This is a very common argument from Atheists used to discount the idea of a living God. Of course this is an important question, although I believe it is a misdirected one but I will get into that in a moment. If you take a cursory glance at the world around us, seeing the death and destruction, it is easy to come the conclusion that humanity is most truly desolate and alone. However, this simply is not the case.
Why Doesn’t God Appear To Us?
This is the crux of the question put before us. Frankly, it makes a rather large assumption right from the start, which is that God has never appeared to anyone. Certainly, history is full of people that have claimed to have seen God in some form. Without a preexisting belief in God, it would be rather difficult to believe a person’s claim of having seen or heard Him, but to say that God doesn’t exist because no on has seen Him while simultaneously disregarding all those who claim such is pure foolishness. If God exists and someone claims to have seen Him, then there is a possibility that they are telling the truth. If God does not exist, they must be lying. We cannot honestly determine which is true without God choosing to reveal Himself to us as well. See the issue here?
Why Doesn’t God Appear To All Humanity?
Usually, this is the real question someone is asking when they ask why God doesn’t appear. Why doesn’t God appear to all humanity and end any doubt about whether or not He exists.
To me this question seems rather arrogant. Hasn’t God done this already? Why should He do it again? How many times should he repeat this action before humanity can learn to trust previous generations? Are we really so much more intelligent than those before us that future generations would trust our words?
Regardless of whether you are an old-earth creationist or young-earth creationist, we can say without a doubt that God appeared to Noah in some form. I am sure Noah’s children didn’t think he was crazy, once the flood started of course, God literally sealed them into the ark. We can guarantee that this story was passed down for at least one or two generations and accepted as truth without question.
At some point, however, you have to put yourself in the shoes of someone hearing this family tale several generations later. People’s lifespans have shortened to nearly a tenth of what they were for Noah, all of the vegetation and animal life has returned. There doesn’t appear to have ever been a flood. There are civilizations far away and people that don’t speak the the same language anymore. People around you are making new words all the time, isn’t this how speech originated? Wouldn’t those other groups of people have just made their own language? How could you possibly believe that all of those people came from your ancestor and that he built a boat, loaded all the animals onto it, and survived a global catastrophe at 600 years old? Frankly, it would not matter if it was true, it is simply unbelievable. So what would you teach your kids about their crazy uncle Zachariah’s stories? If there was a God, wouldn’t He just show Himself to you?
Are we any different today? Let’s suppose God does show Himself to this generation of people. We even get video footage of the events. People everywhere unite and adhere to God’s message. He does not force them and so there are of course those that refuse. They obviously believe in God now, but simply choose not to follow Him claiming He is unjust. There is peace among all nations in the world and once again God leaves us as stewards of the earth and gives us a set of rules by which to manage ourselves. How many generations would pass before there was a disagreement about the rules? Let’s imagine a new technology is created and impacts the way we view the rules God left for us. This happens constantly with governments of all kinds and creates a need for a court to decide how to manage the new situation. Who would be elected to the court of God’s law? How many generations of people would respect that court’s rulings? Soon we would return to war with one another, it is our nature. The very nature Jesus was sent to redeem us of. If people even believed the video footage at this point, how long until it is lost or destroyed? Eventually, we would take a cursory glance at the world around us and proclaim that with all of this evil, how could there be a God? Certainly, if there was a God, He would reveal Himself to us.
If God is to be our constant overlord and judge us immediately for the actions in our lives, why give us free will to begin with? Wouldn’t it be cruel to create a creature with free will and deny the creature the ability to act of it’s own accord? God provides us with rules so that we may understand what is needed to be moral and good as we create our own societies and tend to the world that He has given to us. He even updated those rules as we matured as a species. We simply have so little trust for one another, perhaps rightly so, that we cannot believe the words of our forefathers without verification. We inevitably squabble and go to war, then we look around and claim that God Himself is unjust for allowing us the very freedoms that we claim would be cruel to deny us.
Hi, I’m James Dusenbery, the Founder/Lead Editor at CanonOfReason.com. I have a deep passion for the Bible and am constantly studying one part or another. In addition to an interest in theology and Christian apologetics, I also love philosophy. My podcast and website merge these interests together to create a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else.