Earlier this week I wrote an article, “Is Faith a Matter of Opinion?”, based on F.X. Cronin’s book, The World According to God (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press. 2020). That article reflected on the first fifty pages. Today I would like to jump ahead to discuss our relationship with God based on what Cronin wrote.
Atheists claim that God does not exist. Agnostics doubt that God exists but are open to the possibility. Then there are deists. Cronin says, “Some moderns think God is a higher being who is disinterested and uninvolved, unconcerned and distant, passive and removed from all human beings. We call this view “deism” and its adherents “deists”” (132). I would not call such a being “God.” At best, such a view would merely see what they call “god” as an intelligent designer, meaning a superior being who designed and created the universe and then walked away.
As such, Cronin writes, “Deism denies any supernatural communication, intervention in space and time, management of events, and purpose for our lives. That means we can have no revelation, no miracles, no providential occurrences” (132).
In response to deism, I offer this question. If “god” is as deism describes, then why did this being create the universe? If one is going to create and then walk away, why bother to create? If there was no purpose to creation, then we have no purpose. Some might say that is why we need to create our own purpose for our lives. I don’t see how we can create our own purpose. Here, I do not speak of choosing a job and how we do that job. I write on a much deeper level. If we exist only as the way evolution happened to turn out, we are nothing more than a random chance of nature. God is the one who brings order and meaning to the universe.
So, why did God (as we see him from our Christian perspective) create us? Because He loves us. 1 John 4:8 ends, “for God is love.” God is love. Love involves relationship. God does not create and walk away. God creates us to love. God wants to be part of our lives. God creates us for love. God gives us meaning. God gives us purpose.
God doesn’t want us just to “know about him”. “He wants us to know him” (Cronin, 165). When we understand this, we begin to understand that “Sins are more about breaking a relationship connection than about breaking some code, law, or moral standard” (Cronin, 195).
To understand this, we need to understand what it means to “know.” Cronin writes, “In the Greco-Roman world, knowledge was considered to be essentially informational. We see it as the opposite of ignorance. Either we know something, or we do not know something” (199). Here, knowledge is simple data that we know.
Cronin continues, “But to the Hebrews of Jesus’ time, the opposite of knowledge was not ignorance, but estrangement, rebellion, interpersonal distance, and the loss of intimacy. Knowledge was essentially relational, not just informational” (199). Thus, to know God is to be in relationship with him. It requires a decision by us to be in relationship with God. It is not a one-time decision. Each time we choose to sin, we are choosing to break our relationship with God (see Cronin, 215). Another way to look at it is that when the Bible speaks of knowing someone, it is speaking in terms of having an intimate relationship with the person (see Cronin, 278). When we make a choice against what God teaches, we are estranging ourselves from him. We go against what we know God says.
Cronin provides an analogy for us. When you wish to hire a person for a job, you ask them for a resume. A resume provides information about the person, specifically their education and work experience. It is important information but do you hire them solely based on the information on the paper? No, the resume helps to know about them but you cannot fully know them from their resume. So, you interview them to get to know the person, not just information about them (see Cronin, 279). Likewise, it is not enough for us to “know about God.” Yes, we need to know about God but this is not enough. If we just know about God, we don’t really know who God is. We need to know God in the biblical sense, to have a deep and intimate relationship with him.
God is not just a distant being. God loves you. Are you open to truly knowing God or do you want to keep God at arm’s length so you can live the way you want, with God waiting in the wings to rescue you when you fall?
“God doesn’t want us just to “know about him”. “He wants us to know him” (Cronin, 165). When we understand this, we begin to understand that “Sins are more about breaking a relationship connection than about breaking some code, law, or moral standard” (Cronin, 195).”
This paragraph from the blog with the quote from Cronin about the true nature of sin is remarkable. It helps clarify and explain the damage caused by sin. It’s eye opening. Who among us has not experienced a damaged relationship with another person. Sometimes, it seems, the damage just can’t be fixed. Thankfully with God we can always seek his forgiveness.