On Sunday’s we’re running a series on ‘questions about faith’ that people often ask. Here’s the first from the series looking at ‘Why doesn’t God reveal himself more clearly?’
– How do you respond to being called a ‘faithhead’?
– Would you like God to reveal himself more clearly?
– How would you answer the question, ‘Why doesn’t God make himself known to me?’
1. God has revealed himself
A. In Creation (Psalm 19:1-4; Acts 14:17)
B. In human hearts
– We have a sense of transcendence (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
– We have a sense of morality (Romans 2:14-15)
– We have a sense of purpose (Acts 17:27-28)
C. In the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21)
D. In his Son (John 14:8-11; see also Matthew 1:23; John 1:18; Colossians 1:19; 2:9; Hebrews 1:3)
2. People believe want they want to believe
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:18-23)
The knowledge of God is ‘obvious’ (19) and ‘clear’ (20). But we suppress the truth by our wickedness (18). We do not know God not because we cannot know him, but because we will not know him. We do not want to worship and serve him (21). We do not want to be accountable to God and live under his rule.
– Why is Christopher Hitchens an ‘anti-theist’?
People believe what they want to believe. Pharaoh says to Moses: ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’ (Exodus 5:2) God reveals more and more of his power to Pharaoh, demonstrating himself to be greater than the ‘gods’ of Egypt. But the result is that Pharaoh’s heart becomes more and more hardened towards God. (See also John 11:45-48; 12:9-11; 37-41.)
Many people say they believe in god, but they don’t believe in the God of Jesus. They believe in a distant god who perhaps had a hand in making the world, but is now uninvolved in our lives and makes few demands on us (deism). (Other people reject this god as irrelevant – which ‘it’ is – but the Father of Jesus is very different.)
So why doesn’t God reveal himself more clearly?
1. God has revealed himself clearly, but we suppress the knowledge of God because we don’t want to submit to him. We are blinded by our rebellion.
2. People believe what they want to believe. So God hides himself to stop our unbelief becoming more stubborn. See Mark 6:1-6.
3. We need God to open our blind eyes. We need God’s grace. God does it this way so that no-one can boast that they figured out God. (Matthew 11:25)
What should you do if you want to know God?
Humble yourself and ask him to reveal himself to you.
Take a look at Jesus by reading one of the Gospels.