Monday, May 20, 2013

A Person

I think this may be the closest thing to a "proof" for the existence of God I've ever thought of on my own. It's not a proof in the classical sense, but to me it's a strong intellectual and emotionally satisfying way to consider God's existence. I'm sure others have thought of it (if it's a good idea), or perhaps not (if it's a bad one).

When a sound-minded person is asked what the most important thing in life is the answer is almost always relationships or people. Though many of us chase after money, success, power or a picket fence, deep down we all know the thing that has the most power to dramatically change one's life is a person. Persons matter. Whether it's a spouse, a friend or a relative we all put this highest of value on a person to give life significance. We crave relationships. We crave intimacy. We desire other things, but deep down this is what we want.

If we are indeed spiritual beings, what would make anyone think that one's spiritual significance would likewise be found in anything but a person? We are not satisfied and made whole by philosophies or worldviews. Neither are we satisfied or saved by kindness or karma. The thought of men or women in general does nothing to curb loneliness or desire for just one to be close to. C.S. Lewis (In Surprised by Joy, I believe) talks about how we are made with hunger and we find food, we thirst and drink water, we grow tired and are able to sleep. We are made with desires that are meant to be satisfied in some way. He does an incredible job of illustrating that our earthly cravings are in-and-of themselves real but that they also have a spiritual and heavenly significance... they are a shadow of a deeper craving. I believe this deepest of cravings is found in the person-hood of others and thus the person-hood of God.

We do well to remember that this world is not arranged the way it is by chance. I whole-heartedly believe that seeds, harvests, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, or even fruit were not merely convenient tools for Jesus' illustrations and parables. I don't think he ever thought to himself, "Oh! That would make a great illustration for the way God is! I've gotta use that one!" He shows us himself in the very fabric of this physical universe and its beings - the very seasons themselves, our foods, the sun, water, the way a plant grows... it all points to a person and a relationship. Jesus was able to talk of these things in spiritual ways because this is how they exist in the totality of reality. And, the pinnacle of God's creation, we are told, is man. He breathed his spirit into man and woman. Though we find great satisfaction in our work, in food and rest... we find true peace and significant in relationship. I don't see a much clearer illustration of how we can be most satisfied spiritually (it's tough to find another word than "spiritually" - what I really mean is absolutely, in total eternal fullness). 

God must exist and he must be a person. "God" cannot be many gods. He cannot be a force. He cannot be some kind of conglomeration of human thought or intellect. He must be a person. Nothing else makes any sense with what we see to be true in this reality. 

Secondly, and somewhat separately, we also observe absolutes in this world. 2 + 2 = 4. Gravity exists and behaves in a specific way. There is a speed of light. The laws of logic or universal. There are true and false things that can be said about anything that truly exists. I cannot make up my own version of gravity and expect it to behave as I have decided it does. I cannot will 2 + 2 into equally anything but 4. I do not have the power to decide what the objective truths of the universe are. Similarly, I cannot decide what is true spiritually. And though I may have particular tastes in food and what makes a personal likable, I cannot in anyway determine what must be true about God, the gods, or whatever it is the creator is. 

If the physical universe behaves in specific ways and also that true and untrue statements can be said about it, that it is not about what "works for me," what would lead you to believe that the spiritual reality is any different? There must also be the true and untrue if we are to make any sense of this world.

These, again, are obviously not full-proof arguments for God... but they are extremely convincing to me. I guess they can be summarized together in this way.

1. We find the most satisfaction in person
2. We desire spiritual satisfaction
3. Our spiritual satisfaction must also be found in person
a. The world behaves in certain and specific ways (objectively)
b. My opinion about what is or should be true does not change that truth (pertaining to the physical world)
c. If there is a "spiritual" reality, one has no reason to believe it would behave any differently concerning objectivity

Written: August 29, 2011

1 comment:

Paul Moorhead said...
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