He has set eternity in the human heart.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
There are two kinds of curiosity, according to sociologists who have studied such things. If you’ll excuse some technical terms for a moment, the first is ‘diversive curiosity’. That’s when we’re trying to ‘divert’ or entertain ourselves, and it’s all about what’s new – new sensations, new experiences, new sights and sounds. What’s trending right now? What’s going to happen next? What does that new crisp flavour taste like?
The second kind of curiosity is ‘epistemic curiosity’, which is all about the desire to know and to understand. Those seven years olds that can name all the dinosaurs? That’s epistemic curiosity. Or maybe it’s your dad, who for some reason seems to be able to watch endless documentaries about the moon landings and never get tired of the subject. Epistemic curiosity is the hunger to know, to learn, to seek out more information.
I suspect that the writer of Ecclesiastes is describing something a bit like epistemic curiosity. They didn’t have those terms at the time, so he’s said it in poetry instead, which is probably better. There’s something in us that makes us curious about God, and that sets us off on a search for answers.
We aren’t curious about things we know nothing about – how can you be curious about something if you don’t realise it exists? It’s when we discover a little bit, and we realise how much we don’t know, that’s when curiosity really kicks in. It seems to be like that with God. There’s just enough God in the world around us to get us wondering. There’s God in nature, in people, in the workings of the universe. And once we start thinking about it, we start asking questions. We want to understand. For some, that becomes a lifelong search to know God more, even if we can only ever understand a tiny fraction of all there is to know.
What about you? Is eternity humming quietly in your heart?
Where will your curiosity about God take you?