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Life of Faith, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

5- Faith Is Beyond The Level Of The Intellect

 

The intellect may guide you to the beginning of the way but faith continues with you on the way to the end. Faith does not contradict the intellect, but leads it to a higher level the mind alone cannot reach.

What the mind cannot understand is called unattainable. We often describe God as infinite because He has no limit. The human mind is limited, and can only understand the limited matters. The mind can bring you to know God and some of His qualities but of faith, God has revealed to us through His Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:10). God shows Himself to the believer to what they can bear to comprehend.

St-Takla.org Image: Sky, clouds, from St-Takla.org's Ethiopia journey photos, 2008 صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: السماء، سحب، السحاب، من صور رحلة موقع الأنبا تكلا للحبشة 2008

St-Takla.org Image: Sky, clouds, from St-Takla.org's Ethiopia journey photos, 2008 - Photograph by Michael Ghaly for St-Takla.org, April-June 2008

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: السماء، سحب، السحاب، من صور رحلة موقع الأنبا تكلا للحبشة 2008 - تصوير مايكل غالي لـ: موقع الأنبا تكلا، إبريل - يونيو 2008

The mind may not grasp many things but must accept them. By nature, the mind does not refuse all that it does not understand. There are for example in our physical world, many inventions only experts can understand. In spite of this, the normal mind can accept and deal with these things without knowing how they work, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. The mind accepts death, and speaks about it, but does not understand it.

If the mind accepts many things in our world without understanding them, then clearly nothing should deprive the mind from accepting other matters not of this world.

The mind does not understand how miracles happen, but it accepts them and finds joy in them.

A miracle is called a miracle because the mind fails to grasp it and cannot explain it. But the mind accepts it by faith... faith, with infinite power, greater than that of the mind, can perform things the mind fails to understand. This power is the power of God the almighty.

We respect the mind, and at the same time we know its limits. We can not accept the proud mind which desires to understand all things, refusing that some are beyond comprehension.

The mind should be humble to know its limitation For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Rom. 12.3). The mind should submit matters beyond its level of understanding to faith.

If the mind wanted to nullify all that it does not understand it would end up destroying itself, lose the element of faith and put itself in a very narrow circle of very limited range of understanding.

Believers are moderate, they esteem the mind and use it in religious and spiritual affairs. There are philosophers and people of high intellect among the believers, who do not depend on the mind in pride or trust in its ability to understand all things. However, in simplicity and humility they confess that their minds are limited and are unable to understand all this associated with God. With faith, their hearts and minds accept all that is beyond the level of the mind.

The simple and humble mind accepts faith and miracles.

We mean humble in the sense that the mind is not proud of its own understanding or destroys all that is does not understand. But does not complicate matters or insist on placing everything within its own limits. We will refer to this point later when we speak about the simplicity of faith.

Faith is not only a prayer said, but a life we live. If you are living a life of faith, the fruits of faith apparent in your practical life. Examine your faith against the virtues which are clear in the believer's life and these are many. As the apostle says, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).


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