An Offer You Can Refuse

The Godfather could be my favorite movie of all time.  Everyone is probably familiar with the famous line from Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) when explains to his Godson, Johnny Fontaine, how he is going to get a powerful studio head, Woltz, to give Johnny the part in a movie that he does not want to give him.  “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”   Corleone made the choice for Woltz an unpleasant one but an easy one - “do what I say or you die.”  With God, we also get an offer, but the difference is that it is an offer we can refuse because he loves us enough to give us the gift and responsibility of “free will.”

I think the two most important questions in life are, “Do I actually believe in God?” and, “If I do believe, what will does that mean to my life?”  I talked about absolute truth vs. relativism in my first blog because it is important to first acknowledge that objective truth exists to even ask that question if God actually exists or not. The answer to that question for each of us should have the most profound impact on knowing who we are, why we are here, and what our life is all about.  While there is a growing number of people that hold that God does not exist or that there is no way for us to know, through reason, witness, and even the help of science, we can know that God does indeed exist.  I heard someone ask a question that could be applied to a number things, “If it were true, would you want to know?”  At times, you have to be brutally honest to answer that question.  My sense though is that there may also be a growing number of people that don’t want to know or don’t want to believe in a distant, cruel, or harsh God.  To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t want to believe in that kind of god either.

So no one can prove that God does not exist and we can show that God does exist through logic, reason and supporting evidence.  That covers the atheists and the believers but what about that growing number of people that think we cannot know or don’t want to believe in the God they have heard about?  If God does indeed exist, would it make any sense that he would not allow us anyway to know that he exists and what he wants for us?  I don’t think so.  So before we show that we can know that he exists (later blog), it might be more important to talk about what kind of God he is.  Many try to image God through our limited human experience (could be applying traits of a difficult or abusive father to God?)  Many try to “create” a God in their own image to fit what they want to believe, but to know God and ultimately to know our own selves, I think we need to instead look for God in what he reveals to us about himself.

How has God revealed himself to us?  Nothing comes from Nothing.  We know that there was a beginning of the universe before which nothing existed, no material, no time, no space.  From nothing, everything was created in a loving act of God - beauty, wonder, joy, love and us.  In the Word, God has revealed his covenants, his plans and desires for us to share in his life.  Despite breaking those covenants time and time again, he is always there to renew that relationship and his desire for us to be happy.  Most profoundly, God is revealed in Jesus Christ.  Jesus reveals God to us as a community of love in the Trinity.  He reveals time and time again how much God loves us with a love that never fails, never ends and never dies.  Jesus shows in the parable of the Prodigal Son, his willingness to give his life for us, and in his resurrection the endless mercy and love God has for us, and his desire for us to turn to him.

The most important thing to know is that God is very much a personal God who has a loving plan for each of us that is intended to give meaning, purpose and joy to our lives.  We often follow our own will and our own plans, thinking they are better than his.  We often end up drifting, stressed, anxious depressed or lost as we try to create a version our own selves and follow our own plans instead of seeing our true selves in the person God created and created for a purpose.  His plans and desires are so much greater than anything we could come up with as we try to live a life disconnected from who we truly are – sons and daughters of God meant to share in his happiness and joy.  Because God wants a real relationship with us instead of treating us as puppets on a strings, he gives us freedom and free will- and he makes us the greatest offer of love.  Because he respects and loves us, he does not force his love on us, so it is an offer we actually can refuse.  Personally, I am not seeing the upside in making that choice.