Friday, November 22, 2013

A God-shaped Hole?

If there is a transcendent God that created the Universe and wanted a relationship with us, would we have to learn about that God’s existence, or would we know it instinctively?  Ask yourself, if you could actually create something and wanted to have a relationship with it, would you give that something a desire for that same relationship? Not that I am God, but I would and you probably would too, and I believe God did. Does it seem far-fetched to think that this is a part of our design? Mathematician and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal clearly had this in mind when he penned these words: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”

From outside looking in, how can we know that God wants a relationship with us? He gave us a book. If we were created by a god that did not seek relationship then why bother giving us a book containing any information at all about that god's existence let alone historical accounts, prophecies, revelations, and guidelines to live by? As a skeptic you may ask how we can know this book is divine? This topic, of course calls for a blog of it's own but as a teaser I would like to point out three truths that can not be ignored. 1) The Bible makes hundreds of prophetic proclamations that came true after being written. No other book, secular or religious, can make this claim. 2) The Bible makes several scientific claims that went completely against the grain of knowledge during the times they were written. Some of these bold claims were not even understood by the scientific community until recently. 3) The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that there was more than man involved in writing the Bible. Many skeptics claimed that some of  the Bible's fulfilled prophecies were written after the fulfillment took place. This was an argument that stood strong because the oldest scrolls known at the time were dated after the fulfillment of the prophecies spoken about. However, in the 1940s and 50s several scrolls were found in caves near the Dead Sea that contained scrolls from the Bible. They were dated well before the prophecies in question were fulfilled and the text was nearly unchanged in comparison with the text from thousands of years later. This should challenge every skeptic to consider truth within the Bible, and therefor God.

We do not know what it was like before God spoke creation into existence. We, as believers, know that there was God, as He is eternal.  As for the skeptic, with causal arguments, fundamental laws of logic, and a beginning singularity which are in harmony with secular science, it is rational and plausible to see evidence of God existing before the Universe. By way of sense, we know God wanted to create for a reason. Not that creation was necessary but many believe God wanted to be in relationship with us and this is inferred throughout the Biblical narrative. I also believe God gave us an intrinsic need to be in relationship with Him; a yearning that can only be satisfied by Him. In Acts 17 Paul is speaking to some officials in Athens (Mars Hill) about their yearning for something and how they were seeking in the wrong direction by ignoring the obvious. He pointed out that they had built things to include an altar labeled “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”  He pointed out their ignorance and explained that the God who created everything causes everyone to seek God and that He is near each person.

In today’s society, we try to fill this yearning with things that can not satisfy the void. In place of God, we chase material gain, position and power, mental fantasies, relationships with other people, popularity and status, and the like. While these temporal things can quench our thirsting temporarily, they will never fill the spiritual void. This is why, as recorded in John 4, Jesus spoke at the well to the woman coming to know Him and never thirsting again. John 7:37-38 tells of Jesus claiming that if anyone is thirsty they can come to Him to drink. It then says, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” The Greek word for “innermost being” is koilia which describes a “hollowness” within the body, stomach, or womb. Queen Elizabeth the First was recorded as saying for her last words, “All my possessions, for a moment in time.” Here we have someone who had everything that could be had, including her own kingdom, yet she would trade it all in for some more time. Why? I can only assume that she was not satisfied? Maybe she was still thirsty.

All this brings up an interesting question: If we have a spiritual void that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God, how can a non-believer respond to it? When I was agnostic, I craved discussion about spiritual topics. I tried to fill the void I felt within me with numerous things, but still searched for different answers about the existence of a god. A hard-agnostic, or an atheist, will try to fill the void with numerous things but many respond in a hostile manner toward those who believe in God. They can be militant in their approach to marginalize evidence and intuitions of a higher power. It is easy to see this from the books they write, billboards they use to mock God, and in a twist of irony -- churches of their own. Dinesh D'Souza spoke about this and said, “I don't believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You'll notice I haven't written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don't spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I'm getting at is that you have these people out there who don't believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.” It is as if they try to fill the void by fighting the obvious in an attempt to make themselves feel better about their gamble.

So how can one satisfy his or her own thirst? How can you fill the void? Unfortunately, if you are asking this question to yourself then my answer may not make much sense. It did not for me when I first heard it. The only way to fill it is a relationship with the God of the Bible. Not just “a god,” but the one true God. The Bible explains that a “natural” person, not having a relationship with God, will not understand the things of God. It further says that a person who is "in the Spirit," meaning God has entered into his life in a personal way, will comprehend the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).  I would argue that it is the same for your understanding of the God-shaped hole this blog speaks of. Want to fill the void? We encourage you to seek God and ask that He make the truth known to you.  Dare to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and let the one who shaped your soul fulfill it. Then, and only then, will you thirst no more.

“There's a god-shaped hole in all of us
And the restless soul is searching
There's a god-shaped hole in all of us
And it's a void only He can fill.”   ~Plumb

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