I was wondering if you could tell me where the term "leap of faith" originated. Thank you!
Thanks for your question; I did a little bit of research, and found the answer to your inquiry. During the Middle Ages, Roman Catholic theologians debated the notion the faith was sub-divided into two separate categories. One category of faith they said was easily reached without the help of human reason, such as confidence in the existence of God. The other category calls for individual faith in order to be grasped, such as belief in the resurrection from the dead.
Keep in mind Elizabeth; the Roman Catholic Church has always distorted what true “faith” is. Numerous councils throughout its dark history, Catholic “faith” has been defined as total submission to church dogma, believing God only reveals Himself through the hierarchy of the papacy. An example of this is seen in the prelude in the Athanasian Creed:
“Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith: which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in a Trinity, and Trinity in unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.”
We can be grateful that early reformers parted ways with the Roman Catholic Church, giving the believer his or her autonomy. The 19th-century Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard felt that a chasm separates human reason from faith, and that the would-be believer must make a “leap of faith” across this abyss in order to find salvation. This is where the saying, “leap of faith” originated.
Just as Kierkegaard did, Christians acknowledge the individual characteristic of faith, including the moral effort involved in attempting to lead the life of faith, rather than on the acceptance of creeds as an expression of faith.
Elizabeth, I think it is important you understand just a little bit of Søren Kierkegaard’s concept. He lived in an age when humanism was being heavily promulgated in Germany and France. One such German philosopher was G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel was a totalitarian; he taught that individual faith and moral choices was only the by-product of the society (aka ‘state’) a person lived in. Hegel’s thought captivated the minds of many prominent thinkers of the day and was gaining momentum when Kierkegaard rejected it altogether!
Thus Kierkegaard found himself in opposition, not only to the tenets of Roman Catholicism, but also societies’ intellectuals. His rejection of the ubiquitous Hegel philosophy was a bright light shining in a world of thought. Hegel’s ideas eventually paved the way for Socialism and later Communism.
Kierkegaard focused on the choices the individual must make in all aspects of his or her life, especially the choice to maintain religious faith. In 1846 he wrote, ‘Fear and Trembling,’ and in it he investigated the concept of faith through an examination of the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, in which God demanded that Abraham demonstrate his faith by sacrificing his son.
I’ll end here Elizabeth; you can see your question was not such an easy one to answer! I hope my research has been helpful, and all I ask in return is that you pray for me, asking God to grant me the courage and strength to continue doing His will. I live with chronic pain from numerous maladies.
God bless and keep you my friend, and feel free to stop by any time and ask as many questions as you please!
Your friend in Jesus~
The Bible Answer Stand Ministry
1 Peter 3:15
Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.