Monday, Dec 13, 2021. There is an old question of mankind: who is God? Is there a God? What is influencing my fate? Is it possible that there is a God?
We humans have always tried to understand the world and all the factors which influence our life. This includes the question: Is it possible that there is a God? Many humans have also experienced spiritual forces, which might influence our life. And we have learned to understand the processes of nature by science - with far reaching possibilities by modern technology, and with all their side effects on local and global levels. We have formulated various collections of human ethics, of national and international law. How do we put it all into a convincing framework?
Found Faith …
As a emerging scientist, I once started to explore the God question. What do the Christian sources tell me? What about other sources, the books of Hinduism, the Quran, further spiritual books of Budhism and Shinto? What is the role science plays for my understanding, what is the role of other levels of human activity?
There is much to consider, and much to find! My journey brought me fascinating insight into several world religions. Also, I can tell you that I became a Christian, that I found faith in Christ Jesus. But it is a longer story to completely dive into the reasons. It took me years and decades to gain a deeper understanding of the Christian story - even though it is so simple with its core message.
We are approaching Christmas. And the birth of Jesus is one of the building blocks of the Christian message and its whole story. About 2020 years ago a Jew was born in a town called Bethlehem, just some kilometers away from Jerusalem, the ancient city. He was named Jesus (Yeshua), not an uncommon name of the time. The whole Christian story is completely embedded and fully connected on thousands of levels with the Jewish faith in the God of the universe. The story of Jesus does not come out of nowhere, it is based on about a thousand years of tradition and prophecy in the Jewish books, which Christians call the “Old Testament”. The story of Jesus is then written in the New Testament.
It is impossible to find God without any preparation. It is impossible to find a person if you do not know who to search. You need to recognize, to look for something. How would you recognize God if you had no idea what to look for? What is your image of God? Would you be able to name him if he would be standing in front of you?
This is where the New Testament starts with the background of Jesus' mother and father, and with John the Baptist as a contemporary preacher who points to the coming “kingdom of heaven”. In Matthew 3 we read:
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3)
What does it need to recognize God, to find him? John the Baptist talks about preparation in the form of repentence. He talks about preparation by changing our way of life. Justice is one of the core points of preparation. John also talks about insight into the state of our life, where we see points which are not good, actions and things which keep us from opening our eyes towards God.
There is much to say on this, much to search and much to find. How would I be able to recognize God? Would you? Are you prepared already? (Roland Potthast)