People who ask this question do so because God hasn’t appeared to them in a manner that they feel that he should (I fully testify to once being such a person). But one can’t help but ask: “why?” Why does God have to appear to anyone in the way that they want? Is that not giving God rules to act by? Is it really God’s duty to appear to people on demand? And has God not put enough into the universe already to make his existence known (that world include the Bible itself)? To that I’d answer yes, but there is also an element of faith that we shouldn’t ignore; Christian writer & evangelist Ravi Zacharias explains that “God has put enough into the world to make faith in him a most reasonable thing, and he has left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason or observation alone” (1).
This is consistent with the Bible. Jesus himself prized faith (Mark 10:52, Matthew 17:20) whereas he was grieved by those who had a lack of faith (Mark 6:5). The Apostle Paul says that faith is a big part of being a Christ follower (Romans 1:17), and faith, in what God has done through Jesus, is what saves us (Romans 10:10). In fact, faith is so integral to belief in God that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). This would be why God doesn’t just appear on demand to those who desire it, for then where would faith come in? Part of faith is to seek after God & to enter into a genuine relationship with him.
Secondly, God is not actually hidden. He may appear to be hidden in the way that we expect him to be present. We must remember that we are only asking this question because man has separated him/herself from God (Gen. 3:17). Our current situation (being separated from God) was not his creation ideal; this is a consequence of the fall. However, that being said, God has revealed himself decisively in Jesus of Nazareth. And I really mean that; Jesus stands as the very center of history for all to see (concerning those who do not know about Jesus & how that relates to the question of salvation is not a topic in focus for now). In fact, it is historical exploration & investigation into Jesus’ ministry that has so convinced me of Christianity’s truth. Yale historian Jaroslav Pelikan explains this well:
“Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries… It is from his birth that most of the human race dates its calendars, it is by his name that millions curse and in his name that millions pray.”
I don’t think that this is a coincidence; I really believe that it is God stamping his mark on history for us to see. I also believe that one has to go to great lengths to deny that God has left his fingerprint in the person of Jesus within history.
Then God has revealed himself in the physical world. Creation shows God’s invisible attributes, and so much so that we are without excuse if we remain in our unbelief (Romans 1:20). Fred Hoyle, the famous English astronomer, once wrote that “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question”(2). Was it just blind forces of nature coupled with time & chance that resulted in such exquisite design? Did God not have a say in this process? Surely he did.
The Apostle Paul also tells us that God has revealed himself through our conscience as we “show the work of the Law written in our hearts, our conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending us” (Romans 2:15). We all intuitively know that some things are morally evil or good (this is known as moral realism), although some people do try to deny it as it undermines their worldview. We know that some things are objectively right because God has imprinted this within us since we are made in his image (Genesis 1:27). Philosopher William Craig explains that “if there is no God, then there can be no objective standards of right and wrong” (3).
I also think that the Meta-Narrative (the overarching story) of the Bible is quite illustrative of inspiration. I took this to my Biblical Studies lecturer. We both agreed that the amount of hands in the formation of the Bible over its 1500 year history was convincing proof of this. That all these people from different continents, countries and cultures all came together to produce a book that is so crystal clear on its central narrative is a promising pointer. Of course things become more complicated and nuanced when we consider the details and when we really dive deep into its pages, but that is not the Meta-Narrative.
This has hopefully put some things into perspective, but one may still be left asking: “Why doesn’t God speak to me audibly today?”
This is because God has already spoken through his revelation in the Bible, and his revelation is now complete & accessible to us. But can God still speak to us apart from the Bible? Of course he can. He can speak through his Holy Spirit; I testify to this little truth (I will be documenting this here in the next day or two! Something I’ve been wanting to share for some time now). However, when and where God will choose to speak is totally up to him.
Sin is also very important to consider. In this way one can hardly expect God to speak to him if he has unrepentant sin, and sin that he continues to commit knowing full well that he is transgressing against God. Micah tells us this, “Then they [Israel] will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done” (Micah 3:4). This is why genuine repentance is really needed if we are to be in relationship with God.
In concluding God has spoken through several means (the physical universe, the Bible, our moral consciences) & most decisively in Jesus Christ himself. Sure, we will continue to ask the question why God doesn’t just personally answer our genuine, sincere questions; especially when when we sincerely pray to him, but that hardly suggests that he doesn’t exist, or that he doesn’t care. That conclusion just wouldn’t follow. But God does give you and his word; he tells us that if we sincerely seek after him we will find him (Jeremiah 29:13). And that’s no idle promise.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13) .
1. Ravi Zacharias. 2004. The True Face of Atheism. p. 115.
2. Hoyle, F. 1981. ‘The Universe: Past and Present Reflections’ in Engineering and Science. p. 8–12,
3. Craig, W. Can We Be Good Without God