Imaginative Faith

Often, faith is understood as holding a firm conviction. The idea that gets expressed is that one either has faith or one doubts. Someone either believes wholeheartedly (i.e, faith) or one struggles to believe (i.e., doubt). Perhaps this isn’t the best way to understand faith.

In Hebrews 11:1, faith is defined as: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Words like assurance and conviction become the focus rather than their objects. Assurance and conviction are really synonyms for belief/trust/faith. But what is interesting is the objects of faith that are described. The object of faith in this definition is “hope” and “things not seen.” In other words, faith is trusting in what you don’t see. How can you trust in what you don’t see? Most people only trust in what they see. So, faith gets defined in very wooden, black/white terms.

Again, how do you trust in what you don’t see? I would suggest that it requires imagination. God consistently leads me into things I can’t see, things that seem difficult or scary. He leads me into things that I might not choose because I can’t see how they would be good. So, faith in “things not seen” requires using my imagination because imagination is the only way I can “see” what I can’t see.

If God is good, then I can trust Him by using my imagination. For example, if I am fearful of confessing my sin and reaching out for help, I might focus on all the potential responses I can “see” like rejection or judgment. However, I might use my imagination to trust in the things that God might do through this act of trust. I could think of all the ways that God might purify and mold me no matter the response. 

An imaginative faith isn’t all faith is, but certainly it must be a part of it!


~ by Ted Wueste on May 6, 2011.

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