Intellectual knowledge of God?

God does exist. Indeed He exists truly and supremely. In my view we not only hold this as certain by our faith, but we also come to grasp it intellectually by a sure (though admittedly a tenuous) form of knowledge…

Concerning the Freedom of the Will, Augustine, in Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith, Selected and with an introduction by Francis Collins (HarperOne, 2010)

Of course Augustine – even though he wrote such logical arguments – was aware that intellectual knowledge is not everything.

We operate on the levels of intellect and faith in so many areas of life (such as human relationships), but somehow people of faith are expected to be able to defend their beliefs on a purely intellectual level. What’s even more interesting is that people of faith have bought into that and often try to make a purely intellectual defence of what they believe, particularly in the scientific arena. But in the rest of life other factors are allowed to come into play – such as beauty, truth or justice – and somehow that’s ok. That’s why I’m so keen on using personal story as a way of showing that science and faith can work together. It’s a way of joining up the logical arguments with the rest of life that we’re all familiar with. When a scientist who believes in God tells the story of their life it really does the question, ‘Can a scientist be a person of faith?’, justice. It’s hard to answer the question properly otherwise.

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