1. God is not a Person; God is Personal.
God, according to the Bible is a tripersonal Being. What sets the Christian doctrine apart from unitarian theologies is that God’s personhood exists independently of creation, within himself. Jesus explains the dynamics of the Trinitarian relationships when he states:
“No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Implicit to the statement that Christ reveals the Father to whomever he wills is the omniscience of the Holy Spirit who, according to Paul, “comprehends the thoughts of God” and reveals them to the elect. (cf. 1 Cor 2:10-11)
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit know one another perfectly, act in unison with one another, and created and now sustain all creation in complete harmony with one another. To put the matter briefly: God’s personal nature antecedes creation. God does need to be personally engaged with men in order for him to be personal. For the atheist to assume that God must personally engage men in order for him to be shown to be an existent personal being is for the atheist to assume that God is a person. Christianity does not teach unitarianism, however, but Trinitarianism.
2. God is Sovereign.
There is, therefore, not only no ontological obligation God must meet in order for him to be shown to be an existent personal Being, there is also no creaturely established moral obligation to personally engage men that God must meet in order for him to be shown to be an existent personal Being. God does not act in submission to a law given to him from without; God is the Law, the Definition of good, the One who holds creatures accountable to himself. When the atheist demands God’s personal engagement with him, therefore, the atheist is acting as if God is obligated to personally engage men on their own terms!
God is Sovereign; ipso facto, God is under no obligation to personally engage any man, let alone men who shake their fists at him in sinful defiance.
3. Self-disclosure, and the refusal to disclose oneself, are personal actions.
Therefore, the atheist objection that if God existed he would disclose himself to the challenging atheist is patently irrational. I have not personally engaged many friends of my close friends, but that has no bearing on whether or not those persons exist. In fact, given that refusal to disclose oneself is also a free personal being’s choice, it follows that such a refusal actually would constitute evidence of his existence if there were others claiming to have had the privilege of knowing such a being.
The atheist retort, it seems, would state that they do not believe that God is refusing to disclose himself but cannot because he does not exist, but see point 2. If God is independently personal and Sovereign, then he is free to disclose himself or not. Consequently, reports of God’s selfdisclosure to a limited group of persons would constitute evidence of not only his existence but his attributes of Personality, Sovereignty, and Absolute freedom of will as well as would reports of God not disclosing himself.
4. No Argument.
The atheist belief that God would reveal himself if he existed presupposes that God is under a moral obligation to reveal himself. He is not. It also presupposes that God cannot be intrapersonal, but must reveal himself to his creatures in order for him to be personal. This is also false. God is not a person; God is (Tri)Personal.
The atheist belief also presupposes that God’s non-self-disclosure would constitute evidence of his non-existence, but this too is false, for non-self-disclosure is the action of a free personal being. Thus, the atheist has no argument. If the atheist has not experienced an interaction with God this does not prove that God does not exist. It, ironically, provides evidence to the contrary.
5. The Problem
The problem is that the refusal to reveal oneself as x, y, or z typically suggests that between the the refuser and the refused there exists a fractured relationship. Either the refused party does not meet the refuser’s standard for personal engagement, or the refused party has failed to approach the refuser in an appropriate manner, or the refused party failed to meet his obligations requisite to further relational engagement with the refuser. Scripturally, the situation is stated very simply:
1Behold, the L ORD ‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
2 but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood
and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies;
your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one enters suit justly;
no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.
5 They hatch adders’ eggs;
they weave the spider’s web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
6 Their webs will not serve as clothing;
men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil,
and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
desolation and destruction are in their highways
8 The way of peace they do not know,
and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked;
no one who treads on them knows peace.
9 Therefore justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not overtake us;
we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind;
we grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11 We all growl like bears;
we moan and moan like doves;
we hope for justice, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the LORD ,
and turning back from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
The atheist’s problem with God is that God will not overlook sin. God is a relentless judge, in other words, who will not wink at sin. Consequently, man is severed from God’s fatherly kindness. The unrepentant man is also severed from husband-ly care and protection of God the Son. And the sinner who refuses to acknowledge his guilt before God is severed from God the Holy Spirit’s loving counsel.
The atheist belief that God does not exist because he does not personally engage the atheist is analogous to the child’s claim that his parent’s don’t exist because they will not let him have his own way.
The relationship between God and man has been fractured by man’s sin. The atheist does not like this, but he is not ignorant of it. Man is proud and selfrighteous, refusing to acknowledge his own sin; therefore, he sees God’s silence as unnecessary, unnatural, unjustifiable, and hurtful. He would rather redefine God’s judgment (i.e. God’s distance and refusal to engage personally as father and husband and counsellor) as evidence that God does not exist, rather than repent of his sin and trust Jesus Christ as his Savior.
This why Scripture declares:
The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God!’
Repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria.
There is salvation and reconciliation to God found in no other name.