5.2.15–>”Credo ut Intelligam”

NPG D23949; St Anselm after Unknown artist

Hebrews 11:6

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

“Credo ut intelligam” is a Latin phrase meaning “I believe so that I may understand,” and is a maxim of Anslem of Canterbury. It’s based off of a saying from Augustine of Hippo–crede, ut intelligas–“Believe so that you may understand.”

Anselm wrote that it is faith that enables us to understand, not understanding that enables us to have faith.

Good old fashioned belief.

Will we ever really understand? Can we understand God through reasoning alone anyway? Isn’t it only through love and faith that we can even begin to grasp the tiniest aspect of the mystery of God.

Trying to understand first seems to be a false premise or foundation for approaching the Almighty. It’s like we’re on the wrong channel trying to tune in to our favorite show. YHWH is on channel 7, the Faith and Love station, and here we are on channel 92, the Intelligence and Reasoning station exclaiming, “Why the hell aren’t they showing ‘I Love YHWH’??!?!?”

Jesus never said, “Figure this out, comprehend all of this mystery, and then come to me.” Thankfully, He said, “Come to me if you are burdened, worn out, at the end of your rope.” This is key. So key. A broken and contrite heart He will NOT turn away (Psalm 51:17). C.S. Lewis said that a man dying of thirst in the desert does not need to understand the molecular workings of H2O in order for it to restore him to health. He needs only but to drink it.

Reading Psalm 107 this morning, I was taken with this pattern of getting to the end of all options, calling on YHWH, and being rescued. There’s a belief that there is, in reality, only one option anyway. Some of us just need to exhaust more options than others before settling in on the true one.

Maybe we just need to switch over to channel 7. The protected channel (or path) of trust. Could it be that simple? True belief is abandonment. Surrender. Trust. Reliance. Confidence. Dependence.

Confidence that He will answer. Abandonment to His choice of how He will answer. It is eager anticipation for His response. HIS response.  His deliverance. Trusting in His mercy. It may not look how we think it will look or even want it to look.

At any given moment of our lives, we are trusting something. This is irreducible reality. We are always tuned in to some channel, some voice–be it the fear channel, the History channel (obsessed with our past), the apathy channel (if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice)…We can channel-surf ourselves to death.

Is the point of our life to understand everything? Or is it to share in the Life of God via trust in Him, and then to grow in our understanding?


In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria

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