Sufficiently Curious

Psalm 19 says that creation speaks and that should teach us something.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
    which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

So not only do they pour forth speech, but apparently there is enough information that’s been transmitted to come to the conclusion that the truth is out there. See SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) has somewhat of the right idea, we should be searching the cosmos for a connection. It can very well be said that God is quite alien from us. He is extra terrestrial, in that he is beyond earth, the one mistake is to think that he is tied to the inside of the galaxy. He is outside of creation as he stands over it. But the sentiment is right, there has got to be something out there.

This response to the beauty and magnitude of creation is a right one: wonder and searching. But God has left his specific signature not within the stars but with his followers who wrote down the testimonies guided by his loving hand in scripture. Something should make us look up and wonder. But the stars should point us back down. There is enough information to at least claim agnosticism rather than atheism.

Is the problem that the word of God is not sci-fy enough? If the answers came in futuristic technology and wonder would we be anymore susceptible? I think that the idea of the magic of science fiction is similar to actual magic in that it explains the unexplainable. But miracles have all the wonder and power needed to fill that sense of greater than that we are expecting. God is great and powerful and would meet any of those expectations but for some reason he just looks wrong? It is because that explanation is too big? It is too much to handle? Is he too powerful? Well I like that he is.

The thing about agnosticism is that the idea that I simply do not know, but this hints at least that there is something to be known. And if so, it follows that an investigation should take place. I believe an honest agnostic is a seeker.

An atheist is just as dogmatic as a theist. They make the claim with as much devotion and faith in their assertions as a believer does, they simply have a different conclusion. But not only should an atheist have reasons for their not believing in God they should produce as much evidence as they demand from Christians. I like Christopher Hitchens in that he was honest when it came to this. He didn’t call himself an Atheist but an Anti-Theist. He was aware that he did not like the idea of God and militated against it. He knew there were choices in the matter.

But what about the Agnostic, are they honest? Have they searched high and low for the answers? Have they answered that most dire question? The Bible teaches that humanity is without excuse. We should formulate a response better than I don’t know. If you admit you don’t know then go find the answer. An Atheist as least claims an answer, and Hitchens is the most honest of all. He said “No!” to God. This is courageous despite how sad and tragic it is. He at least acknowledged what is at stake, comprehends what is being asked and he answered. He was aware that there was a choice to make, which I must admit is more honest than some agnostics. I love that his brother Peter coming from a similar background also acknowledges this conundrum and also makes a choice, a more excellent one of accepting the God exists and therefore is due allegiance. The apostle Paul would agree:

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1)

The reason I say this is because not only does the Bible say there is enough information to make us sufficiently curious but that the result should be in the positive. We should realize there is a God and if we do not, we should also understand that this is an act of defiance. We are suppressing that which can be known. Ignorance is not bliss but rebellion. God wants us to responsibly handle the information given to us, but some will not. They will claim ignorance. It is easier to run from a problem than address it.

Now general revelation does not save, but it should put us on the path to God. General revelation should create in us an agnostic dissonance that begins in us a journey to God. Now this has happened time and time again but unfortunately many have stopped on the climb and rested in their own answers, thus other religions and paths to or away from god which ultimately do not get us there. The questions should still be, but how do you know?

Well examine your belief system and see if it measures up to reality. Examine your interpretation of the world and see if it works out to be a deity or world view worth following. Furthermore examine your belief and see if the deity in question or system is actually real. Find out what he/she/it is asking and is that worth giving your life to? Where does the road end? If a deity, find out what the deity thinks about you. If God is real shouldn’t we make sure it is his ear we are actually tingling when we are praying?

This the one I esteem: says the Lord “He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

If the sky does not cause a curious wonder in us. If the word of God does not incline us to search it out. If the Bible does not interest us at all. If the idea that there is a God that stands over creation and might haven something to say does not affect us at all, then this verse tells us why. We are not humble and do have a contrite heart. We would have it our way first. That is of course the choice, but at least acknowledge if you are making it.

God isn’t asking for us to have all the answers, he is asking for a conversation. Are we interested? Do we look up and wonder? Do you?

thanks

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Tilman says:

    I love that last line. He is looking for a conversation, and where IS our wonder? We want so badly to ‘know’ that we miss the joy of the learning.

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  2. byblacksheep says:

    I’m curious about how much time do you spend following your own advice? How much time do you spend asking yourself “how do you know?” To me, that paragraph read like it presupposes that the journey ends with your God, why do you feel that is? Have you spent time actively participating in and/or seeking to understand other religions? Just as an example Hindu cosmology suggests the universe is billions of years old, which is much more in line with science seems to indicate about our known universe. So if you believe the universe is telling us something, perhaps it is, but that doesn’t mean the answer is Christianity.

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  3. blogabers says:

    Hello again, thanks for the comment. Yes, I do spend time reflecting on the things I encourage others to do. This post came about from some of that reflecting. The point of the post was that the universe should cause us to wonder after God or at least things bigger than ourselves as opposed to doing the opposite.

    The next point was that the stars do not simply lead to the God of the Bible, but it is a starting point as I said in the post. To get to God? Well this requires specific revelation. It is this specific revelation that leads us to Christ and to conclude that that relationship is worth pursuing. The verse I quoted indicates that God acknowledges those with a humble and contrite heart, not those who refuse to engage him. Paul says we are without excuse when we do not respond this way. But more revelation comes as we humble ourselves to it. If God did create and the cosmos does pour forth speech, then it is going to point towards the one who created it. But you are right it does take more than that to find my God, it takes his specific revelation, which is where the principle derived from in the first place, his revelation, the Bible. This takes work and humility to find.

    And yes my time in Bible college and seminary required me to study many world religions and frankly Hinduism doesn’t answer many questions that my soul asks, nor offer answers that satisfy. I am not simply Atman longing to become Brahman. I do not simply want to be absorbed into the eternal while taking many reincarnations/lifetimes to do so until I live a life worthy of such ascension. The impersonal nature of Brahman does not speak to why a creation exists either. It does not love, it does not save, it does not create, it is simply a generic force like from Star Wars. I am interested with an actual relationship with God. When I studied world religions I found how vastly different they are and the many directions they point. It makes sense that they all can’t be right simply because they contradict one another, so in searching, yes I have found confidence in my beliefs but I also freely admit that this requires faith as well. Not only this but God continues to show his faithfulness continually proving himself to his children. I freely choose that relationship and I want others to do so as well. I happily do so because the relationship and life that accompanies it is so amazing and rewarding.

    I am going to expand on this idea some more in the next post.

    Peace.

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