I wonder if to know God is to like God, is to believe in God, is to rest in God. To be known BY God is to be exposed to God’s character – to God’s perfect and powerful love and to His/Her holy, pure love. There is nowhere to hide, equally there is no NEED to hide. It is a fearful thing if a person does not know God’s acceptance, does not know that we are made whole (perfect, holy) in Christ, that we are safe in God’s company, to know and be known.
Many atheists I listen to seem to have two major reasons why they cannot believe in a Divine Being. The first is to do with suffering. They cannot understand how a God who is heralded as all-powerful and all-loving can remain inactive in situations of extreme human suffering. How can a Deity who is supposedly compassionate and mighty turn a blind eye to a child being traumatised by abuse or a life-threatening disease?
The second issue that atheists seem to regard as evidence that there is no God is to do with the concept of hell. I have often heard them say that the belief in the ‘God of Love’ is totally incompatible with the ‘God who would send a person to hell’ idea.
Both of these theological issues are problematic. Some see God as loveless and therefore undeserving of their attention. This is reason enough for them to decide that they do not believe in, like or want to know God. They do not and will not believe in the God-of-lovelessness. And nor shall I.
I believe ‘God is love’ and I believe God exists. The problem of suffering and the concept of hell continue to perplex me, however I choose to believe. I want to know the Divine and I want to be known. I realise I cannot know fully, nevertheless it is still my chosen goal and desire.
I think that to know God, is to like God, is to believe in God, is to trust God, is to enjoy God, is to live fully alive, is to be the beloved.