#387: Fingerprints: In Everything, God

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Reflections by the Pond
March 23, 2009

Gentle Reader: This issue of Reflections is the first in an extended series on finding God around us in every situation, every circumstance, every moment of every day.

In Everything, God

Albert Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life trying to prove a unified field theory—a complete explanation of the universe tying together electricity, magnetism, gravity, and quantum mechanics. His attempts were grounded in the belief that all physical phenomena should ultimately be explainable by some underlying unity.

And, ultimately, he failed.

The unification theory is, essentially, an attempt to explain the entirety of the universe—and everything that occurs within it—by one easily understandable law. A tall order, and, as the eminent theoretical physicist Professor Stephen W. Hawking points out, difficult to prove:

We could never be quite sure that we had indeed found the correct theory, since theories can't be proved.

A Brief History of Time, 1988

With all due modesty I would like to propose a different unified field theory—one which can, by agreeable standards, be proved. That unifying theory would be this:

In everything, God.

° ° °

This theory of mine (which, in truth, is not really a theory at all, since it can be backed up by the truth of God's word, as well as personal experience) is not animistic in nature, suggesting that God is actually inside everything—as the animist might believe that a supreme being physically resides in every tree and rock and body of water.

But it is to say that for the spiritually minded believer, everything points to God. God is all in all, and if we so choose to seek Him, we will find Him wherever we look.

It isn't that we find ourselves bumping into God at every turn; it's not necessarily like running into an old friend we might unexpectedly meet on the street. Rather, it is like seeing and experiencing everything in our life as if through our own private "God filter." The Spirit, in residence in our body, receives and translates every experience into a form that both glorifies God and illumines His character and will for us.

° ° °

Most people segment and segregate portions of their lives, ignoring the fact that everything points toward, or leads forward or back to, God. Most people would rather isolate the spiritual part of their life—if it exists at all—literally restricting it to Sundays, or otherwise segregating it from their "secular" day-to-day activities.

If they spend forty hours during the week roofing houses, for example, that activity is, for them, separate from Sunday morning worship; like oil and water, cohabitating, but never mixing. That doesn't mean that for those forty hours they are despicable heathen, and on Sunday morning magically become sanctified saints. It is just that they see no obvious connection or relationship between what are to them disparate parts of their lives.

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'To an Unknown God.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things."

Acts 17:22-25

The spiritual person, in contrast, welcomes into his life all that God is willing to reveal of Himself at any time. And what is that revelation? Oehler has said that this is

...the whole nature of God, by which He attests His personal presence in the relation into which He has entered with man, the divine self-manifestation, or the whole of that revealed side of the divine nature, which is turned towards man.

This means then that the Spiritual person is always ready—indeed, eager—to worship his or her God at any time. As God is revealed, He is worshipped: one cannot be illumined by the truth of God without, as a result, worshipping or praising the one just revealed. For what is revealed is not natural, but supernatural.

The revelation of God—whether found inside a majestic cathedral or atop a roof littered with new shingles—should have the effect of bringing us to our knees in awe-struck adoration for the One who created not only us, but everything about us.

° ° °

God is indeed there. He is there as He is here and everywhere, not confined to a tree or stone, but free in the universe, near to everything, next to everyone, and through Jesus Christ immediately accessible to every loving heart. This truth is to the convinced Christian a source of deep comfort in sorrow and of steadfast assurance in all the varied experiences of his life. To him 'the practice of the presence of God' consists not of projecting an imaginary object from within his own mind and then seeking to realize its presence; it is rather to recognize the real presence of the One whom all sound theology declares to be already there, an objective entity, existing apart from any apprehension of Him on the part of His creatures. The resultant experience is not visionary but real.

A. W. Tozer