If I Can't See God, How Do I Know He's Real?
How can Christians believe in a God they can't see – indeed one who says, "No one can see Me and live" (Ex 33:20)? Actually, there are several ways that He makes His presence known. While none of these will convince a hardened skeptic, any honest seeker can find God's fingerprints everywhere.
First, we can see God's presence in the world around us. The universal hasn't always been here, as modern science demonstrates. It could not have created itself. Where did it come from? Anyone can deny that God made it (and people often do), but God isn't persuaded by the argument! There are people who "suppress the truth" about God, but even so, "what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse" (Rm 1:19-20). Don't miss the part about unbelievers being "without excuse." People may doubt God's existence, but their excuses are not going to fly.
Second, we can sense God's presence by our conscience. We often do things we know to be wrong and then feel guilty for it. Where does the sense of right, wrong, and conviction come from? We don't conjure it up from our imaginations, for all people experience this. No, our awareness of right and wrong comes from beyond us. It is established by God. Since He made us in His own image, we have a basic awareness of morality built into our being. This is God's way of letting us know He's there and that He wants us to do what's right.
Third, we can see evidence for God in the lives of His followers. His people have done countless acts of mercy through the centuries, all in His name. Their good deeds point to God's goodness. In fact, all acts of kindness from people who don't believe in God are nevertheless prompted by God's goodness. No matter what our beliefs are, all of us were made in God's image. Our Creator makes Himself visible through acts of love and kindness.
Fourth, we can find God in Jesus' teaching. As Jesus said, the key to finding God in this way is the seek God's will. "If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on My own" (Jn 7:17). Countless people have taken this challenge and found that God can be encountered by taking Jesus at His word. Jesus told us that His words and deeds came from God (Jn 12:49; 14:10), and that to see Him was to see God (Jn 14:9; see also Col 1:15; Heb 1:3). Once you realize the trustworthiness of the New Testament witness about Jesus, and how strong a case can be made for His resurrection, you'll begin to see the invisible God.
So how can Christians believe in a God they can't see? By opening their eyes, their hearts, and their Bibles in order to follow Jesus.
This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 96.
Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of Exodus that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.