One of the arguments against belief in the existence of God is to say He doesn’t do enough for the denier to know Him. A young atheist puts his thoughts on paper, saying, “If God exists, why would He hide in this way? Why wouldn’t God just come right out and make it obvious to everyone He exists?” Sometimes this thinking is put into the form of a question such as, “Why was God so evident in the Bible, and seems so hidden today?” Other deniers are even more specific. To them, it is not enough for God to do more in a general way but, centering their thoughts upon themselves, they think God ought to touch them specifically and directly, saying things like, “Jesus came to the earth once. Why doesn’t He come again and let me see Him?” Remember, God has already demonstrated that this method does not work. He appeared directly to Adam and Eve and they failed.
The desire to see God is not restricted to today or to the hardened of heart. It has been a reoccurring theme for mankind throughout history. In a milder way and without the confrontation attitude of the denier, Zacchaeus “sought to see Jesus” (Luke 19:3). Likewise, Philip expressed his deep but faulty desire to see the Father, saying, “Lord, show us the Father” (John 14:8). Even in the face of amazing eyewitness evidence, Thomas claimed for himself the need to see with his own eyes and touch with his own hands the resurrected Christ (John 20:25). Neither Philip nor Thomas realized that he was an integral part of God’s plan to reveal Himself and salvation unto mankind.
These good men were not the only ones to wonder about God’s methods. Students remember the rich man who refused to help the poor. He suggested that God ought to send the dead “to my father’s house” to “testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” God answered him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” But the rich man was not satisfied with God’s method. He said, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent.” However, God’s solution still stands today, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:27-31).
Pharisees of Jesus’ day expressed a few demands for God to fulfill. “Teacher, we would see a sign from thee” (Matt. 12:38). And, the Pharisees mockingly shout, “if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matt. 27:40). God’s answer for both demands was the same. Instead of giving them a sign on the spot, He powerfully raised Jesus from the dead. What a magnificent, and final, sign that is amazing in itself! However, it is even more amazing when students consider the fact that Jesus predicted His resurrection, including the detail of how long He would be in the grave (Matt. 12:39-40). Instead of Jesus coming down from the accursed tree, He arose victoriously from its effects.
Think about what each of these is demanding. Each must personally see God be born, live, be crucified, be buried, and be raised before they agree that God exists. These folks are demanding the impossible. To fulfill these demands for this mindset, God would need, from the beginning of time itself, to be born, live for thirty years, be crucified, and be raised from the dead every thirty years. He would have to do this repeatedly for every country and in every city and in every town. This demand calls for Jesus to live and be crucified over five thousand times every thirty years.
Let’s look at God’s way…well…read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What a magnificent report! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33-34).