Thursday, September 19, 2013

Seeing God


Things I cannot see but know they exist include electricity, magnetism, imagination, the human spirit, and love. Those who say they will not believe in God because they cannot see Him do believe in many things they cannot see. The Bible says that the problem is not with the eyes but with the will, another invisible reality.

Joseph Parker (1830-1902) was an English Nonconformist. This sounds bad, but for him meant a Christian who did not go along with the practices of the traditional church of his day. He had other ideas and some of them have been expressed in my devotional readings. The one for today is so well written that some of what follows comes from this pastor who gets right into the very nature of God. He starts with this verse…

Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. (Job 36:26)

This is to say that God is at least a mystery. For one thing, He is invisible, but as pure Spirit this is not unusual nor does being a Spirit make it impossible to know Him. He did reveal Himself…

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he (Jesus) has made him known (John 1:18) and He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

Parker says the invisibleness of God is not a scientific discovery, but a biblical revelation. It is also the difficulty of all life, and the higher the life the higher the difficulty. He points out that we cannot see ourselves and live either. We can see our incarnation into a human body, but not our very self — the pulse that makes us human. It was this very question of “who am I and what happens to me when this body dies” that drew me to seek the answers that God gives.

Science cannot answer that question. Those who study anatomy cannot find the human soul. Unfortunately, they conclude there is no soul. Their reasoning reaches beyond itself and by this conclusion, takes away its own life. Think of this: has anatomy found genius? Or laid its finger on imagination and held it up saying, “Look, the mighty wizard”? To do so is simply foolish.

Think of it; if there is no soul simply because science has never found one, then there is no genius or imagination either. A surgeon’s knife cannot expose either one, but those who value life dare not set foot on the rickety bridge called “therefore.”

However, many gladly put their feet on any bridge that leads away from God. The Bible says this is because the human heart resists and says “no” to Him. This is not intellectual superiority but moral distaste, an invincible aversion caused by human sin.

… both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:9–12)

To sinners, God is unknown and unknowable, yet that does not render Him nonexistent. Scientists know about magnetism and agree that it exists, but not because they can see it. If this reasoning about God held true, science should ignore magnetism and run away from it, shaken and whitened by negativism and fear, yet they do not nor do we. We rely on magnetism – without fully understanding or seeing it.

Scientifically, I cannot see or examine God at all. He does not belong to that realm even though He is creator and sovereign over it, just as He is creator and sovereign over the human spirit, the invisible realm. But because He revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, and because He grants faith to sinners, He can be seen in exactly the same way we see imagination and genius. As the Word of God says, this is the first place to look for God…

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

(first two stanzas of This is my Father’s World, by Maltbie D Babcock)

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