By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)
"No one has seen God at any time" (John 1:18).
This is from the reading of the Gospel for today. No one has ever seen God, and it is impossible for men to see God. Unbelievers ask:
"How does God exist when no one has ever seen Him?"
"But how do you, unbelievers, know that there is no God, when it is impossible to see Him, therefore, it is impossible to know whether He exists or not?" - we believers ask them.
"Why, then, did not God, Whom it is impossible to see, reveal Himself to people in such a way that they could see that He exists?" - the unbelievers ask again.
We, believers, answer them that God revealed Himself, manifested Himself in such a way that everyone can see that He exists: He descended to earth, taking on Himself the flesh of a man, that is, having become a man, He lived on earth for more than thirty years, for about three years he taught, and taught in a way that no one can teach; did deeds, and deeds such that no one but God can do; having suffered at the hands of people, He died, died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and on the third day He rose from the tomb and thus solemnly proved that He is the Son of God, God Himself. Forty days later, He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, who constantly proves that God exists.
What kind of manifestation from God, what proof do unbelievers demand that God exists, when there is a vast amount of visible, obvious proofs of His existence, omnipotence, wisdom and goodness?
"But," say the unbelievers, "we still do not see God."
Because it is impossible to see Him. There is clear evidence of His existence, omnipotence, and goodness; look at this evidence; from them it is clear that God exists.
"But we still do not see Him," the unbelievers continue to say, "We do not see Him, therefore, He does not exist."
No, you unbelievers, you do not see, because you do not want to see Him, because you consider it better to live in darkness, more freely: in darkness you are not bound by anything, you are not ashamed of anything, nothing pricks your heart for your depravity in life. Your disbelief is deliberate ignorance. Ignorant, uneducated, non-thinking people think and say out of their ignorance that the sun is a small circle, a thousand times smaller than the earth. They are asked how the sun could illuminate and warm such a vast, vast earth if it were a thousand times smaller than it.
“What are you telling us? - they answer. "After all, we see that the sun is less than the earth."
Such are those who do not believe in God. “How is He not? Where do so many of such things come from if they are not done by one Almighty, All-Wise, All-Good Being?" - we say to unbelievers.
And they answer: "We do not see Him, and no one sees, therefore ..."
O my God! Send to Russia and all countries more of Thy light and Thy truth. Too much of the darkness of unbelief and depravity has come to us from the West. Amen.