by Bob Myhan
is based on experience and reason. We know that which we have learned through our physical senses and/or mental faculties. It is by means of his physical senses that man knows of the existence of matter. He can see it, handle it, taste it, smell it, and hear the sounds made by its motions. By means of reason, man knows of the existence of spirit; he knows intuitively that he is distinct from his body.
is obtained from dependable testimony. Jurors in a criminal trial, for ex ample, do not know whether the defendant commit ted the crime he has been charged with but have to decide—solely on the basis of the evidence—whether a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is warranted. What they decide is a matter of faith, rather than knowledge. That is, they either come to believe that he is guilty of the crime or they have reasonable doubt as to his guilt.
is a position that is held in the absence of sufficient evidence to warrant knowledge or faith. There is no experience to evaluate, no premises from which to reason conclusively and no reliable testimony to consider. To continue the analogy of the trial, a juror may have an opinion as to the guilt of the defendant but can neither know nor believe that he committed the crime be fore hearing the testimony or examining the evidence.
As an example, consider the case of Nicodemus. I know the Bible says that he "came to Jesus by night" (John 3:1-2). I believe Nicodemus "came to Jesus by night" be cause the Bible says so. But I do not know why he "came to Jesus by night." Nor does the Bible provide testimony sufficient for me to believe he had this or that particular reason, though he must have had one; no one acts without a reason.
As another example, Abraham could not have known that his descendants would be as innumerable as the stars in the sky but he believed it on the strength of God's testimony.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be ac cording to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he be came the father of many nations, ac cording to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the prom ise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to per form. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:16-22).
Since the time that our first parents were expelled from the Garden of Eden it has not been possible to know God, except through faith in His testimony. To illustrate, no person "knows" [without DNA testing] the identity of his biological parents. It is impossible for a newborn infant to know who gave birth to him or who fathered him. One is told by a certain kindly couple that they are his parents and accepts their testimony. Likewise, Adam could not have known, apart from a communication from God, that he was created. Indeed, if God had never re vealed Himself, man could never have known of His existence.