Why does God require belief against one's senses?

There’s a common enough question that atheists will ask us: why doesn’t God just appear before us and tell us what to do?

The answer usually goes something like “God doesn’t want to force us to believe, he wants us to have free will, and if he were to just appear and do miraculous things, no one would have that free will.”

Firstly, correct me if I have this paraphrase of the question and the reply wrong. That’s how I understand it now and that’s the basis for my question.

My question is, "why does God care of we know of him or not? What is so special about belief despite proof? The angels certainly knew of God, and some of them still rejected him. Adam and Eve also knew God… they walked with him, and still fell to temptation. So why are we, living now, any different?

1 Like

Christianity posits that God did appear before us, lived with us for thirty three year, and told us what to do.


he did. he’s called a Jesus Christ, who taught for three years and founded a Church tot each in his name throughout the ages until the end of time.

1 Like

So your question is “why doesn’t God do things the way we want him to do it?

I imagine it is because God knows better than we do about what is necessary for our development.


We’ll, it’s not “against one’s senses”. It’s more like looking beyond one’s senses.


He doesn’t, not at all. I have no idea where people get that idea.

That question shows that they understand neither God’s nature nor their own. If he did that it would break us, and he won’t do that because He loves us.

Why do you care whether or not the people you love the most know you? Isn’t that part of the nature of love?

What is so special about a belief in God that you demand a standard of proof that you don’t demand for anything else in your life? (I mean the hypothetical you here, not you in particular)

You answered your own question: present or not present, knowing Him or no knowing Him people would reject Him. Christ, the Apostles, Paul were all rejected. Those who know and accept God know and accept Him without any preconditions, all these people put conditions on Him. So what difference were it to make were He to speak with, to prove it to them? God is not petty, he has no point to prove or axe to grind. Especially since it would not change the outcome.


Well, left to our own devices we have no hope, our life would be truly meaningless. GOD rescued us through HIS son Jesus the Christ who came to the Earth to redeem the human race.
We can deduce through our reason/intellect, that there is A GOD, we can even deduce some of the qualities this GOD must have. The Greeks had come to this understanding not withstanding of any revelation from GOD. This is what Philosophy is all about.
GOD went further than that by sending HIS son to manifest HIS mercy and HIS love to us.
As you correctly pointed out free will is a very important component of the relationship GOD wants with us. HE does not impose his will on us, we need to freely accept HIS plan and when we do we are assured we will get the maximum profit from life both now but more importantly after we pass from this life. These are a few considerations on the question, but there is so much more.

1 Like

I’m speaking from my own understanding. Not the Church. Not Christianity. But as a human being.

Starting with your last question, what makes you say now is different? I don’t believe God created all of creation in 7 days. I know He created all things & 7 days happen to be a useful division of time.

Same thing with Adam & Eve. Yes, they spoke with God, yes the were “friends” of God. To me that doesn’t mean He spoke to them in words, or a voice parsed in a particular language. Or in anyway different than He speaks to me & you today.

God is love. He speaks to us every second of every day calling us to Himself. If you’ve ever experienced love, true love, you’ve known Him. There’s your proof. If you’ve never experienced true love (I’m talking about chaste love) I’m sorry. But you will, because it is that important to Him.

why doesn’t God just appear before people to convince them

Because, much like the rich man’s brothers in Luke 16, even if a physical manifestation of God or His angels were to appear before these non-believers nothing would change. Especially in today’s context, said atheists would just brush it off as a hallucination. They fail to see the beauty of the world God created for them, they fail to listen to Jesus’ words, and they fail to listen to the 70,000+ witnesses at Fatima. If even Fatima can’t make them a believer appearing before them certainly won’t.

1 Like

We are under the New Covenant. The way to God is through Jesus. He said: Blessed are those who believe without seeing. You can open your heart and receive the gift of faith. That is what God wants, He sets the terms not us.

A person believes that their parents exist because their parents raised them, put them to bed each night, fed them, maybe sometimes punished them. If a third party were to ask about one’s parents, you could show them some kind of proof of their existence… vacation photos, whatever. You get the idea… there’s material evidence.

I don’t know why that’s necessarily true. God has allegedly appeared to some people (pick your personal revelation), but that’s a third hand account so though it may be a conversion experience for the person having it, it’s not that meaningful to others who only heard about it.

It seems that most people don’t have this conception of God. they think he’s the cop in the sky with a beard and a checklist. I’m not saying that’s right at all. I’m just saying a lot of people don’t have any inkling that God is love, and God doesn’t seem to them to be making much effort to change their minds.

Granted, there are a lot of things I (particular me, not hypothetical) believe because everybody else seems to believe them too. But I believe my 3rd great grandfather’s name was James because I’ve seen his death certificate. I don’t believe he was he was a schoolteacher, as some have claimed, because I have seen evidence to the contrary. Some things I require proof for and others I do not. Some people want proof for God. I suppose I can’t begrudge them that.

We really can’t understand. Gods ways are greatly higher than ours.

However I personally feel we are here to learn to love. Love isn’t seen, it doesn’t taste. It hurts sometimes and is difficult, costs everything. Our senses are tools but they aren’t the lesson.

The thing that gets me is, why is your personal experience more valuable than others’? I get the emotional appeal, but if everyone else who has had an amazing experience of God or witnessed some amazing miracle (there are material evidences of various miracles) can be mistaken, why can’t you as well?

This question of mine was prompted when I saw someone post something like the following:
Number of keys God has found: 8,000,000
Number of touchdowns God helped to be scored: 100,000
Number of amputees healed by God: 0

I thought to myself, “well, God has healed amputees…” But what’s more believable; someone telling me that they heard of an amputee being healed by God, or my knowing an amputee who miraculously regenerated a leg?

After posting I thought of the Israelites who were led by a column of smoke and fire for 40 years and ate heavenly bread. They had 40 years of miracles and still rejected God.

So your point is well taken from a Biblical perspective. But modern people are scientifistic thinkers and they always need extraordinary proofs and evidence, or at least claim that they do, for extraordinary claims. I am not absolutely sure that they would reject a miracle… like a regenerated leg on a person they personally knew to be an amputee.

Seems like we’re all sold on the idea that they would never believe it. Maybe, maybe not.

A modern, materialist-educated person probably couldn’t draw a distinction between those things, i’m afraid.

Which belief do you mean? The existence of God? The divinity of Christ? The Resurrection?

Faith is absolutely necessary for truth that we cannot naturally attain. It is a virtue because it is an act of the will to believe what is true and good for us. It’s not something God demands for us to perform either; it is a gift.

Ah, the amputee question again. This cannot say that God does not heal amputees, but that someone does not believe stories of God healing amputees. I’m guessing, because they don’t believe in God. So it’s a red herring and we might as well take that to its intended conclusion, because it’s a challenge against theism and divine intervention: Why doesn’t God raise us immediately from the dead after we die? Or better, why aren’t we immortal? Why do we suffer at all? Why doesn’t God forego healing and just make a paradise? Why didn’t he prevent the Fall? etc.

That’s very true, but he did let Thomas put his fingers into his side. I feel like we’re a society of Doubting Thomases, but we don’t get the individual benefit Thomas was granted.

Like I said, I understand it emotionally. It’s perhaps more believable to you, but then (if you tell people) you’re simply the guy telling others about it.

Ah well. God bless.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.