Continuing the discussion from Fine Tuning an Inhibition of Omnipotence:
This is a transcript of a six and a half minute video, so it should be readable in four minutes or less (the link to the video is at the end, if you would rather watch that):
Why Is There No Visible Proof of God?
I believe this is a valid question that atheists bring up. If God was real and if he loved us, why wouldn’t he make his presence known. The fact that he hides shows either God doesn’t exist or he doesn’t love us enough to make himself known to prevent us from going to hell.
However the more I studied this question from a biblical perspective, the more I realize that there is no visible proof of God is because he loves us. The fact that God doesn’t make himself known empirically shows how much he truly loves us. You should know Jesus already answered this question in the Bible when he gave the parable of the rich man in hell. The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers of the terrible place he was in, yet Abraham denied the rich man’s request and told him, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.” Luke 16:29
Now, at first glance this doesn’t make sense. Why would Abraham deny the rich man’s request. Surely if any of us saw a ghost from beyond the grave who had come back to warn us of the dangers of hell, we would certainly be convinced that God exists and we should submit to him. But what Jesus is saying in this parable is, it is not a matter of ‘knowing’ that God and hell exist – it is a matter of how you feel about God.
Let’s just say that there was visible proof of God. Let’s say he sat on his throne in a palace somewhere in the Middle East and you go and see he exists and worship him there. Every human would believe in and accept that he was God and no one will go to hell, right? Actually, I think the opposite would happen – everybody would go to hell.
Here’s the point: if God was a tangible being on the planet with all his power and glory, you would worship him and be obedient to his laws because you’d be afraid of him and be afraid of being sent to hell for being disobedient. You would only be good because you’d be afraid that God might punish you. Your entire motivation for being good would not because you love God or were thankful for what he did for you on the cross, you would be good because he would be worried about yourself. In other words, you wouldn’t be good for goodness’ sake or for God’s sake, you would be good for your own sake.
And that’s the problem, because that’s the mindset that sends people to hell. When you are only thinking of yourself and only worried about taking care of yourself, you become filled with self-absorption. Fear only makes you only think of yourself, and thinking of yourself is what sends you to hell. See, when Jesus came into this world, he taught that salvation meant the opposite, he taught that his salvation was only for people who didn’t put themselves first. In Matthew 10:39 he said said “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Then, in Matthew 25, he gave the Parable of the Talents, which is a story of servants. Two go out and serve their king with the money king gives them, and the third becomes filled with fear and buries the money the king gives him because he is afraid of what the king might do to him. And because this servant is only thinking of himself, he hides the money for his own safety, thus the king disposes of him, because the servant was self-absorbed, maybe not in the usual way we think of self-absorption, but nonetheless he was still self-absorbed.
See, in the parable of the rich man in hell, what Abraham is saying back to the rich man is “Fear will never work.” Sending Lazarus back to warn his brothers of the dangers of hell will only create fear. Fear doesn’t get you to stop focusing on yourself, it only makes you think of yourself even more.
And if God was a visible being on the planet, you’d be utterly filled fear. You wouldn’t change from thinking of yourself to thinking of a relationship with God, or start loving God and loving your fellow man, you would only be thinking of yourself and how to avoid hell. So your actions would change, but your heart wouldn’t – you would still be self-absorbed, just a different way, but still self-absorbed.
What changes your heart is learning what God did for you on the cross, knowing the most radical act of love that ever happened, which is when God went willingly to the cross to take our place, even though he didn’t deserve it. And where you find that is in reading about Moses and the prophets. When you learn about that and accept it as true, then your heart begins to change. When you see that even though you deserve hell, God took it upon himself. When you know the love of God, that is when your heart begins to change.
Many people have a misconception about the path to heaven – they think it’s just living a good life and following all the rules. So if God was real, he should make his presence known so I’ll know that heaven and hell exist and I can follow all of God’s commandments. But when people do that, the heart doesn’t change – you’re still self- absorbed because your attitude becomes “I’m doing good, I’m working hard, so God has to bless me!” You’re only thinking of yourself – you’re using your moral deeds to force God to bless you.
The only way to change the heart is through a radical transformation of love. And we see that love when we read about Jesus in what he did on the cross. If God was a powerful king on the planet, you wouldn’t see the love he gave for you there – all you would see is this mighty king, and you would never know love he has for you and what he really wanted for you. You would just be filled with fear and self-absorption. Many people have the misconception that God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden because he didn’t want to be with them anymore, which is not true – Jesus had Adam and Eve leave the garden because he saw they had become self-absorbed. They were only thinking of themselves, and in such a state, if they were to stay with God, they would only try to please and form a relationship with him to see what they can get out of it. Their entire attitude would be, “I want to please you God, not because I love you, but because I love myself and want to be blessed.”
Because of their new sinful attitude, God had no choice but to make them leave his presence, not because he didn’t want to be with him, but because he knew what the relationship would be with them, and he could not look upon such a relationship. Instead, we needed to see the action of how much he truly loved us before we could begin escape our self-absorption. Now, in the relationship we have with him, he gives us everything, and in return he asks to give him everything back, not because he is selfish because he was utterly selfless. He came to our world in weakness and willingly died for you, because he loves you more than you can imagine. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship where you fear him for your own life’s sake. He loves and he wants you to love him back. So knowing the true nature of your heart, and the mindset you would have if he was here visibly, he instead reveals himself in ways that won’t assure your damnation.