I Would Believe If God Knocked On My Door… (Brett Kunkle)

This is an excellent clip from my friend Brett Kunkle. I have dealt with this many times and written about the issue on this blog. Also, let me add a few points:

The skeptic constantly assumes that if they could just see God directly or if God would give them an unmistakable sign that He is there, they would bow their knee and follow Him. Sadly, this is misguided on several levels. God declares, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). However, there seems to be other texts that indicate people did see God. Even in Exodus 33:11 Moses speaks to God “face to face.” Obviously, “face to face” is a figure of speech which means they were in close communion or conversation.

Also, in Genesis 32:30, Jacob saw God appearing as an angel. But he did not truly see God. In Genesis 18:1, it says the Lord appeared to Abraham. Obviously, there are other cases where God appears in various forms. But this is not the same thing as seeing God directly with all His glory and holiness. It is evident that people can’t see God in all His fullness (Exodus 33:20). For if they did, they would be destroyed. One of the most important themes of the Bible is that since God is free and personal, that he acts on behalf of those whom he loves, and that his actions includes already within history, a partial disclosure of his nature, attributes, and intensions. Revelation is a disclosure of something that has been hidden– an “uncovering,” or “unveiling.” There are three things are needed for a revelation to take place: God, a medium, and a being able to receive the revelation.

Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God and he shows the world who God is (Heb. 1:1).

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7 thoughts on “I Would Believe If God Knocked On My Door… (Brett Kunkle)

  1. Ed Atkinson September 22, 2014 / 9:16 pm

    This is a quote from Brett’s excellent piece “When you are trying to reach a reasonable conclusion what you want to do is be open minded and be open to all the evidence that is available to you.” (about at 3min)

    The evidence in the round to me is very clear: there is no God. This is based on reason, experience, seeking God in prayer, being in a church community, everything. So when asked what would change my mind I would come up with something vast as it would need to overcome all the existing evidence. That is not being closed-minded.

    • chab123 September 23, 2014 / 1:13 am

      Ed, thanks for your comments. Your objections are very common and fall under what we call The Hiddenness of God objection. That is a topic I have been reading on for years. If you have the time, I would love to see you do some more reading on this. If willing, here are some materials.

      https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/why-doesnt-god-give-us-more-evidence-of-his-existence-2/

      And this one is a bit longer:

      http://luc.edu/faculty/pmoser/idolanon/CognitiveIdolatry.html

      God bless!

      • Ed Atkinson September 23, 2014 / 10:03 am

        Thanks for the links. I only managed the first one and gave up in the long second one.

        While the material is certainly relevant, you misunderstand me if you think I am actually making The Hiddenness of God objection. I am trying to consider everything and then concluding that the evidence points strongly towards atheism. The response that God may have good reasons for staying hidden is, I agree, a valid matter to consider.

        There is a scale of possibilities here:

        1. God not hidden. The evidence will lead anyone with normal intelligence to belief. Positive resistance is required to stay in unbelief. (So our freedom is reduced – see your WinteryKnight link)
        2. God has given a hurdle to overcome. You need special intelligence and rigorous elimination of prior bias to believe. (This leaves some of us freedom, but only the keen, informed and brainy can overcome the hurdle. The poorly informed and of normal intelligence have no freedom – as in 3 below )
        3. God is hidden. It is not possible to be convinced by reason and it is only by actively seeking God and asking for help that you can come to believe. Or perhaps, only some are chosen to believe and God has to make the first move. Another idea I’ve heard is that Satan deceives us, such as putting a fossil record in the ground that appears to support evolution. (The rationalist has no freedom to get to belief, why would you seek God when the evidence suggests He does not exist?)

        I guess we could fill in more points on the scale with more nuance. I’d love you to say where you feel the actual situation sits on the scale…. roughly.

        My own prayer and seeking God over many years leads me to conclude that even (3) cannot be the case. So for the hiddenness defence to work, God must not want me to find him, and that is not the Christian God.

        I am delighted to be discussing these vital matters with you.

  2. chab123 September 25, 2014 / 12:27 am

    Ed, when it comes to looking for some sort of emotional/supernatural confirmation that God is there (e,g, I pray and God should show himself), I already discussed with you about seeing God directly. Now is he required to give a sign or experience of some sort? I and others didn’t get any signs or experience when we first came to believe the Gospel was true. We were convicted of our sin and rejection of Christ (read John 16). I do think as we grow in our relationship with Christ (through prayer, being in community, healthy discipleship), we will experience God more on a regular basis. But in many cases, there is no one time big sign when we come to believe the Gospel. I mean, God can do whatever he wants. But I also know many people who have found that working through the issues of God seeming hidden and they have found it rewarding.

    I list many reasons for God’s existence here/The God of the Bible.

    https://chab123.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/a-look-at-evidence-we-want-and-evidence-we-should-expect/

    But in the end, if the hidden issue is more about experience, than factual evidence isn’t the issue.

    And while there are several kinds of evolution, it has done nothing to get rid of God’s existence.

    • Ed Atkinson September 25, 2014 / 7:09 am

      Thanks Chab

      I ‘sought God’ and I continue to pray to Him now. I do not have an agenda as how He must appear or give me experiences or anything. I am open to Him and seek Him in any way. I guess that engaging in sites like this is part of it, to see if my thinking is wrong. This all results in me having to conclude that there is no God.

      “And while there are several kinds of evolution, it has done nothing to get rid of God’s existence.” I was referring to Darwin’s. I didn’t know about others. His work certainly caused a reduction in belief in God, especially in Deism which has all but gone. Of course nothing at all can get “rid of God’s existence” if he exists he’s all powerful, if he doesn’t there is nothing to get rid of.

      Now please answer my question. I set out a scale of ideas on God’s Hiddenness and asked “I’d love you to say where you feel the actual situation sits on the scale…. roughly.” I’ve given my view, until we both know where we stand we can’t have a meaningful discussion. So please do answer

      Cheers, Ed

  3. chab123 September 25, 2014 / 8:55 pm

    Ed, as far as a scale, I tend to lean more between 1 and 3. I am not a Calvinist in that I think God has chosen some to become children of God while others he says no to.

    So I would say God is not hidden but may seem hidden. There are other factors at work here. How about this?

    Imagine you prayed to Jesus to give you sufficient evidence that He exists. So Jesus instantly appears to you in an undeniable way. He does miracles, he shows you the scars on his hands. There is no doubt in your mind that he exists and that he is God. Now, let’s not ask whether you believe he exists, since we’re assuming that you do, for the sake of argument. Let’s ask how you feel about him.

    Let’s say he tells you: “Tomorrow, I want you to go to all of your friends and family and tell them that I appeared to you, that they are sinners , but that I died and rose again to rescue them from their punishment” and “I am Lord and Savior, so you must submit every area of your life to me. Your money is not your own. Your sex life is not your own. Your time, career goals, ambitions, entertainment – it all has to be submitted to me. You can no longer decide for yourself what is right and wrong for you; I am the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong.”

    Now, would we fall down at his feet and worship him? Would we joyfully tell our friends and family about what he’d done for us? Would we gladly surrender our time, money, and goals to him? Absolutely not. We would feel immensely threatened because he would challenge our autonomy.

    But if that’s the case, then why blame God for not providing enough evidence? Even if God gave us all the evidence we could possibly want, our hearts would still be the fundamental obstacle. We do not really want God to exist because he threatens our autonomy; we really want to be our own gods. But if that’s the case, why blame God for insufficient evidence if more evidence is not what we really need?

    There are several aspects of faith:

    1. Emotional faith: is feeling assurance or trust or confidence in a person. This includes hope (which is much stronger than a wish and peace (which is much stronger then mere calm.).

    2. Intellectual faith: is belief. It is this aspect of faith that is formulated in propositions and summarized in creeds.

    3. Volitional faith: is an act of the will, a commitment to obey God’s will. This faith is faithfulness, or fidelity. It manifests itself in behavior, that is, in good works.

    The bottom line is that even if someone got the evidence they wanted, it doesn’t mean it will help #3 here. In other words, miracles don’t guarantee it will change a person’s will. We can’t overlook the fact that sin and a hardened heart can dampen a person’s receptivity to the evidence that is already available to them.

    At one point, the Pharisees attributed the miracles of Jesus to Satan. And in some cases the miracle is a witness against those who reject this evidence. John grieved: “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him” (John 12:37). Jesus himself said of some, “They will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

    In the end, far be it for me to know someone’s heart. I know if someone is truly seeking and is truly humble that God finds favor on that. But I am not sure what the person is expecting. God has already spoken. I tell people who are truly seeking to believe what the Text says about the death and resurrection of Jesus. If they see their sin in light of God’s holiness, then they will probably come to believe the Gospel is true. But, there is no basis for some sort of ‘sign’ or ‘confirmatory experience’ the moment that happens. So if that’s what they are praying for, then that may never happen. It didn’t happen with me. I began to see the Holy Spirit’s work in my life as time went on. But that was because of my relationship with my church community, the role of prayer and my devotional life, me engaging in serving God in other capacities, etc.

    • Ed Atkinson September 27, 2014 / 2:56 pm

      Good reply, thanks.

      I read that your position on my scale is really most like 1. I.e. you feel that there is sufficient evidence …. But only for the person who is not resisting God’s claim on their life. This fits with your definition of faith in our earlier discussion elsewhere on this site. (But then you seem to change tack – see below)

      2 quotes from your last parag, 1: “I know if someone is truly seeking and is truly humble that God finds favor on that.”
      You’ll see from my earlier comments here that I claim that I did seek God humbly. I have been prepared to bend my will to Him, eg being celibate from age 18 to 28 because I was a Christian (I married at 28). And I still do humbly seek Him, but not quite the same as my mind is now pretty well made up, at least until there is some new evidence. Obviously there is no way that you can take my word on this, as you don’t know me, but I know my heart.

      And 2: “I tell people who are truly seeking to believe what the Text says about the death and resurrection of Jesus. If they see their sin in light of God’s holiness, then they will probably come to believe the Gospel is true.”
      Are you sure you want to be saying this in the light of all our earlier discussions? You strongly rejected this Oxford Dictionary definition of faith: “Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof:”

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