I recently stumbled across a video on Youtube that piqued my interest. In the video, there was a panel discussion between four known Christians and Christopher Hitchens, a well-known atheist. I can’t remember who all of the Christians were, but among them were William Laine Craig and Lee Strobel, published apologeticists (is that the right word? haha). I must say, poor Mr. Hitchens, was considerably outnumbered, but this didn’t seem to trouble him at all.
I knew Hitchens to be one of the “new atheists,” but hadn’t ever heard him speak. I am pleased to say I found him to be much more calm and rational than I expected. Despite the fact, that I totally disagree with his atheism, it is always pleasing to find that you can have intelligent and generally friendly debate. He had several objections to Christianity, many of which were reasonable objections that Christians can and must answer.
However, it was more his underlying or implied objections that I found particularly intriguing. After watching the video, I chewed on the things Hitchens had said. One of the main reasons he objected to God’s existence was because God was always watching. He said this invaded our right to privacy. This seemed to me to be a very weak and petty objection. Just because God is always watching doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. What I think Hitchens was really saying is that He didn’t like that God was always there and always watching what everyone was doing.
It is in this, that Hitchens gives himself away, as most atheists do. He betrays the real reason that he doesn’t believe in God. The real reason is that he doesn’t like God. He doesn’t like that He’s there and that He’s watching. But why? I was struck by how Hitchens and I could have such different reactions to the fact that God sees everything. For him, this was a terrible thing, terrible enough for him to willfully deny that God was there at all. Are his feelings merited? I think to some extent, they are, though denying that God is real is hardly an appropriate solution.
Indeed, God is omnipresent and omniscient. He sustains the world from day to day and a sparrow does not fall to the earth without His knowledge. There is nothing He does not see, nothing He does not know. This truth will either inspire in us great fear or great hope, fear if we are not in Christ and hope if we are.
I must say Mr. Hitchens, you are partially wise to recoil at God’s “all seeing eye”, but the truth is that you should be much more afraid than you are. God is watching and this is, indeed, a terrible, fearful thing. However, trying to wish Him away will not help. Whether we believe in Him or not, “they eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” -Proverbs 15:3 “His eyes are on the ways of men; He sees their every step. There is no dark place, no deep shadow where evildoers can hide.” -Job 34:21:22 Nevertheless, many of us still try.
The other day, the little boy of the family I babysit came home from kindergarten. Upon getting home from school, he quickly ripped open his backpack, opened his folder, took out a green slip and ran to the trash can to dispose of it, all right in front of me. I was, of course, suspicious and fished the note out of the trash and surely enough, it contained a report from his teacher that he had been misbehaving at school. Obviously, he was trying to hide the evidence so he could escape the displeasure and discipline of his parents. Needless to say though, he needs to work on his sneakiness.
While this was amusing, it is revealing of our human nature. It struck me that we are often much like him, foolish enough to think we can hide our misdeeds from the God who sees all. Or, more foolishly and also, arrogantly, we suppose that He doesn’t see, saying with the wicked of Psalm 73, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” -Psalm 73:11 But the truth is that He does see and He will deliver judgment upon our misdeeds on this earth. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” -Hebrews 4:13 This is a sobering and fearful truth. Whether or not we acknowledge His existence, He is there and He will judge. If we are not in Christ, we will receive the just penalty for our sins: the wrath of God.
However, if we are in Christ, the reality of God seeing and knowing everything is transformed from a dreadful reality, to a precious one. God is ever watching us, but with a gaze of love and not of judgment. I delight in the truth that God sees me. I rejoice that “He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.” -Proverbs 2:8 I hope in the reality that His eyes see all and “range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” -2 chronicles 16:9 I do not fret over the trials and injustice of this world, because I know that “the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them He has set the world. He will guard the feet of His saints.” -1 Samuel 2:9 Because I trust in Him, because I love Him and am called according to His purpose, I know that He will watch over my every step and ensure that all will work for my good.
It is important to note that this is not a truth that should feed our pride, but rather, our humility. The only reason we can delight in God’s omniscience is not because we have done such righteous deeds. This is not a delineation between the wicked and the righteous based on their deeds, but based on their hope in Christ. We see in Psalm 37 that the difference between the wicked and the righteous is that the righteous put their hope in God and take refuge in Him. “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” -Psalm 37:39-40 Were it not for the cross, we should be just as terrified as the wicked because we would still be the wicked, but because of God’s grace to us in Christ, we who put our hope in Him find salvation from our sins and delight in God’s oversight of our lives.
So, if we are in Christ, let us celebrate that God watches over our every step. We know that with His own sovereign hands, He has planted the seed of our faith in the soil of His grace and salvation, given us in the death and resurrection of Christ. He will watch over it with care, tending it with the nourishment of His promises, protecting it from threat and harm that it may grow into completion and receive all that has been hoped for. If we experience trials or injustice while we tarry on this earth, we shall not despair for we know that He sees and His gaze is not a passive one. He is not indifferent to our struggles for as His children, we are called by His name, and He will always bring glory to His name. He watches over us, eager to do us good and to supply all our needs. Let us then, find hope and strength, knowing that He knows our course and will graciously give us all things in order to persevere, to run the race marked out for us until one day, our faith will be our sight and we shall see Him, the God who sees us, face to face.