the question really matter.
Either man has a purpose (i.e. he is a created being) or he does not. If he has a purpose there is a creator. If he does not have a purpose the universe is just a machine. There is no good or evil in a machine, but neither is there hope or love. As long as we believe there are such things as hope, love, good and evil we must face the fact that the universe is not just a machine, man has a purpose (i.e. he is a created being) and there is a creator (God) who has defined that purpose.
A point of clarification may help. Faith is not just belief, faith is belief with trust. That’s the hard part. Consider the difference between conviction (i.e. something I am convinced of enough to inspire action) and faith (i.e. belief with trust). I am still in control with conviction, but I must yield control with faith.
It goes back to purpose and creation.
If God is good (and He must be), any purpose for His creation must also be good. Obviously mankind does not always behave in a manner consistent with a good purpose. This disconnect is referred to as “the fall” (though I prefer to think of it as “the rebellion”), and the events are described in the book of Genesis in chapter 3.
It says there the serpent told Eve, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” That was not a lie, it was a half truth. We did become like God knowing good and evil, but we did not become like God knowing the end from the beginning.
As a result we are capable of judging (compelled to do so), but we are not competent for the task because we don’t have all the information.
It was the knowledge of good and evil that killed us all, but the rebellion is the root of the problem. The rebellion is what drives the compulsion to take the place of God and judge because we have the conviction we know what’s best (not to be confused with exercising our judgement to discern what God thinks is best – He gave us minds and we are supposed to use them).
When I raise my own understanding above the knowledge of God, I continue the rebellion and set myself as god and judge. Faith (belief with trust) is required to end the rebellion and it’s hard because it means I have to give up a confidence based on my own judgement/understanding and trust God for my assurance.
If we think about it there really isn’t any other way. Without faith I am rendered incapable to end the rebellion and relinquish my claim to the throne.
Rightly judging myself inferior to God still leaves me the judge.
It isn’t that God doesn’t care or is capricious with our cares. The righteous live by faith because they have too. It turns out we can’t submit to God, as God, without faith. If we can’t submit to God we can’t fulfill our purpose – to love Him and our neighbor as ourself.