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Our Knowledge of God; The Dogma of Faith

THE FIRST WORD of our Christian Symbol of Faith is "I believe." All of our Christian confession is based upon faith. God is the first object of Christian belief. Thus, our Christian acknowledgment of the existence of God is founded not upon rational grounds, not on proofs taken from reason or received from the experience of our outward senses, but upon an inward, higher conviction which has a moral foundation.

In the Christian understanding, to believe in God signifies not only to acknowledge God with the mind, but also to strive towards Him with the heart.

We believe that which is inaccessible to outward experience, to scientific investigation, to being received by our outward organs of sense. St. Gregory the Theologian distinguishes between religious belief — "I believe in someone, in something" — and a simple personal belief — "I believe someone, I believe something." He writes: "It is not one and the same thing ‘to believe in something' and ‘to believe something.' We believe in the Divinity, but we simply believe any ordinary thing" ("On the Holy Spirit," Part III, p. 88 in the Russian edition of his Complete Works; p. 319 in the Eerdmans English text).

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