If God exists, why cannot we see Him? This is a question that is often heard and I think it is as relevant today as it was at anytime in the past. Without running into clichés, nor making any quotations from the bible, I have been trying to formulate an answer to this particular trying question.
First, we have to acknowledge that God is the Creator of all things. In a way, to compare, He is like the Artist, and we, and everything that lives, are the works of His hands. So the question posed is really very much similar as to asking an earthly artist, like, let us say, Picasso, why we cannot see him personally in his artwork. Indeed, we cannot actually see him in any of his works. However, we do “recognise” his paintings as (works of) “Picasso”. And so it is here. We are His work and we can see God in all that He made around us; e.g. for fish, God is like the sea and its contents, but the fish themselves are also made of water and the components from the sea. They are of God and in God. Likewise, we are from God and in God…
Second, using the same analogy of a human artist, the best a painter-artist can do, to show him, would be to paint himself, and show to the world on canvas what he looks like. This is how we know today what Rembrandt looked like. Funny you should ask. This is exactly what God did. He did come to earth as one of us and lived a life showing us what our Creator is like. Indeed, His love for us can be compared with the love of an earthly parent for his child. Despite our mistakes, His love for us is unconditional. Unreasonably so, it seems. Should we have lived during His time here on earth, I am sure many of us would have been exactly like one of His disciples: e.g. not being prepared to do any of the dirty jobs (wash feet), dropping your friend when they were at their worst time in need on earth (Simon Peter & others), and not having any faith whatsoever when it really mattered (Thomas & others). In the end, He was condemned to die by crucifixion, suffering the worst kind of pain anyone of us could possibly endure….
Lastly, incredibly so, it seems, seeing as that we are talking about “pictures” and “seeing God”, it appears He did decide to leave us with an actual image of Himself. Somehow, He reckoned that we needed to have this. Here you can examine Him. http://www.shroud.com/examine.htm
The Shroud of Turin is a centuries old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man. Is it really the cloth that wrapped His crucified body, or is it simply a medieval forgery, a hoax perpetrated by some clever artist? Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on the Shroud. It is, in fact, the single most studied artefact in human history, and we know more about it today than we ever have before. And yet, the controversy still rages on. People from all walks of life have devoted their time and efforts to researching, investigating, experimenting on – and writing about – the Shroud of Turin. http://www.shroud.com/reflections.htm To summarise, the cloth bears the photographic image as a NEGATIVE, in THREE dimensions, of a CRUCIFIED man, clearly, very much beaten on his back, with head wounds (remember the thorn crown?), and other wounds specific only to Roman crucifixion (remember the wound in His side?). Blood- and DNA analysis showed that this must have been from a REAL life person.
As far as I can remember back to 1978, Dr. Max Frei, before his passing, recognised some pollen on the Shroud that are specific to plants that grow exclusively in Palestine e.g. see also here: http://www.shroud.com/danin2.htm
Many forensic experts, who analysed the Shroud’s (positive) pictures (back and front), concluded that this must have been the person named as Jesus of Nazareth in the bible, after (all) the applications of the Roman punishments and crucifixion exactly as described concerning Him, including the very number of lashings on His back and the wound in His side. For example, (and this is just ONE example), there are no thumbs visible on the Shroud. The way Romans crucified criminals, was by hammering big nails through the wrists, near to the hands, onto the wooden cross. Consequently, because of this, the thumbs would fall numb, behind the other fingers. These types of forensic details have led most of the experts that looked at all the scientific evidence coming from the Shroud’s investigations of having subsequently to become believers.
Yet, contrary to all expectations, carbon dating in 1988 by various laboratories showed the cloth is from the 13th or 14th century… exactly around the same time when it was displayed in Europe for the first time in history. Despite this, many researchers seem to disagree with the measurements, e.g. see here
To quote from the conclusions from the above (very lengthy!) report,
“Linen-production technology indicates that the Shroud of Turin is probably older than indicated by the date obtained in 1988. There seems to be ample evidence that an anomalous area was sampled for the radiocarbon analysis; therefore, the reported age is almost certainly invalid for the date the cloth was produced. The image was definitely not painted. The observed characteristics of the image rule out any mechanism for colour formation that involves high temperatures or energetic, penetrating radiation…..” etc
We know from the account in the Gospel of John that there is talk of some 75 or 100 pounds of spices being used, a mixture of myrrh and aloes, to embalm the corpse. That sounds like an extraordinary large amount. Together with the humidity in the tomb, to me, everything seemed set for some as yet unknown chemical or physical reaction. I wonder if anyone ever did some testing with those two chemicals.
Personally, after evaluating a lot of the evidence, it is my honest opinion that the Shroud is genuine and that it does bear the image of Jesus Christ. I think it is impossible that the image could have been a painted forgery, much less a medieval one. If it really were a fake, it would have required a real crucifixion to have taken place, orchestrated in exactly the way as Jesus died, with all its particular sordid details, including, amongst other things, the use of Roman whips, a thorn crown, etc. All of this would then have to be recorded in some specifically ingenious way, just so as to get all the specific forensic details correct and to achieve a photographic negative image with the particular 3 dimensional properties exactly as depicted on the Shroud of Turin. This is statistically impossible.
Anyway, either way, in fact, we do know that a burial cloth from Jesus did exist in 0 AD. The Scriptures tell us the cloth was there, in the empty tomb, neatly folded up. I think there is a message in that too. But even if the Shroud of Turin were dated exactly back to 0 AD, where would that leave us?
In fact, that places all of us at exactly the same point in history as where the disciples were when they arrived at the empty tomb. There was only one disciple who saw the empty tomb with the cloth neatly folded up, who immediately “believed”. He just knew. The rest of them remained skeptical, probably like you and me would have been, thinking that somebody must have stolen the body. Only when they had seen His appearance did their doubt fade … Doubt seems to be a good beginning….
God’s love (energy) is so big you cannot get over it and you cannot get around of it. You have to come in at the Door. Jesus is the Door. He is standing with His arms open wide, there, just like a real Father, worried about where you were. Faith is the key that you need.
Perhaps I have interested you to do some research so as to see what your heavenly Father is like.