The knowledge of what is true and good that we have before we have faith might be seen by some people as constituting faith, but in actuality it is not faith. Our thinking and saying we believe does not mean that we actually do believe, or that we have a faith–it is just that we think we do. The things we know do not spring from an inner recognition that they are truths; and a faith that things are true when we do not actually know whether they are or not is a kind of bias quite remote from any inner acknowledgment. However, as soon as caring takes root, this knowledge becomes part of our faith–though only to the extent that there is caring within it.
In the first stage, before there is a sense of caring, it seems to us that faith is primary and caring secondary. In the second stage, though, when there is a sense of caring, faith becomes secondary and caring primary. The first stage is called “reformation” and the second is called “regeneration.” When we are in this latter stage, day by day, our wisdom grows, and day by day goodness causes our truths to multiply and bear fruit. Then we are like a tree that is a bearing fruit and developing seeds in the fruit that will yield new trees and eventually an orchard.
Then we become truly human, and after death we will be angels, whose life is an embodiment of caring and whose form is an embodiment of faith. That form will be as beautiful as our faith. But our faith will no longer be called faith: it will be called an understanding.
This shows us that every bit of faith comes from caring and nothing from faith itself. It also shows us that caring produces faith, but the faith does not produce caring. The knowledge of the truth that comes first is like grain stored in cellar, which does not nourish us at all until we want to make some food we sit, and we take some out.
from Life/Faith: Teaching for the New Jerusalem on Faith, Section 31