God's Perspective On Our Relationship
For a very long time, I have wondered about questions like "What is the point of this life?" and "Why doesn't God just show Himself to us?" I don't think I am alone in this.
I had a thought awhile back that changed my perspective on this question. What if, instead of looking at things from our (human) perspective, we looked at it from God's perspective?
So, instead of asking a question like "What is the point of this life?" we ask from God's perspective "What do I want the humans to get out of their lives?" And, instead of asking a question like "Why doesn't God just show Himself to us?" we ask from God's perspective "How can I show the humans I love them and convince them to love me?"
Immediately, we find a different set of problems.
Let's assume that the Christian God exists, He really does love us, and He wants us to love Him back (providing evidence for Christianity is a whole other topic). How might He accomplish such a thing?
To convince someone to love you is not simply a matter of presenting yourself in front of them with open arms saying "I love you! Love me back!" That's just creepy. Creating mutual love between two people is like developing a relationship - because it is developing a relationship. It is something that takes time and the mutual interest of both parties.
Furthermore, if we showed up before God right now and saw Him face to face for who He really is (which is kind of scary considering that He is the infinite being who created the universe and us, too), we would be forever changed by that experience.
It would never be possible to go back to the way we were before, nor would it be possible (I think) to develop a real heartfelt love. We would be in awe of such a being and would be forever incapable of anything other than admiration.
Unfortunately, we would still be missing something.
At the point we meet God, it will forever become impossible to change our desire to know Him more. It's like a kid waiting for Christmas. When children understand the concept of Christmas morning, (presents, food, etc.), they can't help get excited. And if they have a few good Christmas mornings, that just makes them even more excited about the next one (especially when Christmas decorations come out in August).
But, what if you surprised your child with Christmas in September? Ha! Here it is, early! Merry Christmas! It would be cool, but once he or she found out there would be no Christmas morning in December, the ability to get excited would be gone. It would no longer be possible.
The analogy is not quite the same as what we are talking about, but it communicates a similar idea. Once you see God, you will never be able to go back. All the anticipation will be gone, but more importantly, I'm not sure that it will be possible to ever love God any more. We will be forever stuck at whatever level we are at.
There can be no creation of desire when we already have the thing.
If God really does want humans to desire Him, He cannot simply show Himself to us all at once, right now. Desire can only be increased by not showing Himself to us - at least not fully.
That means that if we are thinking from God's perspective, our problem will be "How can I show myself to humans enough so that they know who I am and that I care for them, but not so much that they lose the ability to desire to know me more?"
For God to help humans to love Him, He has to show us enough to know that He is there if we care to look but not so much that we are forced to believe in Him and, thus, cannot love Him.