How Does God Reveal Himself?
If God is real, why doesn't He reveal Himself to us in a way that should erase any doubt of His existence? In reality, He has done this many times. Eyewitness accounts of human interaction with Him have been recorded and preserved for us in the Bible. But does such documented testimony satisfy skeptics? It never has, and it never will.
If God accepted the challenge of always having to prove His existence, what would it take? Would it have been necessary for Him to personally appear to and perform miracles to every human being ever born? But even that might not be enough to satisfy everyone.
Instead, God long ago decided to provide solid evidence—in the form of His handiwork, human testimony and fulfilled prophecy—that He is the living, intelligent Creator of the universe. This evidence is compelling and powerful to those with an ear to hear and an eye to see. But everyone has a choice. He can face the evidence or scoff at it.
Does God hide Himself?
Let's briefly examine the record of the Creator God's revelations of Himself to mankind.
God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. During their close relationship with Him, He gave them specific instructions (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:2-3). Yet they chose to disobey and then attempted to hide themselves (Genesis 3:8-10).
Later God reasoned with their son Cain about his unreasonable anger (Genesis 4:5-7). Cain rejected God's advice and murdered his brother. Instead of being truly sorry for his deed, Cain "went out from the presence of the LORD" (verses 8-16).
God talked with faithful Noah (Genesis 6:13). Noah was different from others to whom God appeared. He followed God's instructions (Genesis 7:5). The same was true of Abraham. God personally appeared to Abraham and had conversations with him on several occasions (Genesis 12:1, 7; 13:14; 17:1-3).
God's willingness to reveal Himself to Moses and the people of ancient Israel is especially important to understand. "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Exodus 33:11). God attempted to establish a similarly direct relationship with the Israelites. Moses recorded what happened: "The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain . . . I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain" (Deuteronomy 5:4-5).
The Israelites begged for more distance. They didn't even want to hear God's voice (Exodus 20:18-19). They requested that in the future He reveal Himself to them only through His prophet.
From that time forward God honored that request. He revealed Himself to ancient Israel through His prophets. He sent them to warn His people and encourage them to be faithful to Him. But their messages went un-heeded. The people cruelly martyred many of those prophets.
God allows man to choose
It was not God's idea to remove Himself and be seemingly unapproachable. It was mankind's choice. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God gave humankind freedom of choice. He allows us to choose whether we will believe in Him, accept the knowledge He reveals and obey Him—or not.
God didn't force Adam and Eve to follow His instructions. They freely chose not to. Humanity has felt the repercussions of that fateful decision ever since.
Neither did God force ancient Israel to obey Him. He clearly offered the Israelites a choice: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses," He told them. "Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19, NIV).
With their own ears they had heard God at Mount Sinai. They had witnessed miracle after miracle in their trek out of Egypt. Yet the Israelites quickly forgot that evidence and chose to disregard the way of life and blessings God offered (see also Deuteronomy 31:27).
Mankind has consistently chosen to turn away from God's revelation, preferring the way that ultimately leads to curses and death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Nothing has changed today. We are faced with the same two choices: Believe God and obey His laws, or disbelieve and disobey.
Most people like to think they are open-minded, that they wouldn't be antagonistic or prejudiced against the truth. Yet some of the same people who knew of Christ's miracles later shouted for His blood. Jesus pointed out that some were so hardened toward God that they wouldn't accept Him and His ways even if someone were raised from the dead (Luke 16:31).
Human nature hasn't changed. The same bias and prejudice remain just as deeply entrenched in our modern era. It's not a pretty thought to consider that a significant part of humanity willingly hardens its thinking against God, yet it happens (2 Peter 3:5). For the natural human way of thinking is fundamentally hostile to-ward God (Romans 8:7). So people look for ways to dismiss Him from their lives. For some, particularly intellectuals, this takes the form of reasoning around clear evidence for His existence (Romans 1:18-22). The heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and convinces the mind of falsehood.
Has God ever provided human beings with absolute, indisputable proof of His existence? Will He ever provide such proof in the future? The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes.
When God brought ancient Israel out of Egypt, He performed many awesome miracles that demonstrated His existence, power and control over the laws of nature. "Now the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD'" (Exodus 10:1-2).
They had their proof, but it quickly faded from their memory. "They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image . . . They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things . . ." (Psalm 106:19-22).
Later God gave them proof that He was God through the words of His prophets. Fulfilled prophecy powerfully demonstrates the reality of God. He proclaimed, "I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done" (Isaiah 46:9-10). Only God can accurately foretell the future and bring it to pass.
Bible prophecy is one proof of God that can be easily verified. Although it is beyond the scope of this publication to explain the many precisely fulfilled prophecies, some examples are readily available to you in our booklet Is the Bible True?
More absolute proof on the way
God has promised that the time is coming—at a time most people don't expect—when the whole world will witness the same type of miraculous evidence of His existence that He displayed in ancient Egypt.
This coming intervention in world affairs will be unmistakable. You can read about how God plans to reveal His great power and glory in our booklets You Can Understand Bible Prophecy and Are We Living in the Time of the End?
|© 1995-2013 United
Church of God - Canada | Privacy
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to email@example.com. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to firstname.lastname@example.org.