Perhaps Paul might say these words to today’s Epicureans and Stoics.
“Men and women of Postmodern America, I perceive that in every way you are interested in the spiritual realm. I can tell that in many ways you have a fascination and a longing for something higher than yourselves. For as I passed along and listened to your music and watched your movies and TV shows and when I observe the books you write, and observe with fascination the tattoo’s you imprint on your own skin, and as I listen to your conversations and notice the things you eat and drink, I see hidden clues that tell me you believe in the existence of a being higher than yourself.
I can tell from the scars on your arms that you are looking for answers and desperate for belonging. I see in your keg parties and your town baseball leagues the need you have for belonging and human friendship. I see in your children and even in your relationships that sometimes border on abuse that you value human touch and something within you does not want to be alone.
I have heard your song, “Imagine” that seems to suggest that life would be good if there was no heaven. But I would like you to imagine another reality. It is a reality you long for but don’t know where to find because you are looking in all the wrong places, and what you seek can only be found in heaven. This higher being you seek is not as far away from you as you might think. The God who created all of this doesn’t live in trees and supernovas and vibrating crystals or healing stones. He is a God who created life, and gave all good things we need to survive. The God who created all we see around us is not a God who is made of created matter. He existed before there was anything physical in existence.
This God that so many people wonder about and who seems so hard to understand, he has revealed himself to mankind. He has created us with the capability of understanding that he really does exist. But he doesn’t hide himself or make himself invisible. He has revealed himself so we can see who he really is. He has encountered humanity and we have an existing record of that encounter in the life of a man named Jesus recorded in the Bible. There you will find the story of a man who claims to be God himself who wrapped himself in human flesh and lived with us for 33 years.
All your hopes, all your longings, your pursuit of purpose and meaning in life, all your intuition that tells you there is more to this life than the years we have on earth, all are wrapped up in how you feel and what you believe about this man Jesus. And in case you don’t believe that his story is any more important than the words of other religious leaders like Buddha or Muhammad or Socrates, consider that of all these other religious leader you will find their grave. Not so with Jesus. He was raised from the dead. His bones no longer are on this earth. He was raised by the power of the one true God. Jesus’ resurrection not only confirms that we should listen to the words he says, which are recorded in written form for us all to see, but also confirms that there is life after this death. One day after we die, our lives will be judged by how we responded to and what we believed about Jesus.