"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
‘Grace has always the appearance of contradiction. The foundation is faith. For faith is the pillar and possession upon which we are able to plant our feet. But what, in fact, do we possess? Not things that are present, but what is set far distant under our feet – nay more, what is beyond the comprehension of our spirit. Faith is therefore named the evidence of things not seen. But evidence means that things emerge into appearance, and is applicable only to what concerns our senses. In the realm of faith the two apparent opposites – evidence and things not seen – struggle with one another and are united. It is precisely the hidden things, inaccessible to sensible perception, that are displayed by the Spirit of God. He promises eternal life – to those who are dead. He speaks of the blessedness of resurrection – to those who are compassed about with corruption. He pronounces those in whom sin dwells – to be righteous. He calls those oppressed with ceaseless tribulation – blessed. He promises abundance of riches – to those abounding only in hunger and thirst. God cries out to us that He is coming quickly to our aid – and yet He seems deaf to every human cry for help. What, then, would be our fate, were we not powerful in hope, were we not hurrying through the darkness of the world along the road which is enlightened by the Spirit and by the Word of God?’
- John Calvin, as quoted in Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 19-20