It should be obvious that there will never be scientific evidence for the existence of God

There are so many good arguments for the nonexistence of God that I find it baffling to keep encountering the “I’ll believe in God when I find evidence for His existence” argument. I can’t think of why intelligent people continue to reference it in their unbelief other than a reliance on the supposed moral superiority that emanates from everyone who is on the side of “science”.

Of course, it is correct to say that there is no evidence for God’s existence if by “evidence” you mean scientific evidence. But the claims of scientific evidence are not exhaustive of all truth. Scientific evidence is a discrete thing and its veracity and usefulness is surrounded on all sides by some very important formalities. The evidence uncovered in science must be physically observable and people under similar circumstances must be able to re-create the same results to verify your claims.

But surely things can be evident without being reproducible in the scientific sense. Whether or not you believe it, you at least act as though you do. You act, for instance, as though it is a truth that your mother loves you[note] showing that love has a biological component – obviously – is not proof that what we mean by “love” is encapsulated entirely in chemicals in your brain [/note]. You act as though the past exists. It is sufficient for us to say that the evidence for these things doesn’t pass beyond the subject – the actual person(s) involved – and be completely satisfied that we’re speaking the truth.

However, my objections not withstanding, the most infuriating part of it all is that the skeptics here don’t even seem to know what scientific evidence means. When someone says to you: “I’ll believe in God when you show me the evidence” all you have to say is “Okay, like what for example? What would you need to see to believe?”

Think about it: what would scientific evidence for God even look like? Most people would offer that if God came before them in person and changed water into wine and shone with celestial light, well, that would be enough to convince them. But why? If you’re a person who prizes scientific knowledge above all other kinds, who regards it as the gold standard of all proof and evidence, then this hypothetical event shouldn’t convince you. You’d more reasonably assume that anything other than God Himself appearing before you was the cause of your experience. Perhaps someone slipped a potent hallucinogenic drug into your drink. Perhaps there is a powerful alien spaceship in orbit and they can cause you to have convincing experiences. Or maybe you’ve just gone insane. Any of these would be more rational to conclude than that you’ve been visited by the Almighty.

All of this is right and good, and just as it should be within the context of the fallen world. God treasures our freedom above all else and imposing Himself on us by saying “Look here I am! Worship me!” and appearing in the sky with all His angels would be a vulgar negation of human and divine dignity. Besides no one likes a lover who comes on too strong.

Of course none of this is to say that there isn’t evidence – in the most literal sense of the word, “to make evident”- of God’s existence. Far from it. It is just a certain kind of evidence, a certain kind of truth about our predicament, and the way we receive that message is co-mingled with the content of the message so as to be inseparable. In that way our knowledge of God is set apart from other kinds of knowledge.