Several months ago with fear and trepidation I agreed to have lunch with an atheist friend. He’d been bugging me for over a year to “debate religion.”
I told him several times, “I’m happy to have lunch with you but I really have no interest in debating religion. Frankly I don’t like debating and I’m not all that interested in religion.”
Finally, I agreed on the condition we’d discuss faith not debate religion. He agreed. And I knew that agreement wouldn’t hold.
We sat on the patio of a vineyard restaurant on a warm fall afternoon. I said, “For today, I’d like to only focus on why belief in God is reasonable and how your view is based on belief as much as mine. I think that’s enough for one lunch.”
Through our conversation I kept focusing on the origins of the universe. How did all of this begin?
I said, “I’ve no problem accepting the Big Bang theory. But atheists have no explanation for where the matter and energy came from. In other words where did everything come from that went bang and who or what caused it?
He talked about theories of alternate universes and time dimensions. Then stated, “But I believe that matter and energy are eternal. They’ve always existed.”
I responded, “Wow! That sounds a lot like God to me.”
He answered, “No no, of course not.”
As we finished I said, “For me the simplest, most straight forward explanation is God. There’s just no logical or provable alternative explanation. So in reality we both begin by choosing our belief.”
He reluctantly agreed and amazingly we parted still friends.
Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”*
He says the relationship with God is given and the mysteries revealed to those who simply accept his love like a child trusting in a loving parent.
That’s it. Nothing tricky.
But I wondered, “Why did Jesus thank the Father for this?” That seems strange to me.
I’m not sure of all the reasons but I think part has to do with making it available to everyone.
To the highly educated as well as those who aren’t.
To the powerful as well as the vulnerable.
To the old as well as the young.
To the prestigious as well as the ordinary.
To the intelligent as well as those more limited.
To the religious as well as the irreligious.
Then he finishes by saying God delighted in this.
And then and only then will the mysteries of God and our relationship with him begin to be revealed. Frankly, no amount of doctoral studies outside of that relationship will ever reveal the mysteries of God.
Yet, the simplest person who truly comes into that relationship will grow to know God and how much he loves us.
Whew! I’m glad.
Knowing God and knowing about God comes not from education or position but simply from relationship.
How have you found this to be true?
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*Matthew 11: 25-26 (NIV)