Is Seeking for Signs a Bad Thing?

The scriptures make it clear we are not supposed to be seeking for signs to prove that we should believe in God or what He says. “Faith cometh not by signs …” (D&C 63:9). Jesus Christ called the scribes and Pharisees of His day evil for seeking after signs to confirm what He was saying (Matthew 12:38-39).

signs with question marks on them

However, I believe those verses are too often misinterpreted. Some extend these scriptures to mean it requires no evidence to believe in spiritual things. Those who are not religious may call this “blind faith.” If you have interpreted the scriptures this way or have heard someone interpret the scriptures this way, let me assure you, faith is not blind and requires plenty of evidence.

Paul said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). He is making it clear that faith is tangible, it is real, and it requires real evidence. Just take a minute to think about it. If faith did not require any evidence, we could make up anything we wanted to believe, believe it, and call that faith. I could believe there are people living on Mars, mountains are really holograms, or a civilization of people live in the center of the Earth. However, I do not know of anyone who would call that faith.

The difference between faith and irrational belief is evidence. Here are some of the reasons I believe Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be: eyewitnesses wrote down what they saw while they were with Him, prophets testified of His coming before He came, many others have written down there experiences of being with Him after He died. One of the reasons I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet is because of the witnesses to his visionary experiences. Above all else, the most important evidence I have for my faith is internal and personal: experiences and feelings I have had. I have written other posts that explain a methodical, and frankly scientific, method for discovering and confirming this internal evidence.

Could you imagine having faith in Jesus Christ without having anything written about Him or without having any experiences of your own to confirm His existence? Evidence is necessary for faith. There is a difference between seeking for evidence of God’s existence and seeking for the type of signs Christ warned us against seeking.

To me, the difference between seeking for signs and evidence is that signs are flashy, quick, and always physical. The attitude of the sign seeker is, “If God exists, He must prove himself to me.” The sign seeker is looking for something so big and grand there would be absolutely no need for belief at all. God seems to have many wise purposes behind requiring faith to begin with some level of uncertainty, but that is a topic for another post.

If you would like evidence that God exists, there is nothing wrong with that. Again, please feel free to read a post I wrote about a methodical process for obtaining such evidence, which is largely (but not solely) internal.