What’s going on with faith?
Last meditation was a bit of a dive in what I like to sometimes call “quantum theology,” only because “quantum” sounds cool and mind-warpingly complex, and every now and then we need to probe into aspects of God that simply take us down some rabbit holes. Why did God create the world as He did?
And so, we contemplated why God worked the coming of Christ and crucifixion into the very DNA of His creation. We pondered why He added “evil” to a creation which knew only good, when He told Adam of a “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Without those words Adam could have no ability to know of such a thing as “evil.” Same with Satan. Why did God do this? It must have something to do with the fact that yes, He did work the crucifixion – for sins, against Satan and his works – into the entire plan. Jesus was not Plan B, but Plan A.
Finally, we contemplated how the alternative “Paradise Lost” version of the story is that God created everything blissful and good, but then man chose against God, and now God has to come up with a Plan B, the Jesus plan. God is constantly cleaning up after man’s bad choices. In this “universe,” choice plays a huge rule. Jesus is the second Adam who chose properly, and so could be the source of new life, a second birth, a second chance to make good choices.
But if we go with the first “Plan A” version of the story – that the entire history of our universe has at its heart and center the crucifixion of Christ as the completion and fulfillment of things – then a new faculty other than choice is required. And that is faith. In fact, by this interpretation, faith is truly the completion of man. Faith is what God was working in man from the beginning. Faith is why God added evil and Satan, and anticipated the fall.
Consider that. All of history has simply been God’s sixth day perfecting of the creature made in His image. It was finished when Jesus breathed His last; the thing perfected in us is faith.
The witnesses of the resurrection were needed, to verify truth, but ultimately, the blessed are they who believe without seeing. And faith in Jesus’ resurrection is the only faith. “One sign will be given this evil generation, the sign of Jonah [the resurrection].” An evil generation looks to perfect their faith with more than faith in the resurrection.
Consider that again. The sixth day completion and perfection of man is (a) belief in the pierced one, (b) that He is resurrected, and (c) receiving His Spirit of absolution. That is what man is about. That is the purpose of man.
Again, what’s going on with this? Why is faith such a big deal? Why does Jesus leave us for so long, with no proofs save witness of the resurrection? What is it about the perfection and creation of man that requires this? And not just in that Plan B sense, like, “We really wish you would have made good choices, but now that you’ve screwed up, we’ll save you, and now you believe in us until we return and set up the new world.” But rather, in the Plan A sense of, “Come, let us perfect our creation by working in its very DNA evil, a Satan, a fall, sin, death, the coming of Christ, His death, and His resurrection. Why? So that the man in our image would have faith.” Wow!
What’s the blessedness about believing, especially believing without seeing?
And what sort of faith is that intended to be? A faith thankful for all things at all times, a thankfulness worked into its very worship life, the eucharist. This is a faith that looks in the face of seeming evil and says, “Nope. Thanks for that!” Again, wow!
Is it so that we’re led to understand that God is almighty and in control of everything? Is the evil of our world specifically to teach us that it’s not something we can solve or triumph over, but that ultimately God is behind it, working it according to His good plan, and we should respond with a thankful “amen”? Were Adam and his children not fully formed until he learned the way of evil led to no place good? Did God create Adam to first go the way of evil, and then end up with faith?
Against those who would say, “Yeah, but Adam was fully formed, for God declared all things good after the completion of creation,” are forgetting that God’s creation wasn’t finished until Jesus’ death – “It is finished.” In other words, Adam wasn’t fully completed until Jesus began breathing on disciples and showing His pierced Person.
So, the mud from which God was forming Adam was a mud drawn from the mud that Adam was to become after the fall, the dust to which he returned. And the breath He breathed into Adam was the same breath Jesus breathed upon the disciples. That was the completion of Adam, but not quite, no, not until there arose that first believer arose who believed without seeing.
That puts the supposed question of “why allow Adam to fall into evil” into a new perspective. Adam wasn’t completed anyways. It would be like saying to God, “Why is there such a sludgy area in that place where you haven’t fully divided the land from the seas? That doesn’t seem helpful for anyone!” And God says, “Give me some time; I work during the day. I’m not done yet.” Now think of Jesus’ words, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day.”
He wasn’t done yet! Not until He said, “It is finished.” In His creative wisdom, part of the creation of Adam involved including whatever it was in him that led to him choosing to sin. All this to lead to the perfection of Adam through faith in Christ.
Faith. Again, why faith? Why “if you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains”? Why is faith so essential to the perfection of man?
You can almost get Sci Fi here, as if faith were some component of the human person that can lift us into a higher way of being. This could get mystical and new agey, but only when faith is seen as power, like the force of Star Wars.
Here’s one way to look at it. Faith looks forward to what Adam had in the Garden of Eden, eternal life to the full in the new world. Faith refills the human person with what Adam emptied himself of when he decided for “beyond good, that is, evil” when he took of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, if choice is by its very nature evil; faith is by its very nature good, trusting that the creation is being worked by an Almighty God for our good.
But why must we only have the witnesses of apostles to base our faith on? Why must faith have this quality of not seeing?
Did Adam see? Did he have faith? Did He see God? What did He see? He certainly saw a beautiful creation. He also heard the voice of God, heard His sound.
Hmmm, how is any of that different than what we have? Are we in Eden? That’s an interesting question, because if St. Paul is to be believed, we are in a situation where we can give thanks for all things at all times. And that sounds an awful lot like Eden! Is faith that faculty in us that makes every moment an Eden? Is that why the one who believes without seeing is blessed?