People all over the world appear to have a need, a need that appears to transcend their understanding in human terms. This need is buried in the most intimate and fundamental part of our being. It is a need for something outside, something greater, a higher power, a God. Of course, we can all choose to quiet that part of our nature and rebel against it by denying its very gnawing existence. One scientific research1 after another confirms this to be the case. But still, we can claim that nothing is really missing from our lives, that there is really no validity to the existence of the soul. Yet, what are we negating? Can we claim that we tangibly know that there is no such immaterial reality as the soul? And by doing so, can we further claim that our lives are already complete if we do not conceive of that which may be lacking from it as a reality? If we reject the soul as a real thing we do not allow ourselves the ability to know how its consideration may impact our lives.
The truth is that although it may seem improper to tell others how to live their lives if we see our lives to be more fruitful than those around us who we love, we should at least impel our loved ones to consider what brings us our fulfillment. As it is many of the most brilliant people who’ve come before us have implored us to do the same. Consider the words of the brilliant philosopher, Blaise Pascal,
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”2
Now, having said this, we can not alternately live merely with our soul. The soul needs the heart and the mind. God, in all His wisdom, did not command us to live merely soulish lives devoid of reason or love, no. Consider Jesus’ answer to the question of what man must do to inherit eternal life, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, emphasis added).
The human need for the transcendent is undeniable and life will never be complete without its consideration, despite how fervently we may hold that we are complete without it. We may in vain try to fill that void with meaningless things, but failing to fill the void we will continue the pursuit for superficial replacements.
Isaiah, the inspired prophet of God, stated, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (Isaiah 64:4), and as the apostle, Paul states, “but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God…The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:10-14). God has revealed Himself to us through the Spirit. Though the mind may comprehend of God, it cannot know God in an intimate sense, and the gnawing of that missing piece of the puzzle to the completion of our existence is that ever present wooing of God that we may come to know Him deeply.
1 Greene, Richard Allen,. “Religious belief is human nature, huge new study claims” CNN Belief Blog, May 12, 2011, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/12/religious-belief-is-human-nature-huge-new-study-claims(accessed May 13, 2010).2 Pascal, Blaise, Pensées, #425.
Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and a current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.