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Submission to God


Every article of the Creed has been attacked by someone in recent years. The man or woman of faith who can live it in the face of hostile surroundings is truly following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who was put to death for living and proclaiming the Good News of salvation.


The man of faith is an affront to the modern atheist who reduces all reality to the eyes-ears-nose-throat level. Any statement of belief that cannot be verified by that criterion, in his view, must be dogmatically rejected as mythical or superstitious. The woman who believes in God and consequently rejects the here-and-now pleasure ethic of contemporary society is bound to be an object either of derision or pity from her "wiser" peers who "know better".

The convinced, practicing Christian is the person who walks by faith in the midst of every adversity. According to the letter to the Hebrews, faith is the "confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see" (11:1). If you would like to read an inspiring passage from the Bible to mark the Lord's Day, I highly recommend this eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Here the inspired author recalls the heroes of faith in the Old Testament and reminds us of what they were able to accomplish for God because of their indomitable faith. He praises the faith of such people as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David and many others. These men believed in God, even though they did not always see where he was leading them and, Scripture says, because of their faith they were "approved by God" (Heb 11:2)

Faith in God gives a person a sense of direction in his life. The person of faith is confident that everything will work out for the best, for he knows that his eternal destiny and his earthly happiness are in the hands of a loving God. He is not the plaything of cruel fate or of implacable, impersonal forces, which was the idea that many of the ancient Greeks had with regard to man and his destiny.

It is true that there is a certain obscurity about faith, since what is believed is accepted on the authority of another in this instance on the authority of God who can neither deceive not be deceived. Hence, when a person assents to something as true on the basis of his faith, he does so not because he sees the intrinsic reason for the proposition in question (e.g., Trinity, Incarnation, grace, Resurrection), but because God himself has testified to this truth. The merit of faith is precisely in accepting something which we cannot prove by the power of human reason.

Faith, therefore, is rightly called a "submission" to God. It is obedience to God in the innermost depths of man in his mind and in his will.

God spoke to Israel and elicited faith. Jesus spoke to the Jews and many believed in him. The Gospel was written down in order to strengthen the faith of Christians and to lead others to faith. St. John says that he wrote his Gospel "to help you find that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in his name" (Jn 20:31).

See the index of chapters from Fundamentals of Catholicism which have been reprinted to CERC here.

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Kenneth Baker, S.J. "Submission to God." In Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1 Part 1, Chapter 2 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 23-25.

This article reprinted with permission from Father Kenneth Baker, S.J.

The Author

bakerbaker1Father Kenneth Baker, S.J., assumed editorship of Homiletic & Pastoral Review in April 1971 and remained in this position for almost forty years. In 1983 he published a three-volume explanation of the faith called Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1, Creed and Commandments; Vol. 2, God, Trinity, Creation, Christ, Mary; and Vol. 3, Grace, the Church, the Sacraments, Eschatology

Copyright © 1995 Kenneth Baker, S.J.

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