Seeking Signs of God's Existence
Signs of God's Existence. Do they matter?
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." -- Genesis 1:1 KJV
This tiny verse of the Bible is both direct and powerful in its overall message. Not only does it convey that we (humans) are the creation of an Almighty God above us, but that everything about our planet is the result of a structured, coordinated effort that did not occur from simple chance -- as the "Big Bang Theory" indicates.
Yet, over the years, humans have continued to grapple with the complexity of our existence. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What is our purpose on Earth? Does God truly exist? And if so, are there "signs" or evidence of His existence?
While many people of the world do not reject the presence of an Almighty Creator, others question God's existence on the basis that no scientific "evidence" corroborates His presence in the universe. I am reminded of this logic daily by atheist colleagues that denounce the existence of God for this very reason. Yet, in reading through the chapters and verses of the Bible (particularly, the book of Exodus), I have come to the conclusion that even if "signs" and "scientific evidence" were discovered/presented to the world at large (proving that God is real), people would continue to ignore and reject the reality of God -- just as the Israelites and Egyptians did in the days of the Old Testament.
Moses and the Ten Plagues of Egypt
In Exodus, Moses presents us with the story of the Jews living in bondage to the Egyptian Pharaoh. According to Exodus 12:40-41 (KJV), the Israelites remained in captivity for nearly 430 years before God used Moses and Aaron to deliver them from their enslavement. In order to free His people, God allowed for ten plagues to strike the land of Egypt in order to "persuade" the Pharaoh to release his captives. These included:
1.) Turning their Water into Blood.
2.) The Plague of Frogs.
3.) The Plague of Lice.
4.) The Plague of Flies.
5.) The Plague of Diseased Cattle, Horses, Donkeys, Camels, Oxen, and Sheep.
6.) The Plague of Boils.
7.) The Plague of Hail and Fire.
8.) The Plague of Locusts.
9.) The Plague of Darkness.
10.) The Plague of the Firstborn.
What is particularly interesting about each of these plagues and their impact on the land of Egypt is that the Pharaoh remained stubborn and resilient in his decision to hold the children of Israel under bondage (even when it was abundantly clear that God was making His presence and power known to everyone around). The signs of God's existence were truly present, and patently obvious to anyone who witnessed these plagues firsthand. However, even after nine plagues, Pharaoh could not bring himself to accept the signs of the Jewish God. Only after the Pharaoh's firstborn son was killed did he finally agree to let the Jews depart.
Exodus From Egypt
In later sections of the book of Exodus, even the final plague was not enough to fully convince the Egyptian Pharaoh of the truth and falseness of his own beliefs. Shortly after the departure of the Jews from Egypt, Pharaoh quickly reneged on his decision to free his former slaves. In his desire to avenge the death of his son, Pharaoh sought to even the score with Moses (and avenge his son's death) through the complete destruction and annihilation of the Jews. To prevent this catastrophe from happening, we learn in Exodus 14:20 that God shielded the Israelites through numerous episodes of divine intervention -- further signs of the power and existence of God to not only the Egyptians, but the Jews as well.
In one instance, God created darkness in the camp of the Egyptians so that their rapid advance would be slowed to a near halt. Exodus 14:21 offers a glimpse of another miracle in which God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Jews, allowing for them to safely walk across and escape the murderous charge of the Egyptians before they could be caught. In the 25th verse, God even went as far as to remove the wheels of the Egyptian chariots once they neared the Jews and began to cross the Red Sea in hot pursuit. In the final moments of the story, however, Moses tells that God unleashed the wall of water down upon the Egyptians just as the Jews finished their crossing. The sudden rush of water killed all of Pharaoh's men and, ultimately, prevented them from reaching Moses and his people (Exodus 14:28).
Yet, the miracles for the Jews did not stop here. As the children of Israel continued to wander beyond the shore of the Red Sea -- following their triumphal escape from Egypt -- God provided them with not only water, but also food and provisions so they would not go hungry (Exodus chapter 16 and 17). Food literally appeared from the sky, and water sprung forth from rocks -- all for the benefit of God's people.
The interesting aspect of all these miracles and signs of God's power, righteousness, and presence is that even the children of Israel -- who witnessed these signs firsthand -- continued to question the power and existence of their Creator.
This sentiment is seen abundantly in Exodus 17:4, which states: "And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me."
In the context of this chapter, even with all the miracles being performed around them, the children of Israel continued to doubt the power of God and His servant, Moses. After being led miraculously out of captivity, crossing the Red Sea untouched and unharmed, and being provided food and water in the desolate terrain they crossed, Moses' people still found it impossible to fully recognize the signs of their God; often complaining, whining, and questioning the motives and directions of both Moses and their Creator. In later chapters, the Jews even turned to the idol worship of a golden calf in the absence of Moses at Mount Sinai due to their inability to believe.
What can we learn from the book of Exodus? Specifically, what lessons can be gleaned from the experience of the Israelites and Egyptians? It is simply this -- left to their own thoughts and devices, the majority of people are incapable of accepting the existence of a God in heaven, even if the signs are abundantly clear and obvious. This concept even applies to today's society, where miracles continue to happen every day for people (whether big ones or small ones). Yet, even with these miracles, society still turns its back on God and refuses to believe. This rejection demonstrates that not only are people inherently blind to the truth, but that "signs" of God's existence means little in a world that refuses to accept His presence. In this regard, it is clear that no amount of "signs" could ever persuade the world of God's ultimate existence; just as no amount of "signs" could persuade the Israelites millennia ago.
So for all the individuals out there looking for a sign (or scientific "evidence") of God's existence, ask yourself: "Am I even capable of recognizing the signs I seek when they are given?" "Or will I continue to question and reject the signs of God, one after another, just as the children of Israel did so many years ago?"
"Free Bible images: Free Bible illustrations and Free Bible images of Moses and the golden calf. (Exodus 32)." Accessed December 20, 2016. http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/moses-golden-calf/