Proof of God would undermine free will

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One apologetic argument for the lack of clear evidence for God is that such proof would undermine humans' free will: such evidence would leave us no choice but to believe in God, and his glory and magnificence is such that we would have no choice but to worship him. Thus, God chooses to remain hidden in order that we should come to believe in and worship him freely.

"if god had given us 100% certain evidence (e.g. strong decudctive argumnt [sic]) then we will have no choice BUT to beleive [sic] in it. and so our freewill (to beleive [sic]) will be impaired. but freewill is one of the greatest goods ever AND god WANTS people to beleive [sic] on basis of freewill therefore god will never give us 100% evidence. and all evidence will always be less than perfect. [1]"

"If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be?"

Francis Collins, The Language of God

Other examples[edit]

"The Quran must be clear so that it compels those whose hearts are open, but it must be sufficiently vague so it doesn't compel those whose hearts are closed (or unwilling to believe). [...] If the Quran or the universe were presented with clear, 100% proof of certainty in God's existence, then everyone believes in the Quran and in God. It would be like the professor decides to give you the answers to the exam. The whole point of your existence is to not have 100% proof of certainty that Allah exists. [2]"


This is not a deductive argument, of the form "this is what we know about God, therefore we should expect to see such-and-such effects." Rather, it is an ad hoc excuse for the lack of solid evidence for the existence of God. A person making this argument presupposes that God exists but concedes that there is no good evidence for his existence; this argument is one way to reconcile the two.

This argument is not specific to the Christian God; it applies to any deity who values faith over reason.

Differences among theists[edit]

This argument is also at odds with the behavior of many theists, who seek out evidence for God. If an omnipotent, omniscient god truly wanted to remain hidden, then there should be no miracles, no relics (such as the Shroud of Turin), no miraculous apparitions; intercessory prayer should not work. Yet such evidence is sought by many.

Contradicted by the Bible[edit]

Many people and groups throughout the Bible had direct evidence of God:

  • In the Bible, Satan is an angel of God, and yet he rejected God. This fact appears to blatantly contradict the idea that proof of God's existence would deny free will.
  • Similarly, Judas Iscariot had ample evidence of Jesus' divinity, and still betrayed him.
  • Jesus' apostles and followers, who witnessed miracles first-hand.

Therefore either:

  1. The argument that God cannot reveal himself without removing free will is flawed.
  2. God took away some people's free will, but not others'.
  3. The Bible is in error.

In these examples, the people either had their free will violated, or didn't have any initially (meaning free will wasn't important), or God found a way for them to have free will despite having direct evidence of God's existence (meaning the asserted mutual exclusivity between free will and evidence is nullified).

Furthermore, if the god of the Bible really did exist, and provided proof of his existance, there would still be people who would hate and not worship him due to his actions in the old testament.

The need to worship God[edit]

Apologists argue that knowledge of God would make us worship God like drones. This is because of the consequences of not worshipping God is Hell. This would allegedly take away human's free will.

However, God established the rules such that it's a requirement in the first place. God was the one who decided that "sinners" could not live in Heaven, or that belief in God without sufficient evidence was a requirement to circumvent that rule. God could have set the rules so that those who make a good effort and are 90% good in their lives will make it to Heaven, regardless of what they think about God, or Hell was reserved only for those crimes with high severity - like murder or torture. This would leave a large middle-area where free will is not infringed, and God could walk around like a regular pedestrian.