Summary: Eternal God, Creator of the universe, Who is beyond our knowing, has made Himself known to us, most especially in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. The Word of God should be reverently handled, and we should share the message it contains.
There’s an immense universe out there: earth, moon, sun, solar system, galaxy, all the cosmos. And it all began with a Big Bang about 13.772 billion years ago, give or take 59 million years. That is scientifically observable, determinable, objective and quantifiable, insofar we can know rationally.
Now, do you realize how utterly ridiculous religion is? We Christians say that the universe was created by a Being (not a “Bang”), whom we refer to as God. He isn’t directly observable. His existence isn’t agreed upon as determinable. He is subjectively experienced by each person. He is not simply not quantified but is beyond quantification because He’s infinite. We are quite crazy when you look at it from the world’s point of view.
But it gets better. This God that we believe exists, we believe that He has, does, and will communicate with us. We believe that God is perfect, completely other—holy—, and that He is unchanged—immutable—, and that He doesn’t need creation but exists by His own power—aseity—, so why in the world would He want to talk to us? We are imperfect. Humanity seems to revel in being completely common and profane. We are constantly changing and reinventing ourselves and our ethics. And we can’t cause ourselves to exist, much less remain alive.
Christian belief is completely out of proportion to the secular mind? I don’t think I could convince any of you that God doesn’t exist and that He doesn’t speak. But I’d like you to see that this belief should be taken for granted when we talk to anyone outside of these walls, nor even with those who go to church. We should not assume that the people with whom we work, live, and interact believe that God exists, much less speaks.
But we believe that God speaks. He speaks through creation, prophets, the Holy Spirit, and most clearly through His Son Jesus Christ.
God speaks through creation. Ps. 19:1–4 tell us of thnis. “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Some people hear God in the smooth clean surface of fresh-fallen snow; others hear Him speak in the winds blowing across the ocean and bay; others listen best with their hands dug down into dark, rich earth; and others will perceive His words in the warm sun and bright light. But make no mistake, God’s creation speaks. St. Paul writes the Romans, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Rom. 1:20).
God speaks through the Holy Spirit and prophets. In the Nicene Creed we declare, “He has spoken through the prophets.” I don’t see wiggle room there. God spoke to Israel through Moses, Elijah, Elisha, on down the line. And God spoke in the Church after Pentecost through prophets. “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul (Acts 13:1). And Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, had four daughters who prophesied (cf. Acts 21:9). St. Paul tells the church in Corinth that one of the gifts from the Spirit is prophet. And prophecy has not been lost to this day. There are members of Christ’s body who still have this spiritual gift and exercise it. And God speaks through them to us.
But most clearly, perfectly, and completely, God speaks through our Lord Jesus Christ. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at various times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, who me appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb. 1:1–3). Jesus is the definitive word spoken by God; He is the great “Amen” that Gods speaks on our behalf (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20).
God is as awesome and reverend, even more so than we will ever be able to believe. When He speaks, we ought to listen carefully. James writes, “Everyone should be quick to listen” (Jas. 1:19). And Jesus told Pilate, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jn. 18:37). If we are on the side of truth, we will listen to Jesus. The only alternative is to oppose truth and embrace a lie, which makes one’s father not God, but the father of lies.