The subject in my Sunday School class today was: “Is God relevant for the culture?”
This topic spurred a lot of discussions as the teacher covered the doctrinal nature of God, continually poked and prodded us with challenging questions and encouraged us to consider how the culture views God.
But one comment from a fellow student stood out to me among the others. She noted that when people have a question today, they do not seek guidance, wisdom, or knowledge from God or His Word. Instead, they Google it.
Sadly, I had to agree with her.
Gotta tickle in your throat?
Want to know when the movie starts?
Want to know the meaning of life?
Google it? Yes, Google it!
You may not get very far, but hey “about 1,080,000,000” results pop up, including everything from Wikipedia to varying religious beliefs to the number 42, so you should at least be busy for a while.
When you think about it, Google has become the culture’s main source for information on almost everything, and unlike the common perception of God, it (allegedly) does not impose a preconceived value system on the user. Rather, it allows the user to gather the information on his own, decide what is relevant or irrelevant to his life/life-choices, and then use this information in the best way the user sees fit. In short, it promotes and values a person’s autonomy to discern what is best for their life.
God, on the other hand, does not offer us humans freedom through autonomy. He offers us freedom through truth. This has been the arrangement ever since Adam and Eve’s original attempt to gain freedom from God through the exercise of their autonomy when God, in His wisdom and love, prevented them from eating of the tree of life (which would have condemned them to a permanent, sinful state) and used the power of His Word (the same power that spoke creation into existence) to proclaim the truth that Christ would one day provide man with freedom from the evil one (Gen. 3:15). This principle of “freedom through truth” was continually emphasized throughout scripture as the Torah provided man the principles he needed to maintain a holy life, free from sin. It is no surprise, then, that when Christ came to reveal God to us in the flesh, this powerful and effective truth took center stage as He reminded everyone, “I am…the truth” (Jn. 14:6) and “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8:32)
But regardless of whether one prefers to go to God or to Google for the answer to one’s most existential questions, one fact remains patently clear: man’s desperate need for answers recognizes the need for a transcendent authority to provide guidance, wisdom, and knowledge to his life. There seems to be an innate understanding and a silent agreement amongst us all that we cannot do life on our own. To figure out how to proceed well, we must submit and order our lives around something bigger and better than ourselves. Some will submit to the wisdom of man on the internet. Others will submit to the holiness of God. Either way, each one is seeking freedom from what is broken within him.
The question, of course, is who will you allow to direct the course of your life? Google or God?