Friday, January 1, 2010
We have been exploring answers to the simple question 'Why Me?'. First we defined our individuality and uniqueness, then confronted the existence and impact of 'evil' on our lives - now it is time to explore the positive reference to this question - getting something (a gift) we do not deserve.
Recognizing the existence of a benevolent God was the first step in our journey towards individual meaning to our lives. It begins our quest to fulfill our unique and invaluable purpose. But how do we go about it? How do we come to know this creator God we have discussed? How do we communicate with Him? It is logical that given our finite status, and since He is infinite, it seems most, if not all of the work, will have to rest on His plate instead of ours. Since we recognize His existence, and our separation from Him, we begin to feel a need to reconcile with Him, and get close to Him again. This need is born into every human who has ever lived. But not everyone recognizes it, or understands it. It is like a hunger that is never satisfied. It is a combination of ambition, the pursuit of excellence, curiosity about what is possible, and an insatiable need to be loved and accepted. A desire to return 'home' even though 'home' may not be fully understood. The more one gets to know God, the more the intensity of this desire to reconcile can be felt.
The burden for communication has already been addressed by God. It turns out having created us for a specific purpose, God is able to read and understand our thoughts, desires, and deepest motives. It is both scary, and exhilarating that God easily penetrates the facade we present to others, and knows our deepest core. There is NO hiding from God, not physically (remember He can transcend time, space, and matter), and not mentally (having authored our ability to both think and feel, He can easily see into our true selves). Every word we speak He knows. Every intent, whether open or hidden, He is keenly aware of. So to communicate with Him we need only speak to Him, or perhaps 'think' to him silently and He will hear us.
A modicum of respect would be a good idea on our part in this process. As much as God loves us, and relates to us, and intends nothing but good towards us - He is still the Supreme Being in the Universe. It doesn't hurt to remember that the courtesy of His friendship does not negate His awesome power and position. In other words, for God to come down to our level to speak with us, does in no way make us equal to Him. He may be family, but He is still the 'dad' of this family, and His word goes, period. But there is equally no reason to fear talking to God. The analogy of young children speaking to 'daddy' is both welcomed and accepted by God. Young children respect their parents while still having fun with them. This is the nature of our communications to God. He is patient with us, answers our questions, helps us in times of need, and most importantly teaches and corrects us as we need it (what is in our own best interest from an eternal perspective - i.e. sometimes beyond our ability to understand in the here and now).
What about God's communication to us? Obviously we have NO ability to read His thoughts or intents from our finite minds. So how do we 'hear' him? Again, He knows our limitations and has addressed this as well. There are lessons on the nature and character of God that can be found in His creation - in the harmony and balance of unspoiled nature - in the order and precision of mathematics - in the tender intimacy of a relationship between parent and new born child. There are a great many things we can learn about God, as we marvel at the beauty of His creation that still shines through our 'evil' polluted world. The second way, in which God reaches out to us, is through a carefully crafted and divinely preserved set of written records of His love (i.e. the Bible).
Why the Bible, and not the Quran, or the writings of Confucius, or the Torah (which technically is a subset of the Bible), or the mysterious plates of Joseph Smith, or this book, or any other written source of men. Again we look at it logically, the Bible is the only written record which completely outlines ...
1.) The Existence and character of God,
2.) The origin and existence of Evil and its goals,
3.) Our existence & the ONLY plan that could work to reconcile man back with God,
4.) The ultimate destruction of evil, and
5.) The definition of love.
The Bible is full of prophesies which can be historically proven, and predicts the Messiah where every single attribute that is foretold is fulfilled in total in Christ.
I believe Biblical writers were inspired by God to write what they did. They were not perfect, but their writings were accurate enough to enjoy the preservation of God. Many dismiss the 'numbers' in the Bible as inflated, and the claims of miracles as nothing more than allegory. We will discuss this further in specifics as needed, but this claim in its premise states that a loving creator God - did not think it important enough to keep the single most referred to method of communication to us - accurate. In effect God doesn't seem to mind some sort of sliding scale of accuracy; then in that case, why not a sliding scale of love, or of goodness. It is not consistent with His character to be sloppy. Therefore His communication should be able to be counted on as accurate.
I realize that many do not want to accept the Bible because of the scope of some of its claims. For instance, according to the Bible our world was created in only seven days. In fact the Bible says that our Earth (the rocks and dust, etc. was "without form and void" - i.e. an asteroid without water, air, or the ability to support life). God selected this floating rock in space and began to shape it. He gave it an atmosphere (air), He gave it water, then land. He placed it in, or simply created the surrounding solar system to give it a sense of time, and location in space. Then He brought life into our planet, first with growing things, then with animals, finally with us 'in His own image' (something to discuss in a later section). Because the carbon dating of the rocks on our asteroid date back farther than 6,000 years, is not hard and fast evidence the world was not created exactly like God said it was according to the Bible. They are not mutually exclusive. This first claim of the Bible has been historically hard to accept by the non-believer; the idea that God created us. If you accept this premise, the rest of the Bible becomes God's communication to us. We have explored the alternatives to this logically and already came to this conclusion, so we will move on.
Lastly God can communicate with man, those who choose to listen; through the 'still small voice' he hears when he is quiet, undistracted, and well-practiced at truly listening for God. I believe sometimes that 'still small voice' is our conscience - nudging us to choose right when faced with a choice. Sometimes it comes through the counsel of others in our immediate circle of influence. Sometimes 'the voice' is neither quiet or small, sometimes it is unavoidable, loud, and clear - even miraculous in its manifestation - but these times and people tend to be rare (very rare). The results of any of these communications should be able to be measured against the written words in His book, and compared against the consistency of His character.
So communications then, have been established between us and God. There is a way to learn what God wants for us, what His plan is. We can begin building a personal relationship with God immediately. Think about this concept carefully - we can begin to know God right now - we can begin to reconcile with God right away - we do not have to wait. We will discuss later the concept of 'Hell' being the torturous recognition of our separation from God and all that is good. For now we are talking about the concept of 'Heaven' where all that is good can begin to be understood right now - no waiting. Heaven then, is MORE than just a place. It is NOT just a destination. It is a lifestyle of reconciliation of us and our God. This is what 'Salvation' (or saving us from our evil and forced separation) is all about. It’s not about escaping doom it is about experiencing LIFE right now. It is about being HAPPY right now. This is the gift we have been given - right now. And like any other gift, it is free to us; ALL we have to do is simply accept it.
How do we go about that? ... will be discussed throughout this book. For now focus on the concept that your reconciliation with God can begin immediately. Your communication methods have been outlined, no need to wait. . .
Posted by Kristian Nelson at 12:09 AM