Before you say, “I don’t believe.” Chapter 21
Why are human beings so incurably religious?
When God created we humans He gave us a spiritual nature so that we would not only have an awareness that God exists, but that we might know Him in a personal way. We were made to know God in an intimate, dynamic, growing way. The tragedy of sin is that it has made us dead to God, and to the enjoyment of spiritual life. We know there is more to our life than millions of chemicals covered with skin that exists for three score years and ten, but it seems that the God who is there appears distant.
Animals give no evidence of being worshipping creatures, but wherever you go in the world, human beings worship. Their worship may be perverse or even perverted, but nevertheless it is a characteristic of all men and women that they want to worship.
In many Western nations worship has been diverted from God to sport, celebrities, sex, self or sensuality. Nevertheless something within a human being wants to worship. From where does this desire come?
Trevor Knight was for many years the U.K. Director of the inter-Church youth movement, Young Life. He was an unforgettable speaker, and whilst preaching at an open air meeting in the centre of Nottingham a familiar atheist heckled him with the words, “I’ve been an atheist for 84 years …” Trevor asked him his age, to which he replied “96, and I’ve been an atheist for 84 years!” Trevor retorted “Well, that shows you weren’t born an atheist …” It is a powerful point.
We worship God, not because He is egotistical and we are subservient scum. Rather, with a sense of awe, gratitude, and overwhelming love, we delight to tell and show our Maker and Saviour how much He means to us. If Christians could not express this worship they would burst, because praise is the inevitable outcome of knowing God!
Before becoming Christians, people sense the need to worship, but because sins have separated them from God, they hardly know how to. That is why Jesus came into the world. He said: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Having lived a sinless life, in perfect harmony with His Father, He set His face to go to Jerusalem where He would be crucified. Whilst suffering more than we can imagine, Jesus took on Himself the sin of all humankind, which had until then separated us from God. In so doing He Himself was cut off from His Father in those hours on the cross. He was overwhelmingly tormented spiritually, as well as physically. He gave Himself so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God. This supreme act of sacrifice on our behalf inspires us to worship. This is the great privilege of the Christian. We can know God in such a real way that we want to worship Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.