Day 44: Faith, Evidence, and Knowledge

Alma 30:15

Faith, evidence, and knowledge are big topics that require a much more in-depth treatment. I’m sure someone else much smarter and more eloquent has done that already, but this issue came up for me last year and I wanted to share a few (very) brief thoughts since Korihor treads on the subject in Alma 30.

In Alma 30, Korihor pops up as an example of an Anti-Christ, someone who tries to destroy the Church by preaching the Christ doesn’t exist. He is not successful for many reasons, including that God is real and the church Alma established under God’s authority had a lot of very committed members. One of Korihor’s arguments in verse 15 lays the claim that “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see.” God requires us to accept as true many, many things that we cannot see. We accept that He exists, without seeing Him. We accept that Jesus Christ is real, without seeing Him. We accept that the Resurrection will happen, that our sins can be forgiven, that baptism is necessary for salvation, all without “seeing” proof. Korihor specifically denies the possibility of gaining knowledge without using physical senses to obtain evidence.

The Book of Mormon teaches that knowledge of God and things pertaining to God come through means other than the five senses. Such knowledge comes through faith, prayer, fasting, studying God’s word, and acting on God’s word as revealed by His prophets. The scriptures suggest that a spiritual witness provides just as good or better evidence than what we can obtain through our physical senses. In Hebrews 11:1 (NT) the Apostle Paul teaches that “faith…is the evidence of things not seen.” When considered in tandem with Alma 32, Paul’s point could be that having and acting on faith in something true but not visible brings forth evidence for its truthfulness. And as Alma teaches, acting on faith in a particular principle will ultimately provide you with knowledge about that thing. Faith doesn’t require evidence but it can provide evidence. Faith and evidence can coexist. And while knowledge develops as a result of an exercise of faith, we continue to exercise our faith to grow our knowledge base of God, truth, and eternity.

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