In philosophy, there is a much discussion concerning the distinct differences between faith and intellectual reason, which sometimes produces a form of rationalism bringing an indictment on the vital faith of a believer. The words of Rene Descartes, “Cogito Ergo Sum,” penned in 1637, have become a foundation and basis of human rationalization. Descartes in writing this proposition, effectively became the predecessor to philosophical humanism in general. The Descartes statement essentially declared that the filter of one’s own reason, rationale, and understanding becomes the basis of any human experience.

But faith in contrast asserts that one must cling to belief in God even when rationality cannot be confirmed. When comprehension of the complexities and details of life, are lacking, faith survives, and emerges. When the Christian is perplexed by all things that surround him, he is faced with the strong dilemma, “Do I let my faltering emotions, logic, and intellect, dictate my position of faith,” or … “Do I trust God, when all coherent reason and understanding seem absent?” This crisis of faith is one that all believers in Christ must pass through.

Anselm, Archbishop of Cantebury (1033-1109) offered the powerful antidote to living by rationalization alone. His words and prayer “Credo Ut Intelligam,” have had profound impact upon the lives of believers for centuries, and upon my life as well. In his writing, Anselm echoed the teaching of Augustine (3rd,4th centuries) with underpinnings and understanding concerning God’s sovereignty, and the foundations of Reformed Faith. “Credo Ut Intelligam,” translated from Latin, “I believe in order that I may understand.”

Rationalism suggests, I must see and be convinced in order to understand God, but faith declares that believing gives way to understanding. Anselm’s statement in simplicity, boldly declares – “I believe, so that understanding may come.” – Which is to say that – Faith will give way to rational understanding. His conclusion became more bold, emphatically declaring, “Unless I believe (first), I will not (be able to) understand.”

In times of doubt, believers in Christ must rest upon the bedrock of truth – that God does all things well, and that Romans 8:28, holds unequivocally true. – “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

In the midst of doubt, faith exists and triumphs.  

The Prayer of Anselm

Lord Jesus Christ, Let me seek you by desiring you, and let me desire you by seeking you; let me find you by loving you, and love you in finding you. I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving that you have made me in your image, so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you. But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults, and darkened by the smoke of sin, that I cannot do that for which it was made unless you renew and refashion it.

Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height, for my understanding is in no way equal to that, but I do desire to understand a little of your truth which my heart already believes and loves. I do not seek to understand so that I can believe, but I believe so that I may understand; and what is more, I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.