Go ahead. Blow away my free will.
Frequently, when I bring up the fact that God never does any revelation, vision, miracle, visitation, etc, to make his existence obvious, I encounter an apologetic for the do-nothing god that goes something like this.
“God can’t reveal himself with total clarity because it would violate our free will. If He revealed himself with total clarity, we could not possibly choose anything else. And God must respect our free will.”
Well this is just a load of rubbish from every angle. Let’s look at some angles.
First off there’s the whole issue of free will. Do we really have free will? That’s debatable, both from the Bible and from secular philosophies. And if you introduce a deity with perfect foreknowledge, then free will is definitely gone. [But despite this, I’ve actually heard Calvinists use the above apologetic. Go figure.] I’m not going to settle the free will issue for anyone, but an apologetic based on such a highly debated issue is hardly a slam-dunk.
Next we have the problem of “God can’t “. That’s a biggie. The all-powerful God “can’t”??? I suppose one could say that God chose that limit for himself. But how would anyone come up with that? It isn’t in the Bible.
Then we come to the statement that “we couldn’t choose anything else”. Huh? Says who? Clear revelation might force us to believe in the existence of a powerful deity, but it does not follow that we would have to worship him. The Bible even says that demons know God exists, but they don’t serve and worship him.
The fact is that miracles, visions, visitations, and the like would not in any way violate or remove our free will to follow/not follow or worship/not worship God. Such events would only provide proof that there is a God. They might even comprise undeniable evidence of his existence. But the choice to worship or not would remain. Only some sort of mind control, or perhaps physical force, would violate our free will. And that brings us to the issue of God violating or not violating our free will.
Simply enough, the statement, “God must respect our free will” is BOGUS!. I sometimes wonder if the people who come up with these apologetics even read their own Bible. Throughout the Bible God violates free will.
-God hardened Pharoah’s heart. (Talk about violation!)
-God apparently gave Namaan leprosy. And then hit Elijah’s servant with it.
-The free will of all the Baal worshipers didn’t get treated too gingerly in the famous Elijah vs the priests of Baal contest.
-God laid some serious smack down on Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road.
These and many others are clear violations of free will. According to the Bible, God does not have such an inviolable attitude toward man’s free will as some apologists seem to think.
Now we come to one more problem with the apologetic for a do-nothing god. A common addendum to it is something like, “You would obligate God to appear or do miracles for every person in the world, probably even daily.” To which I can only say, “Yeah? So? Is this a problem?” Come on now, think about it. Is this somehow a problem for an omnipotent, omnipresent deity? I mean the Internet is able to “be there” for millions. We can all ask Wikipedia or Google for answers. God is bigger than those isn’t he? So it really shouldn’t be any trouble at all for him to be as responsive as my laptop. And God is loving too isn’t he? And he doesn’t want people to go to hell does he? (Leastwise the Bible says he doesn’t.) So if God loves us, and wants us to know him, and doesn’t want us to end up in hell, would clear revelations or the like really be too much? Is one old collection of obscure writings and a very disjointed church all the more the almighty can do?
The Bible is simply full of incidences of God revealing himself in miraculous, unmistakable ways. What’s more, the Bible says of many of those miracles that they were done specifically to demonstrate God’s power, or to prove Jesus was divine, or to convert people.
And of course there are scads of reports in church history of miracles, including miraculous conversions. And how many times have any of us heard people giving their testimony about how God did some miracle to bring them to faith?
This all would indicate that miracles, and visions, are quite kosher, that they don’t violate free will, that they can indeed convince and convert. In short, the apologists for the do-nothing deity stand quite in opposition to the Bible, to church history, to the testimonies they love to say ‘Amen’ to, and to plain sense.
No folks. This whole line of apologetics is just another effort to cover up the fact that God NEVER shows up in any way for anyone, and to avoid the obvious question (and answer) that follows. Why does God never show up? The same reason elves, Santa, the tooth fairy, etc don’t show up. They all only exist in our imagination.
That’s a scary conclusion though. Acceding to it is distressing, as many of us de-cons can attest. In many ways I guess I’m not surprised that most people would prefer comforting fables and bad logic.