Proof #43 - Realize that a "hidden God" is impossible
Here is a line of reasoning that Christians will frequently use to try to rationalize the complete lack of evidence for God's existence. In the book "The Case for Faith," the author Lee Stroble interviews Peter Kreeft, Ph.D. Dr. Kreeft says the following:
"Scripture describes God as a hidden God. You have to make the effort of faith to find him. There are clues you can follow. And if that weren't so, if there was something more or less than clues, it's difficult for me to understand how we could really be free to make a choice about him."
Clues? Hidden? According to the Bible God incarnated himself. He created an entire human body named Jesus. That is not a "clue" -- that is a huge, obvious piece of evidence. It is very hard to "hide" a 170-pound human being who is running around performing miracles on every street corner. Then you collect the stories of those miracles and publish them in a book. Where is the hiding in that?
There are examples of God's desire for publicity throughout the Bible. The best known is God's parting of the Red Sea in the book of Exodus, chapter 14:
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
That is impressive, and it is utterly obvious. Thousands of Israelites witnessed this event. There are many other events that are equally obvious: manna from heaven, the Ten Commandments carved onto stone tablets, the Passover massacre and so on. All of it is described in the Bible, which God wrote so that billions of people can read about these events and experience them vicariously today.
It is pretty hard to hide something that you do in front of thousands of people and then describe and publish in billions of books. Clearly God is not a hidden God.
But there is an even more impressive sign that we often forget. If God exists and God wrote the Bible, then rainbows are actually proof that God exists. God is not hiding at all. If you read Genesis 9:12-13 you will find this:
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth..."
What could be more obvious than that? God left a sign for all future generations, according to the Bible. Clearly God does not want to hide.
There are also plenty of cases in the New Testament. For example, Matthew, Chapter 17:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
These are not exactly the actions of a God in hiding. Apparently the free wills of Peter, James and John were not that important to God. And again it is published in the Bible so that billions of other people can read about it.
Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
Or take this passage from the book of Matthew, Chapter 3:
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Again, not exactly a hidden God.
Or this passage from the book of Luke, Chapter 2:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
The free will of the shepherds was certainly tarnished a bit here.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
In 1 Corinthians 15:6, Paul says,
Then he [Jesus, after the resurrection] appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time.
Those 500 people must have lost their free will. And John says:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (John 21:25)
That's an awful lot of miracles -- so many that the world would not have room for all the books describing them. Presumably at least one person witnessed each miracle. Think of how many names fill just one phone book. Now imagine a whole world full of phone books. That's a lot of people. Weren't all of their free wills affected? How is God hiding if millions of people saw Jesus and the miracles he performed?
Jesus claims to be God, and Jesus is a physical being running around Israel for all to see. He apparently performed millions of miracles in front of millions of people. The God of the Bible is not hiding -- God is so hungry for publicity and exposure that he actually incarnates himself and then starts performing miracles for everyone on the planet. Then he creates a God-breathed book to describe everything and publishes billions of copies all over the world.
Yet, for some reason, God wants none of us today to see any of those miracles because he "needs to remain hidden" so that he will not "taint our free wills." Does that seem likely? Or is it more likely that Jesus never performed a real miracle? When you combine this evidence with the fact that Jesus answers no prayers (start with Proof #1), it is clear to us what is actually happening. The idea that God is "hiding" is ridiculous. The fact is that God is completely imaginary, and that is the real reason why there is absoutely no evidence for God today.