Many do not accept God because they cannot do so without undeniable evidence of His existence. They do not have faith that He exists. We know God requires faith because He told us:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
Why didn’t God make it easy for people to know He exists and remove the need for faith? I believe part of it has to do with being made in His image.
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
Genesis 1:26 (HCSB)
God is spirit (John 4:24). He did not physically make us in His image but modeled our character and desires after His. So, is there something about God’s character that would require us to need faith to believe in Him and not rely purely on logic? I think there is.
Say a five-year-old child ran away from home and fell into an old well. The well was deep, and the cold water was up to the child’s neck. The walls were unstable and had partially collapsed when the boy fell in. The child had broken both arms in the fall, so there was no way he could get out on his own. The walls could easily collapse completely if someone else went down to rescue the child.
Pure logic dictates not sending anyone down to rescue the child because it would endanger that person. The child was simply suffering from his own choices.
However, almost no one would think like that. Of course, we would want to rescue the poor little boy. He didn’t know his choice to run away would lead to this. He must be terrified and in pain. There is no way we would let him tire out and slip below the cold water to drown. We would go beyond logic to embrace love and compassion to get the boy out of the well.
On the other extreme, if someone acted purely on emotions, a mother or father might jump headfirst into the well to get down there to comfort and protect their child. That would be a stupid thing to do because it would likely result in both of them dying.
So, to rescue that child, reason and compassion must work together. Compassion, motivating someone to risk themself to save the child, and logic, determining how to retrieve the child while keeping the rescuer safe.
How does this relate to being made in God’s image and Him requiring faith to be in a relationship with Him? God could have given us clear, undeniable evidence of his existence, making it illogical to say He doesn’t exist. However, that would only require the reasoning part of us to accept; it would require nothing from the compassionate part. Conversely, He doesn’t want us to believe in Him merely on feelings. God created us so our reasoning and compassion would work together. He wants us to accept Him with our entire being, not but part of it.
To satisfy the reasoning part of us, He has given us evidence of His existence:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 (NIV)
We need to believe that He exists. The evidence is substantial but not undeniable. He left room for doubt. Faith is required for the reasoning part of us to believe He exists.
We also need to believe that He loves us. He has given us evidence of His love by sending Jesus to die in our place and save us from our sins. However, He left room for doubt in this as well. Faith is required for the compassionate part of us to believe He loves us.
God requires faith because that is the only way our entire being can come to Him. He could have given undeniable, logical evidence of His existence, but how can you provide absolute proof that you love someone? There is always room for doubt about someone’s motivation. So, God could only ever satisfy part of our being by showing Himself to us. Therefore, He stays mostly hidden, revealing Himself through His creation and His care for us.
We are that child trapped in the well. We had no hope of saving ourselves without God climbing down into the well with us, at certain risk to Himself, and pulling us out. Thank God that His reasoning and love worked together to save us from ourselves. Thank God that He created us to be like Him.