Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I’ve heard a number of people say as they gaze into the night sky looking at the stars and the heavens, I just don’t understand how someone can’t believe in the existence of God. This is all too amazing not to believe that the Lord created it all. It couldn’t have just happened.
In Part 1, I opened up this huge topic, Do you believe in God? Something like 74% of Australians believe in a God although many are not sure what God is like. They sense Someone is up there. However, when we try to move beyond that basic statement and define who this God really is, there is a great divergence of opinion and profound disagreement.
More often than not, when Australians say they believe in God, they are speaking of a god of their own making.
But the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 “…he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him”. That’s a good place to start in our journey towards God.
Cafeteria Approach to God
Robert Bellah has written a book entitled Habits of the Heart. He was particularly interested in American belief systems, and he made some startling discoveries. One of the people he interviewed was Sheila Larson, a young nurse who describes her faith as ‘Sheilaism’. She said, “I believe in God. I’m not a religious fanatic. I can’t remember the last time I went to church, but my faith has carried me a long way. It’s just my own little voice”.
Bellah points out that many people today have a ‘cafeteria’ approach to religion—I’ll take a little of this and a little of that. It is a blending together of beliefs in which a person shops along the cafeteria line of religion, and picks up what they like and leaves behind what they don’t.
Jesus may even be the ‘main course’ on the tray, but there are also a variety of other beliefs added to it, such as the idea of reincarnation, or a belief that hell does not exist, or the notion that God is in everything, or that God is The Force in Star Wars, and so forth.
God Tells Us Who He Is
The Bible says that we are not left alone to our own devices to determine for ourselves who God is, making him in our own image. We can no more determine who God is than we can determine who the person is that’s listening to the radio just now. They are who they are, and no amount of our imagining can change that.
In order to understand who those people are, you have to learn some things through observation. But ultimately you will not really know them unless they open up and reveal who they are to you. It’s like being on a bus. You don’t know this person sitting next to you unless you get to know them.
How Can We Know God?
Christianity says that God has revealed himself to us through the Bible, and that we can know something of who he is through what we learn about him in Scripture. We can’t know everything about God, for he is infinite and we are finite, but we can know something of who God is by what is revealed in the Bible.
There was once a little girl who was drawing a picture one morning at the breakfast table, and her mother asked her, Honey, what are you drawing? And the little girl said, I’m drawing a picture of God. The mother said, Well, that’s nice, dear, but no one knows what God looks like. And the little girl said, They will now!
In truth, we are often like that little girl, and like Sheila Larson, drawing a picture of God in our mind’s eye after the fashion of who we think he ought to be, and we make him in our image.
In fact though the only way you and I can know who God really is by learning from the Lord Himself through what he has revealed about himself to us through the Bible. That’s our only source for truth. We may come to a place where we believe that God exists, but how can we know him?
Christianity says that the only way to know God is through his revelation in his Son Jesus Christ.
(To be continued in Do You Believe in God? – Part 3)