If God exists, why doesn’t He plainly make Himself known?
Many people would like to know the answer to this question. Many more want proof of a material kind when it comes to God. They want to see Him, touch Him, know for a fact that He exists. I think that’s entirely understandable, especially when you consider the ramifications of handing your life over to someone or something that isn’t actually visible. Not to mention the consequences of not doing so, should He turn out to be exactly who He has claimed to be all along.
But I would say, hasn’t He already made Himself known? The secular historical writings, archaeological discoveries, and nature itself offer many factual and reliable evidences of God’s existence. And not the existence of just any god, but the God of the Bible.
“Wait a minute”, you might say, “I don’t believe in creation and I definitely don’t put any stock in the validity of the Bible.” I get it, really. But, please hear me out.
Can man prove the existence of God beyond a shadow of a doubt?
The answer to this question is a resounding, NO. And whether most know it or not, this is true of every non-tangible thing in our universe, even within our own environment. And yes, even some tangible things. The knowledge we have of these things to this point is based not on actual proof, but on the observable effects that evidence their existence.
Take Dark Matter, for instance. We know it exists; not because we can see it, but because we can observe its effects in the motion of the planets. Not only that, the evidence is so overwhelming that Science actually declares it to be fact, though it cannot definitively explain it or prove its existence. How about gravity? We experience its effects and therefore we know it exists, though we cannot see, touch, or feel it. This can also be said of wind. What is wind? It’s completely invisible, intangible, shapeless, odorless, and colorless. But we can measure its effects and this becomes evidence of its existence.
Let’s go a step further. We know that we (our bodies) consist of physical and chemical attributes; but, how do we explain things like love, hate, jealousy, regret, grief, happiness, sadness, moral conscience, intelligence, rationality, etc? Dare we claim these are the result of chemical reactions in the brain that cause us to feel and think apart from conscious will and thought? And what about that? Do we have a conscious will? Or are we just victims of whatever happens to be going on inside of our physical bodies at any given time?
Arguably the presence of such things as emotion, rational thought, and a conscious will are observable evidences that we humans exist on a plane transcendent to that which is tangible and measurable; even that we have an element –a soul if you will– which exists independently, yet in tandem with our body. Based on overwhelming evidence, both secular and religious alike, I don’t think it far-fetched to conclude even that we are a soul, first and foremost. One that is temporarily housed within a physical body, and which lives on after the body expires.
These are just some examples of things we reason through and/or accept to be true, based on evidential and observable effects rather than absolute proof. There are many, many others. Things like Antimatter, Expansion of the Universe, and the Speed of Light to name a few. In fact, absolute proof of anything is a rare commodity in our world. Dare I say, non-existent? We can only know for certain what we observe. And even then, in many cases, observable behavior can vary based on circumstances at the time of observation.
Forbes.com, a respected and well-known global media company, published an article in 2017 that addresses this issue head on:
You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravity. You’ve also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks, planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.Excerpt from: Scientific Proof is A Myth
Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.
by Ethan Siegal (Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator and professor)
Jesus Himself acknowledged this enigma in the following passages:
John 10:24-25 – “The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell is plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.’
John 5:36 – “..for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”
Absolute proof, in the strictest sense, is a misnomer. In most cases, observable evidence is all we have to go on. But observable evidence has the potential to present a credible and compelling case that is in itself a proof of sorts. Jesus knew this, and when challenged by the Jewish leaders of His time to tell them plainly if He was indeed the Christ, He didn’t ignore their question. He offered the irrefutable evidence of Who He was based on the miracles and works He was performing.
Update from comment section:
Comment: “In other words, “proof” doesn’t mean what the word sounds like.“
My reply: “Proof still means proof. And some things can be proven. I can prove to you that I have tickets to the theatre for instance, because I can show you the tickets. But when it comes to intangible things “proof” doesn’t apply. The most we can do is prove the effects of that thing, and that becomes credible evidence for its existence.”
Throughout history God has deliberately placed evidence of His existence everywhere. He has not, and does not even now expect us to be driven by blind faith when it comes to spiritual matters. If that were so, we would be perfectly justified in believing anything of our choosing, and this is clearly not what the Bible teaches. I would encourage you to take an impartial and in-depth look at this evidence through the avenues in which God has chosen to reveal Himself and to validate the biblical text –some of which include secular historical writings, archaeological discoveries, and nature itself– as noted above. I think you’ll be astonished at what you’ll find.
- “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation”