The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and in Peoples

By Miguel De Unamuno; J. E. Crawford Flitch | Go to book overview

IX
FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY

Sanctius ac reverentius visum de actis deorum credere quam scire.-- TACITUS: Germania, 34.

THE road that leads us to the living God, the God of the heart, and that leads us back to Him when we have left Him for the lifeless God of logic, is the road of faith, not of rational or mathematical conviction.

And what is faith?

This is the question propounded in the Catechism of Christian Doctrine that was taught us at school, and the answer runs: Faith is believing what we have not seen.

This, in an essay written some twelve years ago, I amended as follows: "Believing what we have not seen, no! but creating what we do not see." And I have already told you that believing in God is, in the first instance at least, wishing that God may be, longing for the existence of God.

The theological virtue of faith, according to the Apostle Paul, whose definition serves as the basis of the traditional Christian disquisitions upon it, is " the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις πραγμάτC9ν ἴλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων ( Heb. xi. I).

The substance, or rather the support and basis, of hope, the guarantee of it. That which connects, or, rather than connects, subordinates, faith to hope. And in fact we do not hope because we believe, but rather we believe because we hope. It is hope in God, it is the ardent longing that there may be a God who guarantees the eternity of consciousness, that leads us to believe in Him.

-186-

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