Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Revealing Questions: Why Doesn't God Just Reveal Himself
This has been sort of addressed in my Top 50 questions blog, but it bears revisiting not due to s revelation, but just insight gained over time. So, if God is real, why doesn't He just put an end to the "hiding" and show us His glory once and for all? Then people can believe. Makes sense, right? Actually, i feel that's sort of a cop out that people seem to use so they don't have to deal with the idea of God and having to be accountable to Him. But rather than give the Christianese cop out answer "it's all about faith" (it is in a way, but we need reasons for the smart people) I will give a few reasons why God doesn't just show Himself. The first reason He doesn't just show Himself is because it would destroy us. Pretty good reason if you ask me. In Genesis 3, we see the fall of man. As a result, we humans chose to hide from God, and God had to drive us from His presence. Further, atonement had to be made by a sacrifice (animal skins, foreshadowing the Jewish sacrificial system in the Hebrew Scriptured and thus Christ's sacrifice). So because we are separated from God through our sin, we can't be in His presence. God is Holy and absolute good and therefore cannot tolerate the presence of sin, hence why adam and eve were evicted. Sort of like how you or i can't stand being around a certain smell or the sight of something. I can't stand certain actors in movies, so i keep them out of my presence. Sin is like that to God. This is further demonstrated when Moses meets God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 33:17 - 23 and chpt 34:5-9. In 33:20 God Himself tells Moses that if he sees Him face to face, that Moses would die. As it was, just seeing part of God, Moses fell prostrate before God. Even Exodus 19:20-21 the Lord warns the Israelites that they were not to look at Him lest they die. Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel sees God and falls as though dead. He is a fallen man in the presence of God, so it makes sense. Isaiah has a slightly different experience, but when He sees God he realizes that he is unworthy. In Revelation 1:17 John sees Jesus (God the Son, God as He incarnated as man) and He falls as though he were dead. Just from these few encounters, we can see that it's not good for our fallen flesh to behold a Holy and just God. If God were to just reveal Himself to us, we'd all die or be close enough to it to wish we were. God, in His mercy, keeps us from seeing Him while we inhabit this body. A good second reason is because deep in our sinful hearts, we really don't want to see God. Partly because we then would have to deal with our sin issue. So, we hide. We already saw in Genesis 3 that when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God (or tried anyways). In Exodus 20:18-21, the Israelites have the choice to hear God directly, but instead choose to have Moses serve as intermediary (foreshadowing Jesus, no doubt). Not hiding really, but close enough in that they dodge having to deal directly with God. They can't bear being that intimate with Him. Ezekiel 8, especially verse 12, we see that the elders of Israel tried to hide their sinful activities from God. Quasi related to this, if God showed Himself then went away, we would forget before too long and revert to our sinful ways. God delivered Israel from Egypt mightily. He parted a sea, He was a pillar of cloud and fire, and yet Israel doubted and complained. The book of Judges is full of tragic cases where God worked miracles revealing glory here and there. Often within a few years Israel often turned back to sin. Given the opportunity, we do our best to hide or avoid God and forget His mighty works. I myself have had God provide financially or deliver me from demonic attack only to try to hide from the truth and from God by trying to rationalize it away later. I have to remind myself it was a miracle and that God did move. I find myself now in a situation where I need a miracle, and I hope I will remember it when God moves. But despite our best efforts to hide from God, we can't anyways. Its listed in so many places in the Bible that we can not hide from God. The prophet Jonah learned the hard way that it isn't possible. But it's best summarized by Chuck Missler, "God loves you so much that He can't take His eyes off of you." It could also be argued that God did reveal Himself. 2000 years ago, He became a man, Jesus Christ, fulfilling hundreds of specific prophecies from the old testament. Mankind's reaction was to kill Him, fulfilling yet more prophecies in His death (psalm 22 for one) and His resurrection after 3 days. On a sidenote, the book called "the Math of Christ" investigates the probability that Jesus Christ fulfilled merely 40 of the hundreds of prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures, let alone the hundreds that are proposed. You can listen to an overview of it here: http://www.pidradio.com/2012/09/06/p-i-d-radio-at-prophecy-summit-col-stephen-bauer/ And of course, God will show Himself to us, but it's not going to be what you think. It won't be a quick glimpse to put our superficicial doubts at ease, then back to being invisible so we can go about our lives. It will be to come and pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His offer to make peace by turning from our sin. Revelation 6:12-17 paint a terrifying picture of what happens when God will show His face. The physical universe that we touch and see will be removed and humanity will see God face to face. And on that day, the reaction of fallen man will be to hide. But if you read the rest of Revelation, it doesn't cause humanity to repent and believe in God. The rest of Revelation is about how despite God's continuing and obvious judgment and opportunities to repent, nobody does. Even to the point that people are trying to attack Jesus as He returns in Revelation 19. Other parts of the old testament expound on this time period and refer to it as the Day of the Lord, notably the book of Joel. Joel assures us that it is not going to be a happy day and that it will be too late to change our tune then. The only way that any of us will see God face to face in a good way is to accept His free gift of salvation found in His Son Jesus Christ. Turn from your sin, recognize it for its evil and ask God to forgive you for it, because He gave His Son Jesus to die for our sins according to the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus rose from the dead according to the same scriptures on the third day. Done. He paid the price for my sin and yours, and by accepting that gift we can and will see God as a friend, Lord and Savior. He will reveal Himself in all His glory and finally we will be equipped to handle it.