Let me explain this a little further. I shall again use the example of color. Blue is a substance. It is there all the time. But when you take a look at it, your eyes begin to transfer the blue into you. This is what is meant by substantiation. Now you can say that you have substantiated the blue into you. You know now that there is such a color called blue.
In fact, every one of us is daily substantiating. Now I can see Mr. Chang sitting here and Mr. Lee there. There is a lamp above me and a road in front of me. All these are substantiated by my eyes. Daily I am substantiating millions of objects into me through my substantiating organs. In this way, we are brought into contact with the outside world. In the same sense, we say that faith is the substantiating of things hoped for. I cannot find a better translation than this word.
FAITH IN SPIRITUAL THINGS
God uses the word "substantiating" to show us what faith means. The Bible tells us of many things, some of which we have mentioned previously. These things were hitherto unrelated to us; they existed independently outside of us. We call these spiritual matters. How can these spiritual matters be substantiated into us? Here faith comes into action.
Let me say a little more about the function of the five senses, after which we will come to the function of faith. This afternoon a few of us went for a sightseeing tour in Pali-tai. It was indeed a scenic place, and we absorbed the scenery. Mr. Jan told us that when the plum tree blossoms in a few days, the view will be even more spectacular. Another commented that the snow that was present a few days ago also made quite an impressive sight. All these lovely scenes can only be transmitted into us through our seeing ability. To a blind man, all these beauties are nonexistent.
Here is a most fragrant flower. When you put your nose close to it, you can detect its aroma, but if you were without a nose or had a cold, you would not have the smelling ability. You would not know how fragrant the flower is. Fragrance as a substance would be nonexistent to you. Here is a piano. It produces beautiful music. The player is skillful and expressive. But none of these melodious tunes come to a deaf person. To him, music is nonexistent because he lacks the hearing ability.
THE SUBSTANTIATING FAITH
The reason I have taken all the trouble to explain these things to you is so that you would understand what the Bible means by faith. It is a very important matter. As the eye is to seeing, the ear to hearing, and the nose to smelling, so faith is the organ whereby we substantiate everything spiritual into us. Without faith, every spiritual matter is a nonentity to us. This is why the Bible calls faith the substantiation of things hoped for.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 13, by Watchman Nee)