The desire to draw close to God is as innate as our need for food or water. In the same way that it is unnatural for the man to be “alone” (Genesis 2:18) in relation to other people, it is also a bad thing for him to be alone in a spiritual sense. C.S. Lewis writes, “Since we do in reality need one another, then the failure of this need to appear as Need-love in consciousness is a bad spiritual symptom; just as a lack of appetite is a bad medical symptom because men do really need food” (The Four Loves, Lewis, 13).
Throughout time, in fact, man has been seeking closeness with the divine, for better or for worse. Adam and Eve, sought closeness with God by eating of the fruit of tree of knowledge. In this grotesque way, they believed that knowledge would make them similar, and thus closer, to their creator. The men of Genesis 11 twisted this desire into something unholy when they built the great tower – thinking they could literally build a tower reaching into the heavens. The Pharisees believed their intense patriotism and religiosity could bring them close to God. Even Jesus Himself stated that many unworthy people were “forcing their way” into the kingdom of God (Luke 16:16).
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Notice in this text that our relationship is supposed to be one of intimate friends. Christ extends Himself to us and desires to be in our lives, sharing our experiences. Not only that, but the relationship is one of exchange – “I will dine with him, and he with Me.” God through Christ wants togetherness with His creation.
“That They Should Seek God”
Even the ignorant desire something bigger than themselves. In Acts 17, the Athenian philosophers seemed “deeply religious in all respects” to the apostle Paul. They had even erected a symbol in honor of the “unknown god”, a deity they may have been unaware of. Without law, without teaching, these people sought after something divine, unaware of how close they actually were. This innate desire stems from man’s myriad similarities to God.
“And He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring’” (Acts 17:26-28). Paul goes on to say that the divine spark is not found in artwork, idols, or the works of human hands, but in our hearts and minds – in the way we respond to the Gospel with obedience and repentance.