Is it a sin to "test" God in order to prove to another person he is true?


I am reminded of the story in the OT where God and Baal had kind of a “God battle” to prove to their followers which was the one true God. They tested whoever would set an object on fire would be the true God.

Would it be moral for a Catholic today to meet up with another person from another religion and do something similar?

Such as; “We’ll both call out to our God, and whatever God burns this tree will be the one true God, and the other will have to admit defeat”

Would this be sinful to do?


In my view, yes. It is presumptuous, as well as being an insult to His autonomy and omnipotence. He is not a performing dog, trained to do tricks whenever called on to do so by a peon He Himself created. ‘Tempting Providence’, it was called in the old days.


Yes this is a vice in St.Thomas Summa, although I forget the name of the vice.


I’m Catholic and go to a protestant school. We had a speaker come speak for our chapel. I believe he was a pastor, but I don’t quite remember. Anyway, he kept listing all of these examples where he kind of tested God to prove it to others and asked the children at our school to do it as well. Everything he asked God to do, God did. I think maybe he was trying to show God is faithful? I’m not sure…


One cannot apply what was done in the OT to the present age. In the New Covenant God works through hearts and minds not with such supernatural signs.


Sin. We are not to put the Lord our God to the test.


no more need be said…… (though I’m not crazy about the word “peon”)


Yes it would be sinful.

And you would both be waiting a long time for that tree to catch fire. God is not a dancing bear.


I think a person would have to be seriously called at the time to make such a request or plea; the whole act would virtually be done through and for him. While God could orchestrate such a scenario today, whether He would or not would be a different question-all up to Him of course…


You can’t apply the miraculous test that Elijah performed on Mt Carmel to today, in the sense that it would be ok for just anyone to perform this sort of test today.

Elijah was a very, very holy, righteous prophet that God used in miraculous ways as a witness to the people back then. Also, God wanted this test to occur:

1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. 1 Kings 18:1-2

Elijah didn’t just get up one day and think that it would be a great thing to expose himself to King Ahab and test the prophets of Baal. He had been in hiding for three years and was numero uno on Ahab’s hit list.

He performed all his miracles under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and obviously it was God working through him during the test on the Mt Carmel.

Jesus told us not to tempt God. He’s not a dancing monkey that does tricks. It wouldn’t be right to try something like what you suggested, OP, unless you were as intimate with God as Elijah was, and the Holy Spirit was guiding you in the same way. And that is highly unlikely.


Yes, now that I reread my post, it wasn’t a particularly felicitous choice of words. I was trying to convey the idea of a presumptuous underling overstepping his bounds. In retrospect, ‘upstart’ would perhaps have better in the context. Ah, well. It’s the word I chose, so let it stand.


Understand, my response was partly in jest. (should have used an emoji) It is just that I am a firm believer in teaching our Christian faith with the basic platform that man is created in the image and likeness of God (His words in Genesis) and the word “peon” always rankles me a bit whenever it is applied to anyone.


I understand what you’re saying, but I also don’t think the word “peon” conveys the unimaginable and unrestrained love that God has for all of us, even those who are rejecting Him.

And if one of God’s children made the mistake of testing Him in this manner, likely in good faith, He’s probably not going to strike His erring child down with a bolt of lightning.

God loves us even when we mess up. We’re not just upstart humans who are daring to make a request of their Creator. We are made in His image and He loves us as tenderly as any father loves His child. Much more, actually.

I’m not saying you need to edit your post. But peon also rubs me the wrong way, just sayin’.

Sorry. :slightly_smiling_face:


God doesn’t perform parlor tricks


Attention, everyone, attention! I hereby abjectly and sincerely apologise for my use of the word peon. Posters have made their unease with the word quite clear. I am letting it stand as is in my post for the sake of clarity so future readers know what we are referring to, but I regret ever having even considered its use. Mea culpa.


Well, with that beautiful of an apology I guess we’ll just have to forgive ya. :wink::smile:



Jesus said do not test the Lord your God. When the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus replied only with Scripture verses, the word of God.


Hi. We are in different era now especially after the coming of Jesus who died for our sins. There is no excuse not to believe anymore unlike the days of Elijah.

Jesus warned us not to put God into the test and that’s should settle it. He further said to shake the dust of our feet if they do not believe. Our duty is only to proclaim the truth. It is up to them whether to believe.

No need to challenge them.


Neither one of or the persons would be correct and yes, it would be a sin. It would be demanding God to validate Himself to another or a plural group. We are not at the same level as HE-thus we do not have there right to demand or challenge HIM. It is the right of God to challenge US to prove our faith and love. If we get to the point that we find we cannot win through faith and logical reasoning it is time to take a walk through the park and put it all in God’s hands or a knowledgable Priest.


Ok, how about if the caveat was added then…

A saintly Catholic and a saintly Protestant are in a debate.

The Catholic gets a vision from God telling him to do the fire tree test against the Protestant. This God proclaims the truth of the Catholic faith.

The Protestant also gets a vision from God to do the fire tree test against the Catholic. This God proclaims the truth of Protestantism.

My first question would be

  1. Would God even do this to begin with?
  2. Would the added “call” by God still make it sinful for the Catholic and Protestant to do this?

The reason I ask this is because, what if this happened and the Catholic “lost”?

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