Knowledge Before Faith

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During Alma the Younger?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sermon to the poor of Antionum, he extrapolated on the foundation of what faith is.

…faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

I wonder though how this can be. If something has to be true for you to have faith, how can you know that thing is true? Wouldn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t such knowledge nullify the faith then?

Let?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s take for example the existence of God. By Alma?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s definition, God needs to be true?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùor exist?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùin order for me to have faith in Him. Yet, how can I know in advance He exists?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùis true?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbefore I have faith in Him?

You might say, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìJoseph Smith, Moses and others saw him and testify of him?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. Absolutely, but I wasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t there with them, so I have to have faith in their words or testimonies. However, that brings us back to knowing something is true before having faith in it. I would need to know that what Joseph Smith, Moses and others claimed were true before I can have faith in their words.

I have no problems with faith amounting to a belief in something that cannot be seen. However, throwing in the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìtruth aspect?¢‚Ǩ¬ù seems to be throwing a wrench into the whole definition.

3 thoughts on “Knowledge Before Faith

  1. When our daughter was getting ready to be married in the temple, our car broke down the day before on our way to the border. We went to rent a car but without a credit card we could not do so. We called every one we could think of that would be home and would be able to let us use their credit card just to hold the car. But either people weren’t home or their cards were maxed or they just didn’t want to. Our daughter was frantic.. thinking the next morning she was supposed to be sealed in the Seattle temple and that we couldn’t get there. I finally had to sit her down and say look have we done every thing we could possibly do? And she said yes. I said do you know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be sealed for all time in the temple tomorrow and she said yes. I said have you paid your tithing and done everything you are required to do and she said yes. Then I said well now you need to exercise your faith that your Father in Heaven would not let you down. We had a prayer with the family members that were in our home at the time. We had barely said Amen when our doorbell rang. There was a member from our ward who said I heard from someone else that you might need a credit card to get a car do you still need one? We said yes!!! So we went off to the car rental place begging them on the phone to stay open as they should have closed 10 minutes previously. We got to Seattle at 2 am but we were there on time for her to be sealed to her husband for all time and eternity. Was that exercising faith in something unseen? Did we know we would get there? We had faith that Heavenly Father would bless us and we were blessed that night. I don’t need to see someone to believe they are there. I don’t need to have miracles at my feet every day to know something is true. Is what I have blind faith? Maybe. But I call it faith. I know if I do what is required of me then I will be blessed. I have faith in that.

  2. That’s a great experience, Mum. Thanks for sharing that.

    I just wanted to point out that I don’t think anyone should not exercise faith. I am just asking the question: if we need to verify something is true (exists) in order for our belief in it to be considered faith, then doesn’t the faith end up being knowledge?

  3. Perhaps we can look at the scripture in Alma in a different light.
    Alma says: …”if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”
    If we were to take this scripture in view of the first principles of the Gospel, then the faith in things which are not seen might be the Saviour.
    Look at D&C 38:7. “But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me.”
    Thhat being the case then there must be a condition in every man that can lead him to that realization that He exists. That condition being the ‘light of Christ’, which testifies of His existence at some level in each of us, at an innate level.
    If we respond positively to it’s influence then we gain more knowledge. If we reject that influence, then the movement is towards darkness, and the loss of what we already know.
    As for the true aspect of it, vs. 33 and 34 seem to answer that question.
    When we respond positively to that influence, it simply and clearly appears to make sense. If we respond negatively then that influence is diminished and we don’t feel good about it.
    Just a thought.

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