I do not believe that God has left us like a watchmaker to flounder on our own in our finite imperfection. I find God to be intimate and personal, though He once seemed distant and unknowable to me.
I studied the five major world religions before I became a “believer” in Jesus Christ. I approached all the other world religions first, thinking that I already knew what Christianity had to offer. When I finally got to Christianity and began to read the scriptural text, as I had done with the other world religions, I had one of my first light bulb moments.
I had never considered the fact that the Bible is a compilation of writings generated over more than a millennium by more than several dozen authors. As I contemplated that fact and began to read the Bible, I found a stunning, cohesive harmony in all those writings that was hard to ignore.
I was an open-minded seeker in those days. I had taken each major world religion in turn, open to the possibilities that each one had to offer. I devoured what I read with an eager interest to understand each one. I “tried them on” in my mind and in my heart, testing them as one might sample wine or clothes or test driving cars. The cloistered and pastoral academia of the college setting was perfect for this faith exploration.
The intricate and complex harmony of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, from start to finish, through all of the various writers and genres of writing, virtually jumped off the pages at me. None of the other writings from the other major religions were so intricately woven together in a single, unified tapestry of writings that I found in the Bible. Not only was it a singular, unfolding narrative, but there was a stunning complexity of interwoven parts down to the very minutia.
As I took it in, the thought dawned on me that the Creator of the world could certainly make Himself known, if He wanted to be known, even to and through the imperfect vessels of men. The creator of e universe could also protect the essence of that communication if He desired to preserve it.
My professor at the time espoused the many-paths-to-the-mountaintop position on religion. I was not yet a believer, but I was intrigued. Would not a personal God who desired a relationship with the crowning achievement of His creation which He made in His own image not be able to reveal Himself accurately to those whose relationship He desires? If God could do that, could He not also protect that communication from corruption?
Many religious writings are written in the nature of myth and legend, but the Bible stands out as a self-conscious historical chronicle of God’s interaction with man – an audacious thought to many. I can hardly blame them. It was written by men, of course.
Many reject the Bible as anything other than a bunch of words written by men. It was clear to me, however, as I read it for the first time, that an all-knowing, all powerful omnipresent God could, if He wanted to, communicate to men and protect the integrity of that communication.
That elementary revelation followed on the heels of the observation that the Bible, though written over many centuries (more than a millennium) by many diverse people, in a myriad of formats and specifically styled writings, holds together as a harmonious whole.
It reads like a living document, not just an historical one. Uncanny. I was not a believer at that point, but I could not help but notice what was obvious to me, and I could not help but think that God could, if He wanted to, communicate to us and preserve that communication, though conveyed through the vessels of men.
This was a significant marker on my spiritual journey.