The question before us is why do we even think about how we got here and wonder about a God who seemingly doesn't give us the answer the way we want it? Could there be a reason?
I know from the start that skeptics won't like me using a Bible story but one doesn't have to think of any of the Bible stories as literal fact to gleem something from them that is true. So approach the story as you will. A morality story or fact. It shouldn't effect the lesson that you can get from it. This is a story about knowledge and one thing the Torah (aka Old Testament to Christians) worships above any other notion is this idea of wisdom and knowledge. God is said to make Solomon his right hand man because he asks for no riches but that of wisdom. Ironically, whether you are talking about science or faith, there are some elements of knowledge we are deprived of. In part one, we referred to what come up with around such lack sight as "best fit models". In Science, we looked at Rutherfords' gold foil experiment as proof of the structure, design and function of the atom. In faith, we looked at models of faith, hope and love and do unto others as you would have done to you. And now we are approaching a scientific reality that the thought "how and why did I get here?" comes to all our minds. This is proven by our many religions. This brings us to a spiritual question around a quest of knowledge. Why do I question and still don't fully have the answer the way I want it? Finally, we came to this idea / question, could there be a reason for what appears to us as a "non-answer" and I used the example of kid who wants a cookie "Now!" verses what the parent knows as best by with holding that cookie (of which are reasons the child can't and refuses to understand).
So to answer this question of what appears to us as a mysterious with-hold by a divine source, let's look at the story of Adam and Eve. It could be as much parable as any kind of history. You choose. We really don't know. All any of us are really asked to do is to learn from the story, not prove or believe Adam and Eve really existed. The story of Adam and Eve revolves around their struggle with a lust for knowledge. Knowledge about life and death, good and evil. God is said to have been "walking" with them in the garden so they weren't in want of knowing how or where God was. They all just were being together. There was nothing contrived about it and this symbolized by unabashed nudity. Pure innocence.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was said to have been presented them as forbidden fruit by God. No other tree or fruit in this plentiful garden was forbidden ….but that one tree. How like human nature to want the ONE thing we can’t have, right? In reality, this old story is not unlike what we humans experience on a daily basis--desiring to go where the grass appears greener, having what we can't have and often losing center and focus as we strive for "more". This account, or this parable—however you choose to see it—shows us that the couple were better off trusting God and not having to know "everything about everything". It was better for humanity, in the Biblical view, to have humility, faith and trust in God than to exchange that relationship in order to have knowledge about everything. However, in their lust for more, Adam and Eve, it is said, took the fruit from that tree. They thought they got what they wanted--all the knowledge about good and evil--and it ended up overwhelming them instead of giving them more freedom than they already had. It imprisoned them rather than freed them and they went into hiding.
Now the rest of the Bible is really a story about how God keeps trying to fellowship and guide humans as they now are--mini-gods with a lot of knowledge. However, humanity continually pushes God away because of becoming so self conscious and world conscious that the enormity of God is too much for them to stand. One big story where you see God "trying again" like God did with Adam and Eve is in the story of Exodus. God was said to have been visible, audible, giving signs and God was the decision maker that the Jewish people only needed to be followed. Little faith required. They were given the cookie. And what happened? The people griped, complained, rebelled ten times making up their own gods, asked that Moses speak for God (they didn't want to hear God's voice) and then eventually rebelled against that too. I liken our lust for being gods to be given the controls of a 747 without being taught how to fly. Humanity asked it for that way (and we relive it in our daily choices) so we got what we gots---> a deep knowledge that just so happens to cloud our view and trust in God. Thus, God’s presence, with this new knowledge, becomes too much for humanity as we become aware of our own ungodliness and fragility and reject God in the light of it.
The Torah or Old Testament is an anthology, story after story, examples of century after century of God trying to be seen, to be with and guide man as well as having direct influence for their good. Nevertheless, there is also humanity's resistance because they feel they "KNOW" best forcing God to retreat further and further away, not by God’s desire, but at humanity’s bidding. Humanity tells God time and time again via first God's own voice, then through assigned Kings and finally the Prophets to go away. (For a real detailed and shocking reveal of how this plays out through Bible Stories I recommend the book, “Disappointment With God” by Phillip Yancy).
The answer could be as simple as a Divine Presence wanting us to seek God out rather than what hasn't worked in the past--a God who was in your face. That is quite simply the message we see through the Torah and Old Testament and it does make some sense. It is not a bad model for understanding God's shyness with us.
Now, those are all pre-Jesus accounts. The next phase of a Biblical attempt to answer this question on the God Dilemma is called the “New Covenant” through a major person called Jesus Christ. I will give you a forewarning that as I dive into what the New Covenant message is under this Jesus, that it involves more faith than reason but not without it's merits and not without proof. But the proving requires something of you that you might not want to give. You decide as I carry on.
Jesus was noted as referring to himself as "the last sign", called "the last sign of Jonah". The last living proof for a proof hungry, knowledge hungry humanity. This title he gave himself is in reference to the story of Jonah in the Torah. Jonah was said to had been a prophet commissioned by God as a final attempt to wake the people of Nineveh up. Jonah was the last attempt and now Jesus was to be that Jonah for the whole world. Jesus was said to be the last direct sign man would see from God. If true, it is quite telling and makes this character very important. Jesus’ struggle, death on a cross and resurrection were all final attempts to show humanity how far God would go to meet us. We are told this was a success. But, of course, not everyone believes this account today or that this was a success. The argument is along the lines "oh, how convenient that we must believe this without seeing this Jesus person". It can feel like a certain set up, no doubt. I get the skepticism. Its not like I don't ever wake up and wonder the same thing.
However, before you throw the baby out with the bath water again, there is a proof that this could be true. So, once again, hear me out. The embodiment of God into a human being through Jesus Christ wasn't meant to just be a sign of love to us, but his death and resurrection was meant to release something from heaven directly into US. Into our physical bodies and into the world. A real, provable thing. What is it? It is called God's Holy Spirit, God's Presence. Don't bale on me just yet. Is this a test we can prove? The short answer is YES and I'm not speaking of jabbering in some unknown tongue! The entering in of the Spirit of God is suppose to produce actual living evidence in your life, called “fruit” in Biblical terms.
What should you see if the Holy Spirit’s presence comes upon you? Spiritual guidance, a re-birth of character that produces healthy and positive characteristics like joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, along with certain signs and wonders in your life. Many say and will still argue they don’t believe in God if they can’t see God like they can see you and me. However, what a lot of people miss is that with the Holy Spirit descending on you, you do see God quite visibly but in a different way. There is a new sense you gain. No, not a Spidey-sense like Spiderman but close! A spiritual sense and it is very real and undeniable!
The moment the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you see God in almost everything around you much like you might sense your Mom’s presence in her kitchen. Though your mother may be away, or has passed away, any of us can walk into our mother’s kitchen and know Mom has been there. This is most definitely your Mom's kitchen. Perhaps it is a scent she leaves or the way she organizes or what patterns or nick knacks she likes. Regardless, everything has her presence on it and you recognize it.
It is the same when you are out in nature. God’s presence and fingerprint is visible and just because we don’t pay attention to that doesn’t mean it is not there. There is real proof but it is not one today's science chooses to measure very much. There are two scriptures I would ask you to think about the next time you are outside in nature.
"Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made”. (Romans 1:20)
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound is heard from them. YET, their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
Even so, seeing God in the world around us can’t just be because “The Bible told me so” or because people insisted this is God’s creation. This is especially true for the skeptic and those on particularly hard, authentic road (of which I count myself on both counts). The proof comes via a new spiritual sense. A new sensory ability that is not manufactured by sheer intellect or stories written by men. Many people follow after con men and women because of their cunning and charisma but that doesn't have to count as counter proof any more than a phony doctor should count as representative of the medical community and good medicine. The true Spirit must be a given sense like your sight and hearing. It isn't willed into existence or controlled: it just is. If it was anything less than that, than there would be place for an argument that the Holy Spirit is something contrived. Jesus described the Holy Spirit as being beyond ourselves when he compared it to the wind saying, “where it comes and where it goes, nobody can tell”. It is not a Genie in the Bottle that you can control. The Holy Spirit is an undeniable presence that will show you compassion, counsel, and life. It will give you knowledge that won't rot the whole tree. Not everything in faith has to be subjective. The Holy Spirit and the proofs therein can be solid evidence for you. Having taken the test myself, I can tell you it is not only an eye opener but a jaw opener.
Now, you can say, well fine, I would give this a try and see what happens but I can't manufacture a belief in something or someone that is so ancient that I doubt it exists. The only thing I can say to that is how much do you want to see if God is real? We go to movies all the time and suspend belief merely to be entertained. Historians agree that we have more documented accounts about Jesus Christ than we do on Julius Caesar or Attila the Hun ever existing, but we hardly doubt their existence in history. So, ask yourself: can I suspend my doubt for a sort of a trial run? It is of course up to you. You don't have to pretend your doubts have vanished, but this time you are not going to let those doubts stop you from communicating and hearing from God. You are going to invite God in and humble yourself to the possibility that there may be a power higher than you. I personally encourage you to pick up some kind of spiritual meditation book. It can be the Bible but it doesn't have to be, especially since our English interpretations of the Bible can be lacking. The book of Psalms, John and Romans is a good start should you go that route. Otherwise, you can even get a more general spiritual meditation book which is particularly good option for those who have been abused around the Bible. You don't have to go the route of a Biblical God at all.
Are there other routes to take to get our Big Question answered about why we are here and God's seeming silence? Yes, we have went over some of those options in Part One and there are other ideas about God that exist out there. Regardless of what you choose, I want you to take some important things away from this God Dilemma series:
1. Some of the grassroots of our basic tenants in science involves no less faith than spiritual science.
2. You can't have a relationship with God to prove God exists without actually communicating and having a real relationship to begin with. This will require you to suspend your doubts at least enough to start a trail run. You CAN test to see the proofs without losing anything but handing over your own pride of what you think you know to try something new.
3. Knowledge is not the same thing as our spiritual sense. Spiritual sense is not something that can be manufactured on our own. It is given to you, not gotten from you.
4. As challenging as the Bible can be, it is the one anthology that attempts to provide an answer to the big question of the God Dilemma we all face. For good or bad, no other book offers in the same way, an answer to God's shyness in this era of time.
5. Just because you don't notice God doesn't mean God isn't there or that your perspective won't open up and expand if you will let it.