David Heap continues to grace us with his presence.
In the recent American Religious Identification Survey for 2008 about 70% of the population reported believing in a personal God, and 12% believed in a “higher power” but not a personal God. Only 2% denied there was a God or higher power, and the rest were essentially agnostic or refused to answer.
I am among those who believe in a personal God.
But some times I have wondered, what difference does it make to me, here and now, if there is a God, even a personal God?
The Ant Debate
Consider an ant farm. Do the ants ever debate philosophically among themselves whether there is a”human” who has “created” the “world” (the ant farm) in which they live?
I am not sure whether ants can see through the clear plastic. Presumably, much of the time, if they looked out, they would see no human present (perhaps the person is at work or in another room). “Ahah,” says the skeptical ant, “there is no human. Look through the clear plastic, and you will see for yourself.”
“But you must have faith,” says the other, “we cannot control the moments when we might see the human, but the human chooses when he appears. And, I am sure that the human is the source of the water or nutrients that are added to our world from time to time. While I have not seen the human, others have. And I have their words in ant scripture.”
And so forth.
But, in the end, does it make any practical difference in the daily lives of the ants whether humans exist or not, or even if humans are the creators of the world in which they live and the source of water and nutrition? Does it make any material difference whether they “believe” or “know” or otherwise acknowledge the reality of human existence outside of the ant farm world?
What difference it makes to me.
For some of my life I pictured God as a benevolent all powerful being who created the universe and was the source of all goodness. But I am not sure that belief differed very much from my belief that the sun was a primary source of light and heat and energy on the earth. God, like the sun, was just there. Occasionally God might answer a prayer or send a small tender mercy in an unpredictable way, but was largely hands off.
For me, what makes a difference now is occasionally experiencing God in my personal life, a sense that God personally cares about and loves me and other creations, a feeling of connection, of hope, of faith, of love. God does for me what I cannot do for myself; I feel God’s influence and strength at times.
I accept and believe the Church’s teachings of the nature of God with a material body and the social trinitarian nature of the Godhead. But that is not what makes a difference to me. What makes a difference is that God is my God, an awesome God, a caring and loving God.
What difference does it make to you if there is a God?