I believe a lot of people are honest about looking for truth and wanting to encounter God, but I also believe that much of our God-talk today is stuck in a self-defeating pattern. We start from our perspective and then work from there to see if God makes sense to us.
When we see what the Bible says about things, we shy away from affirming what the Bible affirms because we’re afraid to come off sounding like we’re saying, “Thus saith the Lord!!”
We’re afraid of sounding cocky or narrow-minded, as if we have some monopoly on reality and truth.
So we couch our doubts, insecurities, and embarrassment under the abused guise of humility and revel in the questions without the ‘ickiness’ of the answers.
But this doesn’t make sense in and of itself. If God is who the Bible says He is, then I think He gives us answers that we can understand and should trust. I don’t think shying away from this protects us from pride.
To paraphrase Dorothy Emmet, pride is a human failure which neither philosophy nor theology are impervious to, since they are both human disciplines. It’s kind of like saying, “Cars kill people.” No, people kill people and they were disturbingly efficient at it long before they had cars.
If the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob really is there, and He is a personal being who desires a relationship with His children, then it only makes sense that we would focus on how He communicates with us. This requires that we start from God’s perspective and work from there to see if we’re making any sense.
How has He communicated with us? Through Scripture and His Son. At least that’s the Bible’s take on it.
When we get bogged down with trying to reconcile some abstract theological hang-up with the latest wisdom of our world, God has to be shaking His head – if He’s there. And if He is, then you won’t find Him with science. You won’t find Him with experience and sense observation. You won’t find Him through intuition – whether rational or super-rational. No matter how many books you read, lectures you attend, papers you write, experiments you conduct, degrees you hold . . . you won’t find Him there.
A pastor friend of mine recently told me how he always wonders what Moses must’ve been thinking when God was telling him about the first few chapters of Genesis. Moses was a smart guy, educated in Pharoah’s court – so he wasn’t just any state school chump like me. God tells him, “So . . . then, two kinds of every animal boarded Noah’s boat.” To which Moses might have said, “Wait up, seriously?” God probably told Moses, “You’re talking too much again, be quiet. I AM, remember? Trust me, I have created you to believe what I tell you, not to understand it all.”
That’s what we have to do if we’re thinking about the Christian God at all. It’s already a foregone conclusion that scientists, philosophers, and mystical gurus are going to come up empty. Science, philosophy, and mysticism are not God’s appointed means of communicating Himself to us.
So stop looking for Him there and stop being disappointed that you can’t find enough evidence for Him there. Stop doubting that He’s there and wondering if He loves you simply because some scientist can’t step out of his own bubble and admit that God is beyond his science. Stop getting hung up on the fact that some of it sounds a bit other-worldly. If God’s there, then it all makes sense. God is, after all, a bit other-worldly.
You’ll only find Him through His appointed means: His Word + faith. God’s not making any apologies about the matter. I wouldn’t hold my breath either.
Stop talking so much.
Be quiet . . . listen.