googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Why Doesn't God Just Show Himself?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Doesn't God Just Show Himself?

Critics of Christianity have often asked, Why doesn't God just show Himself and prove He exists? This is often asked by the controversial and irreverent comedian, Bill Maher. The question is flawed on many levels but the critics must think it's clever so they continue to ask it. I thought I'd take a moment and explore it's many failings.

Questions like this have a sort of doubting-Thomas feel to them. Thomas, you will recall, refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus until he saw the risen Savior for himself. He was fortunate because Jesus did appear to Thomas prompting him to exclaim, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). It seems natural to think that if God appeared to anyone then that person would believe. Thomas saw and believed but Jesus said that those who believe without seeing would be even more blessed. I certainly look forward to seeing Jesus but so much evidence exists for His life and resurrection that I don't need to wait until I see Him to believe.

When answering this question, we must first remember that God is under no obligation to appear to us. He has already given us His revelation in the form of the Bible. There is nothing else we need in order to know how to be saved. The Bible itself attests that the Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). If someone wishes to ignore the written word of God and insist that God appear to him personally, then that is his loss (and a very great loss it is).

However, even though God has no obligation to appear to us, He already has! John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” While on earth, Jesus gave us many signs and miracles as evidence of who He was, He told us He was the only way to the Father, He promised eternal life to everyone who believed in Him, and we have the written record of His words and miracles. What more exactly do these people want? Do they expect Jesus to appear every couple of years just to remind everyone that He is real and meant what He said?

Even if Jesus appeared on earth right now, I don't believe that would be enough to convince the skeptic anyway. At His first appearance, many of the people who heard His words and saw His miracles still not believe (John 12:37). Even the Pharisees, as they mocked Jesus on the cross said, “If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matthew 27:42). Yet when Jesus appeared alive again after His death, their first act was not to repent and believe but to cover up His resurrection (Matthew 28:13). God appeared to these 1st century Jews and proved who He was through many miracles culminating in His resurrection. Even so, many witnesses still did not believe in Him. I suspect the same would be true today.

Additionally, we know that His one death on the cross was sufficient to atone for every sin (Romans 6:10, Romans 7:27). Therefore, there will be no more incarnations of the same kind as the last one. Someday, though, there will be a glorious appearance of Jesus. At that time, every knee will bow to Him and every tongue shall confess to God (Romans 14:11). Unfortunately, it will be too late then for the non-believers. How sad.

Finally, what is the significance of Jesus not appearing now? There's a subtle implication that God doesn't appear because He isn't real. That's laughable. He did appear and we have the written record of His appearance; we simply were not alive during the time of His ministry on earth. So what if He doesn't appear now? You might as well ask why neither Augusta Caesar nor George Washington appear. What would be the point? Are Caesar and Washington imaginary? I only know these people existed because of the written evidence we have of them. Am I to believe that these critics do not believe in any person they have not seen personally? Yet incredibly, they claim it makes more sense to believe that Jesus doesn't appear to us because He is imaginary!

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