There are some who would say God is silent, or we do not hear Him or can not know him. If only he would speak or reveal himself in a greater or clearer way, we could know for certain He exists and know exactly what He wants from us.
Richard Carrier, outspoken anti-theist claims:
“The logically inevitable fact is, if the Christian God existed, we would all hear from God himself the same message of salvation, and we would all hear, straight from God, all the same answers to all the same questions.”
“So a God who wanted us to make an informed choice would give us all the information we needed, and not entrust fallible, sinful, contradictory agents to convey a confused mess of ambiguous, poorly supported claims. Therefore, the fact that God hasn’t spoken to us directly, and hasn’t given us all the same, clear message, and the same, clear answers, is enough to prove Christianity false.”
So Carrier makes the assertion that only if God existed, then he could know and so could everyone else, what God is saying. Carrier is pushing us toward the rhetorical answer, “I didn’t hear God audibly speak today”. The conclusion is since God would speak to us if He existed, and He hasn’t spoken to us, therefore He does not exist.
Or put in the form of a logic statement (with P=premises and C=Conclusion). The result is if the premises hold true the conclusion flows. Lets look into this.
P1 If the Christian God existed, we would all hear from God himself
P2 We do not all audibly hear from him, both by experience and evidenced by not everyone agreeing on the same message
C1 Therefore since we do not hear from God himself, He cannot exist
The problem is P1 is not a supported premise. Nothing says that we would have to hear from God. God is not obligated follow what we would like.
Second, it is a fallacy akin to ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ to assume that because some people disagree on God’s message all are wrong. If President Obama gave a speech tomorrow and said this is our foreign policy going forward, we could have 10 people give 10 different summations of exactly what Obama meant. This does not mean we can’t know what Obama said, but everyone knows Obama has an idea(s) in his mind when he gives the speech. Therefore some people’s interpretations will be closer to Obama’s intent than others. This is analogous to God’s word.
In defense of God speaking lets consider a few things.
- God is holy and righteous and we are not. Therefore the theological understanding of relationship between God and man after the fall is a loss of fellowship, communication. And close relationship with God after humanity’s first sin. (Gen. 3:23) This loss includes not a complete removal, but a damage of communication with God.
- God out of His grace and mercy for us reaches out to us (Romans 11:30). God doesn’t need us to survive but we need him (Acts 17:28)
- We humans ask not to speak to God, (Deuteronomy 18:16-17). The people in Moses’ day feared when God spoke. God in His grace appoints prophets to us to speak His words. The glaring question in this is, ‘great, how will we know if someone starts spouting off that God spoke to them?’ God provides us the answer in Deuteronomy 18:19-22, if the prohecy does not pass (I.E. Harlod Camping) then that person is not one of God’s appointed prophets. So God puts regulations in place to keep His word through sinful humanity. So when we or the Israelites’ would have judged prophets coming up, they have a guideline to work from.
- God does send His son Jesus Christ to speak to us. He comes in human flesh to tell us how to live, what to do to follow God Yahweh. It would be irrational to think that because some people have a different view of that than others, we can completely dismiss that the Lord of the universe descended into human flesh to bear our sins, so that we can have a relationship with our Creator again.
- Finally, the Holy Spirit is promised to lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Not only us but the Holy Spirit now will convict the world regarding sin (John 16:9). So even though the anti-theist will not maybe agree with it, it is what God says to us. This personal experience can be evidence (even if just for us individually) that the Holy Spirit does speak to us.
This sounds like wisdom a loving, wise and just God would implement. God speaks, lets open our ears and our minds to hear what is said.