Hebrews 11:1 reads: ”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
This describes a gap…a space…an interval in time or in the course of events…of things hoped and things not seen yet…between point-A and point-B…between where we are and where we need to get to…that offers a context for a demonstration of biblical faith to actualize that is not found anywhere else in all of human thought or experience.
Certainly within the vast region of secular pursuits there is an equivalent gap between where people are and where they would like to get to. This reality is what motivates people to pursue a college degree, advance in their careers, save up money for a European vacation or their future retirement, explore the natural world through scientific investigation, and search for the cure for cancer.
It is also the gap that enables us to recognize our fallen nature…and our need for a Savior.
But in the biblical narrative stories of faith the point-B goal or outcome is outside the reach of the human capacity to resolve, contrive, or facilitate. The gap…the space…the interval…within the biblical faith of Hebrews 11:1 is some time-length of patient waiting or some series of unique events leading to the fulfillment of a promise of God…which is unattainable by human means…which is totally outside of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking to procure…by deliberate and premeditated design.
In the biblical narrative stories of faith…getting from point-A to point-B by human means is removed as an option by divine beneficial intention.
The novel and innovative imagination that would create the worldview reality of an adventure of faith in pursuit of innumerable, varied point-B’s that are outside of our innate, natural abilities to procure on our own…is a divine insertion into our world of complex, specified, divinely crafted information that parallels the action of creation in the words: “And God said”…recorded in Genesis chapter 1.
The fact that a journey of faith…containing the cross of Christ that displaces our way with God’s way…is not found anywhere in world religions, philosophy, or literature…except in the Bible…tells us that worldly conventional normalcy and thinking is incapable or unwilling to put into play…in actually is blind (Mt. 15:14) concerning the recognition of a journey of faith following God.
The counterfeit that worldly conventional normalcy and thinking offers in place of a journey of faith is a journey of self…in pursuit of material wealth and worldly acclaim that by themselves…apart from biblical faith…leads to destruction (Mk. 8:36-37; Mt. 7:13).
Infertile couples like Abraham and Sarah cannot produce their son of promise Isaac…on their own. This is a gap from point-A to point-B…from the promise of God to its fulfillment…which is not reachable through human resolution.
The idea that Pharaoh in Egypt would have a disturbing dream minus the necessary interpretation…which is then divinely given to Joseph…propelling him into the leadership position of a foreigner becoming governor during a great famine…is a seemingly impossible point-B to reach…much less imagine…even with his earlier two inspired dreams as a teenager back in Canaan foretelling a future remarkable destiny ahead.
The means by which Moses, his wooden staff, and his brother Aaron deliver the Israelites from Egypt through the miraculous ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea…now at least hypothetically and philosophically acceptable in our modern culture after the discovery of the near instantaneous creation of the universe out of nothing in the Big Bang…articulates a point-B for Moses that was not anywhere within his contemplation before he killed the Egyptian and had to flee into exile for forty years in Midian.
Even the perfect life and ministry of Jesus Christ the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for the sins of the world…has a point-A to point-B gap to cross in terms of time and mission.
In Luke 22:42 Jesus utters words that are so far out of the realm of human invention they stand alone at the highest level of goodness and light as is imaginable for all eternity…past, present, and future. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”…tells us that God is so creatively brilliant that He can even craft a life-script for Himself that challenges His own perfectly divine nature…in the precise and exact area where we need the most help…in the shift from self-sovereignty to God-sovereignty….from a life of self-rulership to a life of following the living God.
The point here is not to suggest that human fictional writing cannot be as ingeniously inventive as the biblical narrative stories of faith…although the Joseph novella in Genesis (c. 1450 B.C.) predates Shakespeare (1600 A.D.) by roughly 3,000 years. The contention here is that the designated point-B’s in the biblical life-scripts are so supernaturally outside of human manipulation and contrivance to resolve…so far outside of the conventional norms of self-sovereignty, self-reliance, pre-planning, and foresight…that the introduction of a faith-journey where the living God displaces us on the decision-making thrones of our lives…is beyond the contemplation of human literary invention.
The idea of the cross of Jesus Christ (Lk. 22:42; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:1-3) that would and could displace our own plans with God’s higher ways and plans…after the pattern of Abraham leaving Haran and heading off toward Canaan into a new and novel journey-of-faith through the calling of God…will not be found in any literature or thinking in any of the great human fiction writers…or in any other religions, philosophies, or worldviews outside of the Bible.
There is no plausible explanation for the capacity of mere material particles and energy to come up with the complexity and sophistication underlying the amazing dichotomy of these two opposing directions to choose from…a journey of self or a journey of faith…at the very core of our lives.
The existence of unconventional journeys of faith…with the cross of Christ integrated into every biblical narrative storyline…argues at a fundamental level for the divine origin of the Bible and its message of liberation and salvation now and for all eternity (Jn. 8:36).