I Believe in I Believe in God

I Believe in I Believe in God February 1, 2014

Last Sunday in my Sunday school class, the topic that came up here on the blog recently also came up there: the difference between trusting in divine grace, and trusting in one's understanding of divine grace.

One can apply the same point to the creeds. There is a difference between believing in God, and believing a creed, even if the creed begins with “I believe in God.”

Hence the title of the post. For some, it is not enough to believe in God. One must believe in “I believe in God…”


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  • $51751848

    One of those distinctions that never made any sense to me. To believe in something presupposes having at least some understanding of what it is you believe in. This is especially so with regard to something or someone you trust with your life. It is that imperative that led to the creeds in the first place. As Rowan Williams explains in his brilliant “Tokens of Trust,” They are the indispensable answer to the question of what and who it is we believe in when we say “I believe in God.” I can trust in something I only partially understand, but that will be on the basis of the part I do understand. I can trust God to carry me through the sufferings and trials of this life without understanding why they are happening to me, but only because I am firmly convinced that God is real, all powerful and benevolent, which I believe on the basis of sound arguments, and the testimony of what he has done for others who put their trust in him in the past.

  • Tim

    I like the way Pete Enns puts it. I no longer believe in God; I trust him instead.


  • Nancy R.

    Greg Boyd addresses this in his new book, Benefit of the Doubt. He points out that some people focus on the intensity of their belief – they put their faith in their belief, rather than in the one whom they’re following. It’s a form of idolatry, and paradoxically results in insecurity – always worrying if our faith is strong enough.

    • I like the way Marcus Borg in Speaking Christian (pg. 16) puts it: “Faith now means believing a set of statements about God, Jesus, and the Bible to be
      true, often literally true. But in the Bible and premodern Christianity, faith and believing are not about affirming the truth of statements. Rather, they are about commitment, loyalty, and allegiance, and not to a set of statements, but to God as known especially in Jesus. Perhaps the best single synonym for to believe is to belove.” [emphasis on “belove”]

      • Sorry, I meant this to be a general comment, not a response to Nancy R.

        • Nancy R.

          That’s what I figured; it was a great point!