We have to understand the importance of defining the meaning of words. When people fail to communicate well, they use “semantics” as a cop out to let themselves disagree.
Actually, there are two possible reasons for the failure in communication. First, both parties are using different definitions for the same word. Or secondly, both parties are using different words for the same definition. The solution to these conflicts is for both parties to define the words they are using.
In this blog, we are going to use the words in the Bible, but we are going to determine the definitions according to their ability to be non-contradictory. This is going to cause you to rethink the definition of several words you use on a regular basis. Take time to think through what you mean when you use these words. This shouldn’t be a problem unless you believe the Bible intended to contradict itself.
Sometimes the Bible will give the definition, for example: faith. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) So there are actually two versions of faith.
1. Faith is the belief in something you can’t see (“the evidence of things not seen”).
Do you believe in gravity? Have you ever seen gravity? While you haven’t seen gravity (cause), you have seen the effects. Magnetism is another good example. Can you imagine what people thought when they first realized that some rocks attracted or repelled other rocks? How could they explain it?
One great scientist, as late as the 1600’s, tried to explain it by saying the one object actually sent out waves in the shape of a screw and the other object had holes in it like a nut. So that depending on the shape of the screw and the nut, the objects would either screw themselves closer or farther away.
We do not see magnetism, yet we believe it exists. Why do we believe magnetism exists? Because we see the results of magnetism. The objects being attracted and repelled aren’t themselves magnetism. They are not the causes. Electricity is another great example of a cause we believe in even though all we see are the effects.
Although you see the effects, you have faith as to the causes. We can’t prove the causes by seeing them, because the causes can’t be seen. The causes are eventually proven with the Scientific method, which consists of posing and testing theories with a contrastive perspective.
2. Faith believes something will happen that hasn’t happened yet (“substance of things hoped for”).
How do you know if someone believes something will happen? Their actions prove if they think it will happen or not. Notice, faith is proven by actions; not solely by what is said. In fact, true faith is demonstrated by actions and quiet confidence, not yelling and screaming in order to convince yourself or others.
For example, do you think the sun will rise tomorrow? Of course! If you didn’t believe it would, you would spend your time making other arrangements. Notice, the person’s answer to this question is a calm response. How silly would it be for someone to yell, “Oh, I believe the sun will come up tomorrow!” in response to this question?