Maybe the answer not being explicit only means we shouldn’t expect a once and final version. Maybe the answer is living and requires we not cease from listening.
He has told me fairly articulately, in reality as well as in text, that he delights in me (as a loving Father does a beloved child who loves him back).
Here is a sweet example of God’s providence, one among a boatload, his sovereign, immanent, personal and interventionist activity into my life:
I think you underestimate the magnitude of the number of co-instants in my life and in his people’s lives over the last two millennia and in scripture.
All of which were experienced right here in this world, correct? That you had such instants or that they had great significance to you is not in question, at least by me. It is only the source that is in dispute between us. I remain adverse to creating alternative to this unimaginably vast cosmos for what takes place in our private experience. I think for you, to give it a natural footing feels like a demotion. But that isn’t how I feel about making sense of the instants which I’ve experienced. A natural footing changes nothing except the thoughts in our head.
I have to leave for a bit… bbl.
I think you underestimate the capacity of God, to act not only in individual instances, but in sets or series of otherwise unrelated events that taken one at a time may not seem compelling, but taken collectively impart unmistakable meaning, way beyond believability as mere naturally occurring random ‘coincidences’.
A notable present day example would be that of Rich Stearns and the events that led to his resigning as CEO of Lenox Corporation, maker of high-end dinnerware and other luxurious merchandise, to become the president of World Vision, a large Christian NGO serving to promote the welfare of children around the globe. He elucidates them in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, winner of the ECPA 2010 Christian Book of the Year Award.
There are a lot more details about how Stearns resisted and his reflections on scripture and introspections on who he was, but finally he agreed to fly to Seattle to do some more investigation, “a series of fact-finding meetings and discussions before I made a final decision.”
There were a series of a dozen or so surrounding my giving up my job and going to med. school (at the age of 43 ) and then leaving and being handed a new job in a set of events with remarkable timing and placing that demonstrate God’s sovereignty over time and space. I’ve written up a couple in more readable form than my Co-instants Log entries.
Then there’s the way I chased my wife-to-be around the country for several years, unbeknownst to and unplanned by either of us, from Philadelphia to Nebraska to Chicago, back to Philadelphia and then to Connecticut where we finally landed in the same place for an extended period of about eight months. My romantic saying: “It must have been God – I wouldn’t have thought of it. ”
I don’t mean to be dismissive after you’ve shared such a personal account. But honestly these kinds of stories, though they have such significance for ourselves, rarely convey that significance to others. I have my own stories and those are the ones which impact my values and to some degree my beliefs. But I don’t regard their significance as evidence in favor of following any particular tradition of belief. Instead those experiences were a spur to make make sense of what it is that gives rise to and supports God belief of every stripe.
You need to know that God is sovereign over time and place, timing and placing, whether or not you think so now. God frequently uses events with miraculous timing that break no natural laws to accomplish his purposes, and the history of Christianity is replete with them, not to mention those in scripture, both OT and NT. He uses them to get the attention of those who will become his children, as well. Would that you were one of them.
That is a grave error in view of the totality of all of reality. Christianity stands apart from the rest from the beginning to the end, including the reason for the existence of the earth. The fires in California hopefully give pause to some who have read the book of Revelation, and I would not be surprised if the incidence of megacryometeors increased during what remains of my years. The Shepherd from Galilee has spoken to climate change as well.
Are they accounts of sets or series of multiple independent ‘coincidences’ that individually may get our attention, but that collectively infuse a cohesive larger meaning?
Lets leave it there. I don’t accept your authority for these assertions of yours:
And most shockingly …
What ‘assertions’? That God is sovereign, or are my accounts ‘assertions’?
Ah, edited to add.
Sometimes we need to be shocked out of our status quo. Eternity is at stake.
According to you at least. Surely you realize I don’t share that view. I’m afraid your efforts at persuasion are brash, unsupported and offensive. This isn’t a conversation I’m willing to have with you.
Forgive me for being too rash the first time.
The best way to demonstrate the reality of God to anyone especially the hardened:is by a gracious, merciful approach that demonstrates the loving personality of God.
The following scripture should be helpful;
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Corinthians 2:4)”
The power is demonstrated in the transformed life of the believer that came about by the power of the cross. The believer demonstrates the power by his testimony and the display of the character of Christ which is the unconditional love of Christ.
We remember where Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well not by reminding her of her sins that she was already well aware of, but by approaching her with grace and mercy and informing her of the availability of the same.
The unbeliever in question is thus dealt with not according to his sins, but according to the character envisioned in him that would be brought about by the transformation if he accepts it. Instead of Jesus thus seen as judgmental, He is seen according to His mercy and readiness to redeem.
Jesus warned the pharisees that the love of God was not in them despite all of their religion. The unbeliever as well as anyone is drawn by displayed love and care. I hope this is helpful.
That was not an assertion without any evidence provided.
Nor is this:
I have mentioned it above.
Why there is no proof of God:
All the objective evidence of science only exists as a result of the space-time mathematical structure of the universe, otherwise known as the laws of nature. Therefore you cannot expect something which is not a part of that structure to provide any objective evidence of its existence.
This is not to say that an all powerful God who interacts with the universe cannot make His existence more apparent than He has already. I don’t know that this could ever amount to conclusive proof that people would never find a way to discount. After all, there are people who discount even the evidence of science which is founded on written procedures anyone can follow to get the same result. But if God can interact with the universe as much as most theists believe, then it is reasonable to think God could do something which would convince most of those who don’t believe right now. So we can change the question to… why doesn’t God do such a thing.
If God acts in our best interest then I think we can conclude that this would not be in our best interest. This conclusion is supported by the words of Jesus in Matthew 13, indicating that it is necessary that people be able to avoid the truth if they choose. So apparently, making us believe in that He exists is not God’s highest priority. I can think of several reasons why this might be the case.
a. A look at our history reveals great deal of evil done by fanatical believers in the name of God. I therefore doubt that it would be in our best interest to strengthen the position of such people.
b. All through the Bible, the importance of faith is a recurrent message. We can observe there are more unseen things, like love and justice, in which it is also important to have faith.
c. It should also be observed that it would be very easy for an all-knowing all-powerful being to dominate us completely. Thus if God seeks a relationship of real love with us, then He has to be really careful that this does not happen.
d. I think it is a demonstrable fact that a belief in God is not of benefit to all people. For a few, the belief in God is even part of a psychopathology. I think this must be the root cause of our separation from God since Adam and Eve, for the only reason a parent child relationship can be broken is when the presence of the parent in the child’s life isn’t in the child’s best interest.
I attended a lecture that Kurt Vonnegut gave, and I was surprised at how angry he was at God.
Unfortunately, at the time my faith was not as informed as it is now, otherwise I would have been able to answer his argument, which was the problem of pain.
That’s odd. It has been a long time since I read the book but I passages from it often come to mind. I never thought Bokonism was thought of as insulting, though I suppose it paints its practitioners as a little simple minded. But I find plenty in the underlying philosophy to admire.
Can you point me to what you find indicates that KV was angry with the Christian God?
The idea that God desires our love from free-will instead of fear makes sense only if you let fear run your life. I know some people who are like that; others who are not.
So I’m not sure that fear is the issue. As Moses discovered after he saw the back side of God, his face had become so radiant that people asked him to cover it with a veil. They were scared, but he was not. Moses was in awe of God’s glory.
When I first understood the fine tuning of nuclear magnetic resonance that resulted in the stellar synthesis of carbon, I was so stunned with awe that I wept (see Barrow and TIpler’s “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle”). Years later, I had vision of God’s love for me (despite my sins), and it was so awesome that I wept even more.
Was fear part of the equation? No. Definitely not. At the same time, the awe the I felt was so overwhelming that I wonder if it would have overpowered any vestige of free will that I had left. OTOH, it wasn’t like I hadn’t decided much earlier to trust in Him.
The problem is that unless you’ve seen at least a sliver of that awe, it doesn’t make much sense.