Some skeptics and atheists will argue that God, if there is such a being, seems to be in hiding. And they argue that the hiddenness of God is proof against the existence of God. In their minds, if God wanted us to know him, certainly he would be more obvious in revealing himself to us. But is that true?
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Absence of Evidence
Some will use the argument that “the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.” Because they see no evidence for the existence of God, they take that as evidence that God does not exist. But is that a valid argument?
It really depends on the likelihood of obtaining evidence. If I went to a friend’s house and he told me that the room we were in contained an elephant, I would be justified in claiming that the absence of evidence was evidence of absence. After all, if the room contained an elephant there should certainly be ample visual evidence of its presence.
But if, on the other hand, he told me that the room contained a single ant, I would not be surprised not to see any evidence to support its presence. In this case, the absence of evidence would not be evidence for absence at all.
We can supply the same criteria to evidence for the existence of God. How likely it is that God would reveal evidence of his existence to us? It seems that would really be up to God.
Does God Care if We Believe He Exists?
I am not sure that God is all that impressed with whether or not we accept his existence. In James 2:19 we are told that the demons themselves believe that God exists. Yet it does nothing for them. Does it matter anymore if we as humans believe in his existence?
I believe that if belief in his existence was what God wanted, he certainly could have made the evidence for his existence more obvious and persuasive. So why would he make his existence less obvious?
I believe that what God really wants from us is to place our faith in him. And to develop a loving relationship with him. A relationship built on faith. And God’s hiddenness would seem to facilitate that.
Hebrews 11:6 supports this by saving “without faith it is impossible to please God.” And faith would seem to be at odds with excessive evidence. God is working to draw people to himself through faith. Going beyond simple acceptance of his existence.
There Is Evidence for the Existence of God
In reality, there is evidence for the existence of God. The arguments of natural theology all point to God.
The Moral Argument uses the existence of objective morality as evidence of the existence of God. Without God, there is no ground for any objective right or wrong. Even the existence of evil is an argument for a moral lawgiver.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument argues for the existence of a creator based on the beginning of the universe. Science and philosophy both demonstrate that the universe is not infinite. It began to exist at some point. And so there must be a cause of its existence.
The arguments from design and contingency also argue for the existence of God. None of these argue specifically for the God of the Bible. But they do provide ample reason to believe in the existence of a creator.
Would More Evidence Help?
Some might argue that if there was more ample evidence of God’s existence that they might be more willing to trust in him. To be open to a loving relationship with him. But is that really true?
The Old Testament really answers that question in the negative. During the Exodus, God had clearly revealed himself to the Israelites. They had no doubt about his existence. They saw and experienced the plagues poured out on Egypt. Then they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and saw the Egyptian army washed away when the water returned. In addition, they experienced God’s provision for them in a daily fashion with the manna. God’s apparent hiddenness was not an issue then.
But they wavered mightily in their faith. And, ultimately, when they came to the border of the promised land, they refused to believe that God could deliver it to them. I think it is safe to say that no generation of people in the history of the earth had more evidence of the existence and power of God. But still, they did not trust him, even though they had no doubt concerning his existence.
Should we expect things to be any different today? Should we expect that if God revealed himself more obviously, things would be any different? Or would people simply acknowledge his existence, but still fail to place their faith in him?
So how do we respond to the argument that God’s hiddenness is proof of his nonexistence? First of all, God has given us sufficient evidence to believe that he exists. But, secondly, God’s primary concern is not that we believe that he exists. It is that we trust him and develop a loving relationship with him. And there is sufficient evidence for that. More evidence would likely not lead to more people putting their faith in God.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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