Eternity Set in the Heart of Man
When you scan the radio dial on a clear night you can sometimes pick up the crackling sounds of the WBBM (AM 780) in Chicago, a faint reminder of that distant city. Likewise certain experiences – the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, viewing the mountains on a crisp October day – awaken an inner sense that we are not alone in the universe. The reason for this reaction, the Bible says, is that God “has put eternity into man's heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). C.S. Lewis described it as “the echo of a tune we have not heard,” the longing for “a country we have never yet visited.”
The universe testifies to the existence of a Creator. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). People deny God’s existence not because God’s self-disclosure through creation is deficient but because their sin leads them to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).
If you are not a Christian but sense that “distant city”, I encourage you to open a Bible and begin reading. The “spectacles of Scripture” bring into focus the God who has revealed himself broadly through the created order by pointing us to Jesus. Jesus lived the life that we were unable to live and then died to pay the penalty for our sin. When we trust in Him as our substitutionary sin-bearer we enter into a right relationship with God.
If you are skeptical about the Bible I still encourage you to read it. The Bible is self-authenticating. The Apostle Paul wrote, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
You may object, “Science has led me to reject Christianity.” Can you name particular scientific findings that have brought you to this position, or have you been swayed by the popular assumption that science is sophisticated and religion is naïve? The appeal of science, writes Charles Taylor, is that it “is seen as the stance of maturity, of courage, of manliness, over against childish fears and sentimentality….the convert to unbelief will want to give the impression that it was the scientific evidence that was doing the hard work….And the belief such persons have converted from has usually been an immature, Sunday-schoolish faith that could be easily toppled. So while such converts to unbelief tell themselves stories about ‘growing up’ and ‘facing reality’ – and thus paint belief as essentially immature and childish – their “testimony” betrays the simplistic shape of the faith they’ve abandoned” (James K.A. Smith, How (Not) to Be Secular).
Good News Presbyterian Church will soon be offering a 7-week evening discussion for agnostics, skeptics, and seekers called Christianity Explored. It is based on Mark’s gospel. A description of the course is available at ChristianityExplored.org. If you’re interested in learning more about this class, give me a call.
Peter Kemeny, Pastor
Good News Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 1051, Frederick, MD 21702