I’m getting up in years, but I can still remember learning about Greek and Roman mythology in elementary school. The associated gods and creatures fit the idea of almost every little boy’s dream. In fact, they almost ranked right up there with dinosaurs.
As I grew older, I began to realize that the gods of mythology were nothing more than the creations of human imagination. Humanity had made gods in its own image, and they acted just like us. Makes perfect sense.
In my last post about religious pluralism I listed three things that just don’t add up:
1. Religious pluralism speaks of an imagined reality.
2. All belief systems are not the same.
3. We can’t become more like Jesus by believing in Him less.
Over my next three posts, I’d like to further explore each of these points. The most difficult one to address is the first because when we refer to God, we are dealing with an unseen reality. This blog format doesn’t allow for a thorough examination of this issue—I’ll have to write a book for that—but it does provide an opportunity to challenge us to question our thought processes.
One of the things that makes biblical Christianity to be both beautiful and difficult is its claim to absolute truth. On one hand, we can find amazing peace and meaning by trusting in the absolutely faithful Creator of the Universe. On the other hand, the Christian faith carries with it exclusive claims of truth (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The resulting contrast between life and death could not be more extreme.
If God really exists, would He not have tangible—albeit unseen—characteristics? Is it possible that the spiritual world surrounding us is actually “more real” than the physical environment that we can see and touch?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then we are left with a formidable challenge—to discover the true nature of God. If the answer is “no,” then we have no hope for eternity. Let’s eat and drink and live it up—or if we’re more nobly minded—let’s at least try to leave this place a little better for our children (who also have little hope beyond a few fleeting moments of happiness).
I was pursuing a chemistry degree in college, when I first seriously grappled with the answers to these questions. It wasn’t something I was necessarily searching for; things just sort of happened. The result was a radical change to the course of my life. For certain, I’d never want to go back to those days before I walked with God.
Much of my searching since that time hasn’t so much focused on the question of God’s existence, but on an understanding of His true nature. It is a pursuit that has been heart-piercing, enlightening, and rewarding all combined. In the end, all I can say is that the more that I discover, the more amazing He becomes.
When I look at both conservative and liberal perspectives, I realize that neither has a corner on the market of understanding God and His ways. The real God, it appears, is so very unlike us. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to dig deeper with honest hearts. The Creator of our Universe is either a real, definitive being, or He isn’t. And if what the Bible teaches is true, we only have one life to get this figured out.