If God didn’t exist we’d have to invent him.
That’s what I mean by the necessity of knowing God.
It doesn’t require any great anthropological research to discover that belief in God, god, gods, the divine, is very nearly universal among Homo Sapiens. Even in our own secular society, belief in god is rampant – at most counts around 80% of the population.
I need to be careful not to collapse all these different kinds of religious belief into One Giant Phenomena. That’s the silly mistake of sociologists of religion and pop-pluralists. Believing in Allah is not the same as believing in Yahweh, they are not the same God under different names.
It’s also impossible to deny for a minute that people all around us happily get on with their lives without the least consciousness of God or desire for anything like what I would call ‘knowing’ God.
What is unquestionably uniform, even among those who don’t have any kind of articulated belief in God, is the sense that life should have a purpose, that there are right and wrong ways of living (and that this has something to do with our purpose)…
And, most significantly, whatever these things are We Don’t Know.
The very thing that would seem to be fundamentally important to know about life is the one major fact left in the dark.
Food, Shelter, Sex, we’ve got those all down,
Purpose… just go back and look again at all your angsty teen poetry.
Which is why, if God didn’t exist we’d have to invent him.
That’s not exactly a comforting thought for a Christian. After all, we are always being challenged by people who believe that God really is just an inventive by product of an aspect of human development. At the moment, Richard Dawkins is making his next million out of just such an argument.
If the necessity of knowing God would lead us to invent a god, just to fill this need, then how do we know that we haven’t done just that!
On the other hand, if there is a God and this God is the creative Subject behind the Universe, who had (and has) an intimate hand in our own creation, it is very likely that knowing Himself is fundamental to being ourselves.
In other words, if God really did make us it wouldn’t be surprising to find the need to know him at the core of our being.
And if we don’t know him to find that something fundamental to ourselves – our purpose – has become deeply obscure.
So how do we know God?