I assume the existence of God a priori.

I am looking for an answer from a Catholic perspective.

  • What definitions do you have for faith and hope? In some contexts, they're used as synonyms. Also, what do you mean by "greater"?
    – user32540
    Jan 2 '19 at 6:04
  • James 2:19 "It's good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear." We should remember that although Satan does believe in God yet fears Him, it is because he has no hope.
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 9 '19 at 1:04
  • Can the answer to your question make a distinction?…
    – Geremia
    Jan 11 '19 at 5:02
  • 1
    I can understand were you got the question from. 1 Cor 13:13 lists faith, hope and love, and says that love is the greatest. So, the question is if the other two are listed in the right order, or not? Jan 12 '19 at 11:28

According to the well respected Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas faith is greater than hope in a number of ways:

  1. Faith makes God present to the intellect; hope makes God present to the will. Since the inclination of the will follows upon the apprehension of the intellect, faith precedes hope (ST IIae IIae, Q 4, A 7).
  2. Faith makes hope possible (ST IIae IIae, Q 17, A 7).
  3. Given Thomas' argumentation in ST IIae IIae, Q 17, A 8 it is possible to infer that faith precedes hope in the order of perfection (given the fact that he does not make the same two-fold distinction in article 7 that he does in article 8).

Hopefully this is helpful to you. The question is difficult because faith and hope are closely connected and both are important.

  • 1
    Are you Zippy Catholic? If so, I should ask a question here about usury so you can answer it. ☺
    – Geremia
    Jan 13 '19 at 0:14
  • I am not, and unfortunately I heard that he passed on. May he rest in peace.
    – zippy2006
    Jan 13 '19 at 3:58
  • Requiescat in pace. Amen.
    – Geremia
    Jan 13 '19 at 4:15

A good definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:

Hebrews 11:1 KJV

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.


6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

So Faith is the reason upon which your hope is based.

You can HOPE that I will give you $100, but if I have told you that I will give you $100, and you trust me, then you can have FAITH that you will get it. (This is opposed to blind faith, which is really just hope, because there is no reason for the hope.)

So when the Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith, it is stating that you must have more than just hope to please Him. You must know who He is, what He says, and actually trust Him!

So the answer would have to be that FAITH is much more valuable than HOPE, because it pleases God when you trust Him to be or do what He says he will be or do.

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