The Foolishness of Saying, “I would believe if God would just…”

by Jason Wisdom

I would like to argue that one of the most common complaints of skeptics is also one of the most foolish. The complaint is: “If God wanted to get me to believe, then He could do so very easily by just doing X.”

The first problem with this statement is that it is impossible to know, even for the skeptic himself, whether or not the occurrence of “X” would actually result in his coming to belief. I am reminded of Gideon in the book of Judges. He asks God for a sign, God delivers, and then he asks for another sign. The second problem is that it presupposes that what God is primarily interested in is just getting people to believe He exits. The Christian response to this is two part. First, through creation and the moral law written on every human heart, God has given adequate evidence so that no one can say, “I would have believed if…” Second, God is not just out to have people believe He exists–even the devil and his angels believe. Rather, He desires for people to enter into a love relationship with Him.

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With that out of the way, I want to examine three possible scenarios and show why it is foolish to say, “If God wanted to get me to believe, then He could do so very easily by just doing X.” The specific examples also represent three general categories into which most of these sort of requests will fall.

“If God wanted to get me to believe then he could do so very easily by just….”
       1. “Bringing my brother back from the dead.” (Personal/Emotional request)
       2. “Appearing physically in Time Square.” (Large scale public manifestation)
       3. “Causing 40 days of darkness upon my request.” (Recreating an Old Testament miracle/Giving me power)

1. “Bringing my brother back.” Suppose the skeptic is visited by his resurrected brother. His first thought will almost certainly be “How is this possible?” At this point, he will search for any way of explaining the phenomenon without accepting the miraculous. He will find multiple possible (although improbable) explanations. For example, it is possible that his brother elaborately faked his own death. It is also possible that his brother had a secret identical twin. Even more improbable, but still possible, is that someone could have gotten extensive plastic surgery, learned to impersonate his brother and studied important minutia about his life to seem convincing. If someone is determined to reject supernatural explanations, then he always assume a natural explanation more probable–no matter how ridiculous…

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