So far, we’ve been talking about the Bible’s claim that God desires a relationship with us.
But if God desires a relationship then...
Why does it seem like God is so hard to find?
Why doesn't God just show up?
Is the Bible - this book that claims to describe what God is like - actually reliable?
These are some of the questions we'll explore in this chapter.
...Then we are lost forever, without hope.
If God were just a far-off, unconcerned deity...
Yet from the very first chapters of the Bible, God comes to a fearful Adam and Eve and asks,
At this point, many people have asked why God doesn't just simply
If we think about it though, an all-powerful God could reveal himself to us pretty easily...
He could simply open the skies and shout for all to hear.
Then everyone on earth would have to acknowledge that he is there.
In order to convince people that the message was not just some million-to-one freak of nature, I would be tempted to have God keep on rewriting it in different languages,
sometimes accompanying it with bursts of pure color or with music celestial
"Several years would go by and God's proof of himself would still be blazing away every night for all to read.
that finally the last hardened skeptic would be convinced that God must indeed exist after all."
the magnificent defeat
Buechner contends that the
So what if God exists?
what would that accomplish besides a certainty of knowledge that a powerful being exists?
We need to know what God created us for.
Dr. gregory boyd in letters from a skeptic writes:
“God desires a loving, trusting relationship with us. We were created to this end. Does speaking from the clouds do that?
At best [that] can wow or scare people into submission (and that only temporarily).
They can coerce obedience. [...]
But they do not produce love."
In order for God to reveal his loving character, other aspects of who he is — namely, his power and glory—must be veiled.
If a holy God is to relate to sinful and finite man, God must regulate his self-disclosure so that we are not overwhelmed.
Danish philosopher soren kierkegaard describes this difficulty in a parable called "The King and the maiden":
Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was powerful and ruled the entire kingdom.
How could he declare his love for her and know that she loved him in return?
If he rode to her forest cottage with his attendants and with banners flying in the wind...that would overwhelm her.
Do not fear, young maiden!
That wouldn't go well...
In order to convey his love in a personal way, the king would probably need to veil himself - maybe even go to her as a normal peasant.
Similarly, God limits Himself in order that He might relate with us.
God chose to portray Himself through
and most vividly in the person of
In fact, one of the best ways to learn about someone is through stories.
When you hear close friends say something like, "We go way back..." that usually points to some stories that reveal the closeness of their relationship.
Say someone tells a story about a time his car broke down in the desert:
He's miles away from the nearest town and desperately calls his friend for help.
And that friend drives two hours to go find him on that narrow stretch of desert road.
This friend helps him get his car towed and gives him a ride back to his house.
Such a story reveals the true character of this friend. It also reveals the depth of relationship between these two people.