At some point in time, you and I just arrived on the earth. And like countless others before us, we can see that we are different from other creatures, for no others have built up civilizations, created art and music, or used their minds for great innovations and achievements. Humanity has always been reaching out…for knowledge, for beauty, for belonging, perceiving that we are made for something more.
“And when you look up to the heavens and see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, do not be led astray and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples everywhere under heaven.” Deuteronomy 4:19
In the earliest recorded history of humanity, it is shown that we have always had some notion of religion, a way in which humanity relates to its Creator. Human beings of every age have looked into the starry heavens and asked “Who made me?” and “Why am I here?”. And in their search for answers, and sometimes in their limited understanding, they came up with various ways of connecting with an entity higher than themselves.
“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:25
Another thing that seems ingrained in us, is the desire for happiness. It is universal among the human race, something we are actually aware of at an early age, and never lose. We all want happiness and continually strive for it throughout our lives. At some point, though, most of us come to realize that the things of this world can only produce a temporary or limited happiness. We realize that we just can never be perfectly happy here, and the happiness that we do enjoy only intensifies our desire for more. Even if we have everything we thought we wanted, and the most wonderful life possible here on earth, we know that one day it will all end. Just knowing that would keep someone from being happy unless….there is something more.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
There is yet another desire of ours that none of us can deny, and that is the desire and capacity for love. It is another intangible thing, something that burns in our hearts, and that we sometimes cannot even adequately express in words. It motivates us to do incredible, selfless things, even what may seem irrational things. We may not all choose to love, but somewhere deep within each of us is the desire to be loved, and if we are honest, not just loved with a human love, but cherished and beloved even beyond our own understanding of what love is…a deep longing for something more.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
If we have within us a desire to know our Creator, and a desire for happiness that we cannot on our own attain, and a desire to love and be loved to the full capacity of our hearts, then there must be a perfect object of those desires. Saint Thomas Aquinas said that the mind has a measureless capacity for knowledge, and the heart a measureless capacity for love. So, he concluded that the mind of man would only rest when it had gained possession of all truth, and the heart would only know perfect happiness when it could possess the source of all Good and Love.
“The Lord hath appeared from afar to me. Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.” Jeremiah 31:3
God created us, and put us here on this earth, and gave us something no other creature has, immortal souls like His, and the soul, being supernatural is of course attracted to the supernatural world~ that world we cannot yet see, that world above the natural things of this earth….where God is… and the Lord draws us to Himself. Saint Augustine called this a “pondus”, a weight that is like a gravitational pull toward God. So that is why we are attracted to happiness, and love, and spiritual things, but we are often misled or just stubborn, and go searching for these things in the wrong way. We may spend our whole lives seeking them out, but in our lack of understanding we end up lost, our counterfeit substitutes for God leaving us empty again and again.
“Come,” my heart says, ‘seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Psalms 26:8
Like David, each of us cries out, though we realize it or not. Even while we are searching for happiness in all the wrong ways, what we are really searching for… is God.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3
Love cannot be measured or calculated. It is not known by the senses, yet each of us knows it exists, so why is it so hard for some to believe that the source of Love, God, may have attributes not measured, calculated, seen with the eyes, or known by our senses either? (Even when God became man many still did not believe!”) Some find it hard to believe that a supernatural thing called love, faith and prayer is how we reach our God who is above the natural things of this world. But it is in fact that supernatural gift of faith and prayer, that leap into the unknown, that God uses as a lifeline to draw us in. It is when we reach out to Him in faith that He reaches back and gathers us in with more longing and love than we ever knew possible. He does this so that we can choose to accept Him and love Him. He cannot force us to because we have free will , and the very nature of Love does not and can not do that.
” For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:2-4
We are attracted to and reach for beauty, for knowledge, and love because God is the source of all of those things. And it only follows that there is only one Perfect Good that will satisfy our deepest desires for love and happiness, because He is the one who put that desire in us! We are made for God! We are meant to be perfectly happy only when we are with Him in heaven, and our souls will find no rest here until we possess Him.
And we, as the only creatures made in the image of God with free will and understanding, can praise Him, worship Him, show obedience to Him, and love Him with our whole hearts, souls, and minds. We alone can be masters of our instincts and drives, and choose above them with the grace of God. We alone can love Him, and make Him happy in this way, and give something more back to Him.
” Scarcely had I passed them,
when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go…” Solomon 3:4