To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. – Alan Watts
When I was a Christian, I never really pondered on this question because it’s one of those concepts that we often take for granted. In fact, scriptures like John 3:16 are thrown around so often that it has almost diluted the importance of the message. But, when I was an atheist, it was a question that I considered quite serious that needed to be answered.
If God “feels concern or interest” or “looks after and provides for the needs of” the world, then there appears to be a disconnect. Given the state of affairs of our planet, the world appears to be an overall miserable place. But, is it God creating the misery, or is it us?
So, here we are, living on a plant that can give and take life freely, and we share it with all of these other humans that can give and take life freely. Furthermore, we co-exist with other living organisms that oftentimes promote and/or impede our existence. And to top it all off, the degree to which humanity suffers is extremely disproportionate.
So then, why did God create us? Are we being tested? Were we created to be happy? Or, were we created to simply exist? Or maybe we are meant to merely suffer? Whatever the case may be, here we are, living, and trying to figure out what our purpose is in life.
In Genesis 1:27 it says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” But what image is this? Do we look like Him? And, does the fact that we are created in His image reveal his intentions for creating us in the first place?
All of the aforementioned questions have been debated, examined, and even answered by many theologians and scholars for centuries. But, the simple answer to all of them is: we don’t know.
While this may seem like an anticlimactic statement, or perhaps to an atheist it is a “cop-out,” the answer to these questions are not really that important to me anymore. And here is why . . .
Let’s say God comes down and gives humanity the answer to all of these questions. Let’s say He solves all of life’s mysteries about who we are, why we are here, why there is so much inequality in the world, why we were created, etc, etc, etc . . .
If God were to give you the answers to all of those questions, would you all of a sudden follow Him? Would you keep all of His commandments and do absolutely everything he tells you to do? Would you worship Him as the one true God and dedicate your life to Him? Maybe yes . . . maybe no. Only you can answer that question.
But, I would venture to say, most of us wouldn’t.
The problem we have as human beings is we are in a constant struggle with ourselves. In Matthew 26:41, Jesus taught his disciples that, “. . . the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I find it interesting that Jesus did not say anything about the devil, or the temptations of sin, he simply said our flesh is weak.
We cannot trust our bodies, our mind, or even our eyes to confirm what we believe, or even what we want to believe. Our perceptions are always going to interfere with what is real. There have been those who have seen the miracles of Jesus and later denied Him, one even betrayed Him completely.
One of the stories in the Bible that I have often pondered is the story of Thomas. When Jesus returned as a resurrected being, he appeared to Mary Magdalene, as well as to some of His disciples. But, Thomas, an apostle, would not believe that Jesus had returned until he could, “. . . see in His hands the print of the nails, and put [his] finger into the print of the nails, and put [his] hand into His side . . .” (John 20:25 NKJV).
When Thomas finally was able to physically experience for himself that Jesus had indeed returned after death, he finally declared, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28 NKJV)!
But Jesus took this opportunity to teach us something of great value. He said to Thomas, “. . . because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Many people have interpreted this scripture as Jesus basically saying, those who don’t need physical evidence are better than those who do; but what He is really teaching is, those who believe through faith and the Spirit are better off than those who rely on physical evidence alone.
So, to return to the original question: Does God care about us?
Yes, He does.
What is my physical evidence?
I have none.
So, then, how do I know?
Because I trust in God, I believe in God, and He has blessed me with a measure of faith that strengthens my understanding of spiritual things, despite what my worldly interpretations tell me.