28 Apr Does God Live?
The Bible really does not take the time to make an argument God’s existence, which is surprising for a book so maniacally concerned with God. Of course, the authors will toss out an occasional line like, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11.6) There is also that moment in Exodus 3 when God names Godself to Moses, “I Am Who I Am… Tell them I Am has sent you.” For the most part though, the Bible trundles along quite contently without taking the time to convince you to buy into the idea of God’s existence.
The idea that the Bible really wants us to buy into is the life of God; that’s the real ticket. Does God live? Is God alive? This is the question that the Bible sets down in front of us over and over again.
In that very same Exodus passage God says to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations…” This is the living God, who identifies Godself by the names of real people who have lived real lives: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This will be God’s name as long as God lives (forever). And then God says, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…a land flowing with milk and honey.” God observes the people in their struggle, in their suffering; this Living God sees. God makes a way for them out of their impossible bondage; this Living God cares. God lives. God sees. God cares.
The New Testament makes the surprising claim that this Living God is the God who becomes human in Jesus of Nazareth. The story of the Bible becomes a story of the Living God taking on a living body, dwelling (read living) among real people. Listen to what Jesus said in Mark 12, “have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” As I am sure you can now tell… my interpretation of Exodus 3 is not very original. The God who speaks through Jesus Christ identifies Godself—on the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures—as the God of the living. Does God live?
Easter celebrates the God who lives, but not just for Godself. Easter celebrates a God who spreads God’s own life to human beings as well.
You see the Cross is a moment in which—for all anyone can tell—God is decidedly dead. Good Friday is a holiday where God’s fundamental identity is contradicted and obscured. The Living God suffers incredible pain. The Cross is the very kind of event that a Living God should never have to endure, shouldn’t be able to endure. How can a Living God die? How can the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Himself be laid in a tomb not far from theirs? Good Friday, the Cross, the death of the Living God in only intelligible if the Living God is not interested in living alone.
God sees us. God cares for us. Just as I AM could see Israel in Egypt, so too the Living God sees you in your own predicaments and sins. Just as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made a way for the Israelites out of bondage, so also the God of the living has prepared a way for our own liberation through the suffering of the Cross. And where does that way end?
It ends with our own resurrection. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is a God who cares if we live or die. This is the Living God who wants to share resurrection life with each of us because He can see. Does God live? Yes. Over and above death, Hell, and the grave—God lives and God wants you to live too.