A discussion about God revealing himself to Athiest and Such

Hello All,

I hope you all having a great day, and doing well.

I know this has been mentioned before. In fact I think I even asked about this before. But, I would like like to know more about this issue, and discuss it some more, cause I see this come up almost constantly in my discussions with Atheists or Agnostics.

The question is Simply this: “God is all knowing, so he would know what would convince me, so why doesn’t he show me?” Or “Why doesn’t God just appear to me ro to everyone, since he wants me to believe in him?”

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I have also heard things like, “Why can’t God appear to me like he did to Paul? Or through a burning Bush or something like that, like he did to Moses?”

I know that God doesn’t just want belief from us, but that he wants us to follow him. And I know that there have been several cases where people have seen God or chirst in NDE’s or in Visions and Dreams. But, I would like to really know how to respond to this. Both to know, and to tell someone who may honestly want to know the truth.

Thank you!
God Bless!

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Dev,
I think He does show Himself to each of us, but many refuse to see and hear. I think of Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus, when The rich man asked Abraham if Lazarus dip his finger in cool water then touch his tongue. When he found out this was not possible, he then asked if Lazarus could be sent to warn his five brothers. Father Abraham told him that if they did not hear Moses and the prophets, neither would be convinced if someone should rise from the dead to tell them.
Also, we need to remember God chose to use the foolishness of preaching to bring others into the kingdom.

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Oh, I have heard that Parable many times, but I never thought of it like that before. Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

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@Dev I have observed that people who ask questions like these typically are not seriously seeking God. It shows the same attitude as that of the officials who asked Jesus for signs in Matthew 12:38-39 and Matthew 16:1-4. The first demand came after Jesus healed a man’s withered hand before their eyes (Matt. 12:9-14) and cast out a demon (Matt. 12:22-24). The second came after he healed crowds of people (Matt. 15:29-31) and fed the four thousand (Matt. 15:32-39). Jesus refused to oblige their demands, responding, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah” (Matt. 16:4a, ESV) both times. In his parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man asked Moses to return Lazarus from the dead in order to warn the rich man’s brothers to repent, saying, “…if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (Luke 16:30, ESV), to which Moses replied, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31, ESV). People who do not listen to God’s Word will not see any sign big enough to convince them.

There is, nevertheless, a small chance that the inquiry comes from a genuine desire to find God. One possible response that can test the inquirer’s heart is, “Tonight, when you lay your head on your pillow and all is dark and nobody is around to see, just ask God for whatever sign you want to see.” God accommodated Gideon’s fleece tests, after all (Judges 6:36-40); why not another’s request? I have had one opportunity to try this response; the inquirer apparently did not do as I suggested. Do you see how this might be a good test of the heart of the inquiry?

Sometimes there is underlying bitterness. It is possible that the inquirer has asked God to heal a loved one who died, for example. This bitterness would need to be addressed, not the demand for God to show a sign. Therefore, it is good to find out whether the person has asked God for something before that God has not given to the inquirer’s satisfaction. If you get to know the person you may find that there is a deep sadness rooted in unfulfilled desires.

The bottom line is that God does not grovel. Demanding a sign from God is like demanding a show of authority from the President. There are signs all over the place. He does not need to show a sign; the one who demands one needs to be open to seeing what is already there.

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I wonder if it’s because God desires a genuine relationship response out of love from us.

Sure God could appear in his awesome power, but the problem is we’d be a puddle quivering in fear on the floor in his precense. But what would be the point; that’s like me squashing an ant to show the ant who’s boss. Pointless really.

Like Isiah who had a vision of God in the temple; he says Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of a generation of unclear lips (paraphrase from memory).

There is plenty of evidence for this who genuinely seek Him; and His promise that “if we draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to us”.

God loved us; and became a man to approach us gently without freaking us out in fear (well actually the disciples were scared/amazed/marveled at Jesus power over nature, disease, death, and even healed people from a distance). There is just enough evidence so our free will is not over powered by utter fear of His majesty and we can come to Him in a response of love through Jesus who died for us while we were enemies of God.

Romans 5:8 , KJV: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” … Romans 5:8 , NLT: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

… just a few thoughts …

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I agree that the heart of the person is really the issue here. I believe that if one is genuinely seeking God then they will be given and find what they need to know him. In fact God says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

So, if someone is sincere about knowing God, then God will meet them and show them. But those who don’t really care but just say it as more of a challenge, then for them it’s a heart issue.

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I actually was thinking about this, how Jesus is God’s way of showing himself to us. God wants us to come to Him because we Love him and actually want Him, not simply because we are afraid, or we want what comes from Him.

I like how you said “There is just enough evidence so our free will is not over powered by utter fear of His majesty and we can come to Him in a response of love through Jesus who died for us while we were enemies of God.” And that’s what he does, he gives us enough to come to Him, and then we get more and more of Him as we grow in our relationship with Him.

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Hey Devon @Dev. Great question. I will point you to a post that I replied to, I hope it helps. Let me know if I need to add more clarifications to it.

God Bless You.

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Well, I guess I can speak from my personal experience.

I grew up as a catholic and after the death of both my parents I became an atheist who eventually got back to faith after a long time. How did that happen? Why did that happen? Why didn’t God show up when I asked Him to?

Most of these questions have been answered already in previous posts, and in many of Ravi’s talks, but all I can say is that God had never left me. I spent the past years being conflicted: I felt I needed God, but I kept denying that to myself (at least on a conscious level). Eventually I started looking around and God was right there for me to see, all I needed was to pay attention.

You see, I think He manifests himself in different ways, depending on each case. For me, I realized He calling me back to Him when I started watching Ravi’s talks on YT – my curiosity brought me there, I was seeking the Lord and the Lord gave me what I wanted. Now I became a believer once again, and I am proud of saying that.

If people expect God to appear through a vision, through a burning bush or something like that, they are terribly wrong: most of us don’t really know what is best for them, some would get afraid or even terrified of seeing Him appearing to us, some would still be skeptic, they would claim they have hallucinated and others would surely “want more”, in an endless cycle.

God listens and answers our prayers, when? It is up to Him to decide, after all it’s part of His greater design, something we are not capable of understanding. But God shouldn’t be craved only for the purpose of asking him favors and expecting them to be fullfilled: that’s opportunism. He is not a clown who puts up a happy face just to make us laugh. Those who TRULY seek Him will find Him at some point, and that’s exactly what happened to me: no visions, no flashing lights, no angels descending to cheer me up. It was something more subtle and intimate.

Now, every single time I look outside the window, I see Him. He is the gentle breeze that blows through the fronds, He is the pond that reflects the sky, He is the sky, He is everything and He is right there, hiding and not hiding at the same time. Start looking around you with amazement and wonder, look at how marvelous things are and you will eventually stop asking for a sign.

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I love the answers that have been provided here, all thoughtful and on point. So to avoid retreading old ground, I’m going to come at this from a different direction – that of faith.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Scripture tells us that faith is a necessary component to our relationship with God. This becomes a problem for the person who poses the above questions, because the questions suggest that a loving God should overwhelm us with the FACTS of His existence, which would leave zero room for faith. Look here…

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“Substance” alludes to something real, solid, tangible. And “evidence” is that which can be measured and observed. That being the case, the above verse can be reworded like this – “Faith is what you have that gives proof to what you don’t have, and what can be seen about what cannot be seen.”

To give an illustration… take a child and toss him into the air. The first time, he might be a little scared, but when you catch him, he learns from that catch. The next time you do it, it’ll be more fun to him. Eventually, he’ll wear your arms out with his demands that you toss him higher and higher.

The child has no guarantee that you’ll catch him this next time, but he does have an established track record of all the times that you HAVE caught him. In terms of the above verse, faith is the proof of you catching him in the past (what you do have), giving proof that you’ll continue to catch him in the future (what you don’t have).

See, in order for there to be faith, there has to be an element of doubt, a possibility that you might be wrong. So apply this to your original question. If God were to show up and overwhelmingly prove His existence, it would leave you with no room to doubt His existence. Lacking this potential for doubt, you could not have faith in Him. You could not CHOOSE to believe Him, because He would have taken away your ability to NOT believe Him.

Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

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Nice thought you gave @ nashdude

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