In an earlier post this week I wrote about the breadcrumbs I’ve seen that seem to lead to God. I want to explore those trails in further posts, but I think the first thing I’d like to consider is, why is the trail of breadcrumbs there are at all? What is the point of it? Well, it seems to me the answer is somewhat self-evident. Trails are usually there to lead us someplace else, and in this case, God himself, but why do I need the trails? Why doesn’t God just show up? One of the questions many people have about Christianity, or even just about spiritual things in general is why doesn’t God show himself more plainly. The evidence for God is there for most people, but it’s not conclusive to them, they could see other possible explanations. Why doesn’t God just blow them out of the water with proof they might say? Why not just end the debate? Why do we need faith?
According to the book of Hebrews in order to come to God we must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. This means there are two parts of faith, the mental agreement that God exists but also trusting in him as God…that he will reward us if we seek him. This has always fascinated me because faith of various sorts in order to explain what we experience around us has always been part of the human experience. The writer of Hebrews is trying to help his readers understand that faith is a two part exercise, that believing God exists by itself isn’t really that helpful. It’s not just the agreement that God exists but that because he exists we also need to seek him properly and then respond to him properly because I think it is a valid assumption that responding is part of seeking.
I’ve studied these things for most of my adult life, and it seems to me that most people think this is the deciding point. The common thought is that they would believe in God if the evidence was more ironclad for them. The thing is, the author of Hebrews doesn’t say that God will reward people if they acknowledge his existence. In fact there is plenty of evidence to suggest that isn’t what God is looking for at all. For sure in order to come to God we must believe he exists or else we never start the journey in the first place, but there is another point and perhaps this is the most important point. The Bible explains that God desires good relationship with us and that means we need to do more than just acknowledge that exists since mere acknowledgement doesn’t produce the kind of relationship God desires. The book of James states that even the Devil, Satan, recognizes the existence of God, he must, he created him. But Satan rejects the correct response to God’s existence, his authority, his nature, his character, by submitting to him and instead insists on his own will. Faith is more than just acknowledgment, it also means to trust by recognizing God’s existence which also means correctly responding to God by submitting to him as God.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans that God has made plain to humanity his existence because he has shown it to them. The issue isn’t lack of clarity, the issue instead is perhaps temerity, they exchanged God’s glory for their own. In the book of Genesis, chapter three, the Serpent whispers to Eve that God hasn’t completely told the truth about the fruit from the tree that is forbidden. That if she eats of it, she won’t die, but instead have her eyes opened knowing Good and Evil, and she will be like God. This may be the most important reason for faith. To seek God means that I not only believe that he exists, but that he is also trustworthy in all that he will show me. It is belief not only in his existence, but also as the writer of Hebrews goes on to say in the same chapter, that it is his building that I desire. This is the ultimate reason for seeking God, not just confirm that he’s there, but to know what he wants.
This is why faith is so important, because a relationship with God goes much further than engaging with him. The purpose of that relationship is to produce something in my life that glorifies him, and that comes trusting in, and so doing, what he has told me.