When I was a kid, adults would sometimes seek to encourage my faith by telling me their own reasons for believing in God. They often told me that without God the universe would make no sense. “Look at a sunset! Listen to birdsong or running water. This world is so beautiful. How could there not be a Creator who made it?”
I never found these appeals compelling. I can see now that my elders were attempting to encourage a sense of awe in me. Yet at the time, I just heard adults attempting to make sense out of an utterly mysterious universe. It sounded more like wish-fulfillment than well-considered logic.
The more I thought about their answer, the deeper I was drawn into a sense of unfathomable mystery. “How could there be such a beautiful universe without a creator to design it?” they asked. But I wondered, Why would the existence of God make the universe any more explicable? If anything, it just added another layer of enigma to an already confusing world. After all, if God made the universe, who made God? If the answer was, “No one; he just exists”, is that any less crazy than saying the universe exists without a creator?
Faith in God isn’t a logical answer to a rational question. The kind of faith that I’ve discovered transcends normal human reason. It goes beyond the pat answers that settle questions as fact or fiction. This faith is a response to a powerful, loving, personal presence who can be neither proven nor explained.
Now I am one of those adults who sees God everywhere. I find him in sunsets and morning runs. He’s right there, staring out at me in all the beauty and tragedy of this world. I finally understand what those adults were trying to tell me: There is a life and power so deep and wide that the universe simply cannot cohere without it.
And yet, I retain my sense of absurdity. I am still a tiny being in the midst of a vast, inexplicable universe. This world is profoundly, fundamentally bizarre. Faith in God doesn’t change that. God is absurd, too.
The faith that I’ve discovered doesn’t make the cosmos any easier to understand. If anything, I’m more baffled than ever. But what my faith has given me is a place to stand despite the uncertainty. I’ve found a relationship to cling to in the midst of the unknowing. Thanks to this faith, I am free to trust the God of the mystery. He is the I AM beyond my comprehension. In him, I can rejoice in life’s beauty, mourn its agony, and live in hope of a yet-unseen cosmic redemption.
And so even in the midst of life’s confusion, there is a seed of hope.