In 1920 John G. Lake wrote an article title “The Science of Divine Healing”. In the article he made a fascinating statement: “It was not sufficient to know that God healed; I had to know how God healed.” Lately, as I’ve been mediating on the subject of faith, I’ve found myself making similar statements to Lake’s. I want to know what faith is and how it works. If I were take a scientific approach to the study of faith, what might I discover? Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as a substance.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
So what if faith actually is a substance, matter of definite chemical composition? The greek word used in this verse for the word substance is hypostasis and does not seem to insinuate the definition of substance that I am, but let’s just ask “What if?” Let’s just roll with it and see what we discover. Let’s focus on the idea that faith is a substance.
We must first understand that every substance has a unique set of properties that allow us to differentiate between them. These properties are classified as physical properties and chemical properties. Physical properties are those that can be determined or measured without changing the composition or identity of the substance. Chemical properties tell us how the substance interacts with other substances. We will now apply these definitions and see what we can discover about the substance of faith.
Faith is mentioned in the bible 248 times (NIV). Only 9 of these instances are in the Old Testament. That means the word faith is mentioned 239 times in the New Testament. 39 of those times are within the four gospels with direct relation to Jesus. Just from those 39 instances we can determine several physical properties of faith:
- Anyone can have faith, even the unsaved.
- Faith is something an individual possesses and each persons faith is different then another, just like eye color, height, etc.
- A persons faith can be used to heal themselves or other peoples, as with the case of the Centurion. His faith healed his servant.
- Some people have more/different faith the others.
- The absence of faith hinders miracles.
- Faith enables a person to defy the laws of nature, as in the case of Jesus and Peter walking on water.
- Some people have great faith while others have little faith.
- Faith can kill or uproot trees and move mountains.
- Fear, doubt and faith do not co-habitat very well.
- Worry is a symptom of a lack of faith.
- Faith can be increased.
- Faith can fail in the sense that we can fail faith (does that make sense?).
- A person can be full of faith.
Another interesting physical property of faith is that it only seems to be activated in the presence of Jesus, whether while he was physically on earth or now as he dwells in his people.
Remember, chemical properties tell us how the substance interacts with other substances. Based on scripture, testimonies and personal experiences we can determine the chemical properties of faith. The other substance we will look out here is our bodies. Here are a few:
- Defective and blind eyes are restored.
- Paralyzed persons immediately get up and walk.
- Stopped hearts are restarted (dead are raised).
- Internal bleeding is stopped.
- Skin ravaged by leprosy is regenerated.
- Tumors are dissolved.
- Ear drums are reconstructed.
- Diseased lungs are made new.
- Surgical screws, pins and plates are dissolved within the body.
- Crooked backs are straightened.
- Down syndrome is healed.
In some cases the substance of faith creates new cells and tissue. In other cases, the substance of faith seems to dissolve and kill cells and objects that are foreign to our bodies. We could say that things that are suppose to be (according to the divine blueprints of our physical bodies) are created, while things that are not in the blueprints are removed.
Is faith a substance we secrete much like the oils in our hands? Do we leave a residue on the things we touch? Is this why Jesus said that we’ll lay hands on the sick and they will recover? If it is indeed something we secrete, evidence would suggest that this function can be both voluntary and involuntary (subject for another article). Perhaps it is this residue of faith that causes the chemical reactions with flesh.
Faith is something that is very hard to study in a science lab. From what we can tell it is something that exists mainly in the unphysical realm, but affects the physical realm much like frequencies we cannot hear affect frequencies we do. Presently we do not have the technology to examine the substance of faith in more precise and objective fashion, but perhaps someday that will be a possibility. There have been some experiments conducted with John G. Lake at a university in Spokane. In one experiment the doctors put deadly diseases in the palm of his hand and they died on contact…a result that baffled the team of doctors. So what if? What if faith is added to the periodic table of elements? What if we discover it has an electron configuration or density? I’m just saying, “What if?”.