Monday, February 05, 2007


"Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."
Hebrews 11:1 (kjv) the evidence of things unseen. The evidence of things unseen is faith.

OK, what is this saying? That things we do not or cannot see, things unseen still have an evidence of their existence. The evidence of that existence is faith. "All true faith must be based upon correct knowledge or it cannot produce the correct results." (LDS Bible Dictionary)
So, when we have faith in a true principle or event, the existence of that faith in our hearts is the evidence that the principle or idea is good! Truth nurtured in the heart breeds faith. Feeling (true) faith about something (true) evidences to us that the thing is true and real.
This is a realization that can help us to not cast out the seed. If we feel the faith, (I would classify this as a feeling of confidence, assurance, hope, peace, humility, joy and anything else that can be understood as a fruit of the spirit) take that as evidence that it is true! Don't cast it out because ye see not! Faith isn't the evidence of things seen, it is the evidence of things unseen. That is why it no longer becomes faith when we see it--it then becomes knowledge. (So, is knowledge that follows faith the evidence of things seen?)

Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon seems to hold two different discourses: one on humility and one on faith. On closer examination though, the discourse on humility is the lead in to the discussion on faith.
verse 16-17
"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, before they will believe.
Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe."

Showing a sign before there is belief would be a great disservice to the asking individual. It would undermine the quest for faith-building because the sign would already be seen, there would be no need for an evidence of unseen things. Humility is requisite in the process of faith--pride requires visible evidence to quench our need for knowledge and something physical to back up that knowledge. Humility creates an open space in the heart to believe the word as it is said or felt, to believe something that gives no immediate reward of a visible sign.

v. 18
"Now I ask, is this faith? Behold I say unto you, nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it."

v. 28
"Now we will compare the word unto a seed."

Faith is not the seed, the seed is the word, or that which God reveals to you or through the prophets. That which is testified of by the Spirit. Faith is the planting of the seed and it feeds the seed into growth and eventual sprouting. As it grows so does your faith, because greater evidences of unseen things are touching your heart.

The seed causes a swellling in your soul, your mind begins to expand. You experience light. These are all evidences that have now brought knowledge--perfect knowledge in that thing. Now, you can have perfect knowledge in that thing, in the word, in the seed. But still it is only a seed. You have planted it to know if it was good, if it would grow and be a worthy thing to continue focusing your faith upon. But the knowledge is only in the seed, you've not yet allowed the tree to grow.
This explains what seemed to be a dichotomy to me earlier:
"now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing." and then one verse later: "Behold, after ye have tasted of this light is your knowledge perfect? Behold I say unto you, nay; neither must you lay aside your faith for ye have only exercized your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good. And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring fruit unto us."

Your perfect knowledge in the goodness of the seed does not rule out your personal responsibility to nourish it to adulthood. We can know that a thing is good, but this is the part where we decide if it is worth it to us to do whatever work necessary to nourish the good seed and let it grow, bloom and bless us with delicious fruit to sustain us.

Why is faith so important if we can just know, if God can just show us? Why is it a needed quality in his disciples? Obviously this question has many answers. Here is one I thought of:

31: And now, behold, are ye sure that that this is a good seed? I say unto you, yea; for every seed bringeth forth its own likeness.

I think true faith engages us in the process of creation. In some cases of faith we are asked to believe something that is shared with us from another; often a gospel message shared by prophets. In other cases, we are asked to search the desires of our hearts, find the good things and ask for them to be manifested in our lives. We exercize faith that the thing we have asked for is good, and as the seed begins to grow we receive greater light about it. As pointed out in the above scripture, every seed bringeth forth its own likeness. The blueprint of what the desire holds is in that spiritual seed. We plant that seed, exercize faith, and then contine to believe
as we nourish it and see the spiritual seed manifest itself in the physical realm eventually growing up into a tree. WE can from each point determine how much we want to do to help that tree grow. The seed may have been good, the Lord may have blessed it through his spirit, but it is our faith (through the enabling power of the Atonement) that will determine if it will grow into full fruit bearing maturity. We have great power in creating our lives. He wants us to take hold of it.