What we believe makes all the difference in the world. What we believe determines what we do, how we think, and how we live and treat one another. What we believe makes possible the “new things” that can happen in us and in the world on this seventh day of Christmas.
We live in a physical universe. This world, some say, operates according to the laws of nature and came into being with a “big bang” or was formed by some unconscious force. I, on the other hand, believe that in addition to this physical world and those natural forces, there is One who gives meaning to all existence. I believe God was before the world was created, and that God will be, even if this physical universe be rolled up like a scroll (Isa. 34:4). God is not only the Creator, without whom the world would not be, but also the One who is constantly sustaining and intervening in our history every step of the way. Indeed, the order of nature, far from limiting God’s action in our present world, is dependent upon God’s purpose and is subservient to it. This order is dependable, not because it is mechanical or unchangeable, but because it is purposeful and therefore intelligent.
God is a Person. God is not an “it.” God is objective, not a creation of my fancies. I can talk to God (prayer). God cares for every person and knows and loves us individually. This conception of God is not something I’ve contrived. It is the conception of God that underlies the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and one that gives the world meaning (at least for me). God is a Person. God has consciousness, God is able to be aware, God is able to have purposes, God is able to know and to care. We are made in this image—there is “that of God” in each of us—but we are not God.
If this “believing” of mine is not so, then all of my thoughts in Advent and Christmas about openness, expectancy, and annunciations are false. If this “believing” is not so, what a dismal world this is! And if it is not so, how do I make sense of my “self”—a person who is aware, a person who has purpose, a person who knows and cares?