Agnostics, atheists and religious people have all been baffled! Philosophers have long inquired about, “where is God?” So, theologians had to come up with some kind of excuses for God’s absence.
Is that what we are supposed to do, make excuses for God, why doesn’t God show Himself?
This is what one agnostics said about God: “Your God claims to be the all-powerful Creator of the entire universe. But man doubts His very existence. And supposedly, man is your God’s greatest creation, that doesn’t make sense.
“If your god really does exist, why doesn’t He show Himself? If He openly made Himself known to all mankind, nobody could question whether or not He exists. Nations would be at peace, our problems would be solved, man would be happy, but your God has conveniently chosen to hide. Tell me why!
“You admit that your hypothetical God could appear to the whole world if He wanted to. He could clean up this mess if He wanted to, so I guess He just doesn’t care. Maybe He likes the world the way it is.”
Could you have answered this agnostic’s arguments?
God tells us not to debate but we should be able to convict, not necessary convince the gainsayers.
The Apostle Peter said “to be ready with an answer to any who ask a reason for the hope that is within us” (I Peter 3:15).
In this article, we will answer this agnostic’s question: Why doesn’t God show Himself?
So let’s start with what we can sense, the physical universe, there we find blunt proof that only a Supreme Creator could have fashioned it all together into such a wonderful unified whole.
From the forces which bind atomic nuclei to the principles which run giant galaxies from the fullness of earth to the emptiness of space. From the existence of law to the law of existence, from the beauty of creation to a mind which can comprehend it. All testify to the power of our God.
Believe it or not the ancient philosophers knew that God existed – how did they know, by asking the right questions. They examined their world, and found order and harmony, they wondered about life, and found system and design. And when they did, God began to be revealed to them.
Order, harmony, system and design demands a Creator God. And ancient philosophers were forced to realize this plain fact.
Romans 1:19 (Phillip’s translation) says this: “It is not that they (the philosophers) do not know the truth about God, indeed He has made it quite plain to them.”
So, what happened? They didn’t expect and certainly didn’t like this kind of revelation. The absolute existence of a Supreme Being just didn’t go over too well.
Why? Because they wanted to be their own god and amass their own worshipful following. So what did they do?
Verse 18: “They held back God’s truth in unrighteousness. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
Today’s modern philosophers, scientists, politicians, educators and businessmen are like a bunch of roosters fighting for supremacy of the known world. And have completely ignored reality.
Indeed, God has revealed Himself through His physical creation. You and I can see it, but the world can’t.
Romans 1:20 (Phillips’ translation) “God is plainly discernible through things which he has made and which are commonly seen and known thus leaving these men without an ounce of excuse.”
Historically, human beings are narrow-minded, we look at our world, witnessing close-ups of two men walking on the moon and a man-made spacecraft on Mars. Then we ponder our wretched God-forsaken world tottering on the brink of global suicide – then we ask ourselves, where is God?
So, let’s take a look at the full scope of 6,000 years of human history, and multiple dozens of generations strung end to end. Let’s understand the true history of the relationship between man and his God.
Adam was the first man (no matter what the world says) and God dealt very intimately with Adam, forming him, moving him, bringing animals to him, teaching him, giving him a wife. So Adam knew God as you and I know our parents. God literally walked in the Garden of Eden.
But Adam, rather than following his Creator’s orders, obeyed his own human reasoning. He sinned. What happened when Adam and Eve sinned? “Adam and Eve hid themselves from God” (Gen. 3:8).
And that is a crucial point. Man hid from God – God didn’t hide from man. Man was the first to play “high-and-go-seek.” Man was the first to run and hide. Man to this very day, continues to run and hide from God.
Whenever God has revealed Himself to help men or nations, most men and nations have told God: “Keep your nose out of our business.” Witness what is happening today with the ten commandments, prayer, and any mention of Jesus Christ in our schools and universities.
Jesus Christ tells us, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem thou that killed the prophets and stoned them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not (Matt. 23:37)?
From Adam down through all history even to this present day and on into the future, man has and will resist God’s every revelation of Himself.
God created Adam as His test case or prototype for all mankind. The Hebrew word for man is Adam.
Just how did God make Adam His prototype? By putting the same kind of human brain, spirit, and nature in Adam as He would subsequently put in all other human beings. God knew that Adam would react to a given situation in the same general manner as every other human being in generations to come.
As Adam went – so all mankind would go.
So, now let’s look down the corridors of time and generations of societies and observe man’s consistent repudiation of God.
The pre-Flood world was teemed with wickedness and overflowed with violence. Genesis 6:5 is unique in its portrayal of the depravity of man, yet the world knew God! It was only ten generations from Adam to Noah and human beings had a nine-generation life span.
The Apostle Peter tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5). For 120 years Noah proclaimed God’s warning witness. They heard Noah and the world knew God, the world despised Noah and rejected God.
The entire human race at that time “had knowingly corrupted his way upon the earth (Gen. 6:12).
A little more than 120 years later, man once more renounced God’s revelation and leadership. They didn’t want to be scattered around the world as God directed. “And they said, go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven: and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4).
These people built a huge tower as a rallying point to thwart God. They had firsthand accounts of the monstrous pre-Flood, and all could see the still fresh evidence of God’s wrath. And all knew God’s servant Noah, and all rejected him.
God’s revelation of Himself to Israel (his chosen people) was met many times with rebuff and rebellion. Israel cursed Moses for trying to free them (Ex. 5:21). They told Moses “leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians” (Ex. 14:12).
Israel didn’t want to leave Egypt and serve God – they loved the idols and abominations of Egypt too much. God had to pry Israel loose by pouring out His devastating plagues.
Even after witnessing God’s plagues they still wanted to return to Egypt (Ex. 14:10-12). With all the victories God had given Israel they still murmured, preferring to have died in Egypt with bellies full of meat and bread than to have obeyed God (Ex. 16:3).
After all they had seen with their own eyes, they asked “Is the Lord among us, or not” (Ex. 17:7). In other words why is God hiding?
God answered that question at Mount Sinai: “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking”.
Here was God coming out of hiding, here was God finally revealing Himself. But what happened? “And when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will learn, but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (v. 19).
Later, when Moses went to receive the Ten Commandments and was gone too long what did the people do? They reactivated the gods of Egypt to supervise their orgy (Ex. 32:1-6).
After seeing and hearing the voice of God and all He had done for them this is what they said: “Let us make a captain and let us return to Egypt” (Num. 14:4).
Why does God hide Himself? you might say that ancient Israel said it all.
As we read the story of ancient Israel and Judah, at every step in their history they hid from God and rejected God. Just like we are doing today.
When Jesus Christ began His ministry, it was God’s time to completely reveal Himself. He had become a human being.
“God who at sundry times and in different manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).
Jesus Christ was the very God of the Old Testament, the Ever living One called YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He was the One who had created the universe, walked with Adam, dined with Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, spoken with Moses and watched over Israel.
But this was different, He now became a human being subject to death. Why did He do this? To help His beloved creation, to pave the way for His brothers to become joint-heirs with Him in God’s Family.
God held back nothing, here was His full revelation to man. But Christ was despised and rejected of men. He was beaten so badly that His face emerged more disfigured and His body more mutilated than any man in all history. They killed God. This is what happened when God came out of hiding!
The God of Israel YHVH did much more than manifest Himself when He became Jesus Christ, He revealed God the Father (Ps. 110:1).
Jesus Christ came to reveal that we are literally to become God ourselves.
God was and is now working through the New Testament church. But the religious leaders, true to form, cared more for letters and learning than for the revelation of God.
God is revealed in the Bible, The Bible is the Word of God, and so is Christ. But what has man done with it?
He has interpreted it – in a myriad of councils, conclaves, conference and consistories. They have done this for their own convenience. The result – No more laws, Sabbaths, holy days, tithing, prophecy, correction, even morality is out of date.
What is the real purpose of these Bible interpretations? To muzzle the Bible and hide it’s God.
If Jesus Christ began His physical ministry today, He would be accused of being “the greatest threat to God and Christianity and patriotism! He would be charged with treason and sedition by every country and His trial and execution would be celebrated around the world.
Of all God’s revelation to man, the clearest and most dramatic is the remarkable change in our own mind brought about by God’s Holy Spirit, a steady perfection of our character.
When we want to see God revealing Himself, just look at God’s power in our own life.