WHAT comes to mind when you conjure up the existence of heaven, of eternity, of God?
Many people have their own ideas of a higher being that could exist, a divine power, or perhaps a god-like figure of some description.
A modern understanding of how one may interact with this potential god or being varies tremendously.
People seem to like making up their own pathway: some may feel some sort of divine connection with crystals, others in the energy they claim flows from the earth and still others in quiet reflective meditation practice.
Regardless of our thoughts on these diverse pursuits, they do reveal a similar thread of desire.
People do like the idea of escaping the ordinary everyday life as we know it, and experiencing something more extraordinary, a supernatural world if you like.
Yes, we mere humans do have in us a common longing for more — more meaning, more purpose, more wonder.
A man by the name of Paul of Tarsus came upon a city one day that had gotten obsessed with this pursuit.
The expedition to trigger celestial links had reached its climax. As Paul roamed the city, he found idols on every corner.
There in ancient Greece, Paul even came across an altar with this inscription “to an unknown god” (Acts 17:23).
Huh, to the ‘unknown god’, why bother?
Apparently, these folks were so diligent at gaining contact with the unseen world, they had sacrifices that could be essentially categorised as ‘just in case we’ve missed the real thing’.
They were careful to cover all bases.
Some people approach religion in the same way today, very open ended and find it hard to settle on any distinct viewpoint.
But Chesterton emphasizes, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
This suggests there comes a point in life when it’s decision time, to first thoroughly explore, and then decide well.
In Australia today, we are extremely blessed to enjoy religious freedoms.
We can decide to worship the god of our choosing.
There are many random opinions on which choice is the right one, and it makes coming up with solid conclusions rather difficult.
Whilst I don’t suspect agreement at large is coming anytime soon to such a discussion, what we can all be clear about is this: the God of the Bible certainly wants to be known. He is not playing hide and seek.
That was the apostle Paul’s message to the folks he found back in Athens some 2000 odd years ago, and the same applies today.
Our longing for a God-encounter doesn’t have to go unfulfilled however.
The Bible clarifies that Jesus Christ, “the one and only Son, who is Himself God … has made Him known” (John 1:18).
New Life Baptist Church