Many claim that if Jesus would only appear to them or if God were to perform a miracle for them, then they would believe. I am skeptical of this claim for a few reasons.
Ultimately, I believe that God has provided enough evidence for those who desire to know if He exists or not. As I have heard philosopher J.P. Moreland say:
"God maintains a delicate balance between keeping his existence sufficiently evident so people will know He's there and yet hiding His presence enough so that people who want to choose to ignore Him can do it. This way, their choice of destiny is really free."
I do not believe the problem is the absence of evidence, but the suppression of it. The Bible is very clear that if someone wants to know God, he or she can:
"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13)
Jesus Himself said:
"If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:17; Emphasis mine).
So, if these verses are true, the unbeliever is without God because he or she isn't sure they want to be with God. 1
This claim also rests on the assumption that the individuals lack of belief stems merely from intellectual objections. However, as Ravi Zacharias puts it:
"A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God."
It is quite simple, I believe, to sustain this. Imagine what would happen if Jesus decided to personally visit a skeptic who continually claimed, "If God would only appear to me, then I would believe."
Initially, after the visit, the skeptic decides that he believes and begins to follow Jesus. However, after a week, a month, or even a year, he begins to think, "Gee...I wonder if that really happened or maybe it was a dream? Maybe it was a hallucination?" You see, the problem never was intellect; it was the fact that the skeptic never repented and admitted his need for God in the first place. Now, the skeptic finds himself right back where he started- "Okay God, if you appear to me just ONE MORE TIME, I promise to follow you for the rest of my days..." and so the endless circle continues.
Before someone can truly give his or her life to Christ and follow Him, He must first recognize and admit his own depravity.
For a great treatment of the question, "Why Isn't the Evidence Clearer?" by Dr. John Bloom, click here.
Courage and Godspeed,
1. I would encourage those who are still investigating the question of biblical authenticity to visit our Old and New Testament Research Materials located here.