How do you know God? For that matter, how do you know anything about God? Maybe it was your parents that first introduced you to this idea that there was some big something out there in charge of everything. Maybe it was a Sunday School teacher or Saturday morning cartoons for that matter. Can you think back to a time when you did not believe God was out there? I cannot. And for those of you who currently do not believe there is a god, I imagine you did when you were a child and your opinion has changed somewhere along the way. I have never met a little kid that does not believe in God to some capacity. A from-birth atheist may exist, but I have not been introduced to one at present. Feel free to peruse this issue if you’d like. You can start here for a “scientific” perspective on this one.
Let me draw the lens out a little further. Historically, I have never heard mention of a “religionless” people group. I know of no ancient (or modern for that matter) tribe tucked off in the far reaches of the globe that were (are) intrinsically atheistic. It appears, at its core, the very idea of worshipping something is hard-wired into our skull. But from where did these wires come?
The fancy theological term is “revelation”, but we’re going to try and stay away from those. Instead, I will opt for a more fitting term… “tada!” You know, it is the word people use when they are showing you something special or revealing something that was hidden. Think back with me to the last time you watched The Price is Right. (If you are like me, it was before Bob Barker left.) That show is full of “tada!” moments. Until the door to that prize room is opened, the contestants and audience have no way of knowing what is back there. As simply as I know how to put it, God has tada-ed himself to us.
We did not find him. It was by no stroke of genius that mankind discovered him. He was not stumbled upon by some cosmic accident. No, God decided to show us the man behind the curtain, and unlike the Wizard of Oz, he is everything he claims to be. It is only by God’s doing that we can even know he is there.
He has made himself known to all peoples of all times. No one has ever lived without being confronted by the reality that there is one out there bigger than them, bigger than all of us. One only has to look at the sky to know there is something out there. God has clearly revealed himself through all creation. Mountains, valleys, rivers, oceans, and stars all cry out in testimony to his existence. Even as some work endlessly to try to disprove God’s activity in creation, they cannot answer the ultimate question of who cut on the lights. It had to start somewhere. What is the unmoved mover? Where is the uncaused cause?
Creation (and history for that matter) may clue us in to the fact that God is out there, but who is he? What is he like? Why would he make all of this? Furthermore, if God made this place, why does it seem so messed up half the time? Answers to these questions cannot come from earth and sky. Instead, God has done something equally remarkable to fill in the gaps.
God spoke to us. He spoke so that we would hear. He spoke so that we would understand. Specifically, he spoke through a handful of men over the course of 1500-2000 years of creation’s history to progressively give us a clearer picture of himself. He gave us the view we could not get from the mountains or the sky in front of us. With these words from God, the picture becomes clear. It was a gift, given to man, so that we might know ourselves, our purpose, and most importantly, our God. The Bible is a piece of God’s specific revelation to us. It is part of his particular “tada!” Save Jesus Christ himself (the fullest revelation of God to man), it is the greatest gift we have ever received.
Treat it as such.
Next we will take a closer look at the Bible itself. More to come…
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