This week's question comes from a reader on the Net. He asks, "If God is real, why doesn't he prove his existence?"
If this question were asked of most of us in the Church you'd get an answer such as, "Belief in God is a matter of faith. If we scientifically proved God existed we wouldn't need faith." However, I've tried giving this answer to a multitude of seekers, skeptics, cynics, and the just curious and it hasn't convinced anyone of God's existence. Others have written articles and books with ontological arguments (arguments that attempt to prove God's existence) and though these have been a little more successful, arguing about God's existence doesn't prove it either.
But to answer this question, I have to ask a question: What would it take to prove God's existence?
For science to prove something it has to provide empirical evidence that can be duplicated, in the case of experimentation, or verified by multiple sources, in the case of historical events. The issue is, can we apply this to God?
I think so. But we have to agree on one presupposition: God is not physical. Few, if any, major world religions claim God is less (or more) than spirit. Further, to date, there have been no scientific experiments developed to prove or disprove spiritual existences -- even the field of the paranormal is sketchy when it comes to proving apparitions of the spirit. This being so, we have to depend on other means to "prove" God's existence.
Which leaves two other avenues of proof: (1) Witness accounts; and (2) Effects of the existence.
As to witness accounts, there is more evidence to prove the existence of God than to prove the existence of Julius Ceasar. Caesar's existence is in the hands of historians and witnesses. We have no written documents by Caesar's hand, we have no photographs and we don't know where he is buried. What we do have is the written accounts and the historical records offered by those of the ancient past.
Do we have the same for God? Certainly. We have the written accounts of witnesses such as Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel, and others who claim to have spoken with God and we have the account of Moses who claims to have seen God. In fact, there are more witness accounts attesting to God's existence than for Julius Caesar and Emporer Nero combined.
"But someone saying something exists doesn't prove it," I hear some saying. Well, it does for figures like Caesar, Alexander the Great, Constantine, and Antony and Cleopatra. But there is more evidence to offer for God as well.
No one has seen an atom. No one has seen the wind. But we know both exist because we see the effect of their existence. Nuclear fission powers generating plants and levels Pacific islands. The wind blows dust into the air, dries our clothes, cools our faces, and, in severe cases, shatteres limbs and levels homes. We know these exist because we see the effects of their existence.
Can the same apply to God? Are there effects that show God's existence? Depends on who you talk to. Evander Holyfield, who claims his heart was miraculously healed by God says yes. Those who have witnessed changes in the lives of people who have taken to heart the discipline of talking to God (prayer) say yes. Those of us who have felt the power of God in worship and in our daily lives say yes.
And then there are the scientists, and there are many, who trace creation to the Big Bang and beyond and eventually assert that somewhere, somehow, "Billions and billions of years ago" there was suddenly matter, or energy that created matter, where once there was none. Sort of like maybe God said, "And let there be. . . ."
So, why doesn't God prove that he exists? Perhaps because God already has. Or perhaps it is a matter of faith. But then, I believe in Julius Caesar too.