Does God play hide and seek?

If God wants us to believe in him, why doesn’t he make it obvious? Why does he seem to play hide and seek with us?

Even the title of our original talk could suggest this – the idea that God needs to show up as though he has been absent. [1] Some ways of thinking about God and creation also  imply this. For example, Deism is the idea that there is a deity but he/ it is essentially impersonal and uninvolved in Creation. This is the approach that suggests that the Devine being essentially sets up the rules for the Universe, sets things in motion and then leaves Evolution to get on with it.

This isn’t the God that the Bible reveals. Rather, we see that God is intimately involved in his creation. We see this in three important ways.

  1. Creation.
  2. Providence
  3. Revelation

Creation points to God’s glory. We see a Universe that is vast, stretching out for billions of miles populated with uncountable stars and planets, filled with light. We see it in a world that teams with life, that is structured, ordered and beautiful. Creation points us to a creator.

I’ve mentioned before Gavin McGrath’s maxim that what we believe should be consistent with the World that we know and with the “we” that we know. So, Keller argues that our very ability to reason points to a reasoning, thinking, personal creator.

Providence points to a God who hasn’t disappeared from the scene but remains active. This is seen in the story of God’s people, Israel who are led out of captivity, protected, fed and given a land to live in. It is seen in day to day provision by “normal providence” and it is seen in the miracles recorded in the Old Testament too.[2]

Revelation points to God speaking specifically through prophecy recorded in Scripture. Prophecies made over centuries hold to a consistent theme that is fulfilled in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. McGrath’s third test is that the belief system should be internally consistent.

All of these things lead Paul to argue that God has clearly revealed himself to us. We see his power (greatness) and righteousness (goodness) all around us. Paul’s argument is that we are without excuse. Disbelief is a decision, a response to Revelation when we reject truth, suppress it and choose to believe a lie (Romans 1:18ff).

This can best be demonstrated when we answer our next supplementary question “Who made God.” As we will see, those who reject God, are making an active choice that flies in the face of what observation and reason tell us.

Finally, it is worth concluding with McGrath’s fourth test “Is it liveable?  In other words, what happens when we live as though the truth claims of the Gospel are true?  The answer can be seen and heard in the testimony of many believers that God is present, active and making a difference in their own lives.

[1] This is the first of our quick written answers to the supplementary questions raised at our first “Big Questions” event, “If God exists, why doesn’t he show up and prove it?

[2] When we begin to talk about evidence of God’s providence and revelation in Scripture, I appreciate that this raises a second question “Can I trust the Bible, isn’t it just a load of made up stories?”  So we will look at this question at our next “Big Questions” event on March 5th.  In the meantime, I’d like to point you to  couple of resources including http://www.biblearchaeology.org/ that looks at archaeological evidence supporting Scripture and On the Reliability of the Old Testament, a book by K A Kitchen, a respected archaeologist.  Kitchen surveys the evidence for the historical reliability for the Old Testament and concludes that it is a credible historical witness. For example on the existence and reign of King David, he comments “…the Tell Dan inscription and with virtual certainty the Moabite stone each mention ‘the House of David’ implying his former role as a personal dynastic founder, about 150 years after his death. Then within 50 years of his death(ca 970), we have what is in all likelihood ‘the heights of David.” KA Kitchen On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 2003), 157.

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