Have you ever been confronted with someone who thinks that we should not be seeking God through any particular religion, but that all we have to be is spiritual in our own way. They feel that every religion seeks the same God of the universe, so why be a part of a particular religion? Why label oneself a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, etc.? They would ask, why do people want to put a label on God? Why does the world worship God in a separatist way? Can’t we feel closer to God without being a part of a religion?
First, let us ask ourselves, what is the definition of “religion?” Religion is the some total of Truth and Ordinances whereby our life is ordered to God. Therefore, there are natural and super-natural truths that are ordered toward God. A natural religion or law, is the law that is written on the heart.
So, there are natural truths and super-natural truths. And some of those truths are better to know than other truths. For example: Is it better for you to know the cure for cancer, or to know all the words to a Justin Bebier song? Well, the clear answer would be a cure for cancer. So, what would be the best truth to know? Answer: it would be GOD, because you and I are made to know and love God as the highest Truth. We can know this just through our natural reason. The law written on our hearts.
If all we knew is that God exists, and there was only natural law, then we would be obligated as human beings to worship God and keep the natural law (such as don’t kill your neighbor). You and I do not need the bible or a religion to tell us that it is wrong to kill our neighbor. Why; because we have a dignity given to us by God. He gave us our soul (Genesis 2:7) “God breathed into us.” So, it is because of this natural yearning to know God, that every culture in history has had religion. Seeking the God of the universe.
So then, would it make any sense at all that God, who is all knowing and infinite, would create us to know him, but he would then hide himself from us? No. Through natural law, we can know certain things about God, but we can’t really know who he is on a more personal level unless he reveals himself to us. So, how does Jesus Christ and the Christian faith come into the equation? How do we know that Jesus Christ is the God of the universe?
Well, out of all the religions in time, God chose one religion to reveal himself. When the time had come, he decided to reveal himself in bits and pieces. In fact, if we look to Sacred Scripture, we see this in Hebrews chapter 1: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2).”
God chose to speak through Abraham, then Moses, and so on, until finally when the fulness of time had come, he sent his Son Jesus Christ who is the very Word of God. St. Paul puts it this way when he said in the Book of Colossians: “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth.”
Jesus is the fullness of the revelation of who God is! He is the second person of the Blessed Trinity. In the beginning of John’s Gospel it says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being (John 1:1-2).” John goes on to say, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).”
The term Christian was coined in Antioch, in the Book of Acts, of those who followed Christ. It is through the visiable Church He established that the fullfilment of His truth is revealed. This church came to be known as the Catholic Church as early as the second century. Jesus established a Chruch so that we might know Him. And in order to know, love and serve Him in this life and beyond, we need to have the certainty that we are worshipping the correct God. So, the real God who revealed himself 2000 years ago, continues to reveal himself by the Holy Spirit through the Church.
Until next time, God bless.