15. God and Black Holes
If God exists, could we discover him like we discover any other object in our universe? Could scientists analyze the data and physicists proffer theories that would make his existence known like any other object such as black holes, quasars or planets?
If God exists, he is different than a black hole in that he is a person. A person has consciousness and will and they behave in intentional ways that are unlike the way that nonliving matter behaves. A person’s behavior is less predictable.
Although God’s character is unchanging his behavior is highly variable. The theologian, Paul Moser, claims that if God wants something, his behavior might be to move in a “bob and weave” fashion. To bob and weave is not to oscillate. It’s not to rotate. It’s not to revolve or precess or accelerate or even to orbit. To bob and weave is to move in a highly irregular, nonrepetitive way. It is the way that persons rather than objects behave. It can be difficult to get a handle on. If the person of God exists, then discovering him would require an open mind and an open heart rather than the scientific method.
Skeptics throughout time have claimed that there is a very easy way for God to win them over: just perform a miracle right now. Perform one like you did in your book and I will be your follower, they say.
Think for a moment about the societies in which those miracles took place. The people who witnessed them did not drop everything and become whole hearted followers of God. Jesus performed miracles and yet some of the people around him didn’t just reject him, but murdered him. Miracles were performed for the Israelites as well and yet their rebellion against God is notorious in spite of the fact that God’s existence was an accepted truth in their society.
And so maybe we aren’t so good at forecasting how we would behave if only we were to witness a miracle. If God’s existence was no mystery and was instead a mundane fact of this world that we all accepted, are you sure that we would all be devout followers? Humankind has a funny way of taking things for granted.
Perhaps God isn’t as interested in whether or not you believe that he exists as he is that you have a relationship with him. While it’s true that you must believe someone exists in order to have a relationship with them, just because you believe in their existence doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have a relationship with them.
“Here is your miracle, now let’s have a relationship.” It’s possible that God doesn’t work in so straight forward a method as this. Maybe this is the way you would do it, but maybe God has a more effective method. Maybe there is something to do with mystery and allure and timing that is more effective than our straight forward way. An all knowing entity would be aware of this other way.
His method can always still be rejected because in the end he respects our free will and this is the constraint that he’s working under. But maybe, considering our free will and our imperfect decision making, his method, although not straightforward, is the best possible way.