Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man to venture into space on April 12, 1961. It is reported that he said, “ I don’t see God up here.” There is no recording to verify that he actually said that but Krushchev propagandized his trip into space by declaring that no God was found in his speech to the Central Committee of the CPSU. Gagarin died tragically in a flight training accident in 1968.
C.S. Lewis said that Gagarin’s statement was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle looking for Shakespeare. God is not like an object that can be found in a particular area of the universe. He is not like some element that can be gathered and taken into a lab for observation and experimentation. He wouldn’t be God if you could localize him in that way.
Timothy Keller portrays God in his book, The Reason for God, as being like a playwright who relates to the characters in his play. As characters on the stage we can know quite a lot about the playwright but only as he chooses to reveal information about himself. God has chosen to reveal just enough for us to find salvation and inherit eternal life. It will take us the rest of eternity to learn all the rest.
What a great mind C.S. Lewis had. On this Easter morning as the sun was rising on a gorgeous day in Georgia, I was reminded of Lewis’ metaphor about the sun. He said that he believes in God “as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” You can’t learn about the sun by staring directly into it. In fact, that will only bring blindness. The best way to learn about the sun is to look at the world it reflects upon.
God told Moses, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God for fear his fragile, earthly body couldn’t endure the beauty of His holiness. (Exodus 3:6) God hides much of himself from us because we couldn’t endure a full knowledge of who he is. David asked God, “How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 88:14) I think God hides his face from us until we shed these earthly bodies and take on glorified bodies that will be able to endure his holiness.
The God of scripture is not someone you will find in your attic. Something of great value is not found so easily. He gives us many clues as to who he is and what he is like but he doesn’t make it so easy to know him. Surely, the ultimate source he has given us to know him is his very son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you had known me you would have known my Father also.” (John 14:7)
He is the playwright. He creates all the characters and puts into the story. He gives us enough sense to know that all things are not right with this world. He places within us a void that nothing in this world can fill. All of us have a deep need to understand what our purpose is and if there is really any meaning in life. He then presents himself as the substance that can fill the void, as the solution to a corrupt and dying world.
I have heard so many say they are glad they have found Him. Can you ever really find Him? He enables us to have a relationship with him but I’m not so sure that the great and wondrous God that I believe exists can ever really be found!