Faith in Things Which are Not Seen, Which Are True

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Paul Anderson

21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
(Alma 32:21)
Here are some of the principles about faith that I have learned from Alma’s description above:

  1. Faith requires uncertainty. If you know something for sure, you no longer need to exercise faith in it (see v. 18). Therefore, if the Lord wants us to develop faith, He will place us in environments where our knowledge is limited and where we lack thorough confirmation of our convictions.
  2. Our physical senses are limited. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we exercise faith in Him without having direct physical contact with Him: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
  3. We must place our faith in things that are true. How do we know they are true if we lack perfect knowledge? As the Apostle Paul explained above, we learn truths by the Spirit of the Lord, even though we may lack tangible confirmation of the things that we know through spiritual means. In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

We believe in God because of things we know with our heart and mind, not because of things we do not know. Our spiritual experiences are sometimes too sacred to explain in worldly terms, but that doesn’t mean they are not real (“Be Not Afraid, Only Believe,” General Conference, October 2015).

This week, as I study faith, I will remember the important relationship between faith and knowledge. We develop faith in an environment of imperfect knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that our faith has no basis. Instead, we exercise faith in things which we know to be true, even though we may lack confirming evidence. Our faith enables us to transcend the limitations of our physical senses and to live with an awareness of realities that we do not see with our eyes or hear with our ears. I am grateful for the power we receive as we exercise our faith in things that are true.