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In absence of proof, there is faith

"There is no tangible, concrete evidence of the existence of God or the divinity of the Master in the legal sense, but not all inquiry for truth results in proof by real or demonstrative evidence," said Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, in his April 1975 general conference address.

"It is fallacious to argue that because there is no demonstrative evidence of the existence of God He does not in fact exist. In the absence of evidence often thought necessary by the scientific world for positive proof, our search may take us into the realm of circumstantial evidence. We could spend hours describing the wonders of the universe, of the earth, of nature, of the human body, the exactness of the laws of physics, and a thousand things all of which dictate to the conscience of a truth seeker that there is a creator and one who rules over the universe."What would be the situation if the existence of God could be proven by demonstrative evidence? What would happen to the element of faith as the first step or principle of the gospel? One of the burdens of the teachings of the Master was to emphasize the importance of faith. Faith is the element that builds the bridge in the absence of concrete evidence. This is exactly what the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews was talking about when he referred to faith as `the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' (Heb. 11:1.) In other words, faith is the assurance of the existence of a truth even though it is not evident or cannot be proved by positive evidence.

"Suppose that all things could be proven by demonstrative evidence. What then would become of the element of faith? There would be no need for faith and it would be eliminated, giving rise then to this query: If faith is the first step or principle of the gospel and is eliminated, what happens to the gospel plan? The very foundation will crumble. I submit that there is a divine reason why all things cannot be proven by concrete evidence.

"Those who doubt are prone to ask for proof or a sign that they might believe. The prophet Alma spoke to his people on this very subject and said to them, `Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.

" `Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.' " (Alma 32:17-18.)

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