Doesn’t God seem to be “absent”?
Ever feel like God isn’t present in the world like he seemed to have been in the past (in Biblical times) or should be doing more for the world if he really is the all powerful, infinite, loving creator of it? I do on a daily basis. But after I dug a little deeper into the question and read this quote, it started to make sense why he “seems” to be absent (From the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist):
“As we have seen, God has already communicated to us through creation and conscience (natural or general revelation), which gives us basic ideas about his existence, power and moral requirements. But how could God reveal himself so that we could get a more detailed understanding of what his ultimate purpose is for us? Why couldn’t he appear to each of us? He could, but that might interfere with our free will.”
The book continue to states that God’s revelation may be so overpowering that it overrides our free will and would almost force us to love him and believe in him. He desires for all of humanity to come to him freely and love him freely. So, maybe he’s not as absent as some may think. He is spirit and we are spirit, he is within us at all times and all around us at all times. Also, think about the medical miracles, near death experiences, exorcisms etc. (lots of crazy “stuff”) out there we are clueless about. And it’s beyond arrogant to think that science can (or one day will) explain all the weird stuff and to dismiss certain experiences as simply chemical interactions in our brains.
I’ve thought about this one a ton. God knows we are all flawed, “doubting Thomas’s” (Biblical reference) and either can’t see the ways in which he has revealed himself to us, or simply don’t want to. Even though I firmly believe he did so in Jesus Christ (and really how many times does he need to do so in that capacity?) I still sometimes wonder why he wouldn’t just “reveal” himself to each and every human once they become an adult or have grown to be able to understand his existence. Why, for example, doesn’t he just pop into existence and say “Hello, I’m here, you’re welcome, be good, see you soon!” Yes it’s silly but maybe that would make it a lot easier for people to believe and behave. Or maybe not.
Maybe he wants us to do a little research, to learn and grow ourselves, to develop and have a little faith. Maybe if he did pop into existence for each person, some may still not believe and chose to live life as they please. Maybe that would spoil the journey or have the reverse effect if we know for sure he exists and heaven is real. Maybe we wouldn’t give a damn in this life because we know we have a safety net. Maybe we need that little bit of fear of what’s next in life so we stay on a good path. Maybe the experience would be so impactful that it would (as described above) interfere and override with our free will. Maybe the most logical explanation is his final revelation was through Jesus Christ who fulfilled multiple prophecies and who died for our sins and completed the ultimate miracle. What more do we want??
William Lane Craig (Christian theologian) states on his website Reasonable Faith:
“He reveals Himself both in creation and in human history through the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not only has He given evidence of Himself in creation which is sufficient for all persons (Romans 1.20), but more than that, through His Spirit He seeks to draw all persons to Himself (John 16.8). If God hides, it is only from those who willingly shut their hearts and pridefully refuse to seek Him with due humility.”
“There’s no reason to think that if God were to make His existence more manifest, more people would come into a saving relationship with Him. Mere showmanship will not bring about a change of heart (Luke 16.30-31). It’s interesting that in the Old Testament God is described as revealing Himself to His people in manifest wonders: the plagues upon Egypt, the pillar of fire and smoke, the parting of the Red Sea. But did such wonders produce lasting heart-change in the people? No, Israel fell into apostasy with tiresome repetitiveness. If God were place a neon cross in the stars, more people might believe that He exists, all right; but what confidence could we have that after time they would not begin to chafe under the brazen advertisements of their Creator and even come to resent such effrontery? I can well imagine people saying things like, “He puts His flashy cross in the sky, but He didn’t lift a finger to save my daughter!”
God wants us to have faith in him, to know him, to love him and to make him known to others by our own free will. Anything that would interfere with those, in my opinion, is off limits in the eyes of God. I truly believe that, yes, in terms of physical appearances and miracles, he seems absent. But if you really try tapping into your spirituality on a deeper level he may not seem so absent afterall. How can this be done? Reading scripture, going to a worship service, meditation, prayer, deep thought, quiet walks through nature, helping others, listening to uplifting music… The list goes on and on : ) Science would recommend starting with prayer, meditation, reading as part of a morning routine where it’s quiet and the mind hasn’t been kicked into high gear by the world.
I’ll leave you with a Biblical quote:
Romans 8:5 – “For those who live according to the flesh set their mind on the flesh, and those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit (which leads to eternal life and peace).”
Focus on the spiritual, and perhaps God’s presence will be felt in a much greater capacity : )
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