When we arrived in the middle of the afternoon on a trip to South Dakota’s Badlands, it was hot, dry and dusty. There was a bareness and an overriding appearance of nothing but wasteland. The next morning it was bitterly cold with strong winds and some rain. However, there was color and contrast to the land where before there appeared to be nothing. Two inches of snow the following morning highlighted peaks, ridges, rock formations and other details. Seeing the same landscape through different lenses (pun intended) was quite interesting. Nevertheless, on whichever day, the more one looked at the same area of landscape, the more detail there was to see. Still, the breadth and beauty of the land is missed if one only myopically looks at the incredible detail.
A good friend asked me the question: If one takes away all of the questions, all of the assumptions, all of the preconceived notions that we as believers have – what is left? I wasn’t sure. Readers of this blog know that I’ve been struggling to understand the nature and character of God. In all honesty, my relationship to my heavenly Father has been at best distant as I’ve struggled through such issues as the will of God in the life of the believer and predetermination as advocated by ardent Calvinists. This good friend put it like this: perhaps it all boils down to the simplicity of believing as spelled out in the Apostle’s Creed.
The Apostle’s Creed states:
- I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
- And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
- Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary
- Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell
- The third day he rose again from the dead
- He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
- From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead
- I believe in the Holy Ghost
- I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints
- The forgiveness of sin
- The resurrection of the body
- And the life everlasting
Perhaps the will of God is indeed an impenetrable mystery.
Perhaps the debate between Calvinists and Arminians doesn’t really matter.
Perhaps it would be best to start again at the beginning – from the perspective that God is God and that through faith I am His child because Christ died on the cross to forgive my sins so that I can have fellowship with Him.
Is it so simple?
Can one just believe?
I don’t know.
One thought on “The Simplicity of Believing”
This entry gave me much hope for you (tee-hee!). I know I should be responding to the Free Will of the Wind entry, but this one really touched me.
Yes, I think it WOULD be best for you to start over, at the beginning, with a simple, childlike faith. But the Scriptures tell us that we must be asking God for that faith because it is His gift to give (Eph 2:8-9).
Is faith simple? I would say yes and no. It is simple from the standpoint that all we have to do listen to His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). It is not simple because our human nature wishes to be in control, and we cannot control the giving of a gift.
Gifts are the prerogative of the giver. God graciously grants the gift of faith–He is not obligated to give it. Why does He give the gift of faith to some and not to others? I don’t know–that is a mystery to me. But the bigger, far more foundational tenet is that He is not obligated to give the gift of faith to ANYONE. It humbles me and astounds me that He granted it to me–and He, therefore, receives great glory for the gift (I do not take any glory for it).
I’ll let you ruminate on this small response while I chew on the Free Will of the Wind for a time.
It is good to have this dialogue–I treasure your and Nancy’s friendship very much, and heartily enjoy speaking of the beautiful things of God.