Monday, November 5, 2018

Knowing God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 146 (NRSV)

It is not possible to prove the existence of God from a scientific standpoint.

The photographer titled this "On the 
ontological nature of high winds..."
This is not something that people of faith should worry about.  And this is not a dig against science or those who employ the scientific method.  As a way of measuring and discovering things within our universe, science has carried us to new heights of knowledge.

But how we know sometimes moves beyond the measurable.  Some people have a strong sense of intuition.  Science may say that this way of knowing simply comes from the subconscious acquisition of data.  The brain processes it in ways we may not recognize and so we say that we rely on our intuition.  We may not be able to explain how we came to the answer or decision but we may often discover that our "intuitions" prove correct.

Faith is another way of knowing.  We may come to faith in God through what we read in scripture such as in today's Psalm.  Faith also comes through our experiences of God that may seem mystical in nature.  Some of my most profound experiences of God leave me feeling connected to others (all of creation, really) in a way that transcends my normal existence.

Faith may also be experienced in the traditions of the church.  When we pray the Lord's Prayer, for instance, it may sometimes just roll off the tongue.  We don't think of it much and we can finish it without pondering what we are really saying.  But other times, a phrase of it may come to us unbidden in just the right moment.  Because it is ingrained in us, we can rely on it when life is difficult.

Faith can also be systematic and rational.  It can make sense.  For instance, if we believe that God does indeed love all people, we may discover value in persons that might otherwise seem disposable.  Our faith then drives us to emulate that same love.  This can become more challenging than comfortable.

So while I don't doubt God's existence, I do acknowledge that the way I know God is different from how I would know the temperature or the time (and for those who are young, there used to be a phone number you could call that would tell you both).

This Sunday's scripture enlightens us as a psalm of praise.  But it does more than that.  It shares characteristics of God that Jesus later picks up on.  And if Jesus thinks they are worth studying further, that is good enough for me.  I hope you'll join us on Sunday as we explore our faith together.  And if you do, you may intrinsically know that you made the right decision!

In Christ,

Photo by Rich Anderson via  Used under the Creative Commons license. 

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