Mary and I often heard these familiar words as our two boys burst into the house after a day at school. For added effect it sometimes came out as “I’m hownnnngry!” Teenagers tend to resemble bottomless pits.
For that matter, newborn infants seem to arrive the same way—refusing to be silenced until warm milk from a mother’s breast or a bottle fills their little mouths. To live, whether animal or human, is to be hungry—to desire nourishment.
Human beings, however, experience another kind of hunger just as real as a baby’s desire for milk. In fact, that is how the apostle Peter described it: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 1:2-3).
I believe spiritual hunger is part of our human DNA because our Creator designed us that way. Created in His image, we have an inherent desire to know God. Every culture and every tribal group, no matter where or when they have lived, share a common pursuit of some kind of Deity. Someone or something greater than ourselves. Why is this so? Why this curiosity about the supernatural?
Study animals in their natural environment or visit your local zoo, and I guarantee you will discover no evidence that any animal displays an awareness of or interest in things spiritual or religious. They build no temples or idols to worship. Yet visit any country or study any culture (even sifting through the remains of those buried in the past) and you will discover places of worship and images to reflect a Deity. Sadly, you may also discover evidence of human sacrifice among the pottery chards.
I have witnessed this hunger in India. Everywhere you look you see evidence of a religion—with enough deities to fill a football stadium. Hindu shrines and temples abound. Sacred cows wander on congested city streets bustling with smog producing cars and motorbikes. Grotesque images personify the Hindu concept of the gods.
Mosques and churches dot the landscape in Europe and America. The airwaves are filled with religious teaching on television and radio. Religious books proliferate, both questioning and confirming the existence of God.
Before the first white European planted a flag on the beaches of the Americas, Native American civilizations displayed the concept of a Great Spirit or spirits. Animism and other native religions betray our inherent belief in and search to know God or gods.
Belief in some kind of other world—a spiritual world—and in a supernatural being is part of our human DNA.
I believe this reflects the fact that God, the God of Scripture, has created us in His image so that we can know and enjoy Him. Augustine said it something like this, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”
Throughout history there have been concerted—even political and military—attempts to stamp out and eradicate religious belief in God. All such efforts have failed, whether it be Communism in China and the Soviet Union or the Nazis in Germany. The Christian Church has survived and often thrived under persecution, as it continues to do today in China. Guns may silence the tongue from praising God or sharing the gospel, but bullets and bombs cannot resist the Church of God.
Jesus promised that. The very gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Attempts to rationalize belief in a Deity have also failed. Atheism is an empty pursuit. People may argue against the existence of God, but no one can remove the hunger in the human heart to know the Creator.
So-called theologians have dismissed God as dead or irrelevant. Some contemporary preaching offers a watered-down gospel that only talks about love and grace. These are important words, good words, but apart from a holy God who stands in judgment of sin, the terms lose their meaning.
That is the primary reason I have written the book, God in His Own Image: Loving God for who He is, not who we would like Him to be. I have written to the average church goer as well as to the person who has almost discarded faith altogether. If that describes you or one of your friends. I am writing to you. Are you hungry to know more about God—to experience His reality and nearness in your life? I envision a reader, perhaps you, who is hungry to know God as He really is, especially in this age when some religious leaders have tended to diminish some of His attributes, in order to present a safer, more politically correct, Deity.
I have written this blog and the book for each of you whose whose heart is hungry and can only be satisfied when you truly meet the living God, discovering that His arms of welcome have been wide open to you all along.
I can’t imagine writing anything more exciting than that.
Agree/disagree? Trying to create God in our mage or to fit our desires is both dangerous and will leave us spiritually hungry?
What I am reading: The Storm Tossed Family by Russell Moore.
If you recently read a book that you have enjoyed and been challenged by, why not share it with the rest of us?