Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to See God ............. Parables 385

August 31, 1993

American astronauts, at least a few of them, have said that the view from “up there” makes it difficult not to believe in God.

Whoever thinks God is merely a figment of human imagination find such statements quite frustrating. There is no solid evidence, they say, and they are right, no one can actually prove God exists. However, the Bible makes no argument about the existence of God. Those who wrote it claim God revealed Himself in several ways, outlines those, and leaves believing it up to the critical observer.

It might be that those who say God is only found in our imagination have too high an opinion of human creativity. Instead of looking inside our imagination to discover where the idea of God came from, they ought to turn their eyes elsewhere. Psalm 19 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

Astronauts aside, an objective observer does not have to rocket into outer space to see creation’s mysteries. Many things right under our feet and noses have no explanation other than they were fashioned by an intelligent Someone.

The Bible itself is another way God reveals Himself. He spoke to “holy men” who recorded what He said. This book spans several thousand years of history, was written by 40 or so people, and presents a unified message about God. If these people merely imagined Him, it is odd so diverse a group would agree on even one of His characteristics, let alone all of them.

A third way, not as reliable as the first two, is that God reveals Himself through people. We are made in His image and have some capacity to demonstrate something of His goodness. The downside is that everyone is also prone to disobedience and resisting God. This conflicting capacity to demonstrate evil is not of God or even like Him, but how do we know God is not evil? Nature sometimes seems that way, at least if we look at tornadoes, floods, vicious animals and aggravations like weeds and mosquitoes. Some even think the Bible portrays God as an evil entity, full of wrath and vengeance, who destroys whole families and nations and sends fire from heaven on those who dare to shake their fist in His face.

For the answer, we need to look at the last and most perfect revelation of God: Jesus Christ. The Bible says He “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being . . . .” (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus Christ is God putting on human flesh, God loving mankind, God willing to share in our humanness and suffer for our sins, dying that we might live forever. We see God’s compassion and power in Jesus. He heals the sick, comforts the hurting, and forgives repentant sinners. Both God’s holy wrath and loving mercy are seen in Jesus who expressed hatred for sin and hypocrisy, yet wept over the unbelief that kept people from recognizing who He was.

My pastor says, “The non-verbal world speaks a language everyone can understand.” Romans 1 puts it like this: “What may be known about God is plain . . . because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

God is not hiding.

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