Assuming God is practical

If a man returns from the realm of death and tells everyone that there is a heaven beyond, the atheists would, upon hearing the exultant cries of the Christians, reason it highly plausible that the man had not actually died; that some small strain of consciousness remained, and by itself labored in the darkness to construct an illimitable land of fantasy. Conversely, if the man returns from the realm of the dead and tells everyone that there is no heaven beyond, only a timeless void, the Christians would, upon feeling threatened by the imperious conviction of the atheists, rely on the exact same reasoning: that the man had not actually died, and thus could not have seen heaven.

In either case, both factions remain within their camps. Neither would admit of the falsity in their belief.

Now suppose that this unusual episode was engineered by God so as to educate us on the truth. Wouldn’t he then have failed? Seeing as how no one is willing to change. So it is that God may employ no such extravagant means to communicate the truth; which even if he does, we will not be able to distinguish it from the products of worldly chance. If one takes a single occasion of extraordinariness to be a sign of God, or be convinced that it forms the key to an immortal truth, then he is only fooling himself. The possibility of error is as stupendous as the infinity of knowledge. God, through his omnipotence, will know this. He will know that should he attempt to tell us the truth about the universe or about himself, or what is beyond our conception, he is bound to fail. Yet he does not, and cannot, fail.


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