A young man wrote me the other day to ask why God doesn’t once and for all prove his existence. Here’s my answer to that earnest seeker. (Yo! Danny! Do good in school! And don’t take drugs! And … well, actually, that pretty much covers it.)
First of all, God did prove his existence; that’s pretty much the whole point of the Bible specifically and Christianity generally.
So. Massively gargantuan point.
But I know that what you mean is why doesn’t God prove his existence again — and this time, to you personally.
If you think about that question, though, you’ll see pretty soon that what anyone asking it really wants is for God to not only prove to them personally that he exists, but to simultaneously prove his existence to a whole bunch of other people, too. Because if God proved his existence to just you, then that’s going to leave you with one whopper of a challenge on your hands, insofar as right away your choices will boil down to exactly two: Either tell people how you personally encountered God, and risk them thinking you’re absolutely badoinkers — or don’t tell anyone how God proved to you he was real, and risk having a stress-induced heart attack from having to keep such an extraordinary experience locked up inside of you.
See? Neither’s what you’d call an Optimum Situation.
And that is why anyone who claims to want irrefutable, objectively verifiable proof of God’s existence must also want God to prove he exits to everyone else in the world — or to half of them, anyway, so that he or she will at least be in the majority of people.
And God proving the reality of his existence to everyone all at once pretty much boils down to him suddenly, all around the world, appearing in the sky, and in a booming voice announcing (something like), “Hello, world! Surprise! It’s me! Try not to faint!” And of course he would have to say whatever he said in the language that any given person listening to him could understand. Including, come to think of it, baby talk.
Point is: It would be quite the Logistical Challenge.
But hey! It’s God! If anyone could pull it off, he’d be the … divine entity to do it!
And do you know what would happen if God did, all at once, to everyone in the world, finally prove his existence? People all over the world would scream, and faint, and exclaim, and tear their hair and rend their clothes — and then they’d realize that they just got so bored they’d all slump over and pass out.
Bottom line? God doesn’t prove to you in an objectively verifiable way that he exists because he knows doing so would flat-out ruin you.
The truth is, we don’t want God to prove he’s real to us in the same way everything else in our lives that’s “real” to us is real to us. Because it would destroy that within us which keeps us ever moving forward toward resolution, knowledge, clarity, context, wholeness. It would strip from us the very thing that makes us human.
First, you’d be awed and amazed!
And then — and in fairly short order, too — you’d become a zombie. Because there’d be no mystery left in your life.
Who remains deeply fascinated by a novel when they already know how it ends?
We need God to be mysterious. In order for us to have the richest, most human experience possible for us in this life and on this earth, we need God, and all Essential, Divine Matters, to be just beyond our rational comprehension, just outside of our grasp.
Our relationship with God needs to be, to us, a two-way, interactive, give-and-take, constantly exchanging sort of relationship — of essentially the same sort as we have with everyone else in our lives. If God just appeared to all of us, all at once, the fundamentals of our personal relationship to him would instantly be so radically altered — we’d be so thoroughly pushed out of the subjective give-and-take role that’s actually necessary to keep us engaged with God — that … that we’d no longer be who we are.
We’d be … Us, Severely Unplugged.
Our spiritual initiative would be gone.
We move forward because we want to know.
If we did know, we’d stop.
Not so good.
You don’t, actually, want God to “prove” his existence, any more than you want to lose, for instance, your imagination.
Here’s another reason it actually doesn’t make any sense to desire that God suddenly prove to everyone that he exists: It’s not God’s primary purpose to work with people as a whole, from the outside. God develops his relationship with us individually, from inside of us: God speaks to our heart, to our soul, to our experience, in the ways we most need to hear and understand him. God loves each one of us personally –a nd he wants to communicate that personally, intimately, carefully, delicately; he wants to communicate everything about himself — and us — to us in the ways and at the times that are best for us.
God had no natural interest in just … overpowering everyone at once.
This is God we’re talking about, not … P.T. Barnum.
God is pleased to be “real” where he can be the most real — where you can comprehend the most of him — which is inside of you. God is a spiritual power. The fullest communion with God must happen spiritually; it must happen inside of you, not outside of you.
The bottom line is that while you might think you want God to objectively “prove” his existence, you don’t, in fact, want that at all.
You don’t want that because you’re more complex than that. You don’t want that because your needs are more real than that.
You don’t want that because you were designed to be better than that.