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Why does God require faith? Why doesn't God "prove" Himself to us so there is no need for faith?



Question: "Why does God require faith? Why doesn't God "prove" Himself to us so there is no need for faith?"

Answer:
Our relationship with God is similar to our relationship with others in that all relationships require faith, and I can never and will never fully know any other person. This is because we are incapable of fully knowing others because we cannot experience all they experience nor enter into their minds to know what their thoughts and emotions are. Proverbs 14:10 says, "The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy." We are even incapable of knowing our own heart fully. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is wicked and deceptive, and this verse asks concerning the human heart, "Who can know it?" In other words, the human heart is such that it seeks to hide the depth of its wickedness and gloss over it, deceiving even its owner. We do this through blame shifting, justifying wrong behavior, minimizing our sins, etc.

Because we are incapable of fully knowing fellow humans, to some degree faith (trust) is an integral ingredient in all relationships. For example, my wife gets into a car with me driving, trusting me to drive safely, even though I drive faster than she does on winter roads. She and my children trust me to act in their best interest when handling finances or when I am away from them and can choose to act in faithfulness to them or not. We all share information about ourselves with others, trusting they won't betray us with that knowledge. We drive down the road, trusting those driving around us to follow the rule of the road. So, whether with strangers or with intimate friends and companions, because we cannot fully know others, trust is always a necessary component of our relationships.

If we cannot know our fellow finite human beings fully, how can we expect to fully know an infinite God? Even if He should desire to fully reveal Himself, it is impossible for us to fully know Him. It is like trying to pour the ocean (seemingly infinite in quantity) into a quart-measuring jar (finite)... impossible! But nonetheless, even as we can have meaningful relationships with those around us that we have grown to trust because of our knowledge of them and of their character, so God has revealed enough about Himself through His creation (Romans 1:18-21), through His written word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21), and through His Son (John 14:9) that we can enter into a meaningful relationship with Him. But this is only possible when the barrier of one's sin has been removed by coming to trust in Christ's person and work on the cross as payment for one's sin. This is necessary because, as it is impossible for both light and darkness to dwell together, so it is impossible for a holy God to have fellowship with sinful mankind unless our sin has been paid for and removed. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross to take our punishment and change us so that the one who believes on Him can become a child of God and live everlastingly in His presence (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 3:10-26).

There have been times in the past that God has revealed Himself more "visibly" to people. One example of this is at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when God revealed His care for the Israelites by sending the miraculous plagues upon the Egyptians until they were willing to release the Israelites from their slavery. God then opened up the Red Sea, enabling the approximately two million Israelites to cross over on dry ground. Then, as the Egyptian army sought to pursue them through the same opening, He defeated this enemy by bringing the waters upon them. Later, in the wilderness, God fed them miraculously with manna, guided them in the day by a pillar of cloud and by night by a pillar of fire, visible representations of His presence with them. He also obtained water for this great number of people in the wilderness through miraculous means, including causing water to flow from a rock as Moses struck it with his rod.

Yet, in spite of these repeated demonstrations of His love, guidance, and power, they still refused to trust Him when He wanted them to enter into the Promised Land. They chose instead to trust the word of ten men who frightened them with their stories of the walled cities and the giant stature of some of the people of the land, and to ignore the counsel of two Godly men who encouraged them to trust God who had always been faithful. These events, found in the books of Exodus and Numbers, show that God's further revealing Himself to us would have no greater effect on our ability to trust Him. For were God to interact in a similar fashion with all of the people living today, we would respond no differently than did those Israelites...our sinful hearts are the same as theirs. But even as a few of the Israelites chose to trust God based on what He had revealed of Himself in the past and were willing to trust Him for the future, (going into the Promised Land - Numbers 13:1-14:9), so we can choose to trust Him for our future based upon what He has already revealed about Himself and His character.

The Bible also speaks of a future time when the glorified Christ will return to rule the earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-10). More people will be born on the earth during that reign of Christ. He will rule with complete justice and righteousness, yet in spite of His perfect rule, the Bible states that at the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will have no trouble raising up an army of men to rebel against and to seek to overthrow Christ's rule. The future event of the millennium and the past event of the exodus reveal that the problem is not with God insufficiently revealing Himself to man; rather, the problem is with man's sinful heart rebelling against God's loving reign because it craves its own sinful self-rule.

God has revealed enough of His nature for us to be able to trust Him. He has declared and shown through the events of history, in the workings of nature, and through the life of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving, all-holy, unchanging, and everlasting. And in that revelation, He has shown that He is worthy to be trusted. But as with the Israelites in the wilderness, the choice is ours as to whether or not we will trust Him. Often, one is inclined to make this choice based on what he/she thinks he knows about God rather than what He has revealed about Himself and can be understood about Him through a careful study of His inerrant word, the Bible. I encourage you to begin this careful study of the Bible, that you may come to know God through a reliance upon His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save us from our sin so that we might have sweet companionship with God both now and in a fuller way in heaven one day.

Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer.


Related Topics:

Does God is real? Is there prove for the existence of God?

Is God real? How can I know for sure that God is real?

Who created God? Where did God come from?

Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?

Is God fair?



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Why does God require faith? Why doesn't God "prove" Himself to us so there is no need for faith?