Searching For God

This is from R.C. Sproul’s “What is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics”,

We frequently hear evangelical Christians say that their non-Christian friends are “seeking God” or “searching for God.” Why do we say this when Scripture so clearly teaches that no unregenerate person seeks after God?

Thomas Aquinas observed that people are seeking happiness, peace, relief from guilt, personal fulfillment, and other such benefits.

We understand that these benefits can be found ultimately in God alone. We draw the inference that, because people are seeking what God alone can supply, they must be seeking God Himself.

This is our error.

In our fallen condition we desire the benefits that only God can give us but we do not want him. We want the gifts without the Giver, the benefits without the Benefactor.

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9 Responses to Searching For God

  1. Job says:

    Hey, funny you should mention that. I am posting the video series from “What Is Reformed Theology.” Here are the first three posts that contain the first six videos:

    http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/introduction-to-reformed-christianity-roman-catholic-evangelical-and-reformed/
    http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/reformed-christianity-faith-alone/
    http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/reformed-christianity-scripture-alone-and-the-covenant/

    I am going to be putting up the rest plus another series: God Chose You, over the next few days.

    Incidentally, I got a question to ask you. How do you put up those RSS feeds? I have been trying to but have been unable to figure it out.

  2. Guna says:

    Just a question for discussion.

    Rom 3:10 says there is none that seek God.

    But aren’t there many in the gospels, who sought after Jesus? The blind man at Jericho couldn’t stop calling out His name, the woman with the issue of blood had faith in the touching of His robe, Jairus seeked Jesus for his child’s healing, Nicodemus seeked Jesus in the dark hours…

  3. Laz says:

    That’s a good question Guna.

    I’m not sure the people you listed believed Jesus to be God.

  4. Job says:

    Laz:

    Nay, that is a predestination scripture. It means that because of the fall, man is so totally depraved that he cannot seek God or desire to be saved truly of his own free will. Man will only seek and find God if God calls him.

  5. Job says:

    Laz: Now that I look at it again, my interpretation may be incorrect.

  6. Laz says:

    Job,
    Rom 3:10 is referring to our depravity

  7. Guna says:

    [quote]man is so totally depraved that he cannot seek God or desire to be saved truly of his own free will[/quote]

    there is none that seek God (on his own will). True.

    But taking the verse literally, and in context of the entire scripture it quotes, i don’t think it tells us that we are ‘unable’ to seek God, it says, exactly what it says, that we don’t seek God. Don’t you think its a bit stretched to say that because someone chooses to do something, it means he’s unable to do the contrary? If I like to commit the sin of lying, does it mean i’m unable to tell the truth?
    More food for thought…

    [quote]I’m not sure the people you listed believed Jesus to be God[/quote]

    What did they believe Him to be? They were indeed looking to Him to do things that only God could do (eg, restore sight, making the lame walk, healing incurable sickness). Granted they may not have believed in HIM to be God, but they sure believed He had divine powers. They were seeking divine intervention in their lives, weren’t they?

  8. Laz says:

    Guna,
    The doctrine of total depravity states that,

    Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.

    I know it’s a doctrine and not Scripture itself but it is derived from Scripture,

    For example,
    Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23)
    Man’s heart is sick (Jer. 17:9).
    Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20).
    He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12).
    He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
    He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15).
    He is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).

    Taking these into consideration, no, I don’t think it’s a stretch (Quote and list taken from here)

    I’ve heard it said that we are not sinners because we sin but we sin because we are sinners.

    Believing that a human being is God and believing Him to be empowered by God are 2 different things.

  9. Guna says:

    Laz,
    I’m in agreement with the verses, totally. They explain without doubt the effect sin has had on us. In fact, reading Romans 1, gives the idea that we are actually worse than we should be.

    I just have a problem with the deduction drawn from these verses.

    The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”

    Which verse says he’s incapable of desiring the divine? I guess the closest would be 1Cor2:14. The context is the hidden wisdom of God, which no man can understand on his own.

    God spoke through Jeremiah where “you will seek me and you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart”.

    Believing that a human being is God and believing Him to be empowered by God are 2 different things

    Absolutely right. Actually the point of the examples i gave was not about them believing Jesus to be God, it was the fact that they were seeking the Divine intervention. In some cases, Jesus ‘marvelled’ at their faith. If their faith was ‘predestined’ or ‘initiated by God’, Jesus would have no reason to marvel. If I were to strictly follow the ‘total inability’ doctrine, these who came seeking, would not come unless God had predestinated it, however, we are not sure that these who came were all saved, and that would cast doubt on God’s predestination.

    In a nutshell, all I’m saying is that I agree with the ‘Total Depravity’ doctrine, only as far as how it explains the effect sin has had on mankind. To conclude that man is ‘unable’ to desire God is reading into the scripture.

    In my natural state, I would not have seeked after God. since the world did not seek Him, He decided to send His Son to make known to the world their actual state and arouse that desire for Him.

    I just realised that I’m not very good at explaining myself, so I’m expecting my words backfire on me here. haha!

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