How does someone believe in something or someone they cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell? How can we believe in an all-loving, all-powerful God when tragedies happen, genocide occurs, wars erupt, innocent lives are taken, disease runs rampant, famines, plagues, epidemics, and evil thrives?
That is the challenge every person faces and questions I think every soul honestly ponders upon at least once in their lives.
How do we know God exists? How can we be sure there is a heaven or even a hell… let alone a God overseeing every aspect of our lives, trying to guide us, protect us, save us… when it’s so obvious that humanity seems bent on self-destruction and it appears as though God is indifferent or unable or unwilling to intercede?
You cannot specifically touch, taste, smell, hear, or see gravity. Yet you can experience its impact upon your body, keeping you firmly planted on this Earth. Gravity is not something you can put in a jar and label or quantify like an assortment of jelly beans or like a typical specimen of organisms. Yet you can observe gravity’s effect on self and others. You know it exists even if you do not fully comprehend how or why it exists or manifests. Gravity on Earth differs from gravity on the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, and Pluto and other planetary bodies in space. Forces like speed, inertia, mass, volume, molecular composition all relate to gravity… but what is it? What is it really? Just the interaction of unseen forces interacting with the physical properties of an animate or inanimate object?
You cannot specifically touch, taste, smell, hear, or see love. Yet you can experience love in how it is expressed from someone to you. You can observe expressions love between a father and son, a mother to daughter, two lovers, between a child and a pet kitten, and so on. You can observe expressions of emotional outpouring and attachment but what precisely is love? How do you quantify or classify it? Love is not something that can be standardized or clearly defined. It is not a substance. Is it only an emotion or is it a manifestation of something generated by an interpretation from our brains to stimuli that interacts with hormones? Is it a chemical thing, a psychological thing?
There are forces at work that we clearly cannot see, cannot touch, taste, or smell. But we can be impacted by them and experience them. We can see the byproducts and can observe what happens to our environment around us when these unseen forces interact and affect our world.
We know that we exist. We know that so far, ours is the only planet in the Solar System and perhaps Milky Way galaxy that can support carbon-based lifeforms as we know them. How we came to be as we are today was the result of a long process of creation, evolution, development, adaptation, and interaction with forces beyond our full comprehension and understanding. We continue to learn and explore and we strive to make sense of the clues we have been given.
Something greater than ourselves is at work upon us. And who is to say conclusively that there isn’t some great designer behind the designs that dictate the patterns and chaos and phenomena of life?
Suppose I propose that the force that inspires us to love and show compassion and empathy stems from the Holy Spirit? The unseen force that motivates us to react to injustice and hatred and violence comes from the Holy Spirit? Suppose inspiration comes to us not just from our environment and from the people and places that hold our interest– but from some energy that moves us to be open and giving and expressive and creative and passionate. If you wonder where inspiration comes from, suppose you consider it comes from the Holy Spirit.
And suppose it was an unseen hand– that or the breath of an unseen Creator– that brought the Holy Spirit into being. Suppose or consider the possibility that there is some eternal energy or central energy source from which all unseen forces are generated and established and originated. Some catalyst that sparked the birth of suns and stars and other astronomical phenomena. Everything had a beginning and point of origin. Where was it, what was it? How did it all come to be? Something occurred to turn void into what we see today. Some chain of events was set into motion– who or what tipped over that first domino in the chain?
We still don’t know for certain. We can only suppose and ponder and investigate and consider. Yet humanity has stories, creation myths, creation narratives… humanity has passed on stories in the oral and written traditions of experiences with these unseen forces and energies working in their lives, impacting their environments. Mankind has experienced things Mankind cannot fully explain or quantify and Mankind has kept records of these experiences… these incredible experiences. So incredible they call them holy or sacred or divine. These stories are kept in the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Vedic literature, the Tao Te Ching, and so on… and so on…. Every culture and every nation and every people on Earth has sacred stories to explain the experiences they’ve had with the unexplainable and unseen and unknowable known.
I believe there is something beyond me at work. I believe free will moves us to explore, hurt as well as heal, love as well as hate, think as well as reject, open as well as close… and so on. I believe something greater than ourselves moves us and inspires us to do what we do…. something drives our passions and inspires us… and I believe that something also powerful but menacing inspires us to hate, murder, kill, destroy, and corrupt. There are forces in conflict all around us… influencing us… forces that fight to influence us. We cannot see, touch, taste, feel, or know them fully… but we know they exist because of the impact we experience when we are in contact with them.