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home » articles » "Free Will and the Lack of Evidence For God"

Free Will and the Lack of Evidence For God

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

While various Christian denominations may disagree about the details of what it takes to be saved, they agree that one essential requirement for salvation is the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. But if God wants us to believe in Him and in Jesus, why doesn't He give us enough evidence to know that He exists? The two answers to this dilemma that I've heard most often is that 1) there is indeed enough evidence for us to believe that God exists and 2) if God were to give us enough evidence to know that He exists, it would violate our free will to accept salvation. First, we should note that these two answers are contradictory! Either there is enough evidence or there is not! The first answer presumes there is enough evidence and the second presumes there is not.

The debate over whether there is enough evidence to believe in God is probably the most popular religious debate topic on the web. The fact that there is such a debate is itself an indication that there is not sufficient evidence that God exists. And while I too weigh in on this debate from time to time, I want to focus here on the second answer: that giving us enough evidence to believe would violate our free will.

The argument goes something like this: God requires us to accept Jesus as our savior in order for us to be saved. To accept Jesus, we must first believe in God and believe that Jesus is God's Son. But God can't force us to believe or it doesn't count -- we have to believe of our own free will. If God made it obvious that He exists and that Jesus is his Son, then everyone would be forced to believe and salvation would not be by our free will.

Alexandre Cabanel Fallen: Fallen Angel But this argument is inconsistent with other main-stream Christian beliefs. Christians believe that Lucifer (a.k.a Satan, a.k.a. the Devil) was one of God's archangels. Even the name, "Lucifer", means "Light Bearer". Satan lived in Heaven with God. Because he rebelled, he was cast out of Heaven. Satan knows Jesus, he knows God, and he knows that Jesus is the Son of God. He has first-hand evidence from his own personal experience while living in Heaven. Yet Satan is not saved! So it does not follow that having evidence that God exists and that Jesus is the Son of God forces anyone to be saved. Satan is damned through his own free will, dispite his first-hand knowledge of God and Jesus.

We just saw that having enough evidence to believe that God exists does not takes away our free will to accept salvation. Therefore, just like Satan and the minions of hell, people could also have enough evidence to believe that God exists and that Jesus is the Son of God, yet they would still have free will to reject the "gift of salvation". The explanation that "God does not give us enough evidence to believe that He exists in order to preserve our free will" does not make sense.

On the contrary, evidence that God exists is absolutely required in order for a person to accept or reject salvation by his own free will! If you don't believe in God because God doesn't give you sufficient evidence to believe, then you can't believe that the "gift of salvation" exists. And something that does not exist cannot be offered as a gift. You cannot accept or reject something that you do not believe really exists. If God has withheld evidence that He exists, then He prevents us from accepting salvation by our own free will.

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