Faith Versus Reason

February 19, 2014

Categories: Ruth Bell Graham

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

shutterstock_137977472Picasso was once quoted as “praying for strength to transcend the limits his reason was trying to impose on him.

His paintings show that he succeeded admirably.

However, there are limits imposed by reason other than one’s imagination. I am thinking of that vital area of faith, “without which it is impossible to please God.

An old writer says,
Faith and reason can be compared to two travelers: Faith is like a man in full health, who can walk his 20 or 30 miles at a time without suffering. Reason is like a child, who can only with difficulty accomplish 3 or 4 miles.

Well,” says this old writer, “on a given day Reason says to Faith, ‘O good Faith, let me walk with you.’

Faith replies, ‘O Reason, you can never walk with me.’

However, to try their paces, they set out together but they soon find it hard to keep company. When they come to a deep river, Reason says, ‘I can never ford this.’ But Faith wades through singing.

When they reach a lofty mountain, there is the same exclamation of despair, and in such cases, Faith, in order not to leave Reason behind, is obliged to carry him on his shoulder.

And, adds the writer,

Oh, what luggage is Reason to Faith!

Blaise Pascal wrote in The Pensees, “The last step that reason takes is to recognize that there is an infinity of things beyond it.

He also says, “A unit joined to infinity adds nothing to it, any more than one foot added to infinite length. The finite is annihilated in the presence of infinity and becomes pure zero. So is our intellect before God.

And, “The heart feels God, not the reason. That is what constitutes faith. God experienced by the heart, not by the reason.

And, “The heart has its reasons of which the reason knows nothing.


From Legacy of a Pack Rat, by Ruth Bell Graham (1989, Oliver-Nelson Books)

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