Believing in God is a bit like Wedding Vow
By Gerald O’Collins SJ – Sunday by Sunday, we say together at the Eucharist: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty. The Creed declares our common faith in God and does not begin by stating: We believe that God exists. Believing in God takes us beyond simply believing that God exists. Believing in involves deep commitment and lasting trust.
Last September, at a wedding in London, I received the marriage vows of a young couple, Amber and Charles. It is always very moving to hear a bride and bridegroom commit themselves to each other. They trust each other and want to rely on each other for the rest of their lives. Freely and responsibly, they pledge themselves to each other.
Jewellery stores used to sell engagement rings with the message: Diamonds are for ever. Believing in each other means that a couple wants to commit themselves to each other for ever. They want their commitment and trust to resemble diamonds in being utterly strong and lastingly indestructible.
When Amber and Charles pledged themselves to each other, I thought once again of the Old Testament and the way the Jewish Scriptures picture our believing in God as a kind of marriage relationship. It helps to think of faith as a kind of marriage relationship.
People normally marry each other because they believe that this new relationship will work. They enjoy similar interests, share similar values, and know that they get along well together. Getting married is no wild leap into total darkness. There are good reasons for thinking that their marriage will work. But they don’t have absolute certainty. They go beyond the evidence in pledging themselves to each other.
Believing in God is something like that. There are good reasons for our faith in God. Believing in God is no reckless jump into total darkness.
Yet we do go beyond the evidence when we believe and continue to believe in the loving but invisible and very mysterious God, who is with us always on our journey through life.
We commit ourselves to God with lasting trust when we say: We believe in God. We want to trust and rely on God in the kind of way a happily married couple trust and rely on each other. They truly believe in each other, and normally don’t spend their time anxiously asking themselves: Can I really trust him? Why should I rely on her?
Day after day, they trust each other and rely on each other. Believing in God is very much like that. Day by passing day, we trust God and rely on God. We don’t normally spend our time anxiously wondering whether we can really trust God and rely on God. We leave our lives in the best place they can be in the hands of God.
We can learn a great deal about believing in God if we think of the way a happily married couple believe in each other and continue to believe in each other. Updated from 2010