Why There is No Proof of God

Actually you made me question my previous statement about whether God could prove His existence more obviously.

Perhaps the reason might be that if He did so, you would have everyone following out of fear and still remain rebellious in their hearts, like a prisoner that seeks a way to escape but can’t.

Maybe salvation only works for those that actually want and choose it , and God’s plan is to give us the opportunity to do just that?

Suffering then could be a way to get there?

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Frankly I think the process of life requires a fixed set of rules, and so God created the laws of nature for a very good reason. I think breaking them would be counterproductive as well as inconsistent and showing a considerable lack of integrity. I certainly don’t think God contradicted the laws of nature which HE created to impress a bunch of ignorant savages who could possibly know the different anyway.

BUT… even within the laws of nature, God can do incredible things. So breaking the laws of nature is also unnecessary. While the above rules out the idea of regrowing limbs on demand, perhaps something like messages and signs written in the stars are not. But I think you are correct about the negative psychological problems with things like this. Though what I would see as most problematic is lending too much self-righteous confidence to the people of religion. They do enough damage already.

Again there is the question of God’s priorities. If getting people to believe in Him was all that mattered, I have little doubt He could do that quite well. But I think there are more important things and faith is an important part of it – not just faith in Him but faith in other invisible intangible things like love and justice. “A wicked and perverse generation looks for a sign,” Jesus said. And remember what Paul said, “faith is reckoned as righteousness.” Both of these suggest that faith is an important part of the righteousness which God is seeking in people.

I think that was Kierkegaard’s point in #2 above.
 

That is more than reminiscent of Hebrews 11:6…

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

 

…may be what it takes for some to know they need him and to want him?

The content and comfortable privileged in this life likely don’t know they need him so they are not looking for him, let alone are wanting him. (Having a worldview that precludes the existence of God or his providential interventions doesn’t help. :slightly_smiling_face:) An example of someone in extremis knowing they needed help, wanting and looking for God is – if the mods will please bear with me, because I’ve scoured the thread and even done a Google site search to see if she and Neal show up on the same page, and they don’t, is Maggie. She won five different lotteries in a day in the same order she bought the tickets, so to speak. Something was rigged! :slightly_smiling_face:

Another example is at the end of Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God:

During a dark time in her life, a woman in my congregation complained that she had prayed over and over, “God, help me find you,” but had gotten nowhere. A Christian friend suggested to her that she might change her prayer to, “God, come and find me. After all, you are the Good Shepherd who goes looking for the lost sheep.” She concluded when she was recounting this to me, “The only reason I can tell you this story is – he did.”

It works in, because of The Chosen (One). In whom all are chosen. Suffering is meaninglessly intrinsic to existence; something to avoid for as much as possible. If there is a plan, it only becomes apparent in transcendence. In the meantime we should be kind.

Faith has two components, one is belief and the other is trust. You not only have to know but also follow. Your heart has to be right for both. Those that don’t want to believe because they don’t want to follow won’t get there. True that those that are well off may be hindered in this process, but everyone will come to suffer in their life or death. Nothing like going to a funeral to make one think about these things.

Faith is meaningless without works.

True for most but not everyone, perhaps? The latter part of Psalm 73 and The Parable Of The Rich Fool speak the contrary, I think.

(The repentant thief on the cross had more faith than works, at least in the way we usually think of works, and it was hardly meaningless.)

True faith requires that the heart not only believes but is committed to follow. The thief on the cross performed his works by his plea to Jesus.
But indeed I like C.S. Lewis’s scissors analogy on salvation: One blade is faith and the other is works. Both must be there or it doesn’t work.

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disagree… at least… I think this can be misleading.

Faith is just the other side of the coin of grace. Salvation is by the grace of God. Period. Therefore, the only thing for you do is have faith. The point being that faith is NOT something which earns you salvation. There is no such thing which can earn you salvation. There is no knowledge or works which entitles you to it. That is the whole point of faith. It is the opposite of entitlement. You choose to love God and do your best knowing that it earns you nothing – but you do it anyway because that is what faith is.

In Matthew 19 the man asks Jesus point blank what he must do to get salvation. The answer in the end was, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” There is nothing you can do to accomplish your salvation – not good deeds nor works of the mind by believing the right things.

agreed

Because Matthew 19 does NOT mean that what you do is of no importance. Jesus NEVER said any such thing. Jesus began by telling the man to do all sorts of things. The man gave up and went away because it was list that kept going until it got to something he didn’t want to do. That will always be the case if you ask such a question because there is no enough. It is not something which you can EVER get done.

Faith is not believing some particular things or doing some particular things. Faith is a choice to keep believing and doing whatever is good and right even if it doesn’t entitle you to anything. That is what keeps a relationship with God alive in your life, inviting Him and His grace to be a part of it. Salvation is not a ticket you can acquire, but the continuation of God’s work of recreation (not complete until you are utterly without sin).

Feel sorry for the poor child whose adoption is secure [and irrevocable], but who doubts the promises of a loving Father.

ETA

And what is the effect of faith apart from works? What difference did it make to the two ‘thieves’ (the Romans didn’t crucify thieves)? Did one get the thumbs up and the other the thumbs down in the Selektion at the end of the Auschwitz line?

Salvation is an unearned gift from God given by His grace indeed. But we still have the free will to accept or reject it. We can be elected to accept it only because God knows the future and who will accept it or not.

Who told you that Neal? I know virtually no one who is aware of that in my neighbourhood, of my acquaintance, in my family; the vast majority in a city of a third of a million people. So what happens to them all as God knew they wouldn’t accept his gift and there was no point Him being gracious to them?

God is just (that means fair) and will judge justly according to true righteousness. Trust him and accept the Gift.

Romans 8,29-30
For those God foreknew he also predestined…
And those he predestined he also called, those he called he also justified, those he justified he also glorified. “
CS Lewis Mere Christianity also discusses this issue. We have a choice to accept or reject the gift which is available to all, but God already knows who will accept it. Hard concept to understand indeed, but even in science time dilation is real. For God the Father he is in all time (super dilation?) and sees all possibilities (quantum possibilities?) and chooses per His will in perfect love and justice.

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That works for you Neal. For me it’s a rabbit hole. I’ve been lost and trapped caving. Never again.

Not that we can get our heads around it, but it makes sense that God is omnitemporal.¹ If you think back to the Rich Stearns account (or reread it, or read it for the first time :slightly_smiling_face:), my nephrectomy account or Maggie’s testimony cited in reply #369, all above, you will marvel if you reflect on the innumerable multitude of antecedent events that had to have already been orchestrated and in place in the past for the multiple and meaningful 'co-instants’² to have occurred precisely as they did in the individual’s present. There is a wonderful and wondrous dynamic in the relationship between God and his children where he acts or responds in his intervening providence without violating anyone’s free will.

 


¹ The Omnitemporality of God
² ‘Co-instants’ (a substitute term for ‘coincidence’ denoting not a chance! :slightly_smiling_face:): the coordination of multiple objective events, infusing them with meaning where they would otherwise be disparate and have no meaningful connection between them, and constituting empirical evidence for God’s intervening providence.

Discussions relate to the existence of God and proofs reappear in numerous discussions. To know about God requires that what is known is comprehended and is the context of a human’s awareness. Knowledge cannot be considered such, if a human being cannot be aware in some manner of what is being known. The usual meaning of ‘God’ is a being with attributes such as, for example, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, eternal, unlimited by space and time, and so on. Yet it is not possible to point to anything that a human being may know or identify that would fit these attributes. One may point to the universe as infinite in some way, and be satisfied that such an attribute is known, without necessarily having direct knowledge of God. Meaning for a human being, however, requires that it be within and part of the person, otherwise knowledge can only be of an object - such knowledge derives its meaning from sense responses to that object. If a human being cannot obtain meaning within self, then speculation and scepticism result. Meaning, however, may be attributed to an idea that would be intelligently constructed as an idea of god. This would be a synthesis of an idea and the meaning is part of that idea.

The argument may be stated another way. A human being can say ‘God’ and attribute additional words to the term, to be satisfied that the word has been used correctly in that language. Sensibly it is not possible to point to an object called god and then prove that the object is absolute, all-powerful, ever-present, and so on. It is sensible to note the practice of using the word god in our culture and consider ‘a meaning’ as widely accepted. The historical context may be a starting point for the question, “Can I state the word ‘God’ with meaning?”

Theological writings over many centuries show, (when all is said and done), that only God can be the meaning. We can only ‘know’ of God through revelation and this is a gift, as are all attributes or fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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I think scripture would contend with that fairly solidly. First of all, though, no one was talking about proof, only empirical evidence, and certainly not scientific empirical evidence in the sense of reproducibility. But you could think of the accounts as entries scientists’ field notebooks – there is certainly evidence of a consistent M.O.

So specific references that would be in opposition to your phrasing would be these, and there are likely more:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

 
Psalm 19:1-2

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
 
Romans 1:20

 
This speaks to the question as well, I think:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work that God has done from beginning to end.
 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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