Conceptions of Trust/Faith
Conceptions of Doubt/Limits
|His initial address to Christ as both 'Son of God"
and "immortal Love."
||An admission that we have not seen Christ's face
|We must hold to faith by faith alone.
||For it is something we cannot prove.
|Christ as God is the creator of the stars and planets,
as well as life and death. Lines seven and eight may be understood to suggest that Christ
has conquered death.
||Yet at the same time, lines seven and eight may also
suggest that Christ/God is the bringer of death to his creatures.
|God will not leave us dead. He is just.
||Yet we cannot understand why we were made and can only
think (not know) that we were made for something other than death.
|Christ's two natures are affirmed.
||Yet Tennyson's affirmation is of one that seemest.
|Equally, "our wills are ours" to make them
||Yet "we know not how" to do this.
|God is far more than our human conceptions of him.
||But that is what we have to go on--"little
systems" that "are but broken lights of thee."
|Trust and faith, come from God, are beams of light in
||Knowledge is limited to what we can see.
|Tennyson prays that empirical knowledge and intuitional
faith might make a music together.
||God must do this, for we are but fools and "vain
|He asks forgiveness for his sin and false pride in
||Yet again these things seemeth.
|He also asks to be forgiven his grief for Hallam's
||He asks to be forgiven for his "wild and wandering
|He "trusts" (however weakly or strongly) that
Hallam lives in God.
||Of course, this "trust" again cannot be
proven per se.
|He asks Christ to make him wise.
||He asks for forgiveness where he has failed in truth.
|A biblical and epistemological response to
Tennyson's division would offer some of the following:
- Granting that faith and trust often require us to hold to what we
cannot see (Heb 12), nonetheless faith begins out of a covenantal relationship with God,
one that God initiates by revealing who he is and who we are before him.
- Likewise, faith has a rational component: it has a kind of unity,
coherence, and common sense realism about it. And faith forms certain basic beliefs from
which we seek to understand the larger universe about us.
- As Tennyson suggests, we are finite, limited beings with often
mistaken (even sinfully deceptive) notions about God, the universe, and ourselves. This
includes our systems of theology, our religious traditions, and our own personal
experiences with God.
- Nonetheless, we should stress that God has given us sufficient
knowledge about himself and the world and ourselves in order to live, work, play, and
repent. Provisional knowledge is not relative knowledge; rather, it is knowledge that
seeks to act and be obedient on the basis of what we do know, even as it also remains open