Natural reason is a part of human nature. Believers and non-believers have use of reason and intellect. Religious experience is different, but it is still natural. We can sense God in ourselves and others, we can sense God in nature and creation, and we can sense God in the visible universe.
Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
When Jesus asks his disciples “who do you say that I am,” if you reply “the Son of the Living God”, and you actually believe there is one true God, that confession is based on supernatural faith.
In this case, that confession is based on a belief that the Messiah, or Savior (of mankind), would be born Jewish. I believe in a personal God and this is how I got there. Jesus of Nazareth was an historical person. We have to agree on this fact otherwise we cannot proceed.
God replied to Moses: I am who I am. Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.
“Savior” is the title of Jesus Christ.
What is the function of the Savior?
Arising from his sacrifice of his life for the salvation of the human race, Jesus Christ won for sinful humanity the graces necessary to reach heaven. God satisfied the conditions required to save us, and we invoke his Name and be saved.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by my Father.”
We cannot see Jesus is God unless the grace to say “Jesus is God” comes from a sincere heart given to us by God, the Father. I do not have to be a biological father to be given a sincere heart by God the Father.
This is what it means to be a Christian. Also, this is what it means to be created in the likeness of God.
What gets in the way of our vision of God?
“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.”
This “cleanliness” or “purity” is in the heart. That heart is desire. It is definitely not in my body even though I take a shower once per day. This purity is given to us by our Father, or the one who generates what he desires his children have or possess. It seems to be the purity of intention. Medical doctors take an oath to do no harm.
Faith and reason are two separate gifts.
Reason comes from nature, and faith comes from God. Jesus Christ gives what he has. He has faith in the will of God. That’s why Jesus is known as the pioneer of faith.
Some faith is required to admit that Jesus of Nazareth is an historical person. More faith is required to agree that Historical Jesus and Biblical Jesus are the same person. A great amount of faith is required to believe in the promises of Christ.
I try not to take leaps of faith, but I know putting my life in God’s hands is an act of faith.
Leaping is an action word, but I am not jumping forever. However, when we are talking to non-believers, we must make an example out of the reason for God, or the truth of God’s existence.
In my opinion, any claim has to be proven by the person that makes the claim.
Isaiah, and the Old Testament prophets, made claims. Jesus of Nazareth made claims. Jesus of Nazareth becomes Jesus Christ when we believe God came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Faith is how we learn truths we cannot see right now. As far as the salvation of a soul is concerned, it’s not “good enough” to say have faith and be saved. It has to be repent and believe because sinful humanity needs the graces necessary to reach heaven. We do not achieve the grace of God naturally, even though sacraments are real.
The reason why it has to be “repent and believe” is because anyone can say they have faith, but repentance shows us something.
Everybody wants to see and believe.
Repentance is a human act that leads to the grace that saves a soul. I am God’s coworker in that way. Even though God is always saving the souls of believers, we still have to be sorry for our sins and resolve to amend our lives. Sanctification has to be desired in order for it to be important.
The reason why I write about religious experience and natural reason is because they are two ways humans can know the truth of God’s existence. Supernatural faith is part of divine revelation. I can’t help you with that. Only God can reveal Christ has already won for sinful humanity the graces necessary to reach heaven.
Your life can be saved by a soldier on a battlefield in real life, not a video game, and you can give glory or credit to God for that event. I can be robbed or mugged, and you can save my life, nurse me back to health, and I can give glory or credit to God for that event. That is religious experience, but it is not the faith required to reach heaven.
What is religion, and where is the presence of God?
Religious experience is encountering the presence of God, but God is truly revealed through, with, and in Christ. That kind of religious experience is supernatural. I have heard people say “religion is man made”, and they mean artificial, or not naturally occurring.
The Imitation of Christ is a good place to start. The book wants to help believers live (being) and act in unity with God’s will. The best way I know how to do that is to be one with Christ. People will relate the word imitation with the concept of something being man made.
Imitating Christ is a lived tradition. The 12 apostles did it. Bible Christians do it. The imitation of Christ is the internal and external motivating factor of my faith. So I can see God, and you may see him also.
“Jacob was left there alone. Then a man* wrestled with him until the break of dawn.”
Friction creates heat.
I learn what is holy through my conflict with bad habits and sin, and believing. People can learn what something is by learning what something is not. When I fight my bad habits and sins, while asking for the Holy Spirit, I learn what Jesus Christ is, and has.
I can see the light when dawn breaks because the darkness has been defeated thoroughly. The night will come again, but I do not have to live as though in a cave and I have never seen the light.
Repentance is a human act that leads to the grace that saves a soul. I am God’s coworker in that way. When speaking to a non-believer about faith, remember that Christ exists before we are born. Grace always precedes faith.