It has been common fare for a long time, and I saw it again today in an article from Christianity Today:
“I'm going to assume that faith, by its very nature, assumes uncertainty—otherwise, why would we need faith and hope? We are not given to know as God knows—with utter and complete and perfect knowledge. We are, however, given faith that God knows with utter and complete and perfect knowledge, and thus we can trust in him.”
As you can tell, this is not the main point of the article. But it is an assumption that is often made with far too little critical examination.
According to this author, faith assumes uncertainty. If it did not, he says, why would we need faith and hope?
Notice how this simply assumes that Biblical faith and hope necessarily have an element of uncertainty. Without going into all the details here, this sounds much more like modern cultural assumptions than Biblical definitions of either term. I’ll let you do your own research on that point.
But notice also how one argument put forth in favor of this is that “we are not given to know as God knows.” But why is that relevant? The question is not whether our knowledge is “complete and perfect.” The question is whether our faith involves an element that is related in some way to knowledge of which we are capable, and whether our faith and knowledge, by its very nature, must involve uncertainty.
Given that our knowledge is less than complete, why does that require that our incomplete knowledge always have an element of uncertainty? Many make this assumption, but why?
Then this little discourse wraps up with “We are . . . given faith that God knows with utter and complete and perfect knowledge, and thus we can trust in him.”
I don’t think we are “given” faith at all in certain important senses, thought I know Augustinians tend to think this way. But leave that aside. If “faith” is necessarily uncertain, then even if we are “given” it, it would never allow us to know that God knows. So how could we trust Him?
Faith that is necessarily uncertain cannot break the uncertainty cycle. Of this I am quite certain.