I'm an avid reader of Discover magazine, despite the overt atheism and anti-religious dogma they frequently spew on the editorial pages, articles, and interviews. A few months back I recall an interview they had with a scientist who - gasp - professed her Christian faith and did not see a contradiction between her belief and her career.
Then the magazine published letters from several readers commenting on the interview. One of them said that until proof of God's existence is published in a respected scientific journal, is subjected to peer review, and achieves consensus as authentic from the majority of the relevant scientific authorities, he will not believe.
That makes me think two things: firstly, what will God's response to that be at the Last Judgment? "Oh, wow, I never thought of that. Touché, buddy - good point! Enter in to the joy of your maker."
But second, and more important, what if the proof for God's existence happened, say, 2000 years ago? What if God defied all logic, all space and time, all physical & natural laws, and became a man? What if he cured countless diseases, healed the blind and the lame, forgave all sins, died and rose from the dead, then visibly ascended into the sky? What if all these miracles were witnessed by thousands of people over a three-year period? What if they wrote these events down to ensure future generations would know the truth of them?
Let's flip that around a bit.
What if God appeared to this letter writer, and to the scientific community as a whole, and presented proof of his existence? What if it were published in a respected scientific journal, reviewed and accepted by the majority of the relevant authorities across the world? What if everybody who encountered this proof suddenly dropped all skepticism and believed in the incarnate, triumphant Lord?
You'd imagine that the word would spread like wildfire all over the face of the earth. Hordes of people would turn to Christ and receive his saving love. The Church's numbers would swell, and the response to the touch of God in the lives of these new Christians would spurn vigourous missionary activity towards those who stubbonly remained outside that love. New saints would be called to a special breed of holiness to help fill the needs of this spiritually starving people. The Kingdom of Heaven would achieve an almost earthly incarnation of organization & structure as the Church struggled to hold to the Truth which had been revealed to it and to cast away all distortion and lies.
Our letter writer himself would become a spiritual leader in this movement; as one who had encountered the Risen Lord in such a powerful and personal way, he would have lots to say, and his heart would burn for those who were still as lost as he used to be. He would pen countless letters to these new believers, and would encourage them to uphold the Truth and to distance themselves from their former deeds of darkness.
He would eventually die and be taken up to Heaven, to the joy of his maker.
From there he could watch & intercede as time passed.
Some would see the power of this rejuvenated Church and covet it; some would see this love and hate it. The enemy of old would writhe in supreme discomfort at the thought of so many people turning to God. He would raise up his own movements to try to discount the Truth; he would spread lies, he would inspire individuals and even nations to persecute the believers, who would only hold on to their faith all the more tightly as it was tested by fire. Then this enemy would learn a thing or two, and would let the believers do their thing for a season.
He would let up the pressure, as it was directly backfiring against his plans. Instead, he would let time pass, and would let the believers grow and spread. He would instead work behind the scenes, subtly, injecting his poison into a strategic vein whenever possible. The Body of Christ remained strong, but over time he knew he could wear them down, if only they didn't detect his intent.
Let's say this happens for another 2000 years or so.
Our original letter writing saint would espy from the heavens a modern skeptic composing a letter to a widely-read periodical about how belief in this outdated belief system was naïve at best, and dangerous at worst. He would wince as the man wrote virtually the same letter he himself had penned 2000 years prior. He would pray for the man's soul, that he would be shown the Truth, and that he wouldn't require any more proof than had been provided to the world already. Fully aware of the workings of the great enemy over time, our saint would pray especially that these evil plans be revealed to the light.
He would pray that this lost sheep would realize that to believe in anything, you have to start with a single step of faith. He would pray that somebody would tell this man: "You have be willing to risk being wrong about everything, before you can know you are right about anything."
What more could God do to prove his love for his people? The very reason he came to Earth as man was to put an end to the cycle of second-generational disobedience as witnessed in the spiritual history of the Israelites. Read through the Old Testament books of Exodus, Judges, Kings, and the Chronicles. Every time God interceded in the lives of his chosen people, they believed in him, but were never successful in passing the faith and the truth of his miracles down to the next generations - at least not with any consistency. Then a generation would fall into sin, be conquered by the closest Philistine/Hittite/Persian/Babylonian/Roman army. They'd suddenly remember the stories of old, how God saved their ancestors from the same suffering, and repent and cry out to him. He would raise up a mighty warrior/prophet/king to lead them to freedom and then they would enjoy a period of peace, secure in his love, with hearts full of worship. They would tell their children and their grandchildren the tales of what God had done for them, and the kids would think to themselves, "Neh, that's just old stories where actual events are confused by the passage of time and re-telling."
Shampoo, rinse, repeat.
Shampoo, rinse, repeat.
Shampoo, rinse, repeat.
Christ came to break that cycle. Believe, and be transformed!