Monday, June 26, 2006

Speed-dial To Heaven

I confess. I have not read the entire Bible. In fact, because I never read it from cover to cover, I cannot tell you with 100% accuracy how much of it I have covered. I would wager 90 – 95% if I were a betting man. So if I missed the part where God stops talking to humans with a direct means of contact, I invite my oversight to be corrected by those of you who know.

From what I can tell though, we (meaning humans) had an uncanny access to God unlike what we experience today. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. So did many of their descendants, so The Fall is not necessarily why He removed this element of communication. By the time Moses brought down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, God was appearing as a cloud, fire, and smoke…though he gave Moses a brief glimpse later on. By the time Christ came to us, the ‘new way’ of communication was through prayer and the Holy Spirit. I am not sure what word prayer derives from but it sounds different to me from talking or casual conversation. I suppose prayer can be both but the word mostly conveys a sense of formality to me. And formality garners even more imagery of separation.

So when, where, and why did this once very accessible God decide to change things? One theory I have relates to faith and the acceptance of His Son. If God still popped in on us just to say hi then there would be very little reason for Faith. Denying His existence would become a game for the delusional and belief in His Words and decrees would become easy. I say that but realize that early man still fumbled at a time when access was wide open. So any speculation is just that…speculation. And while I am comfortable with my theory I cannot help but be jealous.

The Bible says that (and I paraphrase) ‘No sign will be given to this wicked generation’ so I do not expect the veil to be lifted. But I find myself asking for a personal visit at times and have to remember my humility lessons as I do so. I mean, who am I to even merit such a request to be granted? Wouldn’t it be nice though? A personal visit of a few minutes, a brief walk through the neighborhood, or a phone call at the office?

As it stands we rely heavily on The Word to communicate to us and the act of prayer. The biggest danger with the prayer part is those that claim to “hear” His voice vary in degrees of credentials. I am not convinced at all that everyone making that claim actually hears it. I am convinced that they believe they are but when they tell you the message being received, the debate begins. I have had people tell me everything from God told me to quit my job to God told me to smoke pot. And if people start believing that you are a conduit directly to the Almighty but you receive and relay the message wrong…God help you! The Bible warns that it would be better for you to be thrown in the ocean with a millstone around your neck than to cause another to stumble as they approach the Kingdom of God.

Does this mean that we no longer have access to God or just a different kind of access? Does this mean that we do NOT receive His communication or that we need to be very careful about proclaiming such an ability?

Your thoughts?


Neil said...

Good post on an important topic. I acknowledge that some people might hear from God, but if they hear something contrary to scripture we can be sure the source wasn't God.

I agree with you that a brief audible chat would be great! But I tend to think that those interactions were far from the norm even in Bible times . . . which is why they made it into the Bible!

One thing we can be sure of is that if God is going to give us an extra-Biblical message it will be very clear and unmistakable. If you look at the Biblical examples, there was never any question of the source. It wasn't like, "I think God is telling me something, but I'm not sure."

Molly said...

What an amazing and common question. Not common as in "not creative", but common as in everyone who is a Christian and struggling with everyday events must make a similar request at some point. If no one ever wished they could see God clearly or hear his voice just as you hear mine, then I would say that no one really wanted to have a relationship with Him. I mean, if you look at how the Bible says we need to have an intimate relationship with Jesus, then asking for him to be physically close is no stretch. This topic has caused me to write quite a bit as I expound on this thought, so read more here...

Posted by molly on Monday, June 26, 2006 at 3:05 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Zaphod said...

All of this is on the assumption that a God exists.
Is it fact, fiction, or a combination?
Is it a way to explain what is not understood?

Posted by Zaphod on Monday, June 26, 2006 at 6:06 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

TheEdge said...

My questioning of God's existence ended several years ago. So this is written from my point of view and assumes your inquiry to be already answered in the affirmative.

Posted by TheEdge on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 at 7:47 AM

Reluctant Thinker said...

Perhaps God is speaking to us all the time & we are just not listening (or at least not listening in the right way). We anticipate the lightening bolt from the heavens or the burning bush and bypass the subtle, yet, more likely.

There is an old episode of the West Wing where Karl Malden plays a priest, in it he tells a story & I just paraphse it.

A guy hears a weather report on the radio that says a flood is coming & everyone should evacuate. The guy says, "Im a good Christian, God loves me & God will save me." Soon the flood comes and a man in a rowboat wanders by & wants to take our guy to dry land, but he says, "Im a good Christian, God loves me & God will save me." Later a helicopter comes by and the pilot says, "Climb up this ladder & I will rescue you." But our guy says, "Im a good Christian, God loves me & God will save me." Eventually, our guy drowns, goes to Heaven and demands an audience with God. Our guy screams, "I love you Lord, I pay my tithe, why would you do this to me?" And God says, "I sent you a weather report, a man in a rowboat, and a rescue helicopter what are you doing here?"

Posted by The Reluctant Thinker on Monday, July 03, 2006 at 11:24 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

TheEdge said...

I am quite familiar with that story and needed the reminder. Thanks for your input and readership.