The Difference Between Believing and Knowing

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One’s belief that there is a G-d who created the world can be built on blind faith alone or on understanding and knowledge. While a young child begins with blind faith, there is also the requirement which tells us which requires us to understand that the world must have a Creator and why it couldn’t just have happened by chance or coincidence.

The greater our knowledge and understanding, the stronger will be our faith and belief. A person’s belief and faith that something is so can have different levels. We find that despite Noach telling people for 120 years that a flood would come and destroy mankind, he was still remained skeptical that it would actually happen. He thought that Hashem may reconsider and have mercy. Hashem had to physically put him into the Ark. The medrash refers to him as a “mamin v’eino mamin,” – one who believed and didn’t believe. There were still some doubts in his mind. That’s because a prophecy that something bad will happen can always be changed as happened with the city of Ninveh.

Many times scientists have certain beliefs which they call theories. It’s only after they make experiments that prove their beliefs, that their theories are validated beyond the shadow of a doubt and they know that it is so.

Our blind faith is strengthened by our understanding of Hashem’s great wonders. The better we understand the inner workings of a computer that greater is our awe of its designer. The more beautiful the picture, the more we appreciate and admire the painter. So, too, it is with our belief in Hashem. The more we understand His ways and understand the workings of His wondrous universe, the greater and stronger is our faith. That is why the posuk tells us, “Ato horeiso lodas, ki Hashem hu Elokim, ein od milvado.” Seeing is far greater than just believing that something is so.

It was during the splitting of the sea when Hashem opened their eyes and they actually saw what’s happening in the Heavens above, that their faith in Hashem was strengthened. It was first at the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai that their faith was eternalized for all coming generations.