Opinion: The world alone is not enough for us to know God

The world alone is not enough for us to know God

As I write this I am sitting at our town's showground. I can see the green grass of the main arena, the beauty of the trees with the first green leaves of spring, the hill climbing up above the town toward the Standing Stones. I can hear the birds and feel the gentle breeze. What an amazing little corner of the amazing world we live in!

As I soak in the beauty I see around me, it moves my mind to marvel at the God who made it all.

For many people that may sound like an odd thing to say.

Some of us are very open to the idea that there is a god out there who made all of this, we just don't really give the topic a lot of thought. God is seen a bit like a watchmaker. He has created the world, wound it up and set it to go. The world now ticks along with little or no help from the one who made it.

Others give the topic plenty of thought. However they have decided that the idea of a creator god of any kind doesn't make sense. It may be that their experience of the world doesn't seem to point to a god. Or maybe purely naturalistic explanations are enough to satisfy their curiosity about how the world got here.

Yet throughout history people have looked at the world around them and thought it obvious that there is some kind of god, or gods, in charge of it all. So involved in the world are these gods that each aspect of the world around us had its own god, such as Neptune in the sea or Hades in the underworld.

Even today it is true to say that the vast majority of people alive in our world believe in some kind of god. For them Psalm 19 rings true when says, "The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands."

Of course the natural world alone, while marvellous, is not enough to enable us to really know God. After all while billions of people are able to the fingerprints of a creator all over the world we inhabit, there is very little agreement about what God is like.

What we need is to ask whether God has told us anything more about himself than the creation can tell us.

A building might suggest that there was an architect who designed it, but it can't tell us much of who that person was. Were they a man or woman? Did they have a family? Did they prefer Coke or Pepsi?

There are a million questions we can only answer if the architect had told someone who in turn has written it down.

Likewise, because God and his creation are distinct from one another, we need to ask whether God has spoken about himself beyond what the creation can tell us.

As a Christian I am convinced that God has spoken to us very directly in the Lord Jesus, and that the Bible is the place where his closest friends have written down what he had told them.

And in the Bible we meet a God who not only made everything we see. He is intimately concerned for, and involved in what he has made. So concerned that he sent Jesus into the world to give his life so that we can truly know God, and be known by him.

David Robinson is vicar of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Glen Innes