What is Faith?

Faith has gotten a bad reputation. Many thinks of it as blind belief that people cling to without (or even contrary to) evidence—the antithesis of science, which uses a systematic approach to draw evidence-based conclusions. But true faith is not blind; in fact, it helps us see a different kind of evidence.

Faith is not merely an intellectual act of belief. The key to faith is trust. Belief describes what is in our mind, but trust describes what is in our heart. Both matter when you are in a relationship, and a relationship with God is no different. We can’t enjoy a relationship with someone we don’t trust. And faith, at its core, is about the unseen truths that make our most fulfilling and joyful relationships possible.

Many people point to all that is wrong in the world as evidence that if God exists, He doesn’t deserve our trust. But the biblical narrative of Eve and Adam in Genesis 3 paints a very different picture. They were the first to distrust God—in Paradise, where there was literally nothing wrong! Though they had no reason to doubt Him, and despite God’s warning of dire consequences, they ate the forbidden fruit.

Adam and Eve’s choice was based on misplaced faith. They allowed a third party (the serpent) to persuade them that God was not trustworthy and did not have their best interests at heart. They put their faith in what the serpent said, and in what they believed the fruit would do for them. Most of all, they put their faith in their own ability to decide how to pursue their best life, even when that decision directly contradicted God.

Eve and Adam’s misplaced faith caused them to hide from God and be wrenched out of Paradise—and that same misplaced faith has caused permanent dysfunction in humanity’s ability to know and enjoy God.

The more we put our faith in people or things instead of God, the colder our hearts grow toward Him. It becomes natural to avoid Him consciously or unconsciously, because we know how we would respond to anyone who treats us with cold distrust, and we mistakenly assume that God is no different. Yet God is very different. His love flows from His character and worthiness, not ours. And He promises to win back people’s faith—restoring the joy and fulfillment of knowing Him that true faith produces.

What is Faith?