- Keith Harris
When we talk about The Faith, we speak of something that is more than a religion. The Faith is a complete view of the world and our place in it. Sam Harris, in his book Letter to a Christian Nation, wrote, “But what was God doing while Katrina laid waste to their city? Surely he heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising water for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there…these people died talking to an imaginary friend.” Today people reject God on two fronts: they see evil and assume God should stop it, and they can’t explain God fully so they opt for disbelief.
There are really three ideas about origins. One idea is said to be “A Godless Material Universe”. Essentially, the thought is that the material universe is the sum and substance of all that exists, and that it has either always existed or it came into existence without a cause (but the idea that it has always existed is now untenable). Another idea is that God is an intelligent presence in all things – “A Universal Mind”. It is said that there is an intelligible character to our world for which the material theory cannot account. One loud cry today is that to believe in God is irrational. “Irrational” in this case means not explained by a natural, material world. I would suggest that God is not irrational…maybe unnatural…actually super-natural (that’s what God is). And finally, the idea of “A Personal God”. Christians see the creation as an indicator of God’s character. God is the source of creation and yet independent of it. We would say he is a transcendent God. He is far above what we could ever hope to imagine. We then have reason to believe that, “In the beginning, God…” (Gen. 1:1).
My inability to explain God’s existence should not be my reason for rejection. Do we reject everything we don’t understand fully? Isaiah 55:8 tells us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” God represents himself as “I AM.” God is called “The Existing One.” Exodus 3:6 says, “And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” In verse 14 of that same chapter we read, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’’” Then, in Exodus 6:3, God says, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them.” Just because we cannot fully explain God doesn’t mean we are left only to reject his existence.
Also, I believe it is important for us to note that the knowledge of God is within us. Paul explains in Romans 2:14-15, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” God’s Law is written on our hearts. In Exodus 24, after Moses has read the Book of the Covenant to the people of Israel, the people make a vow of faithfulness. “And they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient’” (Exodus 24:7). This seems to be a sign of the great hope that God’s people would one day obey his commandments in the same way they obey the laws of nature, e.g. the law of gravity. It would one day be natural and normal, where they would follow God’s commands out of hearts that were overflowing with love for him. John Ortberg wrote, “God’s vision for hearts fully devoted to him continues today. He longs for us to learn his moral law and joyfully and willingly to obey it. We need to look at our hearts and make sure that God’s law is deep inside of us. Where we are living in disobedience to God’s law, we must seek to adjust our lives and attitudes to come in line with God’s plan for us.”
Today people reject God on two fronts: they see evil and assume God should stop it, and they can’t explain God fully so they opt for disbelief. So as we think about The Faith, we must recognize the calling of God for all humanity, being imbued with the imago dei, to believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who seek him. Because evil exists in the world, and remains to this day, shouldn’t cause us to reject God. Rather, it should prompt us to cling ever tighter to the one who saves. And again, my inability to fully explain the existence of God should never be my reason for rejecting him. God is so much bigger than we really think. God is so far above us. God is more powerful than we can comprehend. God is.