How relevant is God in our world today? I came across this question today – the scenario posed was that people can be good but reject God in their lives. How can one do good and yet be condemned by God at the same time? Furthermore, how are we to convince people of the need for God when there are good, non-Christian people around?
—– 2 Points: (1) God is necessary for goodness to prevail, and (2) God is the necessary answer to the question of fulfilment in human existence. —– To begin, I firmly believe in the necessity and unchanging relevance of God in our world today. The main points that I will have, in response to the above problems posed are firstly, the idea of goodness in the context of the Christian God. Secondly, the need for God in the context of our creation and purpose. Finally, I wish to say that these views are entirely my own opinion, unqualified as I am. Any comments are very welcome.
God is love; He is the source of love, and all goodness comes from love. Without God, can good exist? This would lead to another question, which was thrown up in a debate a few days ago on campus regarding the necessity of God for morality to exist (I will not go there). The short answer is no, because all measure of goodness is given by God, the objective morality. We were all created by God, in His image and likeness, and thus man has in his heart a law written by God – this law that holds man to obediance: to love good and shun evil; our conscience. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin. In this way, a man who does not know God, or believe in God for that matter, can know what is the right thing to do, and have some knowledge of the good.
However the difference between this man and a man who does know God will be apparent when a moral dilemma is imposed upon them – the guiding principles of an objective morality will show forth in one who is guided by God, whilst the tides of contemporary culture, popular ideologies, and the seemingly practicality of outcomes will lead to a spirit of ‘moral relativism’ in the other. When one does not abide by love, or allows oneself to live according to the immutable laws of God, our actions will surely be according to the shifting sands of the world. To illustrate, perhaps person X would have rejected the idea of homosexual sex or abortion 50 years ago, but put into today’s world be totally for these causes because they seem ‘just’, ‘good’ and ‘practical.’ Yet with such a position, what is ‘goodness’? If we are to accept that an action is good, surely it must be good despite the change in culture, perception and time? In this regard, God is entirely relevant in our lives today – He is the rock and anchor to which we must cling to and recognise in the midst of the ever-changing faces of ‘goodness’ we see in our world today.
Secondly, we must view the need for God in the context of our creation and purpose. This is especially important because everything we do in this life must have a ‘why’ attached to it. To what end and for what purpose are we on this earth? The answer to that question will explain a lot of our innate desires, needs and wants.
In present day and age, we have lost the sense of God in the midst of the noise and distraction – our gadgets and our fancy toys, whilst often championed as pushing the boundaries of human existence, have the tendency to alienate us as a race. We hardly have a minute of silence without a new facebook notification or a tweet from someone. At times, we feel bored and seek new experiences, plugging our lives with activities to fill the void in our hearts. Some identify it as a need for comfort, intimacy and love, seeking then solace in companionship, relationships, and sexual comfort. Jumping from one hurt to another, pushing square pegs into round, God-shaped voids in our hearts, we never seem satiated, never happy or fulfilled. Just what is it that we are looking for?
In looking for solutions, it is always a good place to begin searching by starting from the beginning in order to identify a root cause. We were created by God out of love, a love that is so true it must be shared. God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.
The desire for God is written in the human heart because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for. In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth.
It is perhaps this desire that pushes us daily, but many, because of external influences and contemporary instruments, find no way to identify an answer that fully satisfies. God calls, but we cannot seem to figure out where the phone is in order to answer the call. Because of this, the world feeds us with its ideals and traps us in a vicious, never-ending cycle destined for death and doom. Because of this, God is even more so relevant in our day, as the answer to our longings. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “anyone who drinks this living water will never be thirsty again…Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As disciples, we are called not to keep this living water in earthern vessels to ourselves, but to spread His word, and share the truth in love that was bestowed upon us. The world is crying out yet again for a saviour, unaware that He already came, and died and rose again for us 2000 years ago.
The world needs God today. Our yearning for happiness is the ultimate and eternal homing device, designed to draw us gently toward our eternal home. Our yearning for happiness is a yearning for union with our Creator. As Augustine pointed out so simply and eloquently, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, Lord.” Wherever men and women yearn for happiness, Christ will be relevant. He alone is the fulfillment and satisfaction of this yearning, and so for every person in every place and time he remains, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).