Earlier today, a very plausible stranger informed me that God was either absent or dead. This came as something of a shock – but I was just talking to God and He assured me that this was not the case. In the same article, I read about the demise of the church … but (barring a cheese-induced hallucination), this morning it seemed to be in perfect health.
Here’s another ‘fact’: we live in a secular age. Belief is so 90s – it went out with MC Hammer and reversible jumpers. Apparently, no-one today is interested in spiritual things. We’ve evolved along with the internet and we’re just fine on our own.
Well, we might not be searching for God in church, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking. We’re as spiritually hungry as we’ve ever been – and we’re still formulating solutions to the questions we’re supposedly not asking. But, without God explaining Himself and His world, we’re basing our theories on evidence that we can’t fully understand.
Let’s take horoscopes for example.
Justin Toper and I are agreed on one point – the planets (along with the rest of creation), do tell us truths about our world and its purpose. The question is, do I read them? And if so, how?
Is the universe aligned in order to reveal my romantic destiny, a lottery win or an unsettling conversation with a family member? My heart tells me I’m at the centre of the world – but is the cosmos really concerned with my pension plans? No! The stars don’t say, ‘hey, check me out. Pretty shiny and special, huh?’ Instead they ask, ‘what are you staring at us for: look at Him!’ They point to Jesus – the one who made and sustains all creation.
Or let’s consider angels. Without a handbook from the Lord, these too become mere extensions of ourselves. Here’s an example from a magazine I read earlier this week:
‘There are so many angels out there willing to help us…Strengthening your energetic vibration, they’ll protect you and your loved ones from harm and increase the confidence, ability and belief you have in finding the answers you seek within. .
If you’d like to do some healing, Archangel Raphael is definitely one to work with. When you wish to be a better communicator, the Archangel Gabriel is definitely one of the best angels to call upon…once you’ve learnt to recognise the signs he’s near, you’ll feel his presence in a number of different ways; a subtle brush against your body for instance, or a slight breeze or temperature change’.
I’m sorry, but according to Scripture, this is bunkum. When you read about angels in the Bible, they’re not babies with wings. They’re not Christmas tree decorations or car-fresheners that make sure you get a parking spot. Angels are beautiful and terrifying and they strike fear and awe in the hearts of those who see them. You know when you’ve met an angel, not when you’re a little draughty – but because your whole world has been blown apart:
“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground”. (Daniel 10:5b-9)
Angels are so scary and terrible, we fall on our faces before them. But they refuse to be worshipped: like all creation, they point to Jesus as the proper object of our adoration:
“My name is John, and I am the one who heard and saw these things. Then after I had heard and seen all this, I knelt down and began to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown it to me. But the angel said, ”Don’t do that! I am a servant, just like you. I am the same as a follower or a prophet or anyone else who obeys what is written in this book. God is the one you should worship”. (Rev 22:8-9).
I’d love to laugh at those who rely on say crystals or leprachauns…but the sad fact is, I’ve put my trust in idols that are just as ridiculous. We all have faith – the question is, in what?