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.
This verse, and the idea of this verse, have been a real struggle for me in my faith. Anytime I doubt God’s existence or whether or not I know Him I always ask the same thing. “God, just show me.” “Show me who you are. If I see you, I’ll never doubt again, never ask questions. I mean you’re an all powerful God, how hard would it be for you to just give me a glimpse of yourself? Just so I could be sure.” Time and time again these same questions poured from my mouth like an endless stream. Why couldn’t God just show me?
I want to be completely transparent here, I don’t know and I don’t pretend to know why God does the things he does. Much of who God is and what he does is a mystery and I think it always will be (at least while we’re on this earth). Nevertheless, in my struggle with wanting to see God and be completely sure of my belief I do think I’ve come across a somewhat reasonable explanation for why God doesn’t just appear to us. This is purely my take on it.
If God were to appear before each and every person would that really change people’s hearts? If someone were to see a supernatural being, would they automatically fall down and place their faith in it? Having a relationship with God is so much more than just seeing him and knowing he exists. The Bible says, “Even the demons believe and shudder.” Believing in God, and trusting him with your life are two very different things. I believe God is more interested in leading us on a journey towards a deeper faith and trust in him as opposed to a mere belief in his existence. That is my first reason.
Secondly, I believe the Fall plays a part in this as well. At one time, man was one with God and he saw and interacted with God, but this was before we (mankind) chose to go our own way. When the Fall occurred and we were separated from God, I believe that had lasting consequences, one of which being that we don’t get to see God, especially just when we want to or when it’s convenient for us. (I guarantee you there’s plenty of times in my life where I would have been mortified if God had shown up just then). And you could make the argument that God has revealed himself to people in the past, such as Moses or Paul, but that doesn’t change the fact. I’m not saying the Fall makes God unable to reveal himself to people, but that our initial rejection of Him has undoubtedly changed our relationship with him. As a sinful and disobedient people, why should we expect God to just appear to us whenever we demand it? Who are we?
This may be a hard truth to swallow. Believe me, it’s taken me many years of questioning and doubting to be at ease with this. But eventually I’ve come to accept the fact that my relationship with God isn’t contingent upon me being able to see him with my own two eyes. If God wishes to reveal himself to me in that way, I would be overjoyed, but if he doesn’t, it doesn’t mean he’s not there or he doesn’t hear me. At this point, my faith in God is more than just a belief in him, and I honestly believe that if I was able to prove God through evidence or my own observations that my faith would not be what it is today. By definition, doubt is a part of faith. We believe and trust in God even though we can’t see him. We can’t be 100% totally sure. At least I can’t. But based on my experience and the evidence that is out there, I have placed my trust in the God of the Bible.