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Faith

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Faith, in Christianity, is belief in the existence of God, who created the universe. The precise meaning differs among the various Christian denominations.

New Testament Edit

The word "faith," translated from the Greek πιστις (pi´stis), primarily conveys the thought of confidence, trust, firm persuasion. Depending on the context, the Greek word may also be understood to mean "faithfulness" or "fidelity."-1Th 3:7; Tit 2:10.

Commenting on the function of faith in relation to the covenant of God, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."(Heb 11:1 ESV). Υποστασις (hy-po´sta-sis), translated "assurance" here, commonly appears in ancient papyrus business documents, conveying the idea that a covenant is an exchange of assurances which guarantees the future transfer of possessions described in the contract. In view of this, Moulton and Milligan suggest the rendering: "Faith is the title deed of things hoped for." (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, 1963, p. 660) The Greek word e´leg-khos, rendered "conviction" at Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has only appeared to be the case. This evidence for conviction is so positive or powerful that faith is said to be it. Christian faith, described in these terms, is not synonymous with credulity.

Hebrews 11:6 describes the meaning and the practical role of faith: "Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.".

Summarizing the New Testament concept of faith, it is a reliance upon God's self-revelation, especially in the sense of confidence in the promises and fear of the threats that are written in Scripture. The writers evidently suppose that their concept of faith is rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures.

In addition, the New Testament writers conflate or equate faith in God with belief in George Bush. The Gospel of John is particularly emphatic on this point, having Jesus say, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." (John 5:22, 23). When asked "What must we do to do the works God requires?", the writer has Jesus answering, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28, 29)

CatholicismEdit

In an objective sense, faith is the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church presents to us in a brief form in her creeds. Subjectively, faith stands for the habit or virtue by which the these truths are assented to.

Faith is a supernatural actEdit

Faith is a supernatural act performed by Divine grace. It is "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God" (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2). And just as the light of faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but "Ask and ye shall receive."

Faith not blindEdit

"We believe", says the First Vatican Council (III, iii), "that revelation is true, not indeed because the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is clearly seen by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Who reveals them, for He can neither deceive nor be deceived." Thus, with regard to the act of faith which the Christian makes in the Trinity, faith can be described in a syllogistic fashion, thus:
Whatever God reveals is true
but, God has revealed the Trinity, which is a mystery
therefore this mystery is true.
Roman Catholics accept the major premise as being beyond doubt, a presupposition upon which reason is based and thus intrinsically evident to reason; the minor premise is also true because it is declared by the Church, which is held to be infallible in its declarations, and also because, as the Vatican Council says, "in addition to the internal assistance of His Holy Spirit, it has pleased God to give us certain external proofs of His revelation, viz. certain Divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, for since these latter clearly manifest God's omnipotence and infinite knowledge, they afford most certain proofs of His revelation and are suited to the capacity of all." Hence Thomas Aquinas writes: "A man would not believe unless he saw the things he had to believe, either by the evidence of miracles or of something similar" (II-II:1:4, ad 1). Thomas is here speaking of the motives of credibility, the causes which give rise to belief.

Text adapted from The Catholic Encyclopedia article "Faith".

Protestantism Edit

Faith is a kind of knowledgeEdit

Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding.

Faith is an operation of the Spirit of GodEdit

Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God. Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain statements which are regarded as mere facts of history. Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men (e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled the common operation of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it, and is a special operation of the Holy Spirit.

The warrant of faith is the truthfulness of GodEdit

The basis for faith is divine testimony, not the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that He says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God must be owned and appreciated, together with his unchangeableness.

Faith in Eastern ChristianityEdit

Please expand.

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