Saturday, June 15, 2013

How Do You Know?

We as a culture believe in many invisible things. Among them are wind, electricity, gravity and love. For these things the word “belief” is perhaps not quite correct because we say that these things exist. Though invisible all of these things are known through their effects. In the case of wind, electricity and gravity these effects are measurable. No one has yet found a way to measure love but I doubt there are few, if any, scientists who have not felt the effects of love in their lives. Thus they would have to concur that love exists.
Thus invisibility does not preclude existence or even our ability to believe in something. Many people now-a- days seem to find invisibility a stumbling block to a belief in God. I hope I have shown that this need not be a problem when considering the existence of God. Like wind, electricity and gravity God is also know by effects and the qualities of those effects. The New Testament actually gives a definition of God. It is in 1John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” By this definition even atheists who know love, know God. There may be many people who reject this definition of God, and that is fine but as there are so few definitions of God out there I think it should be considered carefully. It is very possible that most religious doubts and arguments stem from differing concepts of what God is, yet who is stepping up to define what they mean when they say “God”?
Jesus used the word “Abba” (Father) when speaking of God. Jesus was a master of metaphor and analogy; clearly he was not referring to a biological father but to his Creator. A father is a creator to the child and likewise extends love and protection to his children, in most human cases. It was these qualities, creator, one who loves and protects, that Jesus was referring to when he said the word “Father”. What love is, what God is, is beyond the capacity of words to capture. Words can only be used as pointers toward an experience of love, of God. That is why Jesus used metaphors and analogies.
The people Jesus ministered to were like himself, ordinary people doubly oppressed by a foreign occupation and by a top heavy, spiritually bankrupt religious organization. Jesus met these people where they were. He talked to fishermen, housewives, farmers, herdsmen and made up stories using their activities to teach them how to reach God, this Father of his. He saw their spiritual poverty even though they might be complying with all the rules of their religion. He met them at the level of their spiritual poverty and at the level of their occupations and said “See, you can do this. It’s like sowing a seed or making bread…” This was the brilliance of Jesus’ teaching style. He used ordinary words and ordinary situations not only to point at something that is beyond words but to show the way to reach it.

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