This is a commonly asked question by those who struggle to believe that God exists. They just can’t understand that, if God exists, why doesn’t He just reveal Himself and put aside any doubt of His existence once and for all. Why all this business about requiring faith? The last time I heard this argument it was put in this context:
The non-believer’s question went something like this:
If this fictitious god of yours really exists, why doesn’t he just reveal himself? You know, show himself to me so there would be no doubt of his existence, instead of sneaking about requiring that I have some kind of blind faith in him before I can reap from his basket of mystical goodies?
My answer went something like this:
And just how would you prefer that He do that for you? Would you believe if He appeared in a burning bush and spoke to you the way He did to Moses in Exodus 3:2-4? Probably not, because I don’t suppose you believe that this really happened to Moses. So, if it happened to you, do you think you’d more readily believe in Him, or do you suppose you’d think you were just having a hallucination? Could you really believe your own eyes? After all, you would probably have to consider all the tricky things done by the film industry these days; and what about those magic tricks done by slick magicians like Criss Angle? Who knows what tricks people can play on us today?
Maybe you prefer He speak to you out of a bright light, like He did to Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:3. No, I don’t suppose that would be good for you; after all, Saul went blind from that incident. It was only temporary, but you’d probably think God cruel for doing such a thing to you and turn away from Him even if you did believe at first. Anyway, if you didn’t go blind, could you really believe in Him after such an ordeal? Or would you reason that since you couldn’t see with that bright light shinning in your eyes, it was probably just someone else trying to fool you into believing it was God. After all, can you really believe something that fantastic without seeing it with your own eyes? No, I’m afraid Apostle Paul’s Damascus road experience wouldn’t be good enough for you.
Well, what if He just spoke to you from out of the sky the way He did to Joseph and Mary. Would you believe in Him if He did that? Or would you think you were just hearing things on the wind. Sometimes I can hear the local high school football game being heralded through the stadium’s audio system from my house more than a dozen blocks away, if the wind is blowing in the right direction. Maybe you’d think it was just something like that, or just another trick someone was trying to play on you from a hidden place behind a bush or some other object.
And even if one of these things did happen to you, how would you know it was really God instead of the Devil or some demon? Maybe it would be a ghost or an extraterrestrial being of some kind. I suppose you or someone else could figure out some way to explain it all away. Even if you did believe it was God, who would believe you when you told of your experience? How would you get others to believe what you say happened to you really did?
Of course, God could come down in the form of a man and talk to you, tell you that He is God and has come so you would know that. Would you believe Him then, even though Jesus has come and you don’t believe? How could you come to believe – remember the Criss Angle scenario? Even if He performed miracles, they could just be tricks. But what if He rose from the dead? Would you believe if He rose from the dead? You don’t believe Jesus did. It could be just another trick, couldn’t it? Jesus, Himself said that some people wouldn’t believe even if one should be raised from the dead. And He was right, wasn’t He?
God could just reveal Himself though His creation, by the wondrous works that He has made. Of course, He has already done that, but you say it all happened by natural processes. The fact is, God has already revealed Himself in all of these ways. Still, so many don’t believe.
Go ahead now and pick one of these ways for yourself, or choose one of your own, one that I didn’t think to mention. It doesn’t matter - just pick a way that you think would be a good way for God to reveal Himself to you. Then ask yourself honestly, wouldn’t it still require some measure of faith? Don’t you still have to believe that the truth is being revealed to you, and not some trick?
Don’t you see now why God says we must have faith? No matter what He does to reveal Himself to us, in the end, it always comes down to faith. We still have to believe it is Him and not a lie or a trick of some kind. In addition, we not only have to believe that He is indeed who He says He is, but we also have to believe the things that He chooses to reveal about Himself. It can be no other way. And that is the long answer.
The Short Answer:
No matter what God does to reveal Himself to us, in the end, it always comes down to faith. We still have to believe it is Him and not a lie or a trick of some kind. We still have to believe that it is not only Him, but we also have to believe the things He reveals about Himself. It always comes down to faith. It’s not because God says so; it’s simply because it’s the natural way of things. It just can be no other way.