(2 Corinthians 5:6-7)
There is a blindness on the people of this world that causes them not to see the truth of God. They demand proof that can be seen and measured scientifically before they will accept the truth of any matter. They say that “Seeing is believing.” But in Christ we learn the opposite is true, as Paul wrote in these verses, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
The truth of God and His ways cannot be approached from a physical point of view. God is spirit and so we must approach Him and His kingdom through the spirit. You cannot see or measure the things of the spirit because they are not physical. So physical measures do not work.
“Seeing is believing” will not work for the things of the spirit. And even though there are many things that can be seen, the blindness of the people of the world who are unbelievers refuse to see and accept that these things are from God. They reject the spirit because they reject anything they do not and cannot understand.
Seeing Is Believing
The philosophy of “seeing is believing” is a lie. The desire for a physical proof through seeing, feeling, hearing and so on by experiencing a thing through the physical senses is full of problems. It is fraught with weakness because what people see, feel, touch, smell and hear is colored by perceptions.
I recall a story that shows the weakness of the “seeing is believing” philosophy, although it will appear odd as it involves three blind men.
These three blind men lived in a remote village in India and had never seen or experienced an elephant. One day they were told that an elephant was to pass through their village and they were excited to finally experience the reality of meeting an elephant.
The elephant came to the village and each of the blind men went forward and touched the elephant. The first came to the front of the elephant and felt the tusks and trunk. The second man came to the side of the elephant and felt the massive expanse of the elephant’s side. The third man came forward and reaching out he touched the legs of the elephant.
They went home and then argued about what an elephant was. The first man said it had hard, bony protrusions and yet was able to reach many things with a long flexible hose. The second man said he was wrong because an elephant was like a massive leathery wall that just went on and on. The final man said they were both wrong because he believed an elephant was solid like the trunk of a tree. And the men argued on and on over what each of them thought the elephant was like.
The moral of this story is that although each man perceived what was real to them, it was not the fulness of the truth of what an elephant is. Their perceptions of the elephant were colored by what they knew and their knowledge was incomplete.
So too, the philosophy of seeing is believing is false because it is incomplete. Man cannot know God through “seeing is believing” because what we can see of God, as expressed in His Creation, is not God. We see only part of the truth in the physical realm, but the fulness of the truth can only be found in the spiritual realm where God resides.
The odd thing is that even in this world, faith is necessary among non-believers as much as those who believe in God.
Everyone believes in something, even those who reject the existence of God. In the realm of scientific achievement, everything that has been discovered or invented is based on faith. Even those who are involved in science accept the need for faith.
They use words like, if you can perceive it you can achieve it. Or, every great advance begins with a dream, and similar such sentiments. Each of these is a statement of faith because you must believe something can be done before you even begin.
Faith is the key to all endeavors. And yet in the realm of religion, those who reject God refuse to accept the reality of faith. They will accept the need for faith to do the things of this world, but reject faith to seek the ways of God that lead to salvation and life. And that is hypocrisy.
We Walk By Faith Not By Sight
And so we see Paul write here that for the Christian, it is not about the things we can see, but rather what we believe. Faith is the essence that brings us into the presence of God. Specifically, it is faith in the working of God through believing what He did for us in Jesus Christ that will bring us into the kingdom of God.
This world is transient and has been doomed to wear out and eventually die. Just as our physical bodies will wear out and die.
But the kingdom of God and the life He offers is eternal and will never die. We are told by God that He will create a new heaven and new earth that will never pass away or wear out. These are things we accept as real through faith, because we in Christ know that it is by faith we will receive all of the promises of God. All of the promises of God are based on faith, and if we are to receive His promises we must come to Him according to the methods He has put in place.
That is why we must learn how to walk in God according to the path He established. And that is why we walk by faith and not by sight.