If Jesus wants me to be saved, and could appear to me and
convince me of this, and has so far chosen not to, I must conclude either He
doesn’t want me to be saved, He doesn’t have the power to appear to me, or, far
more likely, He doesn’t exist.
The premise of Allen’s argument is “Jesus could save me by
appearing before me” Up until now I have tried to address the topic of Christian evidences from a
philosophical perspective and have rejected this premise as a starting point
for discussion because it is a theological statement. It assumes certain things
about Allen, God and the relationship between the two of them that are not necessarily
However, let’s shift gears and go ahead and talk about it from a
theological, relational perspective. We don’t need to assume that Allen’s premise
is correct, only that he believes it to be correct, which I will grant.
To expand on Allen’s premise a bit, if he believes what he says
is true, what he is saying to (a not necessarily real) God is “I am not saved
right now because You have not done enough to convince me, but I would be
convinced and be saved if Jesus appeared before me.”
Since Allen is making theological claims about the God of the
Bible, let’s talk a little about what the Bible says about Him. I have
suggested that He is not hesitant to present evidence in support of His truth
claims. From the plagues on Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea to the
miracles of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead, the God of Abraham, Isaac
and Jesus gives people empirical reasons to trust in Him.
On the other hand, this same God does not appreciate being
tested or having people demand evidence from Him. The children of Israel are
reprimanded for demanding further proof of God’s power and goodness after all they had seen
in Egypt (Deut. 6:16), for example, and Jesus quotes this verse when Satan asks
him to prove He is God by jumping off the temple (Matt 4:6-7). It is this
attitude Jesus is addressing when he says to the Pharisees "A wicked and
adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!” (Matt 12:39) The problem is not that God
doesn’t value signs and wonders as evidence; it is that the people had already
been offered plenty of proof but they still refused to believe. This exposes an attitude of the heart which God finds unacceptable.
One of the keys to understanding this problem, I think, is to focus
on its relational nature. God is not interested in having a bunch of robots
going around doing His will, saying what he wants them to say. He actually
wants relationship. If this is true, his offense at being continually asked for
more evidence of His love becomes more understandable.
Let’s say I try to do
something special for my wife on her birthday. (She doesn’t read this, so we
can safely assume this might happen.) I send her to the spa and take the day off
work so I can prepare a romantic seven course meal for her. What
if, even in the midst of the candlelight and wine, she says “Don, I need some
evidence that you love me.” Would I not have the right to be taken aback and rather
hesitant to present such further evidence?
Now multiply that exponentially. What if I had given my life
to save my wife, yet she still wanted more evidence of my love? God comes down
to the planet to be killed for our sins and we tell him we want more? How should he respond?