Does God give evidence that we might believe in Him? While in Taiwan and China we ask questions of religion such as, “what do you think of the after life”, or “what do you suppose the relationship between God and human beings is like?”. Young people have commonly given an answer like this: “I must see some sort of evidence before I could believe in God”. The evidence they obviously mean here is some sort of observable scientific evidence, perhaps a miracle or a Hubble snap-shot of God’s throne in heaven. But the God of the Bible has quite frankly revealed Himself in a more thought provoking and astonishing way.
My first instincts to answering questions like this was to find some sort of Creation Science hand book that could give insights or “evidence” to convincing skeptics of the possibility of a created universe rather than a naturalistic origin. What I found is that these conversation with people were often arduous, conflicting, and unfruitful. At best I could arouse some mild curiosity or perhaps stump a novice, but I have never been able to change someones mind through providing enough physical evidence of God’s existence, let alone His call to the Gospel, repentance, and discipleship.
But another question arose that challenged me, “If God was so concerned with people believing in Him, then why doesn’t He just provide them with the undeniable evidence they are all crying out for?” What some people are essentially saying is they are wanting some sort of Monty Python appearance from God out of the clouds to reveal Himself and speak to them directly before they’re convinced. So why doesn’t God do this? Won’t allowing people to see His majesty in the clouds hovering over the earth convince them?
I’m afraid not, not at least this type of faith. Let me explain. Lets suppose you are the world’s wealthiest bachelor, seeking for your one true love. But the problem is your wealth is well known and sifting through a sea of love letters, emails, and prospects leaves very little hope of finding true love, a sincere and sacrificial love. It’s probably a safe bet every single email and love letter is just an attempt at your money. The true value of any marriage is trust, and trust in each other promises made to one another, particularly at the altar. It is conceivable you might somehow disguise your wealth and only reveal yourself through your words. It is in the revelation of the words you say where people learn the real you and therefore pledge themselves based on trust and sincere love.
If God were to go ahead and give everyone their undeniable evidence, and God should appear in the clouds above then I suspect a few things would follow. Firstly, nearly everyone after being sure what they’re seeing is not some expensive trick would eventually “believe” there is a God. Everyone would probably watch what they do and say, at least for a while. But the problem is that this undeniable evidence of God would not deal with people’s sin nature, the nature to rebel against God and eventually someone will slip up and do something wrong. Once they see God He does not immediately punish them things will quickly spiral to the way the things were before. Just this time, their condemnation is even more severe as God’s undeniable revelation still hovers in the sky. This undeniable evidence would only make people believe the way Satan believes God, unrepentant and condemned.
God has chosen a more loving and sure way to reveal Himself to those who truly are His people. To assume who belongs to God is to assume the greatest thing you want from God is God Himself and not some wish or material blessing. God here is the rich bachelor in our parable revealing His character in His Word. There is more evidence in God’s word than people might think. Certainly it is not the kind of evidence that may reduce God to a simple science experiment in the lab, but the Bible is a 1,500 year experiment of God revealing Himself to people in the context of Patriarchs, Judges, Kings, and finally defeated and conquered nation. Even modern science fails to provide many experiments of this magnitude. At the end of the experiment we find God’s Word is finally trustworthy. Not only the biblical records of history, prophecy prove to be irrefutable, but the real power to change lives lies in the revelations of God’s person, and that of God’s ultimate self expression in Jesus Christ.
I made a later personal “discovery” on how God operates in the Bible, which in fact was no real discovery at all, it was always there in Genesis 1:1. I just failed before to see that in the very first verse of the Bible God reveals that the rest of what follows in God’s word all hinges on an important presupposition that God expects us to just accept: “In the beginning God.” No explanations, no experiments, no evidences, just a promise that God wants believed. The end purpose of God’s word is not convince people of God’s existence. Suppose for a moment there is a God in heaven, and how silly it would seem to Him to harbor this unfulfillable wish for people to only acknowledge He exists… No, no, God is revealing His character to a people whom He will make undying promises of sacrificial love. It is through these promises and through His word people’s lives are changed and through faith become the heirs of God’s goodness. If trust in a loving marriage is the foundation for everything else, then trusting God in what He says is the foundation for our access to God, specially trusting God promise to bless is through believing Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate expression of God’s; to believe what Jesus said is true, what He did happened, and that He is alive from the grave after nailing our rebellion to the cross.
Moses asked see God’s glory once, God replied by saying, “I’ll show you my goodness”. This is to say God’s glory is most reflected in His goodness, because He is good. Fifteen hundred years later God’s goodness was ultimately displayed on a sinners cross… God’s ultimate Word, His final self-expression, became flesh and lived among us. So it is inconceivable that mere “evidence” will ever be enough to turn a sinners heart to repentance. They need to see His Word, they need to see Jesus.